After the excitement of last week’s Players Championship, it’s time for the last leg of the Florida swing on the PGA Tour at the Valspar Championship in Tampa.
Meanwhile, over on the European Tour we head to Malaysia for the Maybank Championship.
Firstly, taking a look at the Valspar and host venue the Copperhead Course offers up a great all round test. A par 71 playing to 7300 yards, dissimilar to Florida courses as a whole, it is a tight driving course with tree-lined fairways, plenty of elevation and dog-legs.
The signature stretch, known as The Snakepit, consists of the Par 4 16th and 18th holes and the par 3 17th. As the toughest stretch on the course, the Snakepit often creates a dramatic finish.
Sandwiched between TPC and next week’s WGC World Matchplay, several leading names who were on display last week have still chosen to make the trip from Jacksonville across state to Tampa and these include Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Jon Rahm, and Sergio Garcia.
For my money though allowing for where this event falls in the schedule, I feel it offers a great opportunity for a lesser name to post a victory on Tour and the man I like most to do so is the inspiringly nicknamed, The Postman, JT Poston at a whopping 80/1.
Poston is currently on a great run of form having made his last eight cuts on tour culminating in 22nd place at Sawgrass last week.
His best friend and roommate Keith Mitchell notched his maiden tour win at the Honda recently and this is sure to spur JT on. He was 14th here on his only visit two years ago and he looks primed for a really big week.
A couple of bigger names who I like are Brandt Snedeker (40/1) and Ryan Moore (55/1). Sneds sprung to life at the weekend at TPC Sawgrass to finish fifth and he has made the cut on each of his last six visits to The Copperhead course, with a best place finish of fourth.
Moore, meanwhile, made the headlines with a hole in one at the 17th at Sawgrass on Thursday and after a solid week to finish 20th he arrives in Tampa at a venue where he has finished in the top five at twice in the past four years.
Five of the last eight editions here have been won by international players and I shall finish our team with three.
Firstly, two of the South Korean contingent catch my eye in Sungjae Im (60/1) and Kyoung Hoon Lee at 150/1. As the 2018 Web.com Player of the Year, Im is the more heralded of the two and he has already posted three top-seven finishes in his debut PGA Tour season, including third at Bay Hill two weeks ago.
KH Lee is a rookie still far more under the radar though, and despite having finished seventh on another tough Florida test in his last start at the Honda, he is still available at a big three-figure price.
Finally, to complete my team in Tampa, I am keen to include Canadian Nick Taylor (125/1), who played really solidly at Sawgrass last week to finish 16th.
Taking a brief look at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia on the European Tour and for the third year running the event will be hosted by the Palm Course at Saujana G&CC. A par 72, it measures just under 7200 yards.
With wide fairways to hit, the main defence of the course is it’s small, fast running greens, so good iron play and scrambling when required is key here.
With this in mind, the pair I fancy are the inform Mike Lorenzo-Vera (25/1), who has finished in the top 20 in his two visits here and was second last time out, and the German Maximillian Kieffer (50/1), who was 11th here last year and who has finished in the top 15 in his last two starts.
To win: JT Poston 80/1.
Each-way chances: Brandt Snedeker 40/1, Ryan Moore 55/1, Sungjae Im 60/1, Nick Taylor 125/1 and Kyoung Hoon Lee at 150/1.
To win: Mike Lorenzo-Vera 25/1 or Maximillian Kieffer 50/1.
* All odds correct at time of posting.