Golf Tips: Cognizant Classic and SDC Championship

  • Max Liu
  • 3:00 min read
Golfer Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy starts as favourite at the Cognizant Classic

Get the best bets for this week's PGA tour event the Cognizant Classic and the SDC Championship on the DP World Tour from Steve Rawlings, Dave Tindall and more golf betting experts...

  • 31/132.00 Henley loves this week's PGA venue

  • 45/146.00 Bezuidenhout backed to grind out victory

  • 399/1400.00 Villegas leads list of 4 longshots to back

  • Cognizant Classic Tips and Predictions

    The Punter: Henley chanced to win again at 31/1

    Steve Rawlings: "History suggests you have to be up with the pace at PGA National and the 2020 winner, Sungjae Im, is the only winner of the event here to be outside the top top-seven places at halfway. He sat ninth.

    "Ernie Els, in 2008, and Straka in 2022, both sat sixth and five off the lead at halfway, but every other event winner here has been within three strokes of the lead after 36 holes...

    "Although fairly prolific, with four PGA Tour titles to his name, Russell Henley isn't always a safe conveyance in-contention but he's still a fair price here at 32.0.

    "The winner 10 years ago has twice traded at odds-on recently (at the Sony Open in January and the Wyndham Championship back in August) so even if he doesn't win, there's a reasonable chance he'll contend.

    "This is Henley's first visit since 2021 but he clearly loves the venue given his course form figures since winning read 44-MC-43-24-20-8-3 and I thought he was fairly priced compared to the likes of Cole and An."

    Back Russell Henley @ 32.0

    Bet here

    Each-way Tips: Picks from 33/1 to 150/1

    Dave Tindall: "This will be Chirstian Bezuidenhout's third start at PGA National, the first two producing finishes of 25th on debut in 2022 and 42nd last year. Two years ago he closed with a 66 while a Saturday 67 in 2023 put him in the top 20 going into day four.

    "Overall, he's a solid Florida performer. Bezuidenhout has made nine of his 10 cuts in the Sunshine State, recording a seventh and two other top 20s at Bay Hill and a 13th in last year's Players Championship when he was in the top five after days one, two and three.

    "One other angle to mention is that this is a course on which it's difficult to play catch-up. That's usually the case with tough layouts.

    "It bodes well therefore that Bezuidenhout has ended round one in the top 15 in six of his last seven tournaments: 15-8-14-90-3-10-6 his exact positions. Another strong start and he'll be in good position to grind (something he does well) to victory here at 45/1."

    Back Christiaan Bezuidenhout each-way @ 45/1

    Bet here

    Find Me a 100 Winner: Back former-winner Villegas at 399/1 and three more

    Steve Rawlings: "Camilo Villegas' form fell off a cliff after he won the Bermuda Championship in November but that was hardly surprising. That was the Colombian's first PGA Tour victory in nine years, and he was always likely to hit a flat spell after such a momentous win.

    "That was the 42-year-old's fifth PGA Tour title and his second came here in impressive fashion back in 2010. His five-stroke victory over Anthony Kim is his largest winning margin and it wasn't a huge surprise given he was also beaten in a playoff here in 2007.

    "Villegas has missed his last two cuts here but his eighth in 2021, after a run of five missed cuts, suggest he's capable of finding form here and he's a huge price for a recent PGA Tour winner and a former-winner of this event."

    Back Camilo Villegas (1u) @ 400.0

    Bet here

    Course and current form stats

    Andy Swales: "This emphasis on accuracy is largely due to its plentiful and strategic bunkering, along with sizeable water hazards on 13 holes. Even though the fairways do not appear overly tight, the low-lying Champion Course is definitely no pushover. Greens and fairways are laid with Bermuda grass...

    "Previous course form hasn't always been a good guide for picking a champion at PGA National, unlike some other venues, but it didn't prevent Chris Kirk from winning here 12 months ago. Kirk had tied-seventh in 2022...

    "Last year's runner-up Eric Cole 33/1 continues to climb the ranking thanks to four top-15 finishes this calendar year. And Byeong Hun An 33/1, who is twice a top-five finisher at PGA National, has also looked pretty sharp since the start of January."

    Eric Cole @ 33/134.00

    Bet here

    SDC Championship Tips and Predictions

    The Punter: Otaegui fancied at 43/1

    Steve Rawlings: "The variation in the winning scores here suggest conditions have been quite different from year to year but, as is so often the case at links layouts, the majority of course winners have been up with the pace.

    "Baldwin was never outside the top-10 last year and was clear after three rounds. Looking at the three editions of the South African PGA held here over four rounds, Rupert Kaminski was inside the top-five places all week in September, George Coetzee was never outside the top-two places in 2022 and, although Dean Burmester sat tied for 12th and six adrift at halfway in 2021, he sat fourth and three back with a round to go before going on to win by two...

    "Adrian Otaegui caught the eye last week when he signed off the Kenya Open with a six-under-par 65 to finish tied for fourth behind Darius Van Driel and I was happy to side with him here at 44.0.

    "The Spaniard telegraphed his first DP World Tour victory at the Paul Lawrie Match Play with a fifth placed finish in the European Open in his previous start and he finished second in the China Open prior to winning his second title, at the Belgium Knockout.

    "He was an impressive winner of the Scottish Championship at the Fairmont St Andrews Links in 2020 and after winning at Valderrama two years ago in fine style, he may well be due to take his fifth DP World Tour title at a venue that should suit him."

    Back Adrian Otaegui @ 44.0

    Bet here

    Each-way Tips: 66/1 Brown can enjoy these greens

    Matt Cooper: "We'll kick off with the Englishman Daniel Brown who has enjoyed making significant progress during the last two years.

    "He started that journey on the Challenge Tour when getting into contention at the Durban Country Club, a much-admired layout with a linksland feel and look similar at times to St Francis Links.

    "He graduated to the main tour, was fifth in the South African Open early in the campaign and spent all week in the top 10 at this event 12 months ago, sitting third with 18 holes to go.

    "In midsummer he landed a first win at Galgorm Castle and that's of interest for two reasons. Firstly one of the four rounds was played on the links at Castlerock. And secondly because last year's winner Baldwin loves Galgorm Castle with three top 10 finishes."

    Back Daniel Brown each-way @ 66/1

    Bet here

    First Round Leader Tips: Bets from 50/1 to 100/1

    Dave Tindall: "Brandon Stone continues to blow hot and cold but that's not necessarily a problem in this market as long as one of his low rounds pops up first.

    "Stone's last five events show three missed cuts, a fourth and a sixth, the latter coming a couple of weeks ago in the Dimension Data Pro-Am where he was eighth after the opening lap.

    "The former Scottish Open champion shot a 65 in round three of that event while in his first start of 2024 Stone set out with a 64 in the Ras al Khaimah Championship to end Thursday in second.

    "He only has one start at St. Francis Links and 32nd seemed modest but he did find a low one that week, a Saturday 66 lifting him 43 spots up the leaderboard from 53rd to 10th. He then closed with a 75.

    "It's all a bit feast or famine however you approach Stone's form but if he gets off to a good start from his 07.20 tee-time the 66/167.00 offers plenty of reward for a player who can handle winds."

    Back Brandon Stone each-way @ 66/167.00

    Bet here

    Course and current form stats

    Andy Swales: "The undulating fairways need to be treated with respect, as there is plenty of dense vegetation waiting to gobble-up any errant drive or approach. Water comes into play on five holes, most of these late in the round.

    "The majority of fairways on the par 4s and 5s change direction, some more sharply than others, putting an emphasis on good course management...

    "In a tournament where there is no golfer ranked inside the world's top 60, Zander Lombard 16/1 is the standout entry this week. The No 98 has contested six events so far this year, has posted a trio of top-six finishes, and nothing worse than tied-16th."

    Zander Lombard @ 29/130.00

    Bet here

    Now read the Punter's in-play blog for the latest from both of this week's events

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