11 AUG 2021 - WALK IT IN

Walking it Back:

The bets last week were spread among the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the women’s Olympic competition with mixed results. Let’s walk those back before looking at our last regular season event of the TOUR season.

Big Randy insists he’s still competing hard despite his sizable deficit on the rest of the field. Last week, he put all of his nuggies on five women to medal at the Olympics and he hit on one of them, Nelly Korda at +240. If the boys even let him in the playoffs, he’s gonna need a big showing to advance. 

DJ Pie went all in on the “other” DJ in Memphis, where he lost a win bet and bogey free Thursday bet. He also lost his Kevin Na top 20 and two Olympic medal wagers to finish 0-5 for the week.

After a winning week, Neil declared he is FIRMLY in third place so kudos to him, I guess. He correctly nailed Nelly Korda winning gold at +650, while missing on Danielle Kang and three PGA bets on Berger, DJ and Harman.

Tron is trying to challenge for the top spot, but 0-5 weeks this late in the season are not going to help. He lost two win bets at the WGC on DJ and Will Zalatoris and then lost some more on Boutier and Castren to medal and Sagstrom to finish top 10.

Still the undisputed Draft King, Soly had a very good week! He had Nelly Korda to medal at the Olympics and Daniel Berger and Cam Smith both to top 10 in Memphis. He narrowly missed his Scheffler top 10 or it would have been even better.

For the Walk It In boys, Jeff had a winless week, missing big on Brooks Koepka and Jason Kokrak and a few win bets. Mark’s only win was a Scottie Scheffler top 20 and he missed big on Matt Fitzpatrick. A brutal Sunday by Louis Oosthuizen cost both men some nuggies.

The Approach

If you’re going to putt for dough it helps when you’ve given yourself more putts inside the leather than double breakers so where are the guys looking this week on their approach? Jeff is away and goes first at Sedgefield!

Jeff: We’re into the final weeks of the season, and one more chance for guys to sneak into the FedEx Cup starting next week with the Northern Trust. There’s plenty on the line for guys in the back third of that Top 125 that will make the playoffs. I’m intrigued by that storyline for a few of the guys on my card this week, and I’m also eyeing a few additional guys with high GIR%, good approach numbers, and strong T2G trends from their last 48 round average to their last 16 round average.

Mark: This course seems awfully similar to TPC Southwind last week as well as the 3M Open a few weeks before that. Driving accuracy is going to be extremely important because GIR percentages go way down when hitting out of the rough at Sedgefield. In addition to driving accuracy, I’m looking at putting and rough proximity.

Inside the Leather

Jeff’s Picks:

Russell Henley Top 10 (+250) - 1 unit

Here’s a guy who can throw darts on any given weekend. He’s checking in 3rd amongst this field in SG: Approach in his last 16 rounds, and has the pedigree to bring strong iron play every week. He’s always been accurate off the tee and even in the event of “clubbing down” I think he’ll play the majority of his shots from the short stuff this week.

Sungjae Im Top 10 (+250) - 1 unit

Another guy who is known for good iron play, but hasn’t had a lot of it lately. He’s been in an odd spot this season with some unusual highs and lows with his irons, but does have some good history here (nothing like Webb Simpon’s though). He’s got a great GIR% and with the playoffs coming up I’d like to see him get right this week.

Rickie Fowler Top 20 (+220) - 1 unit

Rickie may be the biggest name outside the top 125 this week that is fighting to get into the playoffs. We’ve seen him make steady strides week after week, and even though it hasn’t resulted in podium finishes, it is an encouraging trend. He has this final shot to get into the top 125, and I think he finally puts 4/4 rounds together.

Mark’s Picks:

Jason Kokrak Top 20 (+110) - 2 units

I was pretty vocal on this week’s podcast about how I’d make Jason Kokrak one of my captain’s picks for the US Ryder Cup team. He’s got two wins this season, is fifth on TOUR in putting and his personality/demeanor would do really well in that locker room. In addition to his putting, he’s 28th in GIR% and has great history at Sedgefield.

Will Zalatoris Top 20 (+138) - 1 unit

He needs a win to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, but I’ll settle for a top 20 here. He has a shaky putter, but looks healthy again after a T8 last week on a similar course, in a WGC field of competitors. He’s 22nd on TOUR in GIR% and 7th in SG: Approach.

Sungjae Im (-103) over Brian Harman - 1 unit

Brian Harman is a hell of player having a really good year, but there’s some value with Sungjae as a slight underdog in this matchup. He finished T9 here last year and T6 in 2019, is 14th on TOUR in driving accuracy and 34th in GIR%.

Hank Lebioda Top 20 (+275) - 1 unit

Unfortunate WD a few weeks ago at the 3M, but for personal reasons and not an injury. I’m going back to Hank as he had made seven straight cuts and had three straight top 10’s before the 3M. He is 19th in GIR% and 26th in putting. Over his last 16 rounds, he ranks 1st in this field in putting.

Double Breaker

Jeff’s Picks:

Harold Varner III Top 20 (+360) - 1 unit

He’s a NC native and has played well at Sedgefield in the past. His accuracy and GIR% numbers are above average on Tour, and his approach numbers are getting better in his recent outings. He’s struggled with a fickle putter in the last 16 rounds compared to what we typically see from HVIII so I think he can put together a nice week.

Ryan Armour Top 20 (+400) - 1 unit

Armour is another who is in the mix for the Top 125. He’s currently 121 in the standings and in the hunt to make it to the Northern Trust. He’s done that with a T5 at Barbasol and T6 at 3M so he’s on a nice little run. He’s also played well here in the past so I think he’s got a shot to hold his spot for the playoffs.

Matthew NeSmith Top 40 (+320) - 1 unit

We’ve mentioned NeSmith before on this podcast, and he’s let me down. He’s interesting to me because while his putting is abysmal, his irons are really solid compared to the rest of this field. I think there’s a chance he can stay in the hunt this week as he fights to hang on to the playoff spot.

Russell Henley to win (+3000) - .5 unit

Robert MacIntyre to win (+4000) - .5 unit

I profiled Henley already, but the big Scott is another interesting play for me this week. His GIR% on the European Tour would rank #1 in the PGA Tour. He’s just not had enough rounds on the PGA Tour to qualify. His putting has been out of form lately, but everything else is trending in the right direction with ball striking. It could be a great week for Big Bob.

Mark’s Picks:

Webb Simpson to win (+1100) - 1 unit

Jason Kokrak to win (+2200) - .5 unit

Hank Lebioda to win (+8000) - .5 unit

I went back and forth on Webb exposure because of the short number, but his history at Sedgefield is undeniable; T3-2-T2-3 the last four years to go with three more top 10’s and a win since 2011. He’s in pretty good form and has to be licking his chops this week at a place he loves so much. Kokrak has some pretty good history here himself, finishing T15 last year, T6 in 2019 and T16 in 2017. Lebioda is severely undervalued by the books in my opinion and is worth a play at this price.