Five ways to back Rory McIlroy in the PGA Championship Kiawah Island

A look at the different strategies punters can use to try and cash in on the back-to-form Northern Irishman at the second major of 2021.

Rory McIlroy was always going to be a popular punt at Kiawah Island this week after romping to an eight-shot win the last time the South Carolina course staged the PGA Championship nine years ago.

But when he bounced back to form with a superb victory at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, the four-time major champion vaulted to the front of the betting.

That result took him up to World No.7 after he'd fallen out of the top 10 and gave him a 19th PGA Tour win.

McIlroy is a best price of 11/1 with Sky Bet to take victory at Kiawah Island this week.

That will appeal to plenty but there are other ways to try and make money on the 32-year-old. Here, Planet Sport looks at the different Rory markets:

The outright at 11/1

The simplest way to try and bank a profit on Rory, and with Sky bet paying out on the first 11 places the each-way part of the bet carries plenty of appeal.

Rory has played in the PGA Championship 12 times, winning twice and making the top 10 on three other occasions.

Having won at Quail Hollow on his last start, one interesting angle is to look at how he performs after a win:

Won 2019 HSBC Champions - 4th DP World Tour Championship

Won 2019 Tour Championship - 2nd European Masters

Won 2019 Canadian Open - 9th US Open

Won 2019 Players Championship - 9th WGC-Match Play

Won 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational - 36th WGC-Match Play

Won 2016 Tour Championship - 4th HSBC Champions

So after five of his last six wins, Rory has posted a top 10 on his next start. When in form, back him!

First-round leader at 22/1

Slow starts have cost McIlroy in recent majors but he does have some notable history of flying out of the blocks at this level.

Looking at each of the four Majors:

Rory was the first-round leader in the 2011 Masters and fourth after day one in 2018.

He was second after 18 holes at Kiawah Island in 2012 and fourth after the opening lap of his 2014 PGA Championship win.

In the US Open, he led the way with a brilliant 65 at Congressional in 2011 while in the last two editions of the event he's ended day one eighth (Pebble Beach) and fifth (Winged Foot).

And in the Open Championship he was the first-round leader in both 2010 and 2014 and in the top eight at close of play on Thursday in three others.

In all, he's had a piece of the lead in four majors while he's enhanced his reputation as a fast starter by leading after day one in six of his last 50 worldwide events, the latest at Bay Hill two months ago.

Paddy Power go 22/1 that he finishes as first-rounder leader, offering eight each-way places.

Win his R1 three-ball at 7/5

Rory is a morning starter at 08:33 local time (13:33 UK) from the 10th tee.

He's been put in a group of previous PGA Championship winners, teeing it up alongside 2017 champ Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka, who won back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

Koepka has struggled since coming back from a knee injury - missing the cut at the Masters and last week's Byron Nelson - and is priced up as the 3/1 outsider.

Rory is 7/5 at Paddy Power to shoot the lowest score on day one while Thomas is 6/4.

Thomas is ranked 24th in R1 scoring this season, with McIlroy a lowly 166th in that category.

However, other stats provide better news for Rory. He and Thomas were paired for the first two rounds of the 2020 PGA at Harding Park and McIlroy shot the lowest round on both occasions.

And in the 12 round ones they've played together across all events dating back to 2016, McIlroy has won six to Thomas' five with one tie.

Finish in the top 10 at 13/8

For those thinking that Rory will have a strong week but not a winning one, then this market is an option.

McIlroy is a best price of 13/8 with Unibet to finish in the top 10.

Despite some form wobbles, Rory has cracked the top 10 in 56% of his last 50 worldwide starts so, on those numbers, he should be an odds-on shot.

Looking at just Majors, he's made the top 10 in 16 of his last 28 - a 57% strike-rate. Again, that suggests 13/8 offers a little bit of value. In the PGA he's had six top 10s in 12 appearances to once again justify the bet.

Win wire-to-wire at 66/1

It's a big ask to lead a Major at the end of each day but it happens more often than you may first think.

Rory did it in the 2011 US Open at Congressional while also pulling off the feat at the Dubai Desert Classic in 2009, his first victory at pro level.

At Kiawah in 2012, he was second after day one and fifth at halfway before leading after 54 and 72.

Leading from pillar to post is easier to achieve on tough courses due to it being harder to play catch-up. Evidence is provided from the US Open where we've seen five wire-to-wire winners since the start of 2000.

Punters are helped by bookies' rules which say sharing the lead after 18, 36 or 54 holes counts too. A player doesn't have to lead on his own.

So if you're really keen on Rory on this week, he's 66/1 with Sky Bet to go wire-to-wire.

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