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Golf | PGA Championship: Winner Picks

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The second major of the year begins Thursday as the world’s best will tee it up at Oak Hill in the 105th edition of the PGA Championship. Like at the Masters, players from across LIV Golf and the PGA TOUR will again collide to serve up a fascinating battle on the course.

Unsurprisingly, Jon Rahm and Scottie Scheffler share favoritism (+750). They’ve won six PGA TOUR events this year between them (Rahm four, Scheffler two), meanwhile no other player has won more than one. The likelihood of at least one of them being in contention come Sunday feels pretty much a formality on recent form, however there’s stacks of talent just beneath them in the odds and it could pay to take a couple of these, starting with…

RORY MCILROY (+1300, FanDuel)

McIlroy’s recent finishes have cost him his place at the table with Rahm and Scheffler. Two missed cuts and a T47 have pushed his odds out for this event. Those were three events where, for a variety of reasons, McIlroy was center of attention – a position he’s proved not to play his best golf in. Flying a little more under the radar will suit the Northern Irishman this week, but not nearly as much as the course will suit him.

Since recent redevelopments, Oak Hill is now a particularly long course and conditions will make it play even longer. Who better to bet on than the current Driving Distance stat leader on the PGA TOUR. McIlroy is averaging 328 yards, seven yards longer than the second best, ten yards over third and some 30 yards over the tour average. Of course his driving will need to be accurate, or at least he’ll need to know where and when he can adequately take on the course challenges.

Fortunately, Rory is an Oak Hill member and local to the course, having used it previously as a training base. There will be nothing unusual out there for him on his bid for a fifth major.

CAMERON SMITH (+3200, FanDuel)

Had this course been playing shorter, Cam Smith would be nowhere near as big as +3200. However, whilst Smith is a pretty average driver against the field, his driving is efficient and he should be able to put himself in the right positions to make birdies.

According to the odds, Smith is the third most likely LIV Golf player to claim victory, behind Masters runner-up Brooks Koepka (+2100) and weekend winner Dustin Johnson (+2400). Like McIlroy though, the less attention the better for the Australian. He’s quietly been going about some incredible form on the LIV Golf tour with a T3, T6 and T2 (playoff loss) in his last three starts.

Playing consistent low scoring golf, a previous major winner and one of the best putters the game has ever witnessed, Smith will for sure run his race at Oak Hill.

RICKIE FOWLER (+7500, FanDuel)

It’s been a few years since Fowler has been discussed as a serious potential major winner and even still, his odds suggest he’d be somewhat of a surprise victor. However the American is playing very good golf, recording consistently high finishes of T10-T14 in his last four outings.

Fowler will enjoy the longer challenge of Oak Hill too, currently sat 38th in the Driving Distance category for the PGA TOUR, and he’s got the approach play to match, sitting 7th in the Strokes Gained: Approach table.

The 34-year-old was openly disappointed at missing out on this year’s Masters but that’ll give him just the motivation required to contest here, at a tournament that’s been dominated by fellow Americans (winning the last seven editions).

All odds listed from FanDuel, as of Monday May 15.

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