I’m not sure which story to start with after storms put an abrupt end to playing when the afternoon wave changed Friday to The Players.
The main story came from the course when the best player in the world, Jon Rahm, withdrew due to illness before the round. On the court, many lesser-known players are making a name for themselves, as Ben Griffin and Chad Ramey were at the top of the rankings, battling the likes of Viktor Hovland and Collin Morikawa. Unfortunately for Ramey, the storms didn’t come until his quadruple-bogey on the par-3 17th, which put him well out of the lead.
Instead, it’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Adam Svensson who hold a two-shot advantage heading into Saturday at TPC Sawgrass. They both have the better half of their final nine holes to play before heading to the third round, which leaves a lot to be decided – including the cut – on Saturday morning.
I will break down and provide some data from the first two days of golf, but it will be largely incomplete for anything related to the third round. There may be some value in the gambling markets, but I have to play it safe a bit and keep some of the usual suspects (Justin Thomas) off the map until I’m sure they’re playing more this weekend.
I’m really only interested in taking long-shot chances. The numbers are short on the favorites – Scottie Scheffler and Morikawa – and beyond them you’ve got guys like Hovland and Jason Day who are done in Round 2. They’re also short odds and I don’t want to be caught short . number of guys who may be even further back before they play another hole.
Strokes were explained
Strokes Gained can give golfers, DFS players and fans far more detail about how a golfer really played by measuring each shot against the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates the average number of shots it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from any distance and situation. If a player beats these averages, he gets hits on the field.
All situations in golf are different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a number of different metrics for strokes gained:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Acquired stroke: approach
- Strokes Achieved: Around-the-Green
- Stroke Achieved: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball Strokes (which are Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, SG: Ball Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long-term, while putting is more subject to volatility.
You can often find live betting advantages by identifying golfers who hit the ball well but just can’t get the putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers can go back and go forward.
3 golfers to buy for Saturday
This is a track and a tournament where I think we can shoot at some quality players coming from behind. The numbers out there for several of the guys that have come into the clubhouse have me scratching my head a little bit, and that’s where I’m going to start my goal.
Justin Suh at +10000 at Caesars is the first number that jumps out at me. He was near the top of the leaderboard when he finished his first round on Friday morning, and he just couldn’t get much going to start Round 2. He put up five bogeys in the first nine holes of the second round before settled with four birdies to save the round on the back nine.
Unfortunately for Suh, the birdies were accompanied by a nasty double bogey, putting the ball off the green at the par-4 6th. Still, he finds himself just five shots off the lead as he sits at 3-under heading into the weekend.
The Southern Cal alum has recently begun to show the promise that had him in the mix of names alongside Morikawa and Hovland coming out of college. While this would be a huge stage for him to capture that first win, I’m buying the number for a player who is hitting the court in every aspect of his game through two rounds.
A former major winner is the best player in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green through two rounds and is listed at +17500 to start the weekend. That’s something I’d be very interested in when taking long shots, and I’ll dive into Gary Woodland at that number.
Woodland has shown the form that made him a US Open champion, but he simply hasn’t been able to pull it all together enough to contend. That continues to be the case this week as he has dropped more than four shots on the greens in just two days, but this is a course where ball striking and tee-to-green play are typically rewarded. If he can just find the putter a little, he can certainly cut into the lead and possibly be a factor by Sunday.
I’ll go even deeper on Saturday and take a guy playing with house money in Jordan Spieth. There’s no way he was going to play the weekend after the tee shot he hit on his final hole on Friday. It was a long way from contact, heading straight for the pond down the right side of the ninth hole. Fortunately for him, a fan’s knee got in the way and deflected the ball right back onto the fairway. Instead of dropping to hit his third shot and needing a miracle to save par and a shot at the cut, he fired a drive just over the green-side bunker and did what Spieth does – holed the chip shot for eagle.
It’s certainly a long shot to expect him to win, but he’ll go out with nothing to lose, knowing he’s lucky to be playing himself. There’s certainly a scenario where he’s within a manageable six or so shots into the third round, and if he can rekindle the Saturday Spieth magic, he can also get in the mix on the cheap at +16000.
Strøg got data for all players through Friday
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