Starts: 5th August 2021
Course: TPC Southwind
Par: 70 (35-35)
Length: 7,233 yards
Grass Type: Bermuda
Defending Champion: Justin Thomas
Overall Profit/Loss: -13.5pts
Pre-Event Bets: -7.5pts
1.5pts EW Webb Simpson 35/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-7)
1pt EW Sergio Garcia 60/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-7)
0.5pts EW K.H. Lee 200/1 @ Betfred (1/5 1-7)
1.5pts Jim Herman Top 20 Finish 11/1 @ Boylesports
In-Play Bets: -6pts
6 August 2021(-3pts)
1pt EW Matthew Wolff 22/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts EW Kevin Na 100/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
7 August 2021(-3pts)
1.5pts EW Ian Poulter 16/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-4)
Designer: Ron Prichard
Used Since: 2019 (Course used prior for FedEx St Jude Classic)
Fairways: Narrower than average
Rough: 2.5 inches - Not severe
Greens: Bermuda grass - Smaller than average
Water Hazards: In-play on 8 holes
Par 5's: 3rd and 16th
Premium on: Solid tee to green stats
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
This event is played he week after the Olympics with many of the world's top golfers likely to be weary after a difficult trip home from Japan.
Although this course has only been host to this particular event since 2019, it was previously the host of the FedEx St Jude Classic. We therefore have 30+ years of course form.
The course underwent an upgrade in 2004, with Loren Roberts overseeing a host of changes including new trees, additional bunkers, narrowing of the fairways and a change to Bermuda grass on the greens. Place less emphasis on form pre-2004.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
A hot and dry forecast for the week with minimal wind.
Partly cloudy and a gentle breeze. Wind 5mph
Partly cloudy and a gentle breeze. Wind 6mph
Sunny intervals with gentle breeze. Wind 9mph
Sunny intervals with wind a little stronger. Wind 12mph
With this switching to a WGC event previous trends hold less weight.
There's little to be gained from assessing the importance of having played here before. Daniel Berger and Dustin Johnson both won on their first starts here in recent years. Past champions have also found success here with Berger, Johnson and Justin Leonard having twice triumphed in the past 12 years.
American golfers have dominated with only Lee Westwood and Fabian Gomez having won from other countries since 2000.
Seven of the last nine winnersat TPC Southwind have led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green so an emphasis is placed on players who are striking the ball well. With smaller than average greens, and water a persistent threat, it's no surprise a sound long game is required.
The 17th hole has played as the hardest hole in each of the last two years.
The par 5 16th played the easiest over the four days in 2020, averaging 4.67.
Fast or Slow Start
Each of the past two WGC winners have been in the top 18 after round 1. Each of those winners were inside the top 12 at halfway.
Winners have tended to be within striking distance going into the final day but not necessarily leading. Koepka was a stroke back in 2019 and overcame Rory McIlroy to win. Both DJ and Daniel Berger won in 2018 and 2016 respectively when leading after the third round. Berger's second win in 2017 came from three shots off the pace with a round to go.
In summary, it's a course where it is difficult to force a good score with so much water in play. Players who are within three strokes of the lead are preferred going into the final round.
The 16th is the easiest hole on the course but the 17th and 18th are both harder holes (18th ranked 5th hardest last year) so consider your position if you have the option to cash out a bet.
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WGC FedEx In-Play Blog
8th August 2021, 10.15am
Bryson DeChambeau has forced his way into contention with a superb 63 and is now two back of Harris English who bids to win wire to wire for the 2nd time this season. Cameron Smith is also tied with Bryson at 16 under par.
We mentioned in the first two blogs that English has perhaps been a generous price given his pedigree leading but he looks most vulnerable now with Bryson and Smith chasing him down. Odds of 7/5 make no appeal but if you were on earlier at bigger odds there is every reason to be optimistic.
DeChambeau can be backed at 5/2 which seems fair considering the momentum he has and his ability to close. Slimmed down Bryson has a five star pressure performance rating and also has the ability to intimidate his opponents. He ranks 1st tee to green this week, 2nd for approach, 8th for putting and most importantly is hitting more fairways than usual. If you’re desperate for some action tonight, he seems like the value to us.
Smith couldn’t repeat Friday’s magic around/on the greens yesterday but has managed to hang in there. 5/14 fairways is a concern though and even though his iron play improved, we wouldn’t want to touch him at a best price of 4/1.
It seems a big ask for Ancer to secure his first PGA Tour win from four back in a leaderboard of this quality and the same could be said of Scottie Scheffler and Ian Poulter five back.
The forecast for day four is to be dry and warm with a moderate breeze (around 10mph). We’re going to leave the event alone now and enjoy the final round as we have good positions at the Hero Open and Barracuda.
Round 4 Bet
- No bet
7th August 2021, 10.15am
If there was an Olympic hangover for most players in Round 1, that certainly wasn't the case in Round 2 as three of the best five rounds came from those who played in Japan. Two of those players, Cameron Smith and Abraham Ancer, fired best of the day 62's and they now find themselves chasing the leader, Harris English.
TPC Southwind was the site of English's first PGA Tour win, as he claimed the 2103 FedEx St Jude Classic. He was a winner earlier this season at the Travelers Championship and Tournament of Champions and was in confident mood when speaking to the press after his round yesterday. English touched on how his game was "really solid" at the moment and his "iron game is really good right now." Odds of 3/1 are not unreasonable considering how he's playing but we're happy to leave him alone for the time being.
Chasing English is Cam Smith and Abraham Ancer. Smith tied the PGA Tour record for fewest putts in a round yesterday when taking only 18 putts. He is rated as a 15/2 shot by the bookmakers going into the third round but he'll need to improve his iron play if he's to continue to challenge. He's lost strokes SG: Approach in each of the opening two days and we're content to leave him out of the equation.
Ancer has yet to win on the PGA Tour but edges Smith as 2nd favourite (13/2) with the bookies. There's no doubt Ancer will go on to win on the PGA Tour but he's been the bridesmaid too often to back with any conviction. He's another we are happy to swerve at this stage of proceedings.
The last two winners of this event have been inside the top 12 at halfway. With that in mind, we're focusing our attention on those players around -7 or better.
The forecast for day three is to be dry and warm with a gentle breeze (around 5mph).
Round 3 Bets
- 1.5pts Each Way Ian Poulter 16/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-4)
Poults last won an event in 2018, a Ryder Cup year. Fast forward three years and he is again looking to make the European Ryder Cup Team. He spoke in his post round interview about how he is trying to gain automatic qualification to the team and we know he'll be doing everything he possibly can to make that happen. His stats this week have been solid, ranking 11th SG: Tee To Green. He's also got a strong record around this course, recording two top 8 finishes in his past four starts here. Finally, he's already won two WGC events so he shouldn't be afraid to add a third on Sunday afternoon.
6th August 2021, 12.15pm
Harris English leads by two at Southwind and is now rated 5/1 favourite to win. He has already won twice this season, including the Tournament of Champions where he led from the 1st round onwards.
Considering English has won two of the four times he has led or co-led after an opening round and is a winner at this course in 2013, odds of 5/1 are more than fair. He only ranked 35th off the tee yesterday though and that is enough of a concern at such short odds when Southwind demands tee to green excellence.
Our preview highlighted that winners in past years have been in the top 18 after the opening round so we want to be concentrating on those 3 under par or better.
This is still a wide open event but there are two players we like at the odds available.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Matthew Wolff 22/1 @ Betfair (1/5 1-6)
Matthew Wolff is one of those tied for 2nd after an opening 64. He ranked 3rd tee to green and 8th for approach. Significantly, he was in the top 25 for all strokes gained categories showing his game is in great shape. He commented after the round that “everything is starting to fall into place” and he is a fierce competitor when in full flow. Two runner up finishes at the PGA and US Open in 2020 shows he can compete at this level and a 3M open champion in 2019, he is capable of challenging at the weekend.
- 0.5pts Each Way Kevin Na 100/1 @ Bet365 (1/5 1-5)
Kevin is on 3 under par after a slow start to his round but he is a player capable of going low and he can make up some ground. He ranked 5th tee to green yesterday and 7th for approach play. He finished 2nd in his last start at John Deere and also shown he can win in the wind earlier this year at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He started slowish that week too and a 3rd round 61 was key to victory, don't rule out Kevin doing something similar this week.