PGA Championship Round 2 Preview: Five Players Who Have Outright Value Heading into Friday
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Bernd Wiesberger
The first major championship round in 382 days is officially in the books, with Jason Day and Brendon Todd atop the PGA Championship with opening scores of 5-under 65 and a bunch of superstars just behind them.
If you’re looking to bet either of them outright with three rounds to play, well, you might be doing it wrong.
Sure, Day is 4-for-8 when leading after the first round in his career, which is a pretty remarkable conversion rate, but at this point in the proceedings – as those new to golf betting will learn and those who aren’t new will agree – you’re trying to bargain shop, finding players whose early value isn’t depressed.
Let’s try to identify five players who still hold some outright value.
Tony Finau (-3) (+3300)
People who follow the stock market will often warn that “past performance is not an indicator of future success.” People who follow golf, however, tend to forget this rule.
Instead, there’s a majority public sentiment which believes that just because Finau has repeatedly come close in bigger events without winning, he never will.
That’s simply untrue. While his price has dropped just a bit from pre-tournament, he led the field in strokes gained on approach shots in the first round and will enter Friday just two shots off the lead.
Patrick Reed (-2) (+4000)
There are a few things going in Reed’s direction right now: The first is that he led the field in strokes gained off the tee on Thursday.
The second is that he played in the late wave, during which scoring was nearly a stroke higher than the early wave, so he actually played better in relation to his side of the draw than he did in relation to the entire field.
A big-game hunter whose tight draws should continue to work well on the right-to-left contours of this course, expect him to climb the board Friday morning.
Bernd Wiesberger (-2) (+12500)
Look, do I think Wiesberger is going to win Sunday evening? No, but I like the number here. Just as Reed leads the field off the tee and Finau leads in approaches, Wiesberger leads in strokes gained tee-to-green. He’d be an unlikely winner, but perhaps not much unlikelier than Shane Lowry, who won the most recent major title last year.
In fact, I’d contend that he’s every bit the player – and with plenty of parallels – as Martin Kaymer was when he won the PGA Championship a decade ago. At 125/1 while just three shots back, it might be worth finding out.
Daniel Berger (-3) (+2500)
Like Finau, his price is a bit shorter than it was 24 hours ago, but he’s still very intriguing at this number. He’s finished in the top-10 in six of his last seven starts and perhaps more relevantly, he’s posted sub-70 scores in each of his last eight.
It’s entirely conceivable that Berger could be multiple shots off the lead entering Sunday, play without a target on his back, and go low to win this title from something like the third-to-last group.
Tiger Woods (-2) (+2500)
There are very times in his career when we could’ve referred to Tiger as an outright bargain during a major championship, but I think that label actually currently fits.
In his 15 career majors, Tiger has averaged a 2.53-stroke deficit after the opening round, including three times being three shots back (exactly where he is right now) and six other times being even further off the pace. Woods looked solid in the opening round.
Sure, there were a few mistakes, but any concerns over his body in the chilly weather dissipated pretty quickly. If he can get that new Scotty Cameron putter rolling, he could make a run at No. 16.