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Viktor Hovland finished the 2020 season in fantastic form. A win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic was followed up by a 3rd at the DP World Tour. He played well at the Tournament of Champions at the start of January but a 76 dropped him down to 31st place. I’ll forgive him for that.
The test of Torrey Pines will really suit Hovland. You need to be straight off the tee and combine that with long distance a really strong iron game.
Hovland ranks really highly in all of those sorts of staistics. As a two-time winner on the Tour, I think he’ll make it three times this week.
Will Zalatoris came onto the Tour in September and there was a lot of fanfare after a really good performance at the US Open. With all the hype he wasn’t really a betting prospect from a value point of view for the first few months.
But he’s shown he belongs with 8th-place, 5th-place and 16-th place finishes in five starts. He finished 52nd in the Mayakoba last year and hasn’t played since. I think it’s been lost in the market and has quietened down the hype.
I think it’s time for us to swoop in and take advantage of the prices. The raw stats rank him as a top 20 player in the world right now and he’s got so much going for him for such a young payer. He ranks high in the long iron stats that you need heading into this week. I think it’s the start of a really big week for him here at Torrey Pines.
Sam Burns missed the cut last week, went off with a round of 77 which was probably just the rust being shaken off. He shot 66 on the Friday though, gaining 4 1/2 strokes from tee to green on the field.
The long-game test this week should really, really suit Burns. He ranks highly in all the long-game components you need to contend. I’m more than happy to have another go at the prices available.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout’s been in excellent form in the last couple of months and is a two-time winner in his native South Africa. His performance in the South African Open was very impressive, mixing good approach play with his really good putting.
He started the season last week with a good 12th in the Adu Dhabi. I think what stopped him finishing higher was an uncharacteristic poor performance on the greens. He struck the ball beautifully and did well in a really strong field.
If he can repeat that long-game form and his putting comes back to the level he’s historically shown, he’ll have a really, really big shot. He was the runner up here last year and I think he can go one better this year.
Matthias Schwab has been in solid form over the last couple of months with a 13th, 14th and 25th last week in Abu Dhabi. His tee-to-green game has always been excellent and his long game has been at a high level.
He just needs his putter to behave a little bit more if he wants to be a serious contender. He was 23rd here last year and I think he can seriously improve on that this week.
Jayden Trey Schaper potential going forward is really, really high in my opinion. He’s shown he belongs on the Tour with a really good 2nd at the Alfred Dunhil Championship. He’s had three appearances on Tour over the last couple of months and each week his ball-striking’s really caught the eye.
For a young player, he’s 20, to be matching players who are already five, ten years on Tour and with the amount of improving that’s to come the prices on offer are almost an inslut to the potential he has.
Iain’s tips for this week
Farmers Insurance Open
Omega Dubai Desert Classic
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