2022 Memorial Final Round Buys & Fades: It’s Billy Horschel’s Tournament to Win
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Billy Horschel.
It was the Billy Horschel show on Saturday at the Memorial as he seemingly could do no wrong en route to the low round of the week, a bogey-free 65. He gained nearly six shots on the field tee to green and will carry a five stroke advantage into the final round at Muirfield Village. It will match the largest lead going into Sunday, but that same advantage was squandered earlier this year by Daniel Berger at the Honda Classic.
Horschel will be seeking his seventh win on TOUR and his sixth individual victory. It’s never easy to close out a win at this level and we can certainly expect the course to play tough during the final round. I’ll keep an eye out for a player who may be able to chase the leader down, but we can also find value in other markets going into Sunday.
Strokes Gained Explanation
Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer has truly played by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.
Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.
Every situation in golf is different. Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.
In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
- Strokes Gained: Putting
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)
In general, SG: Ball-Striking and SG: Tee-to-Green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.
You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but are just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.
3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4
There is no doubt that Billy Horschel was the best player on the course on Saturday and frankly, he was right there with the best on Friday, too. I mentioned in my poor attempt to fade Horschel after Round 1 that he is a streaky player and he seems to be streaking toward a win on Sunday. I don’t think he will go through the final round bogey free and with seemingly no concerns like he did on Saturday, but I do expect him to capture the win — he is playing too well. From a betting perspective, it is surprising to see him short of -200 in the markets. I don’t typically advise taking golfers at minus odds, but with a five shot edge, he could certainly be a lot longer than the -190 on DraftKings and no one would think twice about it.
If someone is going to chase him down, you’ve got to start with the group at 8-under. I’d like to take the name value of Cameron Smith and tell you he will finally have a round where he gains on approach, but it’s been three straight days where he has mostly struggled with his irons. He clearly isn’t feeling it with those clubs and with Aaron Wise second in the field on approach and priced at double the odds, he would be my pick.
Wise shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday despite having his worst round of the week on approach. He gained just a half a stroke on the field with his irons, but still rates out as one of the top players in that metric this week. He has a win to his name at this level and with him being listed at +1200 versus the +600 of Smith, I’ll take the odds and better ball striking going into Sunday.
Matthew NeSmith has gotten better with his play in each round this week and that’s saying something as he didn’t start slow. He has gained shots on approach each day and improved by the round. NeSmith ranked fifth in the field in SG: Approach on Saturday with 2.39 shots gained on the field. He sits at T12 going into Sunday and is just one shot outside of the top 10. I will be buying him in all placing, matchups and DFS markets going into the final round with my favorite being his top 10 odds on BetMGM at +250 with all ties paid in full.
3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4
I mentioned it at the top and as odd as it seems, I think I’ve got to fade Cameron Smith going into Sunday. If we are being honest, he’s been a bit of smoke and mirrors this entire week. He has gained a ton of strokes with his short game while his game heads in the wrong direction on approach.
Smith struggled immediately on Saturday as he made bogey on both of the first two holes and again on the 10th. He would climb his way back to even par on the round, but his regression with his irons leaves me little to lean on going into the final round.
Sundays have been a struggle for Sahith Theegala this season. The young player is tied for 201st out of that many players on TOUR this season in final round scoring average. That is the crux of my fade going into Round 4.
It was good to see him turn things around after he really struggled to putt on Friday, which ballooned into a poor scoring round once he finally made a mistake ball striking. He was much better in Round 3, but with the pressure of a potential top 10 finish and his struggles closing out tournaments, I’ll put the fade in on the young up and comer.
Another player in the top 20 who is heading in the wrong direction with his play through three rounds is Shane Lowry. He was a popular pick to have success this week and he hasn’t fully disappointed, but if he had any semblance of the iron play he normally does, he could be in contention.
Lowry has lost strokes to the field in every round this week and has lost more each day. He can’t seem to find his swing and is relying on his sharp short game to keep him in his current position. If he can find the full swing on Sunday, he could certainly make a move toward the top 10, but there is little on the stat sheet to suggest that will happen.