2023 PGA Championship PrizePicks: Patrick Cantlay, Viktor Hovland Among First-Round Plays
Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Cantlay.
With the AT&T Byron Nelson now in the rear-view mirror, we move on to this week’s PGA Championship. The second major of the season is contested at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y.
Oak Hill is a par-70, 7,394-yard track that will require precise shooting and rewards accuracy due to the thin fairways, thick rough and abundance of hazards both lining the fairways and protecting the greens. Two key stats to look for this week are fairways in regulation percentage (FIR%) and greens in regulation percentage (GIR%).
We will utilize those stats, along with recent form and major championship experience, to help dial in our plays for the tournament. Below, I give out my four Round 1 PrizePicks plays for the 2023 PGA Championship.
PGA Championship PrizePicks Plays
Patrick Cantlay: Round 1 Less Than 70 Strokes
A polarizing golfer due to his brutal pace of play and quiet demeanor, Patrick Cantlay has certainly not gained a lot of fans over the past couple of seasons. However, there is no denying that this guy is one of the best golfers on the planet.
Currently ranked fourth in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) and ninth in the FedEx Cup Standings, Cantlay is looking to claim his first win of 2023 and seventh win over the past three seasons. Oak Hill sets up nicely for Cantlay, one of the more accurate ball strikers on TOUR.
This season, he ranks 18th in fairways in regulation percentage (FIR%) and eighth in greens in regulation percentage (GIR%). Cantlay has shot below 70 in 10 of his past 12 rounds.
Sungjae Im: Round 1 Less Than 70.5 Strokes
Another golfer to back in the opening round is Sungjae Im. Perhaps one of the hottest golfers in the world right now, Im has made 12 straight cuts.
Over that span, he boasts six top-eight finishes, three of which were in a row prior to this week. Knocking on the door of his third career win, Im could finally break it down at Oak Hill, a course that should benefit his accurate ball striking.
On TOUR this season, he ranks 20th in FIR% and 45th in GIR%. Im has shot below 70 in eight of his past 10 rounds.
Tom Kim: Round 1 Less Than 71.5 Strokes
The last golfer to back in the opening round is Tom Kim. Putting together another monster season at just 20 years old, Kim has made 14 of 16 cuts this year, including his win at the Shriners Children’s Open.
Boasting five top-12 finishes over that stretch, Kim will look to keep things going at Oak Hill. Despite his young age, Kim has demonstrated his ability to hang with the world’s best golfers, evidenced by the fact that he has made the cut in each of his past three major championship appearances.
Not only did Kim finish 23rd at last year’s U.S. Open, but he posted a T16 finish at this year’s Masters Tournament. One of the most accurate ball strikers on TOUR, he ranks fourth this season in FIR% and 13th in GIR%.
Kim has shot 71 or lower in 14 of his past 15 rounds.
Viktor Hovland: Round 1 More Than 70.5 Strokes
We are also going to fade one golfer in the opening round, Viktor Hovland. While he is one of the world’s brightest young stars, Oak Hill is a track that could give Hovland some difficulty.
One of the toughest things to do effectively at Oak Hill is get up and down if you miss the green. The problem for Hovland is the fact that scrambling around the green also happens to be the only major flaw in his game.
While Hovland is typically accurate with his approach shots and should do a decent job avoiding the need to scramble, it just takes a couple of misses that could lead to a disastrous score. At a course where getting up and down is difficult, and considering Hovland’s struggle to do so efficiently, it would not be shocking if he does not break 71 due to a couple of high numbers on the scorecard.
Hovland has shot 71 or higher in four of his past six rounds.
How would you rate this article?
This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.