PGA Tour Picks: Desert Classic Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
That's what I'm talking about! In the first full-field event of the New Year, we correctly recommended Matt Kuchar - at a cool price of +4000 - to win the Sony Open in Hawaii last week. Kuchar led by two after 54 holes and shot a 4-under 66 in the final round for a 22-under 258 overall and beat playing partner Andrew Putnam by four strokes.
It's Kuchar's second win of the new season as he also prevailed at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November. Kuchar already essentially has locked up a spot in the season-ending Tour Championship. He joins Xander Schauffele in the two-win club already this season. In addition to Kuchar, we hit on Marc Leishman (T3) as top Aussie/
Another interesting item from the Sony open was Chez Reavie making history with three eagle hole-outs in Round 2 on Friday at Waialae Country Club. It's the first time in recorded PGA Tour history anyone has ever made three eagles in the same round on par-4 holes.
The Tour heads to the mainland this week - Palm Springs, Calif., to be precise - for the Desert Classic. This event has had several names over the years, most notably the Bob Hope. It was the CareerBuilder Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation the past three. Yeah, Desert Classic is better than that.
This also used to be the rare five-round event, but in 2012 it was shortened to a four-round tournament but no cut until after 54 holes. That's because all players complete one round at the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West, the Nicklas Tournament Course at PGA West and La Quinta Country Club, all three par 72s. Then there's the cut and the final round at the Stadium Course.
A 59 is no longer the record round on the PGA Tour, but there have been two in this tournament: David Duval in 1999 (course not currently in rotation) and Adam Hadwin two years ago at La Quinta. It's a pretty good field, although Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, among a few top Europeans, are playing in the big-money Euro Tour event in Abu Dhabi.
Spaniard Jon Rahm is back to defend. He and American Andrew Landry finished 72 holes at 22-under 266 last year, and Rahm drained a 12-foot birdie putt on the fourth extra hole to win. Landry had made one from about that far on his 72nd hole to force a playoff. It was the second playoff here in the past three years.
Golf Odds: Desert Classic Favorites
At Bovada , Rahm is the +650 favorite to become just the second player to repeat here. Johnny Miller did in 1976. Rahm did win Tiger's Hero World Challenge in early December and was T8 two weeks ago in the Tournament of Champions.
New world No. 1 Justin Rose (+900) makes his first appearance in the States since winning the FedEx Cup at the Tour Championship (but not the tournament). Rose hasn't played here in eight years.
Patrick Cantlay (+1600), Charles Howell III (+2000), Hadwin (+2500) and Putnam (+2500) round out the favorites. Hadwin was the runner-up two years ago and T3 last year, two out of the playoff. Cantlay was second in his last official Tour start at the Shriners. Howell was T8 last week and T20 here last year.
Phil Mickelson, who we see for the first time since his much-hyped and much-boring match play event vs. Tiger Woods, is +4000.
Golf Odds: Desert Classic Picks
For a Top 10, we like Rahm (-150), Hadwin (+260) and Ryan Palmer (+500). No head-to-head props as of this writing. You can get Rahm and Rose at +350 vs. the field (-550), but we'd take the field there.
Our winning pick is Scott Piercy at +4000. He was just OK in the two Hawaii events but has three Top 10s already this season and was T6 here last year at 19 under. He's very accurate off the tee, which is important in this tournament, and is used to desert golf being from Las Vegas.
Two of our top experts both Indian Cowboy and Raphael Esparza offer their expert golf picks every week of the season. Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports list of expert sports handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
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