PGA Tour Odds and Predictions: The McGladrey Classic
by Alan Matthews - 10/12/2011
The beauty of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series – or irritation from a betting standpoint – is that more often than not you will see somewhat unknown guys get their first Tour win because, well, the fields are watered down and those journeymen (or young players) often have to perform well to keep the fully exempt status for the following year.
Last week at the Frys.com Open, we saw two guys who were winless on Tour, Bryce Molder and Briny Baird, battle in an entertaining six-hole playoff, eventually won by Molder. He was once considered a prospect akin to Phil Mickelson after a four-year All-American career at Georgia Tech, but he finally cashed a winner’s check at age 32 and after turning pro a decade ago. Baird, meanwhile, was looking for win No. 1 in his 348th career Tour start. Don’t feel too bad for the guy, as he has still earned more than $12 million on Tour in his career. Molder is the second straight first-time winner after Kevin Na won in Las Vegas the year before after 210 career Tour events.
I certainly didn’t have Molder on my radar last week – my long-shot pick was Tommy Gainey, who missed the cut. But hopefully you at least took my advice and didn’t bet on heavily-favored Tiger Woods. He finished tied for 30th.
This week the Tour visits the Seaside Course in Sea Island, Georgia, for the second staging of the McGladrey Classic. This tournament is the brainchild of Davis Love III and his brother, Mark, who got the tournament off the ground last year, when Heath Slocum beat Bill Haas by a stroke – Love has been a long-time resident of the area. Seaside is a links-style course and last year Slocum finished with a 14-under total in windy conditions.
In 2010, the field was pretty weak, but it is much improved this year. There are 13 winners from this season in the field, including Webb Simpson, who is here looking to take the money title lead from Luke Donald, who is home with his wife Diane as the couple expects its second child.
Among some new names entering this tournament this year are Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink, Angel Cabrera, Paul Casey, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, Boo Weekley and Sean O’Hair.
PGA Tour Odds: The McGladrey Classic Favorites
Simpson is the +800 favorite on WagerWeb this week. With a finish of 15th or better, Simpson can jump over Donald to the top spot on the money list. Simpson has won twice in his last five starts and trails Donald by $68,971 with just two events remaining to decide the money title. It is likely that Donald won’t play next week’s final tournament with a child on the way. He is attempting to become the first player to win the money title on the PGA and European Tours. Simpson played this event a year ago and got better as the week went on (69-68-67-67).
The second-favorite is Rickie Fowler at +900, and he’s intriguing. Fowler, the U.S. version of Rory McIlroy in terms of hype for a young player, is fresh off his first pro win last week at the Korea Open. So he has momentum and confidence – the field in Korea wasn’t great, but McIlroy was there.
Matt Kuchar is next at +1000. It’s a bit surprising he is here since he has little to prove. Kuchar is one of two players ranked in the Top 10 without a win (the other, Jason Day, isn’t playing here). Kuchar is usually Mr. Consistency in terms of Top-10 finishes, but since his tie for second at Memorial in early June, he's had only one Top 10.
PGA Tour Odds: The McGladrey Classic Long-Shot Predictions
First off, I do think Kuchar wins this year because he doesn’t want the stigma of winning the most money on Tour without a tournament victory (although I’d sure take that reputation). So he’s tops among my PGA Tour predictions for this event.
I also like Robert Allenby at +3000. The Aussie finished third last year after double bogeying the 72nd hole to finish two behind Slocum. Allenby should be well rested as he hasn’t played since finishing T12 at the BMW Championship almost a month ago. He has made his past seven cuts.
John Rollins at +4000 may be the best value, however. He finished sixth last week at 13 under and held the first round lead a year ago at Sea Island before tying for 12th. The only negative? Rollins has already won on Tour in his career (as has Allenby).