2023 Valspar Championship Sleeper Picks: Bet Kevin Roy & Taylor Moore at the Snake Pit
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Roy.
The PGA TOUR heads to the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort for the fourth and final event of the Florida Swing. Eight of the top-32 players in the Official World Golf Rankings are in the field this week, including the likes of Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Matt FItzpatrick and Sam Burns.
The Copperhead Course is a tough track that plays more like a course in the Carolinas than a Florida course thanks to its tree-lined fairways. The course also plays longer than its yardage might imply at 7,340 yards for a par 71 as it features five par 3s, four par 5s, and several of its par 4s include forced layups.
The final three-hole stretch, known as the Snake Pit, plays as a challenging closing stretch with two tough par 4s on 16 and 18 along with a difficult 200-yard par 3 on 17.
We’ll be taking a look at a few players with longer odds in this article who have a chance at giving us a nice return in the outright and placement markets.
Valspar Championship Sleeper Picks
Kevin Roy +400 for Top 40 (FanDuel)
My best bet of the week is Kevin Roy Top 40 at +400 on FanDuel because of his strong approach play and overall upward trajectory.
While the 32-year-old rookie isn’t the most high-profile golfer on TOUR, Roy has been sneaky solid on approach this year, ranking 20th in SG: Approach. He’s gained at least one stroke on average on approach per round in five of the last six tournaments and has gained strokes on approach in all six of his last six tracked tournaments (although some of those include incomplete tracking data for tournaments with course rotations).
Roy enters with momentum as he has finished in the top 33 in each of his last two starts at the Honda Classic and Puerto Rico Open (which did not include tracking data).
Pick: Kevin Roy Top 40 (+360)
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More importantly, Roy’s specific strengths from longer ranges on approach make him a great fit this week. The Snake Pit’s five par 3s all can play at 195 yards or longer, and that sets up nicely for Roy as he ranks ninth on TOUR in Approach Proximity from outside 200 yards. Nearly 50% of approach shots at last year’s Valspar Championship came from at least 175 yards, and 68.2% of approaches came from at least 150 yards.
Just 5.9% of approaches came from inside 100 yards, and that is also a big advantage for Roy. He ranks 173rd on Approach Proximity inside 100 yards, but he ranks sixth on TOUR in Approach Proximity from outside 100 yards.
Roy does, however, rank outside the top 200 in putting on TOUR this season, but three consecutive horrific tournaments to start the year with his flatstick are really holding his SG: Putting numbers down. The greens at Copperhead are relatively small and figure to help him out in relation to a normal course on TOUR.
While Roy’s putting deficiency is holding me back from being more aggressive and betting him for a top-10 or to win outright, I love the value on him to continue playing steady golf and cash a top 40 in a relatively weak field at a course that should suit his strengths and minimize his weaknesses.
Taylor Moore +7000 (bet365) | +700 for Top 10 (bet365)
I continue to be intrigued by Taylor Moore, and in a field where the top players haven’t shown they are at the top of their game, a player with a well-rounded skill set like his has a chance to win if he can put it all together.
Moore is gaining strokes this season in all of the major Strokes Gained metrics and has had a solid season with nine top-40 finishes (he has made the top 40 in every tournament he has made the cut this season) in 14 starts. He enters the Snake Pit with momentum as he has five top-40 finishes in his last six starts, including three top-15s. His lone missed cut also came on the number.
While Moore is solid across the board on strokes gained, he hasn’t gained strokes in all categories in a tournament since the Rocket Mortgage Classic and Wyndham Championship (in consecutive events) in July and August, where he finished among the top six both weeks. He’s shown that he can compete with the big boys in elevated events and on other tough golf courses like Torrey Pines (where he finished T11).
His 26th ranking in Approach Proximity from 175-200 yards is also a major factor this week at Copperhead, and I’ll take a chance on him putting it together for an outright win at 70/1 and a top 10 at +700.
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