Golf Tips: Best bets for Valspar Championship and Tenerife Open

  • Max Liu
  • 4:00 min read
Dustin Johnson
World number one Dustin Johnson is at the Valspar Championship this week

Last week saw another big win for one of our golf tipsters so get the team's best bets for this week's Valspar Championship and Tenerife Open...

Steve Rawlings: "Mitchell returns to Copperhead as an in-form PGA Tour winner, having won the Honda Classic in Florida two years ago and having finished 17th at the Texas Open in his penultimate start, where he putted very nicely, and having finished fourth alongside Brandt Snedeker at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last week, where the figures suggest Mitchel was very much the driving force."

Valspar Championship: Prolific Na value to go in again

The PGA Tour returns to Florida this week for the Valspar Championship and Steve Rawlings provides a comprehensive preview including tournament history, everything you need to know about the course and the players our man is backing at the outset.

Steve says: "World number two, Justin Thomas, who has regressive course form figures reading 10-18-MC, was the original favourite but the world number one, Dustin Johnson, looks like usurping him and I can see why.

"Following his Players Championship win, Thomas has been a bit disappointing, failing to get out of the group at the WGC - Match Play before losing his way badly at Augusta to finish outside the top-20 and I much prefer the chances of DJ.

"Johnson hasn't been in sparkling form himself and his form figures since winning the Saudi International for a second time back in February read 8-54-48-28-MC-13, with his weekend off coming at Augusta when defending the US Masters, but this test looks more up his street than it does Thomas'.

"For now my only selection is the Sony Open winner, Kevin Na. The prolific Na missed the cut last time out at the RBC Heritage but he was far from the only one to suffer a bit of an Augusta hangover and he's a fair price to bounce back at a venue that clearly suits.

"Na's been a bit in-and-out since he won the Sony but his top-12 finish in the US Masters was an eye-catching effort after a slow start (shot 75 in round one) and his course form is very respectable, reading 13-57-MC-MC-W-8-MC-44-38-2-10-22-MC."

Steve's bet: Kevin Na @ 75.074/1

Valspar Championship First-Round Leader Tips: Back Kokrak for fast start

Who will make a strong start in Florida on Thursday? Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at the Valspar Championship.

Dave says: "Jason Kokrak bring two obvious things to the table for a first-round leader punt: he's got a great course record and has been making fast starts in recent months.

"Looking at the former, he was runner-up in the most recent edition in 2019 (last year's was cancelled due to COVID) and before that was T8 in 2018, T7 in 2015 and T14 in 2014.

"As for those low Thursday scores, he had a piece of the R1 lead in the Sony Open and his day one positions in his last five strokeplay starts show 4-19-4-11-8.

"The middle three in that sequence came in Florida events and he went on to make the top 10 in all of them.

"He's twice started with 68 here and opened with 69 last year, ending all those round ones inside the top 12. Kokrak is an obvious FRL pick but could be a profitable one."

Dave says: Back Jason Kokrak E/W @ 41.040/1

Valspar Championship Each-Way Tips: Im can flourish in Florida again

After tipping a 125/1 winner in his last PGA Tour preview, Dave Tindall serves up three each-way selections for the Valspar Championship.

Dave says: "A scan of past results/stats on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club throws up some fairly obvious clues.

"Lots of the same names appear - indeed there are three multiple champions in its relatively short 21-year history - so course form counts for plenty.

"Also, this is a place for tee-to-green merchants and, in terms of relative weighting, Strokes Gained Off The Tee and Approach look more important than Around The Green.

"The fact that 12 of the 19 editions (last year's was cancelled) have been been won by non-Americans is the final steer that takes me towards Sungjae Im.

"Two of those previous victories went to his South Korean compatriot KJ Choi which may or not mean anything but Im certainly has plenty going for him this week."

Dave's bet: Sungjae Im each-way @ 31.030/1

Find Me a 100 Winner: Mitchell the man for Valspar value

After another near miss last week, when Richy Werenski and Peter Uihlein missed the Zurich playoff by a stroke, Steve Rawlings is off to Tenerife and Florida for this week's monster-priced picks.

Steve says: "The venue for this week's PGA Tour event, the Valspar Championship, isn't a typically Floridian type of course so backing anyone purely on Florida form alone might not be too wise but Georgia-based Keith Mitchell, has form in Florida at other tracks, as well as this one, and he looks an interesting runner at a triple-figure price.

"Mitchell's PGA Tour debut came at this event in 2017 when he finished tied for 11th, ranking first for Driving Distance and for Strokes Gained Putting, after Monday qualifying via a five-man playoff on Tuesday morning.

"This is Mitchell's first trip back to Copperhead and he returns as an in-form PGA Tour winner, having won the Honda Classic in Florida two years ago and having finished 17th at the Texas Open in his penultimate start, where he putted very nicely, and having finished fourth alongside Brandt Snedeker at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last week, where the figures suggest Mitchel was very much the driving force."

Steve's bet: Back 1 ½ Keith Mitchell @ 150.0149/1 Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

Valspar Championship 2021: Essential stats for this week's event in Florida

The Valspar Championship is taking place later than usual but is likely to remain one of the toughest events on Tour says Andy Swales who provides the course and form stats.

Andy says: "Over the years, Copperhead has been a good location for solid ball-strikers, and not necessarily long ones. Many of those mid-ranked pros in the Driving Distance category have performed well here, such as Patrick Reed, Adam Hadwin and Luke Donald.

"One player who fits the bill is Canadian Corey Connors who is currently ranked inside the top-10 for the category Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, but outside the top 100 for Driving Distance.

"The 29-year-old is at a career-high No 38 in the world, on the back of four top-eight finishes from his most recent six starts. On his only previous trip to Innisbrook in 2018, Connors finished in a tie-for-16th.

"Sung Jae Im, who tied-fourth here in 2019, is another who impresses from the tee and during his young career has already enjoyed some strong performances on testing layouts."

Tenerife Open: Luckless Kieffer can go one better

The European Tour hops from Gran Canaria to Tenerife for the first renewals of the Tenerife Open in 26 years at a venue not used since 2003. Steve Rawlings has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's start.

Steve says: "Following last week's Gran Canaria Open and prior to next week's Tenerife Championship, which will also be played at this week's venue, Golf Costa Adeje, the Tenerife Open is the second leg of the Canary Islands Swing.

"It goes against the grain to be backing someone at 36.035/1 who hasn't won in more than 200 starts on the European Tour but I can't leave Germany's Max Kieffer out this week.

"There's a huge chance he's mentally drained after two seconds in-a-row but it's a chance I'm happy to take. He did vey little wrong in Austria or last week in Gran Canaria and I have no doubts about his temperament.

"He's ranked tied for fourth on the par fives in each of the last two weeks, so more long holes is a plus, and he's ranked seventh and second for Putting Average."

Steve's bet for Tenerife: Max Kieffer @ 36.035/1

Tenerife Open Each-Way Tips: Veerman can breakthrough with birdies

Matt Cooper has found consecutive winners in his European Tour each-way tipping column and he is chasing the hat-trick with this trio at the Tenerife Open.

Matt says: "I'll stick to a strategy similar to last week (not least because it worked with Garrick Higgo): proven at island/resort golf and also favouring the unusual set-up of holes.

"First up is Johannes Veerman who has two big factors in his favour. First of all, in this field, no-one averages lower than he does on the par-5s over the last 12 months and he also ranks 10th for the par-3s.

"What about going low on resort courses on islands? Well, Veerman didn't win last autumn's Cyprus Showdown, but his 262 total was bettered by nobody and only one winner in the last 50 on the European Tour has gone lower than that - Higgo last week.

"Towards the end of last year Veerman also finished eighth at the Dom Pedro Resort in the Portugal Masters and his time on the Asian Tour reinforces his ability to keep the pedal to the metal, twice finishing second in Thailand with totals of 260 and 263."

Matt's bet: Johannes Veerman each-way @ 51.050/1

Tenerife Open 2021: Form stats for this week's European Tour event at Costa Adeje

As the European Tour tees-up at Costa Adeje for the first time in 18 years Andy Swales provides the stats to help you make your selections.

Andy says: "One player whose stats look impressive right now is Matthias Schwab, who is remarkably still awaiting a first European Tour title.

"At Meloneras last week, the Austrian was fourth in the category Strokes Gained: Approach the Green; sixth for Strokes Gained: Tee to Green; and first for Greens in Regulation.

"His last three starts have all yielded top-10 finishes, which makes it four from eight this calendar year.

"Another contender last week was Connor Syme. The Scotsman tied-fifth, while leading the way in the table Strokes Gained: Around The Green, which is always a good indicator of accuracy with the shorter irons and wedges."

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