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Amateur Clanton a favourite to make history at ISCO Championship

Luke Clanton Luke Clanton - Getty Images

It’s one of the rarer accomplishments in men’s professional golf. 

And no, I’m not talking about a sub-60 round. Because 14 players have done that. I’m talking about something much rarer. 

Only eight golfers in the history of the PGA Tour have won an event with amateur status. 

Nick Dunlap is the most recent to add his name to that list when he won The American Express in January. 

Before Dunlap, it was Phil Mickelson in 1991. 

It took nearly 32 years for an amateur to follow up Mickelson’s performance, but now oddsmakers think it could happen this week. 

Most of the world’s top players will prepare for the Open Championship by playing in the Scottish Open - a co-sanctioned event between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour - this week.

Meanwhile, Luke Clanton is the betting favourite to win the ISCO Championship in Kentucky, an alternate field event on the PGA Tour. 

Let’s a take a deeper dive at who he is and how we ended up here.


Who is Luke Clanton? 

Clanton is a 20-year-old junior that plays on the men’s golf team at Florida State. 

The No. 1 amateur in the world made his first regular PGA Tour start on a sponsor’s exemption a few weeks ago at the Rocket Mortgage Classic where he tied for 10th. 

He made history at the John Deere Classic last week when he became the first amateur in 66 years to have back-to-back top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour with a tie for second. 

This week, he has the shortest odds of any player in this field to win at 10-1. He would be just the second amateur in 33 years to win a PGA Tour event. 

The 10-1 number represents an implied probability of 9.09 per cent. 

Clanton had three wins in 14 events this season in the NCAA. In his college career Clanton has four wins in 26 starts, with 14 finishes inside the top 10. 

He is +115 to top 10 once again this week. 


ISCO Championship odds preview

Clanton has the shortest odds, but here is a look at the other names inside the top 10 this week to win the ISCO Championship. 

ISCO Championship

Player  Odds
 Luke Clanton +1000
Michael Thorbjornsen +1200 
Carson Young +2600
Daniel Berger +2600
J.J. Spaun  +2600
Chan Kim  +2900
Joel Dahmen  +2900
Mac Meissner +2900
Ben Silverman  +3300
 Rico Hoey +3300

Recently an amateur himself, Michael Thorbjornsen enters this week off a tie for second at the John Deere Classic in just his third professional start. 

Oddsmakers clearly like him and Clanton a lot this week as the two of them are the only players in the field with odds shorter than 25-1 to win. 

Headlining the group at 26-1 is Daniel Berger. 

Berger was a top 20 player in the world a few years ago before a back injury forced him to miss over 15 months of action. 

His ball-striking numbers are slowly starting to look like where they were when he was at the top of his game. 

At 26-1, in a field like this, Berger’s talent could be worth a flyer as he seeks the fifth win of his PGA Tour career. 


One bet to consider

I’ve have waited all year for a moment like this. Let’s talk about Rico Hoey. 

Hoey is a 28-year-old who has fascinated me all season. 

Prior to the Valero Texas Open in April, he was the fourth best ball-striker (statistically) in the field. 

Through his first nine events to start the season his ball-striking numbers were some of the best on the PGA Tour. His best finish in those starts was a tie for 32nd. 

Hoey was hitting it like Scottie Scheffler, but he was unfortunately putting like Luke Bellus. 

So, I’ve kept a close eye on Hoey and have been patiently waiting for the putter to heat up.  And fortunately for us, it has. 

Hoey enters this week having gained strokes putting in seven of his last 10 rounds of PGA Tour golf. 

He tied for sixth at the Rocket Mortgage, and finished inside the top 25 last week at the John Deere Classic. 

In this field, Hoey ranks as the sixth best ball-striker this season, and with the flatstick heating up I think this is the perfect week to get back into contention for our guy. 

I will be playing Hoey to win at 36-1 and I’ll also play him to top 20 at +150 on FanDuel. 

Sorry Luke Clanton, it’s Rico Hoey week.