Golf tips: Best bets for the PGA Championship
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Spieth only needs to win the PGA Championship to complete the career grand slam, and his form heading into this week at Kiawah Islands suggests this could be his year.
The American has finished inside the top 15 in eight of his last nine starts, including a win at the Valero Texas Open in April. He missed some time after finishing T3 at the Masters last month having tested positive for coronavirus, but returned with another top-10 finish at last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
Kiawah Island is the longest course in major championship history, but scrambling will likely be just as important as hitting bombs off the tee this week as players struggle to hit the greens in the wind from long range.
Spieth’s elite short game makes him a good fit for this venue, and the fact that his three major wins to date have all come on the back of a top-10 finish certainly bodes well for his chances.
Hovland looks primed to contend this week after a blistering run of form that stretches back to his win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in December.
In the Norwegian’s last 13 starts beginning with that win, he has seven top-five finishes including T3s in his last two starts at the Valspar Championship and Wells Fargo Championship.
The 23-year-old has climbed all the way up to 11th in the world rankings and has proven he compete with the world’s best in big tournaments, with a T2 at the WGC-Workday Championship in February the stand-out result of his year so far.
With two PGA Tour victories to date at seaside courses in windy conditions, Kiawah Island looks an ideal fit for Hovland and he looks a great choice at an event that has seen plenty of talented, young winners in the past few years.
Like Hovland, Smith has been in great form ahead of this week’s event with five consecutive strokeplay finishes of T17 or better, three of those being top-10s.
That run doesn’t include his win with Marc Leishman at the team-based Zurich Classic of New Orleans last month.
Smith’s best finish at the PGA Championship to date was a T25 back in 2015 but he’s clearly able to perform in these events, having finished T2 and T10 in his last two major starts, both of which were at the Masters.
The Australian ranks 11th in shots gained around the green and 14th in shots gained putting on the PGA Tour this season, so he has the short game to compete at Kiawah Island.
Rose looks a big price this week considering he finished seventh at the Masters last month.
The 40-year-old has had a difficult year so far but admitted prior to that performance at Augusta that all his focus is on the majors at this stage of his career, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see him near the top of the leaderboard after a few weeks off.
Despite his struggles over the past couple of years, Rose has finished in the top 25 in seven of his last 10 major starts, including a T2 at the 2018 Open and a T3 at the US Open in 2019.
With four top-10s during that period, Rose consistently gets up for the majors and is well worth backing at Kiawah Island given that he finished T3 at this venue in 2012.
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