Golf tips: A 90/1 first round leader play at the USPGA Championship

Top tipster Martin Mathews delves into the Paddy Power specials markets for the second major of the season that tees off on Thursday.



With our main team bets all in place for the PGA Championship it is now time to take a look at the different specials’ markets available and as always Paddy have priced up a wide range of options for us to pick from.

So let’s start off by taking a look at the First Round Leader market where Paddy is paying 8 places each-way.

Looking at the weather forecast and while there does not appear to be any significant draw bias with the course exposed heavily to the wind, I am keen to focus on the morning starters who in general tend to get the better of things on coastal tracks.

The first man who jumps out at me from the morning tee times is Charley Hoffman who heads out at 8.55am local time on the tenth tee. After a period in the doldrums Hoffman has sprung back to life making his last nine cuts on the spin and posting seven top 20 finishes along the way.

At 44 years old it is fair to say that the man from San Diego’s chances of landing a Major Championship have most likely passed, but he is more than capable of making a splash in the big events,

A former champion by the coast at the Mayakoba Tournament and a renowned strong performer in windy conditions, I expect Hoffman to perform well. With his history of strong Thursday showings, I can see him getting out of the gates quickly again.

The second man I am keen to have onside from the morning wave is Emiliano Grillo who gets underway at 8.50am local time. Like Hoffman, Grillo has been in sparkling form of late notching three top 15 finishes in his past four starts so he should arrive here in confident mood. A strong ball-striker, the Argentine is another who tends to play well by the coast so he should certainly relish this challenge.

Ninth on tour in the round-one scoring averages this season, Grillo is certainly a man to trust more on Thursdays than Sundays and I can see him making another fast start.

Top former winner market

I will side with Keegan Bradley in this ex-champions market.

Bradley has a reputation as someone who doesn’t win often but does win big events. His greatest success was his 2011 USPGA Championship win.

Bradley, who has not been outside of the top 30 in his past seven starts, finished third when defending the title the following year on this track so he should certainly have a good vibe returning to Kiawah Island this week.

The man who beat Bradley to the trophy in 2012 was Rory McIlroy and he is of course a worthy favourite, however once you look past him and Justin Thomas there is not too much for the in-form 34-year-old to fear and with three each-way places on offer he is worth a shot at the prices.

Top Continental Euro Player (excludes GB & I)

The man for me here is the Belgium, Thomas Pieters. He missed the cut in Texas last week but before that he produced a solid run of four consecutive solo top 15 finishes and with all of those coming on this weeks paspalum greens. He should feel at home on the putting surfaces.

With Jon Rahm struggling for momentum at the moment and Sergio Garcia having a dire Major record since he landed the Green Jacket at Augusta in 2017. Pieters’ main competition looks to be Viktor Hovland, but again with the three each-way places I am happy to risk the big-hitting Belgian.


Top 40 Finish

The one who catches my eye here is Aaron Wise. Having lost his way for a couple of years one time tour winner, Wise has shown signs of a return to form of late finishing ninth at the Wells Fargo two starts ago. Longer than average off the tee and with a solid iron game, Wise should take to this challenge. He looks a solid bet to me in this market.


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What do you think?