Jason Kokrak got his second career victory last week as he held off Jordan Spieth on Sunday for the win. It was a decent week for me with a nice hit on Kokrak top 20 and Woodland finishing 14th. Hoffman finished in the top five as well.
The tour now heads to Ohio for the Memorial Tournament hosted by Jack Nicklaus. Jack’s name and his course, Muirfield Village always draw an awesome field and this year is no exception.
Muirfield Village is Jack’s baby and he decided it needed a bit of a new look, so last year starting the day of the Memorial, he started renovations. Time will tell how much it will affect the strategy and play style of the course.
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Based on reports, Muirfield was lengthened slightly and many of the greens were reworked or moved in some way. The green complexes are difficult to navigate here so this will be a significant change potentially.
Beyond the greens, some of the tee boxes were moved and created some new sight lines and angles for players to get used to. The course will still largely play the same but it will be interesting to see how the changes affect play.
Ultimately, Muirfield is an iron players golf course. The greens are tough to hit and the course gets tougher when you miss them. On average, Muirfield is the toughest course to scramble on that the tour plays. Hitting the greens are a must.
The fairways are pretty wide and players usually hit enough for that not to matter. The longer hitters may have a bit of an advantage with the wide fairways but the second shots will separate the field this week.
The greens are now bent grass and the rough will be long. The guys who hit the most greens and can scramble their but off when they miss will be populating the top of the leaderboard.
Putting has never been a big indicator of success here as players have been able to win despite average putting weeks. Obviously it will take at least decent putting to get the win but this isn’t usually a putting contest.
Morikawa won the impromptu Workday Charity event here last year and then Jon Rahm won the Memorial the following week. The past winners here sport serious pedigree. The field this week is stacked, so I would guess the winner will have a similar winning pedigree.
The odds board is a bit top heavy but this week is more about finding your guys in the +1600 to +3000 range and going from there. I think the winner will come from the top.
Collin Morikawa +1600
Morikawa has proven he can win in fields like this and particularly on this course. If were talking about a tournament that will be won with irons, give me Morikawa.
Morikawa ranks first pretty easily in SG: Approach over the last 36 rounds and has been lightning hot with his irons, gaining at least 7.5 SG: APP in six of his last seven starts. That number is difficult to do in one tournament let alone six in seven.
Morikawa’s best putting surface is also bent which should at least give him a shot to put decent. His short game is good enough to hold up if he hits as many greens as he should.
He will be in the fairway all the time and be able to let his irons do the work. His outright number is pretty short but pretty much everyone is this week. Morikawa has four straight top 18 finishes as well.
Jordan Spieth +1600
I haven’t bet on Spieth to win a tournament in years but I think this is the week. The odds board is a mess and filled with guys who are priced to short, especially with the quality of field that is here.
Spieth is playing amazing right now and the wide fairways should help him even more. Spieth does everything it takes to win here really well. He ranks 12th in SG: APP and has gained on approach in six straight starts.
Spieth has found his game again and is on a tear. He has seven top 10’s in his last 10 starts and another 15th place finish. He got a win finally and he has been knocking on the door for another.
Bent is by far his putting surface and his short game is elite, ranking 2nd in SG: Around the green and top 10 in scrambling. The time is right for Spieth to get another win.
Longshot I like: Mark Leishman +8000
Corey Conners +225
Conners is in the midst of the best run of his career and has been one of the most consistent golfers on tour for a few months now. He has only one missed cut in the last 19 starts.
Conners makes his money from tee to green with exceptional driving and iron game. He is among the very best at finding the fairway and taking advantage with his irons. He ranks top five in both SG: APP and SG: Off the Tee.
His game fits really well with Muirfield as putting can be his achilles heel but he has putted better recently. Conners is machine tee to green and he should be able to ride his hot wave into contention again this week. Conners has four top 10’s and three other top 20’s since March.
Longshot top 10: Cam Tringale +650
Keegan Bradley +150
Bradley is riding a hot streak and now comes to a course that should suit him nicely. Bradley is all tee to green has been held back by his putter in recent years.
However, his putting is coming around and so are his finishes. He has three straight top 20’s and hasn’t finished worse than 30th since February. He has show the consistency you like for these derivative bets.
Bradley is perfect for Muirfield. He ranks 5th in SG: APP and top 30 in SG: ARG. His short game is good enough to make up any greens he misses but his irons are the key here. His driver is plenty good as well, ranking 15th in SG: OTT.
Bradley has three career top 25’s as well as this even and is back in some of the best form of his career.
Charley Hoffman +163
Hoffman is the hottest player on the planet who doesn’t have a win this year. He has made every cut but one since the start of 2021 with nine top 20 finishes in 12 starts. This is the best run of his career.
He is doing most of his damage from the fairway. He ranks third in SG: APP and Opportunities Gained over the last 36 rounds and has found his way towards the top of the leaderboard nearly every week.
Hoffman’s putting hasn’t been too bad recently either and his around the green game is solid enough for Muirfield to not eat him up. He should hit tons of greens and make some birdies.
He can run a bit hot and cold round to round so don’t get discouraged with a slow start because he can get hot in a hurry.
Longshot top 20: Aaron Wise +450 & Patrick Rodgers +750
Collin Morikawa -128 over Bryson DeChambeau
Obviously I already talked about Morikawa and why I love him here but specifically for this matchup, I love his floor. Morikawa consistently gains with his irons and that will give him a solid floor you can count on.
However, DeChambeau is a bit more inconsistent, particularly with his irons. Bryson is a former winner here and obviously a great player but his approach game lacks the consistency and upside that Morikawa offers.
Bryson is an off the tee monster but ranks 63rd in SG: APP over the last 36 rounds. Approach play will matter more than anything this week and he just doesn’t hit enough greens consistently.
Bryson’s worst putting surface is also bent grass and he has putted poorly his last two outings. I just think that Morikawa is a way safer option with the same amount of upside at Muirfield.
Tringale has made the article and this list already this year but I think he will be overlooked this week. He has been playing really nicely until the last couple weeks.
He missed a couple cuts but bounced back last week with a top 35 finish with a tough Sunday. Tringale has six top 20’s already since the start of 2021 and has been really good tee to green. His irons were really solid and he was gaining nicely off the tee.
He ranks top 20 in SG: APP and top 25 in SG: Ball Striking over the last 36 rounds. However, the reason I really like him here is his short game, particularly his chipping.
Tringale ranks 1st in scrambling and Bogey Avoidance and 9th in SG: Around the Green. He has been killing it when he misses greens and that will be key this week. I love the number you can get for a top 20 at +200.
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