Zurich Classic: Five Value Plays To Consider
It’s a weird week on the PGA Tour as 80 teams of two tee off at TPC Louisiana for the Zurich Classic Thursday morning.
TPC Louisiana is a 16-year-old Pete Dye designed course that has hosted the Zurich Classic for over a decade. Surprisingly, the course by the bayou only has five water hazards. Instead, 71 bunkers try to stir trouble for golfers this week. Some golfers could find trouble on the 19th hole as the annual New Orleans Jazz Fest kicks off on the other side of the Mississippi River this weekend.
The teams will play Best Ball (taking the best score on each hole between the teammates) on Thursday and Saturday, while Alternate Shot is used Friday and Saturday. For those unsure, teammates take turns hitting the same golf ball during Alternate Shot. When one golfer tees off, the other will hit the second shot and so forth. Only 35 teams will make the cut after Friday’s round.
We can throw out a lot of analyses that is typically used when making picks for this tournament. This is only the third year that the team format has been used for the tournament, with previous champions being Cameron Smith-Jonas Blixt and Billy Horschel-Scott Piercy.
Both teams return to reclaim their title. Horschel and Piercy are tied as a top 4 favorite to win the tournament at +1700. Smith’s and Blixt’s odds are a bit higher at +3600.
Golf betting has a ton of variance as it is. This format makes things even less predictable, but bettors should take advantage of that by avoiding the favorites at the top.
Looking back, Horschel and Piercy were +4000 when they won it last year and Smith and Blixt were +10000 in 2017.
Going forward, we’ll try to catch you up on major line movement for each week’s PGA tournament while providing additional value plays for you to keep an eye on. There hasn’t been much line movement at all this week, probably because bettors are avoiding the unfamiliar tournament. Here are some top value plays to consider including information on where to get the best odds.
Jhonattan Vegas and Abraham Ancer +4000 (BetStars)
Jhonattan Vegas and Abraham Ancer put away their differences in hopes of beating the field this week. See, Vegas attended the University of Texas and Ancer played for the Oklahoma Sooners during their collegiate careers. Both golfers are having solid seasons as the pair combined to make 21 of 28 cuts so far. T
This tournament sets up great for the two, allowing Vegas to play aggressive while trying to take advantage of his long distance off the tee in the best ball rounds. Ancer’s 68.45% driving accuracy (16th on Tour) provides a security blanket in case Vegas struggles to find the fairway. Much like Cameron Smith in 2017, Ancer is due for his first PGA Tour victory. This might be the place for him to finally do it.
Brooks and Chase Koepka +4100 (888sport)
There’s nothing quite like brotherly love, as evidence showed when the brothers teamed up for a T5 finish here in 2017. Brooks played without his younger brother last year only to miss the cut. Chase has tried to find success on the European Tour, but has struggled to translate his game into consistent professional play.
This pick is all bout Brooks, but this week is all about Chase. A win would be huge for the youngest Koepka, and there’s no one better to help him out than his older brother who just so happens to be a three-time major winner. The brothers are +4100 at 888sport compared to around +3000 at other shops.
Ian Poulter and Sam Horsfield +4600 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
This is Ian Poulter’s third time to play in this specific team event, but his first time playing with Sam Horsfield. Horsfield is just 22 years old, and Poulter has been a mentor for the fellow Englishman ever since the pair met when Horsfield was 13 years old.
Poulter is notorious for bringing out his best golf in team events such as the Ryder Cup. You can bet that he and his once mentee turned teammate will take this week as serious as any team out there. If Poulter brings out the best in Horsfield, then this +4600 ticket will be in contention Sunday.
Joaquin Niemann and Dylan Frittelli +5500 (FanDuel Sportsbook )
Once the former No. 1 amateur in the world, Joaquin Niemann turned professional in 2018. The twenty-year-old hasn’t let his inexperience stand in his way. Through the 2018 and 2019 season, Niemann has made an amazing 15 cuts in 19 tournaments, including five top-10 finishes. His teammate, Dylan Frittelli, is another former Longhorn.
Frittelli won twice on the European Tour in 2017 before shifting his focus on the PGA Tour in 2018. He hasn’t come close to winning in the states, but he has made eight of 11 cuts this season, finishing inside the top 25 twice. It would be great to watch the celebration of two young golfers earning their first Tour victories together Sunday. Niemann and Frittelli could be the pair to do it.
Corey Conners and Mackenzie Hughes +7500 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Three weeks ago, Corey Conners won his first PGA Tour event at the Valero Texas Open. He followed up by making the cut at The Masters, shooting under par in his first three rounds at Augusta National. Conners, in particular, is a volatile golfer. He’s finished in the top 3 in three tournaments while missing nine cuts this season. Most impressively, Conners is seventh in strokes gained tee-to-green and eighth in strokes gained approach, which should help in Alternate Shot Friday and Sunday.
Conners’ playing partner, Mackenzie Hughes, made the cut in each of his last four events. In terms of strokes gained statistics, he has struggled everywhere relative to the field, but with Conners anchoring this Canadian duo, I’ll take the +7500 odds.