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Valspar Championship tips: Brian Harman ready to bounce back quickly from Sawgrass heartbreak

After last week’s PLAYERS Championship, the PGA Tour continues with another strong field competing for the Valspar Championship, where golf pundit Martin Colwell has seen some betting value he likes.

Valspar Championship key stats:

  • When: March 21-24 2024
  • Where: Innisbrook Resort, Copperhead Course, Palm Harbor, Florida 
  • How long: 7,340 yards - par 71
  • What to expect: Tight off the tee down tree-lined fairways, plenty of dog-legs and elevation changes, nine water hazards
  • Who won last year: Taylor Moore (-10)

Renowned as one of the toughest courses on the Tour, the Copperhead Course requires pinpoint accuracy to avoid the various lurking hazards, while holes 16-18 are known as “The Snake Pit” for a reason.

Taylor Moore tamed the course the best of all last year, albeit just one stroke better than Adam Schenk, while Sam Burns won back-to-back here in 2021 and 2022, before settling for sixth 12 months ago.

Xander Schauffele led going into the final round at Sawgrass last week, but he could not hold off an inspired Scottie Scheffler, who shot a last-round 64 to become the first player to win back-to-back Players Championships. 

Schauffele should not be too harsh on himself under that onslaught from the world number one, but even so it’s hard to get excited about Xander at odds as tight as 15/2.

As mentioned already, Sam Burns is the current king of this course, and while he is playing reasonably well at present, his 11/1 tag seems based on previous performances here rather than current form and does not seem that generous in such a competitive field.

Justin Thomas is another non-winner at present, and I cannot think of a single reason as to why I would want to back him at 14/1. Let him win before we can be with him again at those odds, and the same applies to an out-of-form Jordan Spieth at around the same skinny price.

On the other hand, I really like the look of Brian Harman at 20/1. The winner of the 2023 Open in appalling conditions and champion golfer of the year, he missed forcing a play-off by just one one stroke last week, and he could look back on any one of several wayward putts to realise it was a missed opportunity. 

Harman hasn’t missed a cut all year and looks to be knocking on the door of a tournament win, so I like his prospects here against a slightly weaker field that includes some out-of-form high-profile golfers.

Suggested bet: Brian Harman (20/1) each-way in the The Valspar Championship

 

Others to watch:

  • Cameron Young (22/1) - Often lauded as a potential Tour winner after several near misses, just recently he has been more popular with bookies than with the punters who keep backing him.
  • Min Woo Lee (28/1) - Not on his game at Sawgrass but has the skillset and the mindset to turn up anywhere and contend, and is bound to attract some interest at 28/1 
  • Nick Taylor (28/1) - Won at Phoenix last month, has continued to feature on final day leaderboards and probably won’t be far away here either.
  • Keegan Bradley (35/1) - Runner-up in Hawaai in January, he has been far from stellar since and missed the cut at Sawgrass last weekend, although this track might suit him more
  • Joel Dahmen (85/1) - The popular but troubled star of Full Swing on Netflix must have put a smile on his long-suffering caddie’s face with last week’s 11th place, and maybe that can prove to be a springboard to more success
  • Mackenzie Hughes (85/1) - Runner-up at the RSM in November, the Canadian is often seen going up and down the leaderboard, but just needs to make one of those big climbs happen on a Sunday afternoon
  • Adam Svensson (110/1) - Hasn’t made the weekend in three attempts since finishing 10th at the Genesis, so it’s easy to see why he’s priced at 110/1, but one day the Canadian is going to defy his odds

Suggested bet: Mackenzie Hughes (85/1) each-way in the The Valspar Championship

Suggested bet summary:

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