The money list: Our 7 best bets for the Players Championship
Masters champion Garcia is primed for a successful weekend in golf's 'fifth major' at Sawgrass...
Sergio Garcia –
Not since Tiger Woods in 2001 has a player triumphed at the Players immediately after winning at Augusta.
But Masters champion Garcia’s current and course form means he must be backed this week.
The world No. 6 has had an excellent season so far, recording five top-15s and two wins in just seven starts.
He has also been very successful at Sawgrass in the past decade, having won here in 2008 and finished inside the top three on three other occasions.
Garcia almost became the seventh player to win this event more than once in 2015, when he lost out to Rickie Fowler in a playoff.
He is poised to accomplish that feat this weekend.
Justin Thomas –
Thomas enjoys playing at Sawgrass.
The 24-year-old placed third here last season in what was just his second Players appearance, having finished 24th on debut in 2015.
A two-time winner on the PGA Tour already this year, he has slowed down slightly since triumphing at successive events in January.
Thomas did, however, finish fifth at both the WGC Mexico in March, and in the team-based Zurich Classic a fortnight ago.
He ranks sixth in driving distance, first in birdie average and fifth in scoring average this season, and is good value to earn the biggest win of his career to date.
Francesco Molinari –
Players from outside of the US have won this event in six of the past nine years, and Molinari’s form suggests he is capable of joining that list.
The Italian has made seven consecutive cuts, finishing inside the top 25 in five of those starts.
Molinari also has a great record at Sawgrass, finishing inside the top 10 on three occasions.
A win here might be slightly beyond him, given that he is yet to win in America.
At , though, he is good value to take a top-10 place.
Russell Henley –
A fast start is imperative at Sawgrass, and two of the last three winners held the lead after the first day.
That means Henley – who leads all PGA Tour players in first-round scoring this season – is worth backing.
The American has shown that he is also capable of finishing strongly towards the end of an event, having come from behind to win the Houston Open in April.
With two top-25s at the Players in the past three years, he is certainly worth a punt at this price.
Best of the rest
Rory McIlroy’s inactivity since the Masters is a concern, but he has been remarkably consistent at the Players, with a record of 12-8-6-8 in the past four years.
Back him to place in the top 10 at .
Paul Casey is having a fine season, with four top-12 finishes in his last six starts. Henrik Stenson, meanwhile, has only made one cut in his last six events.
Back the Englishman to win their 72-hole match at .
Brooks Koepka has played really well in the past few weeks, placing inside the top five in each of his last two starts and no worse than 11th in his last four.
Back him to earn his third consecutive top-five finish at .