After a designated event that led to a playoff last week for the RBC Heritage, the PGA Tour continues on with its only team event of the season: the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
This week, the Tour is teeing it up at TPC Louisiana, a 7,425-yard par 72 with smaller-than-average poa greens (5,225 square feet) and a lot of bunkers and water in play.
The teams will play fourball in rounds one and three and foursomes in rounds two and four.
Historically speaking, the winning tandems of this event are pretty solid squads. Here are the winners and runners-up as well as their Official World Golf Ranking entering the event. (Note: there are no OWGR points awarded for this event.)
|2017||Cameron Smith (114)Jonas Blixt (256)||Scott Brown (123)Kevin Kisner (40)|
|2018||Billy Horschel (78)Scott Piercy (135)||Jason Dufner (56)Pat Perez (22)|
|2019||Ryan Palmer (73)Jon Rahm (11)||Tommy Fleetwood (16)Sergio Garcia (29)|
|2020||No Event||No Event|
|2021||Marc Leishman (37)Cameron Smith (25)||Louis Oosthuizen (33)Charl Schwartzel (191)|
|2022||Patrick Cantlay (5)Xander Schauffele (12)||Sam Burns (11)Billy Horschel (14)|
Yes, there are some outliers here and there, but other than 2017 (when the format was slightly different), good teams aren't the worst route to go.
With that in mind, here are some bets that stand out based on the golf odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.
Outright Bets for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Keith Mitchell and Sungjae Im (+1300) - The duo of Mitchell and Im should be able to hit tons of fairways, and from there, they can lean on Im mostly. That's not a knock on Mitchell, but his strength surely is his off-the-tee play. Both are top-20 in the field in strokes gained: tee to green over the past 50 rounds, according to datagolf. Im (17th in the OWGR) and Mitchell (50th) give them a well-rounded team that ultimately holds the third-best total strokes gained average over the past 50 rounds.
J.J. Spaun and Hayden Buckley (+3200) - Spaun ranks 14th in the field in strokes gained: tee to green; Buckley is 23rd. Where the team could struggle is on the greens, though both are plus putters (albeit marginally). Spaun is 71st in the OWGR; Buckley is 75th. Combined, their strokes gained average puts them 8th in the field with neither ranking worse than 23rd individually over the past 50 rounds.
Robby Shelton and Lee Hodges (+5500) - Shelton and Hodges can coexist pretty well. Shelton's got top-20 irons (16th) and wedges (7th), and Hodges is a top-25 driver (25th). The putting, combined, is below average. However, we should elevate good tee-to-green duos when we can, and this is one of them. Combined, they're 16th in strokes gained per round in recent rounds. A top-10 (+330) and top-20 (+135) make sense to target, as well.
Joseph Bramlett and Brandon Wu (+7000) - This duo ranks 14th in average strokes gained: tee to green, as both are top-40 in ball-striking overall, including top-30 in strokes gained: approach. The putting is definitely worrisome, so a win will take some putting luck. For that reason, it makes sense to look at them for a top-10 (+350) and top-20 (+135) finish. They should wind up with a lot of greens in regulation together.