Spieth Spying Valspar Championship Glory
A glorious field take to Florida for the Valspar Championship. Jordan Spieth heads the betting ahead of the PGA tournament.
The Florida swing of the PGA Tour continues this week with the Valspar Championships, formerly known as the Tampa Bay Championship. Founded in 2000, it’s had six different sponsors and has been shunted around the calendar, although since 2007 it has been played in mid March. One or two of the top names are missing from this year’s field, but it looks a pretty competitive event nonetheless.
The Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort, Palm Harbour caused some problems when it was first used, but scores have been improving progressively in recent years. It is one of the longer courses around and the fairways are wide, so big hitters go well there. The greens are tricky though, so form with the putter is a key attribute for punters to look out for. Strong Atlantic gales can also be a factor.
In The Bunker
Former champion Luke Donald has an excellent record at this tournament, making the top six in his last four appearances, including his victory in 2012. But that win came when he was in the process of reclaiming his world number one spot from Rory McIlroy, and his fortunes have declined steadily since then. He hasn’t won on either side of the Atlantic since 2012 and there wasn’t much encouragement for Donald backers at Doral last time either. Despite his good record at Copperhead, I can’t back him at 25/1 this week.
US golf’s rising star, Jordan Speith, has continued to impress in 2015, registering three top tens in his last five outings.
He finished just inside the top twenty at Doral last week, but he finished second in Strokes Gained Putting and a continuation of that good form with the putter should enable him to mount a strong challenge at Copperhead, where he made the top ten in 2013. At 14/1 he looks a solid bet.
The return to form of Brandt Snedeker is good news for all golf fans, and now that his injury problems appear to be behind him, he can return to the top of the world rankings. His new swing has already helped him to bag a trophy, at Pebble Beach, and although he finished down the field in his next outing, a solid top twenty at Doral last week was encouraging. He’s twice made the top ten in this event and offers plenty of value at 33/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Brian Harman. He picked up his first PGA title last year and after a quiet start to 2015, caught the eye with a final round 64 at the Honda Classic a fortnight ago. He made the top thirty at Copperhead on his second attempt last year, and at 80/1 is worth a look this week.