Korn Ferry Tour: The King & Bear Classic Betting Picks, Longshots and Sleepers
Stan Badz/PGA TOUR. Pictured: Davis Riley
On top of our normal PGA TOUR coverage, we’ll also take a quick look at this week’s Korn Ferry event in Jacksonville, Fla.
The Korn Ferry Tour is the developmental tour for the PGA TOUR. It features players who have not yet earned or their TOUR Card or did not amass enough FedEx Cup points to keep it. Think of it almost like Triple-A.
The Korn Ferry has been my best tour so far this year, with three outrights in seven events. In general, it’s just good practice to study up on these guys for future PGA TOUR bets.
Learning their strengths and weaknesses will help you know who to target on what courses once they graduate.
Betting the KFT is quite different from the PGA TOUR. We usually have little to no course history to go off and there aren’t too many guys playing this tour year in and year out. They usually are good enough and graduate to the PGA, or they slide back down to the mini-tours.
The Korn Ferry Tour is very boom or bust since there aren’t a lot guys who play steady each week. With the reward of a PGA TOUR card looming, it tends to benefit aggressive players who will rack up a ton of birdies and don’t worry too much about making mistakes.
We see it each year where guys get their card based on two or three really high finishes but did next to nothing of note in the other 20 or so events.
This week’s King & Bear Classic is a new event created during the postponement. It will be a Wednesday start, so we have to get the bets in early. The tournament is held at World Golf Village in Jacksonville and is an Arnold Palmer/Jack Nicklaus design, hence the King and Bear moniker.
It plays a little over 7,200 yards for a par 72 and is described as a “Driver’s Course” with numerous trees and water hazards.
So with that info, I’ll basically be looking for guys who are good off the tee and have some familiarity with Florida courses.
Korn Ferry Tour: King & Bear Classic Betting Picks
Peter Uihlein (+2200)
I usually steer clear of favorites and the Korn Ferry Tour is no exception. But I’ll adjust for Uihlein this week. He’s coming off a 14th-place finish at Colonial last week, so he emerged in great shape from the hiatus.
Right now, we’re getting a few more PGA regulars in these fields who don’t have the status to get in the bigger event and we saw one of them, Luke List, come away with a the title last week in price range.
After four rounds in the 60s last week, he’s likely the class of this field.
Lee Hodges (+4500)
Hodges was our close call last week at +8000. He was down one stroke to List with six holes left, but didn’t make another birdie.
He’s played well in Florida so far, with two finishes inside the top 11. He’s one of the best ball-strikers on the KFT and paces the circuit in Greens in Regulation (GIR).
He’s also an above-average putter, but struggles a bit with scrambling when he does miss the greens.
Davis Riley (100/1, DK)
Full disclosure: Davis Riley is a play for me every week on the KFT.
I have him as a top-two player on this tour along with Will Zalatoris, this week’s favorite, but he’s always priced among the mid-tier guys.
He’s already got a win this year in Panama and is one of the best birdie-makers on tour despite being outside the top-100 in the KFT putting stats. He’s going to make big numbers and miss cuts, but I’ve decided I’ll just ride him out.
I got a win out of it already and I don’t think he’s done this year.
Taylor Pendrith (+15000)
Pendrith is one of the best ball-strikers on the Korn Ferry Tour this season. He’s ranked fourth in total driving and seventh in GIR, but tends to struggle with the putter which has limited his success early in the season.
But he was second on the Mackenzie Tour’s money list last season, so the talent is there to push forward and get results at this level.
Brent Grant (+16000)
Grant leads the Korn Ferry Tour in driving distance, so it makes sense to give him a shot at this course. He’s definitely the boom-or-bust type of player we look for at this range.
He’s top six on the KFT in both birdies and eagles and is accurate enough given his length. He was also born in Jacksonville, so there’s a least a little bit of a local tie.
The Korn Ferry Card
- Peter Uihlein +2500 (1.32 units)
- Lee Hodges +4500 (.73 units)
- Davis Riley +10000 (.33 units)
- Taylor Pendrith +15000 (.22 units)
- Brent Grant +16000 (.21 units)