Golf Tips: Get your first round leader kicks with this 33/1 pick in Paddy’s Specials market

Golfing guru Martin Mathews has some value picks in mind in Paddy's specials markets.

Matsuyama

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*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change

We’ve got a cracking week ahead of us for the PGA Tour’s flagship event The Players Championship and as always Paddy have priced up a host of ‘speciality’ markets for us to get our teeth into.

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Firstly looking at the First Round Leader market and as always the place to start here is with the weather forecast.

Thursday’s picture it must be said is pretty unclear as although the winds look set to be slightly stronger in the afternoon with the possibility of storm delays, the PM starters could end up playing a decent chunk of their first rounds on Friday, therefore I will hedge my bets and take one from the morning wave and one from the afternoon.

The first to catch me eye who tee’s off at 7.40am local time is Hideki Matsuyama. The current Masters Champion is having a stellar 21/22 season on the PGA Tour having notched two wins already.

Over recent weeks he has cooled off slightly, however a solid 20th place at Bay Hill last week showed his game is still in good shape.

The Japanese star currently ranks 13th on tour in the round one scoring averages and having opened up with a 63 in the ‘The Players that never was’ in 2020 we know he can get out of the gates quickly here and he makes plenty of appeal at the odds to do so again this week.

Alongside Matsuyama, I shall chance recent Honda Classic winner Sepp Straka, who tees off at 12.45pm local time.

After the highs of his win at PGA National Straka not unsurprisingly missed the cut at Bay Hill last week, however having now had a few days off to rest there is every possibility he can perform strongly again.

Straka has only made one previous appearance here missing the cut but having performed really well previously around the Pete Dye designed Stadium Course used for the American Express event, which closely mirrors Sawgrass, there is every reason to think his ball striking strengths will prove to be well suited to this test.

Still on a high no doubt from his recent win I am happy to chance the Austrian to make a quick start here.

Next up I will turn my attention to the Top South African market, and side with Dylan Frittelli.

Louis Oosthuizen is undoubtedly a worthy favourite here and I do have a sneaking feeling that the former Open Champion may have a strong week. That being said, aside from him and my pick there are big question marks about the rest of the runners here hence I am happy to risk Frittelli at the odds.

Looking at the contenders, Charl Schwartzel has been all at sea with his game this year, Branden Grace has never remotely looked like getting to grips with Sawgrass, while Garrick Higgo and Erik Van Rooyen are getting their first look at the Dye design, so its Frittelli for me.

Another market I am willing to take a bit of a chance on is the Top South Korean where I will take course specialist Si Woo Kim to see off Sungjae Im and Kyoung-Hoon Lee.

Logic dictates here that Im is favourite however as well as his win here Kim posted a ninth last year and has never failed to make the cut. If you then add in his win at the Amex on the Stadium Course and his runner up finish at Hilton Head he is arguably the strongest performer on Pete Dye designs across the PGA Tour.

Im could build on his 17th here last year however his form has been in and out of late so there are no guarantees on that. The steady Lee meanwhile would expected to make the cut, however there is nothing in his form to expect a really big performance, and with Kim arriving here on the back of a consistent run of form he looks the value of the three.

Sawgrass-Players-Championship-2021

Finally, I will side with the in-form Tom Hoge to post a Top 30 Finish, something he has managed on his last two visits here.

Hoge, who landed his debut Tour title at Pebble Beach recently, looked all set for a missed cut at Bay Hill last week after being +8 for his first 12 holes on Thursday, however, he battled back superbly to eventually finish 32nd.

Still riding the wave from his win no doubt I would expect him to perform solidly again and reward us in this market at the odds.

What do you think?