After a couple of weeks abroad, the PGA Tour returns to the U.S. as the players head to West Virginia for the 2011 Greenbriar Classic. This will be just the second year for this event but it gained quite the reputation as the inaugural championship was won by Stuart Appleby after he carded a final round 59 to win by two. Phil Mickelson highlights a strong field as many look to get in position as the FedEx Cup Playoff weeks draw near. It’s doubtful that someone will go as low as 59 again this week, but it is more than reasonable to assume that 10th easiest course in 2010 play will again produce a shootout with the winning total pushing 20-under par. The wide fairways on this 7,229 yard, par-70 course give players the advantage of being aggressive off the tee, although many players will still take a conservative approach to ensure they can have good angles into very tough and undulating greens.
Two golfers that I feel worthy of betting on are:
Charles Howell III +1800-
Charles has been a warrior on Tour this year with 21 starts already under his belt with his best golf coming recently as he’s finished 3rd at both the St. Jude and AT&T National. Howell was in contention through the week at the 2010 Greenbriar but couldn’t quite put the pedal down as he carded 67 on both Saturday and Sunday to finish T9. Charles has a nice game for the Old White with top-40 ranks in both driving distance and greens hit and is 24th in strokes gained with the putter entering the week. Howell plays mistake free golf, turning just the 67th best birdie average into a top-10 scoring average, mostly with a superb recovery game.
Brian Gay +3300-
Given his ability to hit even the toughest fairways, Gay might not miss a single one this week and that will only lead to quality birdie looks. Looks are one thing but Brian has also cashed in the 15th most birdies in 2011 play as his strokes gained and total putting stats are both in the top-20. Another low-risk player, Gay spins the 49th best birdie average into the 15th best scoring average and his top-10 scrambling % helps him from giving any strokes away.