2023 Zurich Classic Predictions: Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay Could Repeat
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
It’s been a great two weeks of golf with the Masters being followed by a fantastic event in the RBC Heritage.
Matt Fitzpatrick survived a couple of good looks from Jordan Spieth in a playoff that ultimately went three holes before Fitzy closed the door with a 9-iron to within a foot as they went back through the 18th hole. The Englishman closed out his second win, and it’s one that will stick with him for a long time as Hilton Head was a place he visited frequently while growing up. He’ll take that family affair forward into this week at the Zurich Classic, where he will team up with his brother, Alex, in the one team event of the year from New Orleans.
It’s a tough week to project with varying formats and dynamics coming into play at TPC Louisiana. This is a week I will go much lighter on than normal as it’s a good time to get in a bit of a break from the grind we’ve had to start the year.
There are some teams that will stand out above the rest, including defending champions Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, but I expect their odds to be difficult to bet to start the week. Collin Morikawa and Max Homa will be another popular team, though I think the oddsboard will get interesting from there.
Fresh off a winner in this column with Fitzpatrick at the RBC Heritage, let’s take a look and see if we can hit another one at the Zurich Classic.
Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay
I have to start with this team; they’re simply the best combination of talent and form. They will have no problem adjusting to each other and will settle right into what they did last year.
Most teams won’t have that luxury, and while I know they are going to be the favorites, likely at really short odds, they will still be worth some consideration for single-bullet type of play. The pair won by two shots last year over Sam Burns and Billy Horschel, and were five shots clear of third place.
Taking it even further, this pair played great in the team sessions at the Presidents Cup last fall and will undoubtedly be a team to beat at the upcoming Ryder Cup. Schauffele and Cantlay are the team to beat for good reason. The more I write about them, the more I am considering just firing at the best number and taking my chances.
Si Woo Kim and Tom Kim
Speaking of the Presidents Cup, Si Woo Kim and Tom Kim were two players who came out of that event as big winners in the eyes of many. They made themselves known as big-time players and they’ll also have the chemistry factor to lean on.
These two actually defeated the aforementioned defending champions and will look to carry that momentum and confidence into the week ahead. It’ll be interesting to see where they fall in the pecking order of teams when odds open on Monday, but they would be one of the few down that board who may get some consideration from me at the right number.
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