What a Sunday from Francesco Molinari to win the Quicken Loans National. Molinari, one of my pretournament bets, cashed at 22-1 and marked the ninth outright winner I’ve picked in my articles for The Action Network during the 2017-18 tour season. We’ll try to keep it rolling at this week’s event, the Greenbrier Classic.
This has been one of the more unpredictable events in its short history. Now called A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, we’ll probably get more of the same in 2018.
In the previous seven tournaments, Angel Cabrera is the only champion to rank inside the World Golf Ranking Top 100 at the time of the victory. He entered the week at No. 90 in 2014.
With so many winners coming from off the radar, there hasn’t really been an overriding skill set that wins here. Longer hitters such as Cabrera and Xander Schauffele have victories, but so do shorter hitters such as Jonas Blixt and Ted Potter Jr.
All odds below via Bovada as of Monday evening.
The Old White TPC is a 7,286-yard par 70, but will play a little shorter than that yardage because of the altitude. Using a rough estimate, a golf course loses 2% of its yardage for every 1,000 feet above sea level. And with White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, checking in at around 2,000 feet of elevation, we’ll see this course play at around 7,000 yards.
The Old White also has a unique layout with no par-5s on the front, so the opening nine holes play to a par 34. It’s also one of the few tour stops that finishes with a par-3.
Five favorites clearly stand out at the top of this field. Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and Schauffele are near the top of the betting board. Finau opened as a +1100 favorite in some books available in Europe and Canada, while Mickelson and Watson were at +1600.
But when the odds became available to most U.S. bettors, Bovada threw a curveball. Finau and Watson opened at +2000, while Mickelson was next in line at +2200 with Simpson and Russell Henley. Schauffele came in just behind at +2500.
These numbers changed my entire strategy for the week.