Best Bets For The 2018 PGA Championship

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Best bets for the 2018 PGA Championship

Chris Fallica
ESPN INSIDER

After an exciting final round overseas at the Open Championship, the majors season comes to a close with the PGA Championship this weekend in St. Louis. Will we see another first-time major winner at Bellerive?

Here are the best bets for the 2018 PGA Championship.
[h=2]Top picks[/h]
Jason Day (20-1)


A Sunday 73 at Firestone put a bit of a damper on what was an excellent three rounds. The PGA Championship has provided Day's only major win (2015), but he has finished second and ninth the past two years. That 2016 runner-up finish to Jimmy Walker is the last time Day really contended in a major, so he's long overdue to be heard on the big stage.

Tommy Fleetwood (25-1)

Fleetwood was again in position at Firestone last week after a Friday 63, but he missed a bunch of greens on the weekend and faded. If you had to pick one player to go super low in a major, this might be the guy. He has four rounds of 66 or better in majors this year, including the Sunday 63 at Shinnecock. More often than not, the PGA Championship winner has been well into double-digits under par of late, so Fleetwood's ability to string together birdies puts him squarely in the mix to win his first career major this week.


Tony Finau (30-1)

He was 50-1 a couple of weeks ago and has since posted another top 10 this past week at Firestone. Finau should have plenty of strength to overpower Bellerive when needed, but he needs to have a better week on the greens. Those greens are something to watch this week, as they aren't in the best of shape, given the Midwest heat this summer. Finau finished in the top 10 of all three majors and has been in the top 15 at the close of 10 of the 12 major rounds this year, including great opening rounds in both the Masters and the Open Championship. A good start here could catapult him to his first major. It's a question of when, not if.

Patrick Reed (30-1)

His ascension to major winner started last year on Sunday at Quail Hollow, where he finished in a tie for second behind Justin Thomas. Reed grinded to make the cut at Carnoustie last month and is becoming a mainstay in the top 15 in majors. It would be fitting if he hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy this time around after coming so close last year. Even if he doesn't win, I'd expect another top-15 finish.
[h=2]Long shots with value[/h]
Hideki Matsuyama (50-1)

The good news: He has posted a top-20 finish in eight of his past nine majors and finished in the top five the past two years at the PGA Championship. The bad news: His only top 10 this year came in the first event of the year in Hawaii. If this is the week when health, skill and good fortune come together, and he's in the mix at 50-1, you'd be kicking yourself if you weren't holding at least a small ticket.

Bryson DeChambeau (60-1)

He has never been better than eighth following any round in a major. He was a very trendy pick ahead of the U.S. Open, and after scuffing to a 51st-place finish at The Open and a Sunday meltdown at the Porsche European Open, his price is back where it is playable, especially after he went 69-68-67 to finish at Firestone. He could help his Ryder Cup chances a lot with a strong showing this week.

Ryan Moore (100-1)

He has finished in the top 15 in three of the past five majors, including 13th last year in this tournament. If you're looking for a guy who could potentially step up from outside the top 50 and contend at a big number, it could be Moore, who as recently as 2016 was in contention to win the TOUR Championship.

Daniel Berger (100-1)

The highlight of his year has to be his sixth-place finish at the U.S. Open, where he took advantage of his Saturday tee time to shoot 66 and get himself a share of the 54-hole lead, marking the first time he has truly contended in a major. He missed the cut at Carnoustie, but back on U.S. soil, maybe the experience of being in the mix at Shinnecock will help. At 100-1, he's a long shot worth looking at to post a better-than-expected finish.
[h=2]Trends to consider[/h]
  • In the past nine years, the PGA Championship winner has either been a first-time major winner or Rory McIlroy. In that span, Rory has won his second and fourth career majors, while seven other tournaments were won by a player who hadn't previously won a major.
  • The PGA Championship has also been the major championship most likely to yield a winner outside the top 10 in world ranking. In the past nine years, just three years saw a top-10 player win the tournament, and two of those three were McIlroy. (The other player was Jason Day in 2015.) In that same span, four players ranked outside the top 20, three players outside the top 40 and two players outside the top 100 won the PGA Championship.
  • Francesco Molinari's win at Carnoustie continued the run of major winners ranked in the top 30 without a major win. Ten of the past 12 majors have been won by a player who had not previously won a major, with nine of those 12 winners ranking in the top 15 of the OWGR. Going back further, 23 of the past 24 majors were won by players ranked in the top 30. Taking that information into account, here's the group of players who fit that mold of no major wins and ranked in top 30, along with their current ages.
[h=2]Top-30 players without a major win[/h]
Jon Rahm7th423
Rickie Fowler9th229
Tommy Fleetwood11th227
Alexander Noren13thT636
Paul Casey15thT341
Hideki Matsuyama16thT226
Marc Leishman18thT234
Xander Schauffele19thT224
Bryson DeChambeau22ndT1524
Patrick Cantlay24thT1226
Tyrrell Hatton25thT526
Kyle Stanley26thT3930
Kevin Kisner27thT234
Matt Kuchar28th240
Tony Finau29th528
Rafael Cabrera Bello30thT434

Golfer World rank Best major finish Age
 
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