What does Michael Jordan and the Sharp Side have in common? Both are winners! We are back again off another winning week with the help of our Head to Head plays and Top 20 bets. Didn’t hit Jon Rahm as an outright. Unfortunately, we were a week early to pick him to win at Muirfield. Nevertheless, we will be looking for an outright this week and of course another winning week at the 3M Open in TPC Twin Cities.
Unfortunately, this is the most watered down field since the restart of the PGA Tour. However, with only Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka as the top tier players, this gives a better opportunity for longshots and other dark horses to win the event.
Matthew Wolff is the defending champion at this course as he shot 21 under and beat out Collin Morikawa and Bryson Dechambeau. He succeeded through the use of his approach game as he gained 9.5 strokes. Putting didn’t matter as much as the top of the leaderboard wasn’t extraordinary with their short game.
The course has quite a few hazards. There are 27 water hazards and 72 bunkers. In an event where scoring will be expected a water hazard can mess up an entire tournament. Therefore, fairway accuracy will have value. Last year, players hit fairways at a 66% rate which is 6% higher than tour average. The course has some length to it with three of the par 3’s over 200 yards and five par 4’s over 450 yards.
After analyzing last year’s event, the key stats which I will be using are: Approach, Off the Tee, Birdies Gained, Eagles Gained. This is a ball strikers course, players will need to be able to get themselves in a solid position off the tee and have a good approach game to get them in position for scoring. The winner will have a multitude of birdie opportunities as they will need to shoot around 20 under.
This will be a short list of plays as this week is a weaker event so anything could happen. However, I do have a few strong stances that definitely will have a chance to win us some money this week. Remember to check out @TheSharpSidePod on Twitter for my full card which will be released on Wednesday. Best of luck tailing and let’s cash!
- Austin Tarke
@_Atarke on Twitter
Paul Casey (28-1): This is my favorite outright this week. This is a ball strikers course and Casey defines the term ball striking. He pops in my model with the #1 approach game, #3 off the tee, and 13th in Birdies gained. His biggest weakness is Around the Green and Putting; however, last year showed that you can survive with a poor short game. A positive for him is that he succeeds on Bentgrass greens; therefore, he should be able to still succeed in his putting.
Head to Head:
Paul Casey over Matthew Wolff: Wolff is young upcomer; however, he does not belong on the same tier as Casey even though he won the event last year.
Casey has a much higher floor than Wolff which will be the reason why this bet wins. Wolff is a bomber and he will succeed in his off the tee game; however, he doesn’t have the approach game to put up the numbers he will need to succeed in this event. Last year was an anomaly with his 9.5 strokes gained off approach because he’s a below average approach player. I expect Casey to be the more consistent player over the course of the event and easily finish above Matthew Wolff.
Emiliano Grillo over Tom Lewis: Love this play. Reason 1: Tom Lewis is not a good golfer. He played well at the Rocket Mortgage because he putted his ass off; however, other than that he’s a miss cut machine. He struggles in his approach and off the tee. He also struggles the most on Bentgrass greens. Reason 2: Grillo is a phenomenal ball striker. Ignoring last weeks outlier, he gained strokes in approach in his previous 5 events. His Achilles heel is his putter. He struggles; however, he prefers bentgrass greens so maybe this is the week where he can gain strokes putting. I’m betting him for his iron ability against a golfer who hasn’t shown any area that he’s consistent in.
Top 20’s to consider:
First Round Leader:
Keith Mitchell (90-1): His track record in 1st rounds is pretty solid. He has the approach and off the tee capability if he can figure it out all at once. His putter can also strike fire. This is definitely the type of course where he can start blazing hot and shoot a low score on Thursday.