Designer: Larry Packard
Used Since: 2000
Fairways: Narrow, Tree Lined
Greens: TifEagle Bermuda with Poa overseed (12 stimp)
Water Hazards: On 9 holes
Par 5's: 1st, 5th, 11th and 14th
Premium on: Strong approach play
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
This event was not played in 2020 due to the pandemic.
This year the event returns to a March slot in the calendar (was played in late April last year).
Copperhead is traditionally one one of the harder courses on tour.
Sunny - 6mph wind
Partly Cloudy - 13mph wind.
Potential thunderstorm - 10mph wind.
Sunny - 10mph wind.
Sam Burns won with a total of -17 last year. In the 10 years prior, winning scores have ranged from -7 to -15 depending on the conditions.
Sam Burns had two solid finishes (30th and 12th) here prior to winning. Paul Casey defended his title in 2019 but he arrived in 2018 with a best finish of 37th in four starts. 2017 winner Hadwin and 2016 winner Schwartzel only had one start here prior to winning and both had missed the cut. Preferred but not essential.
Sam Burns had missed the cut in three of his last four starts prior to winning. Casey arrived on the back of a missed cut in 2019 but was in good form before that. In 2018, he had three top 15's in his previous four starts. The previous five winners have had a 12th place finish or better in their last three starts, so we want to see some sign of form.
The world ranking of the past six champions has been 91-15-17-99-32-10. Winners are generally inside the top 100 and we're looking for quality players to prevail.
Non-Americans have a great record in recent years. Jordan Spieth and Sam Burns are the only American winners since 2013. Winners have been from England, Canada, Australia and South Africa.
The 3M Open is worth considering as a correlating course. Past Valspar champions with Top 12 finishes at 3M include Hadwin (twice), Schwartzel (twice), Burns and Woodland. Louis Oosthuizen has a runner up finish in both events. Cam Tringale has a 3rd in both.
We have five years of Strokes Gained data to assess.
SG: Off The Tee
The last five winners have ranked 16-6-50-47-52. Surprisingly not a key stat for a narrow, long course.
The last five winners have ranked 19-11-17-37-30. In general, you don't need to be a bomber but you do need to be above average.
The last five winners have ranked 33-9-68-27-65. Accuracy off the tee isn't essential either.
The last five winners have ranked 14-7-7-2-3. Approach play is key.
SG: Around The Green
The last five winners have ranked 23-9-3-25-23. A tough test means a solid short game will be necessary here.
The last five winners have ranked 3-43-15-4-12. Not essential to putt the lights out but as always, its helps.
16-18 is known as 'The Snake Pit' where pars are a great score. 16 is a 475 yard par 4 and one of the toughest on tour. 17 is a tough par 3 and 18 is an uphill par 4.
The par 5's (1st, 5th, 11th and 14th) are the easiest and must be taken advantage of.
See above on 'Tough Holes'.
Fast or Slow Start
Since 2011, the winner has been at least 3 shots behind after round one with none in the top 5. However after round two, four of the last five winners have been 2nd or better. There have been two big Sunday comebacks in the last four years - Casey came from 5 behind in 2018 and Schwartzel came from 5 back in 2016. In general, comebacks are possible here.
Players We Almost Backed
NOTE - These are players who we shortlisted for this event but ultimately didn't advise to subscribers. If you want to find out who we did tip, you can subscribe using the link below.
Available on Wednesday.
Valspar Championship In-Play Blog
19 March 2022, 10:55am (UK time)
|Five players tied
A sparkling 62 from Davis Riley has given him a two shot lead heading into the final round of the Valspar Championship.
The Korn Ferry Tour graduate was paired with his good buddy, Justin Thomas, as he gained almost four strokes on the greens to move to the top. He is now a general price of 2/1 to convert.
Riley won twice on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2020. A win today would represent a major step up for him though and with Thomas and Sam Burns in his rear view mirror, he'll need his putter to remain hot.
Three of the last five third round leaders have prevailed at Copperhead so those of you holding a Davis Riley ticket should take heart from that. Riley was impressive for both his wins and it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see him win this. Much will likely depend on how much pressure Burns and Thomas exert on him.
Justin Thomas is second favourite in the betting at 9/4 and he must fancy his chances. His last two wins have come when trailing from at least three shots going into the final round so he clearly relishes the chase. However, as we've mentioned throughout the week, he's been prone to lapses of concentration of late and that's enough for us to be put off.
Sam Burns is the other main threat and he would be our preferred option if pushed to choose between Thomas and Burns. Burns had an uncharacteristically cold putter in round three and it's hard to see how he won't improve on that today given his past performances on the greens at Copperhead.
There isn't much between Burns and Thomas from a stats perspective this week and the more favourable odds on Burns would swing it for us.
A quick mention for Matthew NeSmith. Yesterday's leader struggled a little on the back nine yesterday but he may relish chasing today. He's clearly a deep thinker and may find himself with less pressure now he's out of the lead.
The forecast for round 3 is sunny with wind peaking at 12mph in the afternoon. Interestingly, the wind is set to switch direction, so players may have a different test from yesterday.
Round 4 Bet
- 3pts Robert Streb TOP 10 FINISH 7/4 @ Unibet
Robert is currently in 6th position and in prime position to land this bet. There are only five players behind him who are within two strokes which reduces the risk of those below him making a move. His stats have been solid every day this week and as we've seen in the past, he may not be a player who is consistent week to week but he does make good weeks count.
We've also advised a 2 ball double on our PGA Tour final round preview show, The Closing Stretch. You can watch the show on YouTube here. Alternatively, search for 'The Closing Stretch' with your usual podcast provider.
19 March 2022, 9:55am (UK time)
A course record equalling 61 has given Matthew NeSmith a to shot lead going into the weekend at the Valspar Championship.
NeSmith spoke in his post round interview about the fact he's "trying to get out of his own way" and it's interesting that he spoke of how "uncomfortable" he's felt at points this week due to this new mental approach. It's clearly worked so far but we need to question how he'll fare over the weekend.
NeSmith's sole career win (2019 Albertsons Boise Open) came via a final round 64 to overcome a two deficit so he's yet to convert a lead. For all his good play so far, we're happy to look past him at 5/1.
Despite trailing by four, Justin Thomas heads up the betting at 4/1. Thomas was our selection on yesterday's in-play blog to be the 2nd round leader. A sloppy double bogey on his 16th hole costing him any chance of leading.
For all his excellent play this week (he ranks 3rd SG: Tee to Green), he remains prone to a lapse in concentration. We saw it yesterday and several times last week and that's enough to put us off backing him. If he wins at 4/1 then so be it.
Adam Hadwin looked the man who would lead until NeSmith's afternoon heroics. The Canadian ranks 2nd SG: Tee to Green this week and must be fancied to continue his play given he's a past champion here. Odds of 5/1 are about right.
Sam Burns and Scott Stallings make up the group at 11 under par and each will hope to reel in NeSmith over the weekend. Stallings was one of our pre-event selections for subscribers at 150/1. He's relied heavily on his putter so far and will likely need that club to remain hot to contend.
Burns (5/1) is the defending champion but relied on his putter yesterday. Should we see a return to his iron play of day one then he's a huge danger. We're happy to look elsewhere for the time being.
Aside from Charl Schwartzel's win in 2016, the past five champions have all been inside the top two places at halfway. However, with a softer course than usual, we're seeing low scores and catch up may yet be possible.
The forecast for round 3 is sunny with wind peaking at 11mph in the afternoon.
Round 3 Bet
- 1pt Each Way Webb Simpson 33/1 @ Unibet 1/5 1-4
We were tempted by a top up on Scott Stallings at 18/1. Stallings has been on fire with the putter this week (he leads SG: Putting) but that's been the case for many of his best finishes. He led the field in SG: Putting for his last win (2014 Farmers Insurance Open) and was 2nd SG:Putting for his best finish of last season (3rd at AT&T Byron Nelson). However, we're already on him and we're happy to see how he performs in round 3.
The price we want to back ahead of round 3 is the 33/1 on Webb Simpson. Webb has struggled with injury since the Sony Open but appears to be on the comeback trail now. He ranks 8th SG: Tee to Green so far this week and given he's capable of low scoring the odds of 33/1 are of interest. He's currently six shots off the pace but should NeSmith slip up the gap to the rest is only four shots. Back Webb to move into contention today.
18 March 2022, 8:15am (UK time)
|Four Players Tied
Soft conditions and a lack of wind meant the Copperhead course at Innisbrook was there for the taking on day one of the Valspar Championship.
Even the Snake Pit lacked bite on the opening day, the four leaders playing holes 16-18 in a cumulative 3 under par.
One of those leaders, Sam Burns, heads up the betting at 4/1. The defending champion was 1st for SG: Approach and 2nd for SG: Tee to Green and very much looks the player to beat. He has an early tee time today and is expected to kick on.
We would have been considering backing Burns had it not been for the presence of Justin Thomas. JT is second in the betting at 13/2 and he was the man who pipped Burns to first position in SG: Off The Tee. He too has an early tee time for round 2 and is expected to move up the leaderboard.
The wind is set to kick up in the afternoon today so morning starters will have an advantage. With that in mind, we are targeting the 2nd round leader market for today's bets.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Win Only Justin Thomas 2ND ROUND LEADER 10/1 @ Skybet
Justin is 2 shots off the lead at the moment but is more than capable of overturning that deficit. He leads the PGA Tour Round 2 scoring average this season, having been 9th and 4th the previous two years. His back nine performance yesterday was eye catching and we like him to continue that play today.
- 0.5pts Each Way Richy Werenski 2ND ROUND LEADER 40/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-4)
Richy is the type of golfer who struggles for consistency. However, he opened with a 65 yesterday and sits one shot off the pace. It's probably a big ask for him to maintain this pace over the remaining three rounds but he's more than capable of a strong 2nd round in the best of conditions.