Bob Weeks Picks Six – Valspar Championship
After a couple of weeks of designated events, we drop back to another non-designated tournament where the field is not exactly stacked. There are nine of the top 50 and 21 of the top 100 in the world rankings in the field. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good opportunities for some attractive picks. The Copperhead course is a tough one and it generally returns an average score that is over par. Last year was an exception with the score being just under one full shot below 72. Based on past performances, look for players who hit fairways and greens. They seem to shine here.
Justin Thomas +1000
The favourite this week as much for his name as his recent form. He finished third here a year ago and 13th the year before that. This year hasn’t been the best for Thomas and he has just a single top 10. Much of that is due to his putting, which has only shined at one tournament – the Genesis invitational. Last week at the Players it was his only negative Strokes Gained category. But last week aside, he is making progress and the rest of his game is strong. Time for a break-out week.
Sam Burns +1600
The two-time defending champion is back in his happy place this week and not a moment too soon. He’s had a mixed bag of results this season with his last five starts being two top 15s, followed by two missed cuts and then a tie for 35th at the Players. His weakness this year has been hitting greens. When he hits a lot, he scores well. Last year at this event was his second-best tournament of the year for that category (behind the RBC Canadian Open) so that’s a good reason to think he can three-peat.
Adam Hadwin +290
Coming back to the scene of his first – and so far only – win, the Canadian is coming off a very solid tie for 13th last week at the Players. He’s playing with as much confidence as he has in a couple of years and his game has been solid all year with three-top 10s and just one missed cut in his 11 starts. He could sharpen up his putter which has been just a bit off the last three events.
Showing some good form of late with a tie for 20th at the Genesis and a tie for 27th last week at the Players. There he logged a Saturday 65 but couldn’t back it up on Sunday when he shot 76. Still, he seems to be finding the groove that he showed last year when he finished tied for fourth at the Open Championship.
Wyndham Clark +155
Long-hitting Clark has made it 10 in a row in cuts made. He had a solid week at the Players with a tie for 27th. In his last five starts he has been on the positive side of Strokes Gained: Approach the Green which will work well for him this week if it continues.
Ben Griffin +185
Had a good week at the Players, starting off with a brilliant 67 before sliding back into the pack as the week went on. It was a continuation of a solid year with only two missed cuts in 14 events. Ranks second on the PGA Tour in birdies made.