2021 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Round 2 Best Bets: Buy Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images: Pictured: Danny Willett and Tyrrell Hatton.
There is a lot to unravel from the opening round of the Zurich Classic as the Thursday Four Ball (Best Ball) format predictably produced a ton of birdies and eagles. Every team in the field escaped with under-par rounds and a field average of about 4.5 strokes under par.
There were seven teams that posted a 9-under 62, but even that wasn’t quite good enough to take the first-round lead. The Oklahoma State contingent of Viktor Hovland and Kris Ventura was the first to come in at 10-under as the former Pokes posted a 62 to take the lead out of the morning wave. In a bit of a surprise, it was Ventura that led the way, posting seven of the team’s 10 birdies during their bogey-free round.
They were matched in the afternoon by Scott Stallings and Brice Garnett who charged out with a 10-under round of their own. Bogey-free was the name of the game for the top teams, as all of the top 10 of the current leaderboard made it through without dropping a single shot on Thursday.
The tournament really gets going Friday as the Foursome play starts on Friday and will require a true team effort to navigate a solid round in alternate shot play. On Thursday a player’s poor performance on a hole could be masked by his teammate playing well, but in the second round, those issues can get exposed.
There is no strokes gained data for an event like this or any other statistical data, so we will have to dig deeper to find the best bets the rest of the way. I think we can find some good betting value both to win and in matchups with a change in format on tap.
Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett +3300 (FanDuel)
There were two questions about this team coming into the week in my eyes: Could Hatton finally shake his opening round issues? And, would Willett start to find his game? It seems that Danny was able to answer both of those questions himself to start the Zurich Classic as they posted a 7-under 65 to start Friday just three shots back of the lead.
I dug in on the data around Willett from Thursday, and he had his game dialed in off the tee. He only missed three fairways on the day, and that kind of tee game will put Hatton in position to thrive with his elite approach play on Friday. They are a bit underpriced at a couple of books going into the second round, and I’ll jump on now before they get a bit more attention.
Chris Baker & Peter Malnati +190 vs. Louis Oosthuizen & Charl Schwartzel (DraftKings)
There was a lot of ham and egg from the South Africans on Thursday, or as Oosty noted in the post-round interview, they call it dovetailing. It seemed that one player was nearly completely out of the hole or in a bad spot as their teammate put it together. They were able to do that to the tune of a 9-under 62 in the opening round, but I am going to fade them into alternate shot.
Each team will have to rely on both players in Friday’s round, and I think the issues will be a bit glaring for Oosthuizen and Schwartzel. It was also positive to see Baker and Malnati put together a good round of their own. They seemed to find their ball striking, and with Malnati’s strong putting, I think they can keep it together in the second round. This number is just too high on DraftKings for an 18-hole alternate shot matchup and I’ll bite on the Americans.