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25th April 2024 3:53 am

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PGA Tour: The Valspar Championship

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Sandy Lane previews this week’s PGA Tour event, the Valspar Championship in Florida.

Please note that bets must be placed by 11.30 am on Thursday.
Wow, the climax of The Players Championship at Sawgrass last week was something to behold. Scottie Scheffler, our headline selection, treated golf lovers to an imperious bogey-free final round of 64 to catch and overtake two reigning Major champions in Brian Harman and Wyndham Clark. His one-stroke victory earned him a second successive triumph in the tournament. Quite extraordinary, significantly since he had been handicapped by an injury to his neck, which first became apparent on Friday. Those followers of this platform who backed Sahith Theegala (9th) each way to finish in the top ten will also have made a tasty profit, and Harman’s storming run was tipped up as my ‘after 54 holes, look out for…’ in-running fancy.
Onwards and upwards to the Valspar Championship at the picturesque Copperhead Course in the Innisbrook Resort. This Par 71 event presents golfers with a very different challenge to the courses that have staged the most recent tournaments. It’s a tough old-fashioned tree-lined course where players are constantly on the turn. Its most famous feature is the fearsome closing stretch known as the Snake Pit. Previous winners have been accurate drivers and strong on strokes gained tee-to-green and greens in regulation stats.
With all this in mind, here are my Big 5 Selections: Name and Current Price: 
  • Justin Thomas 14/1: Yes, he’s become a tad inconsistent recently but this is the weakest field he has faced all year. The former World #1 has finished in the top 15 in his last three visits here. He has also won more Bermuda Grass tournaments since 2008 than any other player. Class is class.
  • Doug Ghim 45/1 Bet365 5p – 40/1 Skybet 8p – 35/1 gen 8p: His recent form bears the closest inspection. Doug has finished in the top 20 in his last five outings and is the only player in the field to tick every one of my six stats boxes.
  • Cameron Young 25/1: I know, I know, he’s the most frustrating maiden on the circuit, but he will win one day, and Copperhead is the ideal fit for him. Putting is his only weakness; the small greens here will suit perfectly.
  • Sam Burns 12/1 gen: With course form of 12, 30, 1,1,6, he is a must for our staking plan. His recent form has been moderate, but we should see a revival now that he is back on his beloved Bermuda Grass.
  • Nick Taylor 33/1 gen: Fresh from his impressive win in Phoenix, the Canadian has continued to play well. He has good course form and should be very much ‘on the premises’.
Throw in Aaron Rai 50/1 Skybet 8p, an outrageous outlier whose game will be a perfect fit here and stake 5 points to win on JT and 1 point each way on him and the others. After 54 holes, look out for Xander Schauffle [7/1], who should shake off his Sawgrass disappointment, and Keith Mitchell [45/1], a lively outsider.
Good Luck
Sandy Lane

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