2023 PGA Championship Dark Horse Picks, Predictions: Joaquin Niemann, Si Woo Kim, More
Via Andrew Redington/Getty Images. Pictured: Joaquin Niemann of Chile plays a shot on the 18th hole during the first round of the 2023 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 06, 2023 in Augusta, Georgia.
The PGA Championship returns to the Northeast at Oak Hill Country Club (East Course) in Rochester, New York on Thursday morning. Oak Hill looks very different than it did when it last hosted a PGA Championship here in 2013 after Andrew Green led a redesign in 2020 that was meant to bring the course back to its roots when Donald Ross originally designed it in the early 1920s.
Like other Ross designs, the East Course at Oak Hill is meant to challenge all aspects of players’ games. Consequently, I’m targeting a trio of longshots this week who have strong games throughout their bags and/or have elite skill sets that can separate them from the field this week.
Be sure to shop around as odds on these players vary significantly throughout the markets.
2023 PGA Championship Dark Horse Picks & Predictions
Taylor Moore +17500 (bet365) | Top 40 (+160, bet365)
I’m backing Moore in the outright and top-40 markets this week because of his high floor and ceiling.
Like the other players on this list, Moore enters in strong form. He has top-40 finishes in seven straight events since the Tour left the West Coast, and he has been solid throughout the bag over that span. He’s gained strokes off the tee in 11 of his last 12 events, gained strokes on approach in five of his last six and gained strokes putting in eight of his last nine starts.
His around-the-green game is his biggest weakness, but he is just about average by Tour standards in this statistic. He has gained strokes around the green just once in his last six events, but that came in a win at the Valspar Championship.
Long iron play was key for him in his win at the Snake Pit, and that strength should help him out again this week at what looks to be a long and challenging course at Oak Hill. I’d bet Moore down to +12500 to win outright and +120 for a top-40 finish.
Joaquin Niemann +9000 (FanDuel)
Joaquin Niemann is long and straight off the tee while he also doesn’t have many weaknesses in his game.
While the LIV Golf tour has been playing on easier courses recently, he has yet to find himself in contention at these birdie fests. The tone changes this week at a major championship venue in Oak Hills that is looking like a stern test that will challenge all aspects of a golfer’s game and provide severe penalties for missed fairways and greens.
Niemann does have top-10 finishes in his last two LIV events and finished T16 at the Masters in April, so his game isn’t too far away.
This type of challenge should suit Niemann’s game much better than the recent LIV Golf courses and even Augusta National given its generous landing areas, and I would bet him down to +7500 to win outright.
Pick: Joaquin Niemann Outright +9000
Si Woo Kim +12000 (FanDuel)
Si Woo Kim is the lone player I’m backing this week who doesn’t bomb the ball off the tee. However, Kim has everything else in his bag needed to succeed this week.
He is extremely accurate off the tee (14th in Driving Accuracy on Tour), and is also very strong on approach (25th in SG: Approach) and around the green (50th).
His putter is good-but-not-great, but he showed strong putting form on Tour last week at the similar pure bentgrass greens at TPC Craig Ranch, where he gained over 3.5 strokes on the putting surfaces for the week.
Kim has a win at a big-time event in the 2017 PLAYERS Championship, and enters with strong form after a T2 last week and a T7 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans in late April. Play him down to +9000 outright.
Pick: Si Woo Kim Outright +12000
Deep Sleepers to Consider
Because it’s a major championship, here are a few other longshots I’ve played who are worth considering in other markets as well if you don’t want to back them outright:
Harris English +22500 (bet365)
Mito Pereira +17500 (bet365)
Stephan Jaeger +25000 (DraftKings)
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