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The American Express tips: Tom Kim and Jason Day can challenge homegrown stars

After two weeks in Hawaii, the USPGA Tour returns to the American mainland, from where golf tipster Martin Colwell has picked out his best bets from the strong line-up in The American Express.

The five-week West Coast swing starts at this three-course Pro-Am tournament that has thrown up big-odds winners in the past, such as outsider Hudson Swafford two years ago.

It was not the same story last year when Jon Rahm won here, but the Spaniard’s departure to LIV has left Scottie Scheffler as the pre-tournament favourite, although continuing putting issues make his 5/1 price hard to enthuse about, despite four straight top six finishes (2615).

The American Express key stats:

  • When: January 18-21 2024
  • Where: La Quinta CC, Nicklaus Tournament Course, Pete Dye Stadium Course, California
  • How long: 7,060 yards - par 72, 7,159 yards - par 72, 7,187 yards - par 72
  • What to expect: Each diverse courses first three days, final round at Stadium Course
  • Who won last year: Jon Rahm (-27)

Patrick Cantlay has a good course record, and always seems to be there or thereabouts, and was second here three years ago, despite the laborious Pro-Am format not suiting his match tempo.

Cantley's good friend Xander Schauffele is 9/1, after playing well enough to tie for 10th at the Sentry two weeks ago and he should not be fazed by the rigours of this tournament. However, it’s a long time since he managed to get over the line and this does not seem the best of chances for him to do so.

SungJae Im’s picked up his good form of last year where he left off, threatening to challenge down the stretch at the sentry, before settling for a decent fifth spot, but it is his South Korean compatriot Tom Kim who catches the eye at the 20/1 mark.

Kim has not missed the cut in 10 events stretching back to July, and it is only three tournaments ago that he landed the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin.

Last year, he made his Amex debut and clearly found the courses and the format to his liking, finishing tied for sixth on 23-under-par, just four shots behind the irrepressible Rahm.

He was not quite on his game when finishing 45th= at The Sentry two weeks ago, but with the cobwebs of two-month lay-off behind him, Kim could well make a mockery of his 20/1 price this weekend.

Suggested bet: Tom Kim each-way in the American Express


Last week Chris Kirk suffered a poor Sunday when in contention to achieve back-to-back wins after his impressive display at The Sentry.  Kirk has gone out to 35/1 this week and has previous form here, having tied for third a year ago, so if he still has good energy levels, he definitely can compete again this week.

Hovering just beneath the bookies radar is Jason Day, who is something of a Pro-Am veteran, winning a pairs event with Lydia Ko recently, and finishing a respectable 18th at this event a year ago.

Day has not missed a cut since the US Open last June, apparently putting his longstanding injury issues behind him, and the warmer weather this week should help him further with that. 

The Australian has won on Pete Dye courses before, and his 33/1 price seems both fair and appealing for a golfer whose game is in as good shape as it has ever been.

Suggested bet: Jason Day each-way in the American Express


At 55/1 we find Akshay Bhatia, who is another to have been in contention lately, only to come unstuck with a poor Sunday performance, but can still boast top-15 finishes in each of the two Hawaiian events.. 

Last but not least, Daniel Berger returns to action after a lay-off of plus eighteen months with a back injury. We welcome him back into action, but it would be a big ask for him to bounce straight back into the reckoning, even at a price as tempting as 66/1.

Suggested bet summary:

  • Tom Kim (2 points each way 20/1)
  • Jason Day (2 points each way 33/1)

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