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2021 Bermuda Championship Odds & Preview: 3 Players Who Fit Port Royal Well

2021 Bermuda Championship Odds & Preview: 3 Players Who Fit Port Royal Well article feature image

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Knox.

The PGA TOUR heads to Southampton, Bermuda, this week to play the Butterfield Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Club.

Port Royal Golf Club is a 6,828-yard, Par 71 layout, featuring Bermudagrass greens. This is the third edition of the tournament, and the second time it will be the primary TOUR stop for the week (it was previously an alternate event). The course was designed by Robert Trent Jones.

Last year’s event ended up being very exciting down the stretch, with Brian Gay edging out Wyndham Clark in a playoff.

The Bermuda Championship field is relatively weak, but will feature some interesting names on TOUR such as Patrick Reed, Matt Fitzpatrick, Mito Pereira, Seamus Power and Danny Willett.

Bermuda Championship Odds

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Matthew Fitzpatrick+1000
Christiaan Bezuidenhout+1200
Mito Pereira+1600
Patrick Reed+2000
Seamus Power+2000
Hayden Buckley+2500
Chad Ramey+2800
Takumi Kanaya+3500
Matthias Schwab+3500
Adam Hadwin+3500
Taylor Pendrith+3500
Guido Migliozzi+4000
Danny Willett+4000
Patrick Rodgers+4500
Stephan Jaeger+4500
Denny McCarthy+5000
Nick Hardy+5000
Thomas Detry+5000
Alex Smalley+5000
David Lipsky+5000
Joseph Bramlett+5000
Sahith Theegala+5000
Garrick Higgo+5000
Greyson Sigg+5000
Ryan Armour+5500
Mark Hubbard+6000
Lucas Herbert+6000
Russell Knox+6000
Scott Stallings+6000
Dylan Frittelli+6000
Hank Lebioda+6000
Harry Hall+6000
Peter Uihlein+6500
Jason Dufner+6500
Nick Watney+6500
Austin Eckroat+6500
Bo Hoag+6500
Lee Hodges+6500
Seth Reeves+8000
Aaron Rai+8000
Beau Hossler+8000
Nick Taylor+8000
Kiradech Aphibarnrat+8000
Peter Malnati+8000
Vincent Whaley+9000
Dawie Van Der Walt+9000
Brian Stuard+9000
Adam Svensson+9000
Brandon Hagy+9000
Sepp Straka+10000
David Hearn+10000
Anirban Lahiri+10000
Kramer Hickok+10000
Davis Riley+10000
Graeme McDowell+10000
Brian Gay+10000
Camilo Villegas+10000
Brandon Wu+10000
Cameron Percy+10000
Matthew NeSmith+10000
Ben Kohles+13000
Danny Lee+13000
David Skinns+13000
Justin Lower+13000
Tommy Gainey+13000
Sean O’Hair+13000
Scott Gutschewski+13000
Callum Tarren+13000
Max McGreevy+13000
Michael Gligic+13000
Patrick Flavin+13000
Paul Barjon+13000
Andrew Novak+13000
Kurt Kitayama+13000
Austin Cook+13000
Austin Smotherman+13000
David Lingmerth+15000
Bo Van Pelt+15000
Chase Seiffert+15000
Vaughn Taylor+15000
Dylan Wu+15000
J.J. Spaun+20000
Erik Barnes+20000
Jim Knous+25000
Brett Drewitt+25000
Ben Crane+25000
Noh Seung-yul+25000
Luke Donald+25000
Brian Morris+30000
Heath Slocum+30000
Jason Bohn+30000
Arjun Atwal+30000
Fabian Gomez+30000
Scott Brown+30000
Kyle Wilshire+30000
Johnson Wagner+30000
Chris Stroud+30000
Sang-Moon Bae+30000
Robert Garrigus+30000
John Pak+30000
Curtis Thompson+30000
Ben Martin+30000
Greg Chalmers+30000
Ted Potter Jr.+40000
Jonathan Byrd+40000
Andres Romero+50000
Jay McLuen+50000
Ted Purdy+50000
Greg Koch+50000
Daniel Chopra+50000
Jordan Gumberg+50000
Ricky Barnes+50000
Carl Pettersson+50000
Richard S Johnson+50000
Parker McLachlin+50000
Camiko Smith+50000
John Rollins+50000
Michael Kim+50000
J.J. Henry+50000
Michael Bradley+50000
Michael Sims+50000
Martin Trainer+50000
Chaka Desilva+50000
Robert Allenby+50000
Darren-Andrew Points+50000
Kevin Stadler+50000
Matt Every+50000
John Merrick+50000
John Senden+50000
Matt Hill+50000

Past Winners at The Bermuda Championship

  • 2020: Brian Gay (-15)
  • 2019: Brendon Todd (-24)

Let’s take a look at several metrics for Port Royal Golf Club to determine which golfers boast top marks in each category over their last 24 rounds.

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Strokes Gained: Approach

The weaker the field, the more I tend to rely on statistics. Strokes Gained: Approach is a great way to measure current form and shows who is the most dialed in with their irons.

Total Strokes Gained: Approach in past 24 rounds:

  • Mito Pereira (+23.8) (+1600)
  • Luke Donald (+21.5) (+25000)
  • Cameron Percy (+19.2) (+10000)
  • Matthew NeSmith (+15.9) (+10000)
  • Bo Hoag (+15.2) (+6500)

Fairways Gained

While Port Royal Golf Club should give us some low scores, the rough can actually be quite unforgiving. It will be important to target accurate golfers. As evidenced by both Brendon Todd and Brian Gay winning here, distance off the tee won’t be much of a factor.

Total Fairways Gained in past 24 rounds:

  • Brian Stuard — (+46.4) (+9000)
  • Ryan Armour — (+45.1) (+5500) 
  • Aaron Rai — (+29.8) (+8000)
  • Russell Knox — (+29.5) (+6000)
  • Kramer Hickok — (+28.7) (+10000)

Strokes Gained Putting: Bermudagrass

These low-scoring events often turn into putting contests. If the majority of the field is hitting greens in regulation, it might come down to whomever can heat up with the putter.  Bermudagrass specialists will have the best chance to do just that at Port Royal.

Total Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass) in past 24 rounds:

  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+27.9) (+1200)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick (+22.7) (+1000)
  • Johnson Wagner (+19.9) (+30000)
  • Denny McCarthy (+16.8) (+5000)
  • Patrick Reed (+16.5) (+2000)
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Birdies or Better Gained

In 2019, we saw the winner of this event at 24 under par. Last year, extreme winds made scoring difficult in rounds two and three specifically. Regardless of weather this time around, the winner will likely have plenty of birdies.

Total Birdie or Better Gained in category in past 24 rounds: 

  • Hank Lebioda (+18.1) (+5000)
  • Patrick Rodgers (+14.2) (+4500)
  • Paul Barjon (+13.1) (+13000)
  • Mito Pereira (+12.9) (+1600)
  • Seamus Power (+11.1) (+2000)

Par 3: 200+ Yards

With three of four Par 3s at Port Royal measuring between 213 and 235 yards,  including one over the ocean that will bring wind into play, it will be important for golfers to play these holes well. Further highlighting their importance, the three long Par 3s will serve as the second-, third- and fifth-most difficult holes on the course.

Total strokes gained in category in past 24 rounds:

  • Thomas Detry (+4.9) (+5000)
  • Garrick Higgo (+2.9) (+5000)
  • Erik Barnes (+2.6) (+30000)
  • Mito Pereira (+2.4)(+1600)
  • Scott Brown (+2.3) (+30000)

Statistical Model

Below, I’ve reported overall model rankings using a combination of the five key statistical categories previously discussed.

These rankings are comprised of SG: App (25%) Fairways Gained (21%); SG: Putting bermudagrass (21%); Birdies or better gained (21%), and Par 3: 200+ (12%)

  • Brian Stuard (+9000)
  • Scott Brown (+30000)
  • Vaughn Taylor (+15000)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick (+1000)
  • Mito Pereira (+1600)
  • Mark Hubbard (+6000)
  • Adam Hadwin (+3500)
  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+1200)
  • Hayden Buckley (+2500)
  • Max McGreevy (+13000)

Butterfield Bermuda Championship Best Bets

Russell Knox (+6000,DraftKings): Course history will play a major part in my selection process and few are superior to Russell Knox in that department. The 36-year-old ranks seventh in Strokes Gained: Total at Port Royal Golf Club, thanks to finishes of 16th and 11th in his two starts at the course.

When evaluating Knox’ strengths as a golfer, it’s no surprise he has played the course well. Port Royal Golf Club has the second-most difficult fairways to hit on TOUR (51.5%) and Knox has the perfect off-the-tee game to combat those tight fairways.

He ranks fourth in the field in Fairways Gained and is one of the most accurate players on TOUR. He isn’t the longest hitter, which has given him trouble with so many mammoth courses on TOUR. However, that won’t be an issue at Port Royal, which is the second shortest course on the tour. 

A further point in Knox’s favor is his ability to excel in windy conditions. With early weather predictions indicating winds of 20-25 MPH over the weekend, backing a strong wind player might be a good idea. Knox isn’t just a capable wind player, he ranks as the third-best wind player in the field in his past 24 rounds.

With his superb skill set, it could be argued Knox should have more than two PGA TOUR victories, with the most recent coming in 2016 (Travelers Championship). The explanation for his relative lack of signature victories is that the Scotsman has had some real struggles with the putter throughout his career. That being said, he should have a real chance to win if the winds pick up and the course plays a bit more difficult than expected.

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Kiradech Aphibarnrat (+8000,DraftKings): After a very difficult few years while recovering from an injury, Kiradech Aphibarnat is starting to show some signs of returning to form. When he’s playing his best, a coastal Bermuda track is the ideal spot for Aphibarnat, as he has shown he is prone to strong performances on similar style courses. He finished 11th at this event last season despite being in pretty horrific form overall. 

While his most recent PGA TOUR starts have not been fruitful, the same can’t be said for his most recent start on the European Tour at the BMW PGA Championship back in September. The native of Thailand finished in second place just one shot behind winner Billy Horschel, and had a real chance to win until the very last hole. 

Two of Aphibarnat’s biggest strengths are his ability to find the fairway, and his ability to catch a hot putter on Bermudagrass. In his past five starts, he has gained 1.4 strokes per round on the field in Fairways Gained and gains an average of 0.65 strokes per round on Bermudagrass.

Although he is wildly inconsistent, when Aphibarnat has it going in a particular week he has shown that he can get himself into contention.

Pictured: Brian Stuard plays a shot from a greenside bunker. Photo credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Brian Stuard (+9000,DraftKings): As evidenced by his top spot in my model rankings, Brian Stuard is a perfect fit for Port Royal Golf Club. Shorter hitters who consistently find the fairway have had tremendous success at this course in the past and I anticipate that ringing true once again in 2021.

In addition to being able to put it in the short grass off the tee, Stuard is also an excellent putter on Bermudagrass. The past two winners in Bermudahave both been excellent putters, and Stuard fits nicely with that theme. The 38-year-old ranks 12th in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda and can get scorching hot with the putter. In his most recent start on the surface, he gained 9.1 strokes putting at the Wyndham Championship. 

Although he did come in 15th place at Wyndham in August, Stuard has missed four consecutive cuts in his following four starts leading up to this event. In most weeks, that would be fairly concerning. However, we have seen in the past that golfers don’t necessarily need to come into this event in peak form.

Last year, Brian Gay won the event coming off five missed cuts in a row. This week is more about course fit than recent form, and Stuard fits the bill.

Kramer Hickok (+10000, DraftKings): Many will remember Kramer Hickok’s epic, eight-hole playoff with Harris English back in June at the Travelers Championship. Since that crushing defeat, Hickok has fallen out of form and missed three of his next five cuts. However, there’s reason to believe Port Royal Golf Club could be a course where he can figure it out. 

At last year’s Bermuda Championship, Hickok finished in eighth place and that was the best finish of his career to that point. In retrospect, it makes a great deal of sense the 29-year-old would play well at Port Royal. The course plays quite penal from the rough and one of the biggest strengths of Kramer’s is his driving accuracy, as evidenced by his ranking of fifth in the field for fairways gained. Also, Bermudagrass has been far and away Hickok’s best putting surface to this point in his career. 

In his past 36 rounds, Hickok ranks third in the field on courses that feature Bermudagrass and under 7,200 yards. It also helps the former Texas Longhorn ranks ninth in the field in Strokes Gained: Total in extremely windy conditions. His skill in that department could loom large this week as we are expected to get winds north of 20 miles per hour.

With a win this week, Hickok might finally be able to have his name mentioned without someone attaching “Jordan Spieth’s former roommate” to it.

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David Hearn (+10000, DraftKings): As we saw last year with Gay’s victory, Port Royal is a course certain golfers have played well in both previous editions regardless of current form. With back-to-back eighth-place finishes at the event, David Hearn is absolutely one of those golfers.

The 42-year-old has shown a propensity to play very well at coastal resort-style tracks. In addition to his two excellent showings in Bermuda, he has a 13th at Corales (Puntacana) and a 25th at the Puerto Rico Open.

Course form aside, Hearn is also a strong statistical fit as well. He is an excellent putter on Bermudagrass, ranking 20th in the field in that category. In his past 24 rounds, he also ranks 16th in Strokes Gained: Approach and 14th in Fairways Gained.

Hearn has been incredibly close to a PGA TOUR victory, having lost in a playoff in both 2013 and 2015. If there was ever a place to get it done, Port Royal Golf Club would be an obvious fit.

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