Well that was hard to watch… For those of you who missed the first round of the PGA Championship, I’ll catch you up. Rory McIlroy must’ve read our last article (we listed him as a player we needed to monitor before we invest more capital in him) because he almost broke a PGA Championship record today and currently sits atop the leaderboard after absolutely piping his drives all day. I’ve never heard the word “stinger” more in my entire life… Tiger’s old faithful shot (the “stinger” 2 iron) failed him on the back nine today and it’s possible his leg is failing him too… not ideal for making the cut, I know. We saw Scheffler’s first temper tantrum since joining the tour and we had an unfortunate visit from Patrick CANTlay.
Despite all of the chaos, we still finished +1.188 units on the day thanks to some nifty hedging with our matchups bets (which went 4 for 4 today) and some back nine heroics from Cam Smith. Overall we’re actually still sitting pretty with our foundational futures bets so we’ll focus on our favorite matchups for tomorrow and show Rory some love as a true outright winner contender while the odds still allow us to.
Some things to note for tomorrow’s round… The afternoon groups from today are once again going to get the shaft tomorrow morning. Winds are expected to be similar to the afternoon today for tomorrow morning, if not worse, and get better throughout the day. This means that the morning groups from today (who experienced ideal course conditions compared to the players who tee’d off in the afternoon) will once again have better playing conditions tomorrow morning compared to their afternoon counterparts.
Trust the process (we’re still in the green and on the path to success), count your blessings that you don’t have to play this course in these conditions and always remember to bet smart, not harder.
2nd Round Bets
We saw vintage Rory today and it’s impossible to ignore. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone put on a better driving clinic in my entire life. It was like I was watching someone playing PGA Tour 2K21 as Rory McIlroy all day the way he was cutting corners and consistently smashing his drives 350+ yards. He clearly has picked up where he left off after the final round of the Masters, his birdie on the last hole of his round (technically hole 9) suggests he’s going to keep this rolling, he’ll more than likely have ideal course conditions again tomorrow afternoon and every major champion at Southern Hills has lead going into the weekend. It’s officially time to invest more in decisive Rory before the odds negate that option.
2nd Round Matchups
If it’s not broken don’t fix it… All three of these matchups remain valuable rolling into Friday so we’ve shifted some allocations of units around a bit but the general logic remains the same.
Russell Henley (+130) (0.87 units) vs Cameron Champ (+175) (0.13 units) vs Zach Johnson
Henley is the only player to post a relatively consistent round out of this trio today. By placing 0.87 units on Henley and 0.13 units on Champ we’re essentially risking ~0.6 units to win 1 unit assuming Zach Johnson doesn’t have his best round in a major in a long time. Henley sits at even currently (within striking distance) and this group should face challenging course conditions once again tomorrow so expect Champ and Johnson to struggle.
Rory McIlroy (+110) (0.57 units) vs Jordan Spieth (+135) (0.43 units) vs Tiger Woods
Sorry Tiger… that leg just didn’t look convincing on the back nine today. There’s a chance Spieth goes on a tear tomorrow to make up for his sub par opening round so I’m splitting the odds between him and Rory. Realistically, if Rory keeps swinging that driver like Thor’s hammer then he’ll net us ~0.2 units but this virtually guarantees us we won’t go in the red. Again, base hits > home runs.
Joaquin Niemann (+100) (1 unit) vs Harry Higgs vs Erik Van Rooyen
Niemann made it very clear that he’s a different caliber golfer than Higgs or Van Rooyen today. He’s primed to make a run on Friday and he plays a lot better than Higgs or Van Rooyen on Fridays. I’m honestly blown away that we can still snag him with positive odds against these two at this point.
2nd Round Props
Scottie Scheffler – To Shoot Under 71.5 (-120) (1 unit): We saw Scottie slip up a bit today but don’t let that fool you… He had a few blow up holes that masked an otherwise great round considering the conditions. His par save on the last hole (despite his elevated emotions at the time) make me confident that he’ll regroup tonight and come out firing tomorrow on a course he’s very familiar with.
Hideki Matsuyama – To Shoot Under 71.5 (-110) (1 unit): Hideki doesn’t miss cuts and he’s starting to flirt with the cut line after his lackluster opening round performance on Thursday. He didn’t play terrible (3 bogeys, 1 birdie and 14 pars)… the putts just weren’t falling for him. He’ll start his round in the afternoon wave of players on Friday who should see better playing conditions than the morning wave before them. I’ll be surprised if Matsuyama doesn’t finish under par in his second round of the tournament and position himself to contend on the weekend so +1 or better feels pretty safe here (especially at -110 odds).
Players To Watch Update
Cameron Smith: Betting on Cam Smith is like playing with fire… Is he a birdie machine? Yes. Is he good for ~1.5 double bogeys per round? Unfortunately. While I’m ecstatic that Smith was able to pull it together on the back nine today, we were always expecting a solid showing from him in the 1st round (he’s done it all season). That said, he poured in a clutch par putt on his last hole today and he’s going to have solid playing conditions again tomorrow. I’m not buying into the Lucas Herbert hype so I don’t feel the need to hedge our “Top Australian” bet but I also don’t feel confident enough in investing the additional 0.5 units on Smith after his volatility today. I do like his odds for tomorrow, but I’m not sold on his ability to truly contend in this major as of now.
Daniel Berger: Berger played fine but he didn’t record a single birdie today (3 bogeys and 15 pars). The hold pattern will continue into tomorrow and if he can’t throw some birdies on the scorecard then this isn’t his major.
Rory McIlroy: I’m not sure what else there is to say about Rory after today. If he’s at his best, he looks unbeatable. He put a PGA Championship record in serious jeopardy today and he could’ve easily finished better than 5 under. He might be one of the best off the tee ever and every facet of his game was clicking on Thursday. Add his preferable course conditions for tomorrow to the mix and the rest of the field might be playing for 2nd place.
Viktor Hovland: Man, Hovland is a hard one to judge. He finished even par today but he also played in the morning when some players were going low. His approach game was consistent as expected but he didn’t hit as many fairways as I was hoping for and he still continued to struggle around the green. Hovland is another one I’m going to continue to monitor because I think he has a good chance to post a decent score tomorrow. That said, if he doesn’t put himself in solid position to contend after tomorrow then we won’t be investing anymore energy into Viktor this week.
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