Golf Bets

Valspar Championship Tips: 28/1 Hadwin can gain second win

Canadian Adam Hadwin
Adam Hadwin can take the trophy

The PGA Tour stays in Florida for one more week and Adam Hadwin can make his mark at Palm Harbor, says Dave Tindall...


Main Bet: Adam Hadwin each-way @ 28/1

The Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort rounds off this year's Florida Swing, a four-week stretch that has so far produced wins for Chris Kirk (Honda Classic), Kurt Kitayama (Arnold Palmer Invitational) and Scottie Scheffler (The Players Championship).

That's a trio of wins for Americans although perhaps this concluding leg could go to an overseas player given that the last 10 years of the Valspar has produced wins for Paul Casey (twice), Adam Hadwin, Charl Schwartzel, John Senden and Luke Donald.

Somewhat curiously, the last four editions have been won by just two players. Casey defended his 2018 title in 2019 and, after 2020 was lost to the pandemic, Sam Burns repeated the feat with victories in 2021 and 2022.

Burns is 14/1 for a three-peat, placing him third in the betting behind 12/1 Jordan Spieth and 10/1 favourite Justin Thomas.

There's a view that despite some familiar Florida traits, the Copperhead Course isn't typical of the layouts we usually see in the Sunshine State.

The Larry Packard design has Bermuda fairways and greens but it's far more undulating than most Florida courses and, rather unusually, the 7,340-yard par 71 has five par threes.

Therefore, it's perhaps no surprise that form from those earlier Florida events at PGA National, Bay Hill and Sawgrass proved not so great a guide last year.

Looking at the top 11 in the 2022 Valspar, five had missed the cut at Sawgrass a week earlier while only one had made the top 25 at The Players.

Staying with those 11, three of the four who teed it up at Bay Hill had missed the cut in Arnie's event. Seven played the Honda and none landed any each-way money there.

Course form has been a much better pointer, as highlighted by this venue throwing up a pair of very recent back-to-back winners in Burns and Casey.

Go further back and Retief Goosen and KJ Choi are also dual course winners while John Senden had twice finished runner-up before landing first prize in 2014.

With plenty of Internationals getting a mention, I'll open with a punt on 2017 winner Adam Hadwin at 28/1.

The Canadian edged out Patrick Cantlay by a shot to claim his only PGA Tour win so far, was 12th when defending in 2018 and added tied seventh last year after leading after day one and sitting second at halfway.

While pointing out earlier that Sawgrass form was no pointer to success last year, Hadwin was the exception to the rule when he followed tied ninth at The Players with his tied seventh here.

So given that the 35-year-old finished tied 13th at Sawgrass last week after rounds of 71-70-69-71, he looks in a good place to repeat what he did 12 months ago and make a serious challenge.

Hadwin ranked 4th in Strokes Gained: Tee To Green last week so if his putter heats up a little, the signs look good.

Speaking about the course last year, Hadwin noted: "Definitely fits my eye. It's kind of similar to courses that I grew up on, kind of through the trees. You got to work the golf ball both ways. You got to be in position off the tee, otherwise you get blocked out on certain holes.

"I also think it rewards patience. I think that's kind of how I play golf. That's usually when I'm at my best, just kind of plodding along, not trying to do anything too fancy, center of the greens, hit as many as possible, and just keep giving myself looks."

Back Adam Hadwin each-way @

28/1

Main Bet: Garrick Higgo each-way @ 80/1

South Africans have had a strong record at the Copperhead Course.

As noted, there are those two wins for Goosen while Charl Schwartzel hoisted the trophy in 2016 and Louis Oosthuizen was runner-up in 2019.

Steve Rawlings highlights the correlation between form at Copperhead and TPC Deere Run, home of the John Deere Classic.

So it's interesting to note recent John Deere form which shows South Africans popping up again: Dylan Frittelli won there in 2019 while Christiaan Bezuidenhout was runner-up last year.

That leads me to Garrick Higgo at 80/1.

The left-hander doesn't have exposed form: this is his course debut and he finished 44th at Sawgrass after missing the cut at Bay Hill.

But let's start to dig deeper. Earlier on the Florida Swing he shot middle rounds of 66-66 at the Honda before finishing tied 29th while a Saturday 68 at The Players put him 26th after 54 holes.

Wind a little further back and he was tied 11th in The American Express and tied 20th at Pebble Beach.

Almost all the recent winners here thrived on the four Par 5s. Burns ranked 1st and 2nd on the long holes in his two wins while Casey was 1st and 4th in his.

A look at the current Par 5 Birdie or Better leaders shows Higgo ranked 7th. The six players above him aren't teeing it up so he's 1st in the field in that category.

I also have a sneaky feeling he could really thrive on this course. Why? Higgo is already a PGA Tour winner after landing the Palmetto Championship in 2021, a South Carolina course with Bermuda greens.

We're on Bermuda this week, of course, and it's often noted that Copperhead resembles a course in the Carolinas.

In addition, Higgo's two DP World Tour wins in 2021 came on undulating resort courses, Meloneras Golf (Gran Canaria Lopesan Open) and Golf Costa Adeje (Canary Islands Championship), the same test he faces this week.

Higgo's first victory was at another resort track when he landed the 2020 Open de Portugal at Royal Obidos.

The final piece of the puzzle could be the weather as it's set to be quite blustery. South Africans often thrive when it blows so let's take Higgo to make a big impression.

Back Garrick Higgo each-way @

80/1

Main Bet: Dylan Frittelli each-way @ 100/1

For my outsider, I looked way down the odds at Luke Donald (175/1) and Wesley Bryan (300/1).

Donald has his name on the trophy here and enjoyed a run of 6-1-4-4 in four Copperhead starts between 2010 and 2014.

But he's also played the course well in recent times despite falling way down the world rankings. The Englishman was tied ninth in 2019 and tied 16th last year.

Tied 39th at Bay Hills suggests he still has the quality to make a mark.

Bryan has made all three cuts here, was seventh on debut in 2017 and, after a rotten time of it, came back to form with a sixth place at the Puerto Rico Open last time out.

But I'll play a second African and go for Dylan Frittelli at 100/1.

Much of the same reasoning I used for Higgo - being good in the wind and playing well on undulating tracks - applies again.

Frittelli won at correlating TPC Deere Run and let's recall that he has a fifth (2020) at the most famous undulating course of them all: Augusta National.

Also fifth at the 2021 Open, Frittelli has a similar form profile to those who did well here last year: a missed cut at Sawgrass and a tied 29th at the Honda.

Two starts before the Honda, he overcame a poor opening 74 to shoot 65-67-70 to make the top 15 in Phoenix so there are some signs of good form if you look.

Frittelli has only played here once, finishing tied 37th, but he was 14th after 54 holes.

Again, his chance doesn't immediately leap off the page but there's enough there to get involved at a three-figure price.

Back Dylan Frittelli each-way @

100/1

Recommended bets

Staked: £660
Returned: £316.5
P/L: -£343.5

Previous:
2021/2022 P/L: -£315.35
2020/2021 P/L: +£1475.87
2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89

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