Greenbrier Classic – Can Jimmy Walk Away With A Win?
The Greenbrier Classic was founded in 2010 to replace the Buick Classic, and was originally played at the end of the month before being moved to early July last year. All four winners so far have been unfancied going into the tournament.
In 2010, Stuart Appleby earned his first PGA Tour win in four years and two of the last three winners, Scott Stallings and Ted Potter Jnr were claiming their first PGA events.
The Old White TPC, at The Greenbrier, West Virginia was opened in 1914. It has been altered since 2010, and is now over 7200 yards, but is still not particularly long by PGA standards. The fairways are generous, and low scores are common, with the trickiest aspect of the course being the undulating greens. This isn’t a particularly competitive venue, so look out for big-priced outsiders in good putting form.
In The Bunker
Few players have been in better form than Bubba Watson this season and he goes into this event as the antepost favourite. His record for 2014 shows two wins, including a second US Masters, and three top-three finishes. But he’s been off the pace in his last two outings, missing the cut at the US Open and finishing down the field at the Travelers Championship, and that’s enough to put me off backing him at 10/1.
Jimmy Walker is making his first appearance since his top ten at the US Open and if he resumes in the same form, he has a great chance.
The FedEx Cup rankings leader is still exploiting a rich vein of form that has already brought him three Tour wins this season. He made the top five in this event in 2010 and 2011 and finished second there last year. Back him to go one better in 2014 at odds of 12/1.
Despite some solid performances in 2014, Brendan Steele hadn’t managed to trouble to the top of the leaderboard apart from a sixth-placed finish at the Phoenix Open back in February. But he came back from a break in determined mood and has since recorded top fives at the Travelers Championship – a performance which included an opening round 62 – and last week at Congressional. A second PGA Tour title is on the cards in the coming weeks and he’s worth a look at 40/1.
This tournament has already helped two players to earn their debut wins and this year it could be Ben Martin’s turn. In his second full season on the PGA Tour, he has three third-placed finishes to his name, but his latest at Congressional, was the most impressive yet and signalled that he’s ready to earn that breakthrough win. Back him to land the odds at a decent price of 40/1.