LPGA Thornberry Creek Betting Preview: Two Longshots Are Worth an Investment

Jul 04, 2019 10:20 PM EDT
Credit:

Thomas J. Russo, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Ariya Jutanugarn

  • The 2019 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic takes place this weekend in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
  • Jeremy Pond previews the tournament and suggests a few outright and matchup bets.

A few weeks ago I explained that the LPGA could be the best sport to wager on if you are looking for value. It is a soft market and is not popular among bettors, so there are plenty of opportunities to jump on bad outright numbers.

Roughly a month ago, I highlighted that with Sung Hyun Park’s number at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. At the time I said, “Give me anything more than 12-1 on Park – the world’s No. 3 player and multiple major-winning champion – and I am getting involved in that action. When the South Korean star is on her game, she can’t be beat.”

A week later she opened at 28-1 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, but this past week she finally came through at 18-1, winning the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Her birdie on the 18th hole, put her a shot ahead of a pack of competitors, including highlighted play Inbee Park. Just two shots back in fifth place was Brittany Altomare, one of our live longshot plays at 90/1 odds.

As expected after a win, the value with Park is now out the door with that win and her rise to No. 1 in the latest Rolex women’s golf rankings.

Park is the 7-1 favorite entering this week’s Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, which is simply too low of a number in what has become an extremely balanced women’s game.

Jeongeun Lee6, the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, is next at 8-1 odds. Rounding out the Top 5 are Carlota Ciganda (10-1), followed by Nasa Hatoka and Ariya Jutanugarn at 12-1 odds.

Could Park go back-to-back this week in Wisconsin? Sure, but there is no chance I am playing someone at 7-1 odds who missed the cut here last year in her only appearance at this event. That said, I am fading both Park and Lee6, who has never played this event and is coming off a 30th-place effort two weeks ago at the KPMG major event.

Without further ado, we look to these picks as our top plays:

Sei Young Kim (+1400)

Hard not to like the chances for the reigning Thornberry champion, who set a new LPGA Tour scoring record at last year’s event with an unheard of score of 31 under par en route to a nine-shot victory.

The South Korean, who struggled to a disappointing T-41 finish last week in Arkansas, won the LPGA Mediheal Championship back in May and finished second the week before that triumph at the Hugel-Air Premia LA Open.

The world’s No. 12 player also finished a solo third at Thornberry in 2017, making her my favorite to repeat as champion and pick up her eighth career tour win.

Hyo Joo Kim (+1600)

This week could be all about the Kims in Wisconsin. The South Korean nearly pulled off her fourth career tour win last week in Arkansas, finishing among the group one shot back of Park in second place.

Kim has been beyond consistent during her recent stretch of tournaments, finishing no worse than T12 in her last nine outings and piling up five T10 finishes or better during that run.

The world’s No. 20 player has not played her best at Thornberry, which includes a missed cut in 2017. However, her excellent form has us believing she will contend this week for the crown.

Amy Yang (+1400)

A model of consistency during her decorated LPGA Tour career, Yang continues to show signs that her second win of the 2019 campaign is not far away. The South Korean, currently 20th in the latest Rolex world rankings, earned her fourth career win earlier this year at the Honda LPGA Thailand event and has been creeping closer to the $10 million mark in career earnings.

Yang, who has one of the purest swings (male or female) you have ever seen, earned a share of third place here last year and will be in the hunt come Sunday’s final round.

Carlota Ciganda (+1000)

The Spaniard comes in as one of the betting favorites after her T6 finish last weekend at the Walmart championship. Ciganda snagged a runner-up finish last year at Thornberry and that effort was overshadowed by Kim’s destruction of the Oneida layout and record-breaking effort.

Ciganda has always been strong, collecting 34 Top 10s in her career thus far. Her track record shows she has troubling closing the deal on the weekend, but Ciganda is a true contender this week in Wisconsin.

Ariya Jutanugarn (+1200)

Like Park, Jutanugarn is one of those players capable of winning any time they start.

And despite the fact the Thai star and former world No. 1 player has not been victorious since last season’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, we feel like her 11th career win is right around the corner. Jutanugarn, who earned a share of 33rd place in Arkansas, finished T15 at Thornberry last time around and should drastically improve off that finish.

And like Park, Jutanugarn is so good in all facets of her game and that overall balance gives her that distinct edge over her fellow golfers. Expecting big things this week from the two-time major champion.

Longshots

Georgia Hall (+7000)

Love the reigning RICOH Women’s British Open champion at these long odds, making her the clear overlay at this event. The British star has not had the best season thus far, but has a strong track record at Thornberry that makes her a dark horse.

Hall has finished inside the Top 10 at both prior Thornberry events, highlighted by her T7 effort in the 2018 edition of the tournament. She wound up grabbing a share of eighth place two years ago, making her a sneaky play at this number.

Katherine Kirk (+9000)

Three words should tell you why we like the Australian in this spot: former Thornberry champion. One of Kirk’s three tour wins came right here in 2017, which makes her a threat again for another title. Kirk was a solid T20 last week at the Walmart championship in Arkansas.

Matchups

Sei Young Kim (-130) over Hyo Joo Kim

The battle of Kims is, by far, the marquee matchup of the entire tournament in my opinion. The former champion against her compatriot, who has been fantastic over a long stretch. Giving the slight edge to Sei Young Kim, in what could potentially be one of the final Sunday pairings.

Sung Hyun Park (-120) over Jeongeun Lee6

Yes, I am fading both on the outright market. However, we do love Park in this head-to-head matchup of stars. Park missed the cut last season at Thornberry but given her sizzling form and the fact Lee6 has never competed in this tournament makes us believe Park will win this showdown.

Chella Choi (-115) over Kirsten Gillman

Choi hasn’t had the best year so far on tour, but we like what she’s done in Wisconsin in the past. The South Korean, who enters the event at 40/1 odds, finished T7 last year and seems to like playing Oneida. Gillman has never played Thornberry and comes off subpar finishes in her last two events. Going with the savvy veteran Choi, who could be in the thick of things Sunday as well.

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