The 100th PGA Championship heads into the heart of the United States, to St Louis in Missouri and Bellerive Country Club, a Robert Trent Jones original that has been renovated by his son Rees Jones. It was last used on tour when Camilo Villegas claimed the BMW Championship and it features enormous bent grass greens. The scorecard will play to 7,317 yards and a par of 70 which should be of interest to golf betting fans.
The back nine last Sunday started as well as it possibly could do for Jason Day. He reeled off three straight birdies from the tenth to pull within two strokes of the leader (and eventual winner) of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational Justin Thomas, but then dropped four shots in the next four holes. Game over.
Frustrating, for sure, but it's often the case that the golfer with the rawest memory of not getting it done is most dangerous. "I feel good about my game," insisted Day afterwards. "I know I'm playing well and I'm hitting my iron shots great. I just have to work on my driver a bit because it has been quite decent for most of the year, but not this week. If I hit more fairways I feel I've got a good chance at winning the PGA Championship."
It's been a summer of highs and lows for the Aussie: he started it with victory in the Wells Fargo Championship, had a genuine tilt at winning the Players Championship, but closed the Memorial Tournament with two horrible rounds and maintained that when missing the cut at the US Open. However last week's effort was a third top 20 on the trot and he looks to be trending in the right direction.
Moreover he loves the annual PGA Championship test. It will be his ninth start and he already boasts six finishes of T15th or better, five of them top ten and the highlight was victory at Whistling Straits in 2015. 11/4 for another top ten with BetVictor is a great price here and should be worth considering.
One of the key elements of the Bellerive challenge is the Zoysia grass used on the fairways and around the greens which provides generally sensational lies, but it is also sometimes the case that certain players attack the ball from such an angle that they either need to recalibrate or will simply become frustrated.
For others, it is perfect and one of them might be Brian Gay. Back in 2008 he finished T13th in the BMW Championship, a week in which he featured higher than that throughout the week. There was a similar story when he encountered Zoysia at this year's new Byron Nelson Championship venue of Trinity Forest where he posted a second round 62 on his way to T12th.
It gets better because Gay has eight top 20 finishes at TPC Southwind (including victory in 2009) and that is another Zoysia fairway examination. Five of his last eight starts have been top 20s so he's in form and loves hitting from this grass. He's 10/1 with Bet365 to land another top 20.
Aaron Wise's maiden victory in the Byron Nelson Championship at Trinity Forest instantly makes him worthy of interest for this test given those Zoysia fairways. Immediately after that breakthrough he missed five straight cuts before finally blowing away the cobwebs with a fine performance at Firestone in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, carding three rounds of 67 on his way tied sixth.
What had been so striking about the 22-year-old ahead of that first win was his ability to go low and to do so in the first round. In the victory itself he opened and closed with 65s and tossed a 63 in on Friday. He tied the first round lead in the AT&T Pebble Beach with a 65, was tied second in the Arnold Palmer Invite with a 65 and tied fifth in the CareerBuilder Challenge with a 64.
A PGA Tour rookie he has shown his fondness for going low in the two seasons that preceded this one. His PGA Tour debut in 2016 witnessed a 63 at the John Deere Classic, on the Canadian Tour that year he opened one event with a 62 and he maintained the momentum on the Web.com Tour in 2017. Six times in 16 starts there he would have earned a return followed in the first round (and posted another round one 62 when winning the Air Capital Classic). Unibet go 90/1 for a Wise first round lead with six places, Paddy Power offer eight places at 80/1.
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