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Zurich Classic PGA Preview and Picks

Zurich Classic PGA Preview and Picks

ZURICH CLASSIC PGA PREVIEW AND PICKS – We were all around the top of the leaderboard last week, but we missed on the eventual winner, Matt Fitzpatrick. Spieth was one of Jack’s top plays, but he had to settle for second after losing in a playoff.

We had a great time with our special guest, Nate Brown, from We Know Fantasy, and we’ve included some of his picks in this week’ version of “What’s in your Bag?”

TPC Louisiana isn’t going to be a monster challenge this week, but it’s not a total pushover. It’s one of the longer courses on Tour, but it’s a Pete Dye design which means it isn’t a bombers’ paradise. Guys will need to be long enough to get to the proper position off the tee, but there are still going to be a lot of long approaches to the green. Guys who excel from 200+ yards out should be a strong consideration for handicappers this week.

Let’s get to the picks.

THE DRIVER (Xander/Cantlay, Team Kim, Burns/Horschel)

These are guys we’re looking at if you only like betting studs at the top of the leaderboard. We usually take a look at the top three or four guys on the odds board and choose the one we like the most. All odds courtesy of DraftKings

Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay (+300) 

This is a pretty top-heavy field, and it’s heaviest at the very top. Xander and Cantlay are both top-5 in OWGR, have great form, no weaknesses, and are the defending champs. Did I mention they also broke the scoring record last year even after an even-par effort in the final round? 

If you don’t want to get cute with longshots, you may as well go ultra chalk.

THE IRONS (Clark/Hossler, Hojgaard/Olesen, Suh/Theegala)

These are solid, reliable guys in the mid-range tier (think 30/1-80/1ish). They are reliable and you can count on a handful of guys in that range to be sniffing around in contention. These are who we have our eyes on this week. Some of them we didn’t mention, but should have on the show. Here’s who we like.

Nicolai Hojgaard/Thorbjorn Olesen (+3500)

These are players that maybe haven’t been reliable on the PGA Tour, but they’ve been solid around the world on the DP World Tour. Both have multiple victories and are in good form as of late. 

Hojgaard has been exceptional this season on the PGA Tour, and just earned a Special Temporary Membership which will allow him to accept unlimited sponsor invites. His best finish this season is 2nd at the Corales. The approach play has been stellar, and that’s a stat that figures to be important at TPC Louisiana.

Olesen, meanwhile, has collected two victories in the last 12 months, most recently in February. It’s been sort of a slow time for the DP World Tour, so he hasn’t played a ton lately, but he’s been great whenever he has. He’s skipping a start on the DP World Tour this week to come here. I doubt he comes if he doesn’t think he has a chance at earning some status on the PGA Tour.

THE WEDGE (Hoge/English, Detry/Perez)

This is a guy (or team, this week) that we are always finding a reason to bet on, but they never win. These guys likely won’t either, but here’s to hoping.

Tom Hoge/Harris English (+3500) 

Both my co-host, Jack, and our guest, Nate Brown, both like this pairing, so we’ll set it here.

On paper, there is just a ton to like about Hoge’s game. He pops up in a lot of models week-to-week because of the excellence of his iron game. He currently ranks 2nd in SG:APP, but he had led for most of the season until last week. 

English is, in many ways, a great complement to Hoge. He’s typically been known as a guy who does a lot of his damage around and on the greens, which is the opposite of Hoge.

The issue here is going to be off the tee. Despite Hoge’s approach game excellence, and English’s short game magic, neither of them are particularly long or straight off the tee. It’s a difficult problem to overcome, and a key reason they haven’t lived up to our lofty expectations. 

THE PUTTER (Xander/Cantlay, Brent/Roy, Clark/Hossler)

These are guys who we bet on and then instantly regretted.

Wyndham Clark/Beau Hossler (+2500)

For readers and listeners, this one may be bet-and-regret for obvious reasons. But maybe not. The real issue here is that they are 25/1 to win this thing. The price is just terrible for two guys who haven’t closed the deal on Tour, yet. 

I’m a big fan of the Beau Show, and both of the other guys love Wyndham Clark. We bet them with our heart, and then thought more about it.

Our argument for taking two non-winners in middling form is that they’ve both been relatively steady lately. Clark has strung together seven top-35 finishes and Hossler is coming off a top-35 at the RBC Heritage. 

There’s also something about their games that seems to fit with this format because they profile so similarly. Both have been known as guys who are streaky with their irons and masters around the green. Clark’s numbers have risen dramatically this season SG:APP, so that may not even be a weak spot anymore.

The short games should help keep things together in the alternate shot rounds.

This is an emotional bet, and one we’ll be glad to have hit for sentimental reasons. Ride along if you so choose, but this is a tough price to swallow.

HYBRID (Dahmen/McCarthy, Endycott/Baddeley, Gordon/Davis, Watney/Hoffman)

These are our wild card guys who could pop up and make us rich. They could also be out of the tournament by noon on Thursday. We’re just throwing darts here and hoping for something good at long odds. 

Will Gordon/Davis Thompson (+5500)

This one is a little bit of a longshot, but we aren’t looking to invest too much deeper down in the field. This field is such that a ton of teams have basically no shot (Daly/Duval), so I’m reluctant to start rummaging through that pile to suggest a play.

These guys are right on the cusp, though. The big thing they have going for them is that they’re long off the tee and excellent long iron players. It will be important to score on the par-5s this week during best ball and in alternate shot, so those strengths should be a factor. 

There aren’t a ton of wonderful results to point you to that shows a win is imminent for these guys, but they do some things well, and those things should be helpful around this Pete Dye design. 

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