We’re back in the sunshine state for the Valspar Championship, an event usually played in March has found a new home in April.
The Tampa area golf course has yielded great fields in the past, including Tiger Woods almost winning the tournament just a few years ago. This years field is pretty good as well.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson has struggled of late. He hasn’t finished inside the Top 10 at a Tour stop since the Genesis Invitational, which includes a MC at the Masters. He played down in Hilton Head at the RBC Heritage, where a final round -5 can hopefully act as a stepping stone in getting back to the top of his game. He played here back in 2019 and tied for 6th.
Justin Thomas is also in the field this week. The last time he played at the Valspar, he missed the cut (2017). Since winning the PLAYERS, he’s failed to move onto the Sweet 16 at the Match Play, and a shitty weekend had him outside the Top 20 at the Masters.
Other big names in the field include Viktor Hovland, Patrick Reed, Scottie Scheffler, Bubba Watson, and Sungjae Im.
Copperhead Course at Innisbrook
Little over 7,300
Par 71 (4 Par 5s, but 5 Par 3s)
Features the Snake Pit, one of the toughest closing stretches on the PGA Tour (16-18)
The last 3 winners of the Valspar were inside the Top 10 of SG: APP on the week. The greens around this track are small, so hitting them in regulation is key. If you don’t, you better bring your short game.
The last 3 winners were also inside the Top 6 (!!) in SG: T2G. Some of the fairways are narrow, and again the greens are small. Hitting everything in regulation takes a lot of the pressure off.
Data Golf Information
Course Fit: 1. Warwick Hills, 2. TPC Twin Cities, 3. Muirfield Village
Trending (of the players in the field): 1. Corey Connors (Last 3 starts: T14, T8, T4), 2. Justin Thomas (1, T17, T21), 3. Chris Kirk (T25, T6, T7)
% Chance to Win: 1. Justin Thomas (6.3%), 2. Dustin Johnson (5.2%), Corey Connors (5%)
T9 Best Bets!
Up .2 units last week, very blah. Let’s keep the winning streak going though, as we were up over 2 units at the RBC Heritage.
Top 30 – Charlie Hoffman (+135)
Another guy in good form. In his last 5 starts, he has 4 Top 20 finishes, and 2 of those are Top 10s.
He had a Top 20 finish in 2019, and a T11 in 2016
Top 10 – Patrick Reed (+190)
In his last 5 stroke play events, Reed has a win at the Farmers, Top 10s at the Masters and WGC at Concession, and a Top 25 at the PLAYERS.
Despite being 59th in SG: T2G, he’s 1st in putting, and his short game is second to none. It’s honesty kind of stupid how good his short game is.
He’s been in the mix here on multiple occasions. In 2018 he was T2, in 2016 he was T7, and in 2015 he was T2. The winning score at this tournament rarely hits double digits, which is what I think helps Reed. He’s a grinder, he makes par from everywhere, and that’s what you NEED to do at Copperhead.
Top 20 – Paul Casey (+135)
Simple put – he’s won this event 2 times in a row, going for the unprecedented 3-peat. It’s only happened 8 times over the last 40 years, Tiger Woods has 6 of them.
Since the start of 2021, in 6 stroke play event starts, he has 4 Top 10s, 2 Top 5s, and has only missed 1 cut (RBC Heritage, where he shot even par over the first 2 days).
He’s 14th in SG: APP, 24th T2G, and has a Top 50 short game. He’s also in the Top 50 when it comes to greens in regulation.
Top 10 – Corey Connors (+175)
The level at which this kid is playing golf right now is pretty hard to ignore. Since missing the cut at the Genesis Invitational, he’s made 5 stroke play event start, his finishes in order: 3rd (API), 7th (PLAYERS), T14 (Valero Texas Open), T8 (Masters), T4 (RBC Heritage).
He’s 9th in SG: OTT, 11th in APP, and 9th T2G. He’s in the Top 10 in both FIR, and GIR.
He finished T16 here in 2018, his only start.
Top 20 – Scottie Scheffler (+135)
He’s still looking for his first win on the PGA Tour, and I think Copperhead is the perfect place to do it. Since the start of the year, he’s played some really good golf. Top 20 at the Masters, Runner-up at the Match-Play, Top 5 at Concession, and a Top 10 in Phoenix.
This will be his first start in Tampa, but he’s a great ball striker and I think it will fit his game well.
He keeps the ball in play, which is big at Copperhead, as he’s inside the Top 35 in both GIR and FIR.
Top 20 – Russell Henley (+135)
This is a second shot golf course, and it’s tough to find a better iron play on Tour than Russell Henley. In his last 24 rounds, he’s 7th in SG: APP, and 21st T2G.
Since missing the cut at the PLAYERS, he’s finished T3 at the Honda, and T9 at the RBC Heritage.
He had a Top 10 here in 2017.
Top 30 – Max Homa (+190)
Our guy. Max and Talor Gooch has a solid week in the NO, placing T17. Aside from a MC at the PLAYERS and Masters, Max has been one of the most consistent players on Tour this season.
He’s inside the Top 50 in SG: T2G, and his putter remains solid.
He’s missed the cut at all of his appearances at this event, but is a completely different player since he was last in the field. I like the fit for Max this week, and we always have to bet on our guys.
Patrick Reed (+1900)
Scottie Scheffler (+2700)
Cover via GolfDigest.com