The Valspar Championship was first staged in 2000, and it once again returns to the 7,340-yards par-71 Copperhead Course in Palm Harbour, Florida.
Due to its position in the PGA schedule, straight after last week’s WGC, it hasn’t attracted quite as strong a field as it sometimes does, but there will be plenty of players who are happy to return to Bermuda Grass Greens this week after another week of tough-to-read Poa Annua greens last week.
There’s no Dustin Johnson, who did blog followers another favour last-week, whilst Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama also give it a miss.
That means Henrik Stenson is the highest-ranked player in the field, and he also heads the market at 11/1 alongside Justin Thomas. You can make a case for backing both market-leaders, as Stenson has gone 4/11 here the last two-years, whilst Thomas has gone 10/18. However, with Stenson withdrawing last week and Thomas blowing a great chance of winning his first WGC, I’ll pass on both.
It’s 28/1 bar the front two in the market, and that bracket includes this week’s first selection Gary Woodland. The main reason I’m backing him is that he announced he and his wife were expecting twins last week, so he better make the most of his last few months of freedom before they’re born – because life’s going to be a whole new ball game after that. The Nappy Factor is surely spurring him on too, and he’s been in decent form recently in finishing 6/20/MC/5/2/28. He’s also a previous winner of this event.
Another player who likes it here and is in decent form is Graham De Laet, and his last 3 finishes of 9/17/10 suggests he should go well this week having finished 17/8/5 on his last 3 visits to Copperhead.
I’m also willing to give Luke Donal another go this week, as the Englishman reportedly continues to put in the hours on the practice range in a bid to get himself back in the higher-echelons of the game. No worse than 27th on his last 3 starts, he should be fuelled by not being in the WGC field last week, and he’s another who has decent past form here with figures of 6/1/4/4 between 2010 and 2014.
This week’s final recommendation is a top-10 bet on Charles Howell III, who has two top-10s in his last 5 outings, and 4 top-10s in his last 8 outings here.
Valspar Golf Championship Preview And Tips
Graham De Laet 1 Point Each-Way @ 45/1 (Betstars) 1/5 odds 6 places
Luke Donald 1 Point Each-Way @ 55/1 (Stan James) 1/4 odds 6 places
Charles Howell III 2 Points Top-10 @ 4/1 (Stan James)