Bermuda Championship: Bozzelli chanced in brand-new event

Golfer Dominic Bozzelli
Dominic Bozzelli - The Punter's only pick before the off

The PGA Tour stages the brand-new Bermuda Championship at the Port Royal Golf Course. Read Steve's take on the event here...

"It’s certainly not a long course so length won’t be an issue but an ability to play in the wind will be key – especially over the first two days. This is a very exposed course in parts and the wind is just about the courses only defence."

Tournament History

This is the inaugural staging of the Bermuda Championship and it's the weakest event on the PGA Tour in quite a while. Being played opposite the WGC-HSBC Champions (previewed here) doesn't help but the organisers will be very disappointed by the turnout with world number 143, Denny McCarthy, who's yet to finish inside the top-three on the PGA Tour, heading the market.

Venue

Port Royal Golf Course, Southampton, Bermuda

Course Details

Par 71, 6828 yards

Port Royal is a short, wind exposed Robert Trent Jones Sr-designed course, with a number of holes perched right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Port Royal's signature hole, the 235-yard par three 16th, with nothing but the Atlantic Ocean between the tee and the pin, is widely regarded as one of the greatest par threes in golf.

Port Royal was the host course for the now defunct Grand Slam of Golf for six years from 2009. The tournament, which was eventually ditched in 2014, was staged to showcase the four major winners over two rounds. Here are the results at Port Royal.

2009 - Lucas Glover - 11
2010 - Ernie Els -5
2011 - Keegan Bradley -4
2012 - Padraig Harrington -9
2013 - Adam Scott -8
2014 - Martin Kaymer -6

For more on the venue, here's the PGA Tour's course guide.

Weather Forecast

TV Coverage

Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 16:30 on Thursday

What Will it Take to Win the Bermuda Championship?

Bermuda rough (the grass type and not any type of rough in Bermuda) is notoriously tricky to play from so I suspect the more accurate types to flourish this week.

It's certainly not a long course so length won't be an issue but an ability to play in the wind will be key - especially over the first two days. This is a very exposed course in parts and the wind is just about the course's only defence.

Is There an Angle In?

A number of events are staged at courses similar to this. The Sony Open, the RBC Heritage and the RSM Classic are all held on coastal, wind-affected courses and the host venues, Waialae Country Club, Harbour Town Golf Links and Sea Island Resort are all Bermuda.

Although the course used is entirely laid to Paspalum and not Bermuda, one other event that interests me is the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. That too is an opposite field event (played opposite the WGC - Match Play) staged on a windy, exposed, coastal layout away from the United States, and staged in the Dominican Republic.

In-Play Tactics

Although the forecast doesn't suggest it'll be too windy this week, it will be an ever=present over the first two days before we get calm conditions on Sunday.

I usually like to concentrate on the leaders when the weather is fine and the scoring low but looking at the forecast this week, we might just get a leaderboard containing veterans that have used all their experience and guile to get in to contention over the first two and possibly even three days but they may be vulnerable to a really low score on Sunday.

There's also very limited evidence to suggest the leaders might be vulnerable here given Martin Kaymer won in a playoff, having led by two after 18 holes, and that Justin Rose lost a year earlier having led by three with a round to go. They were only four man field events over two rounds though and how much credence we can give them is debatable.

Market Leaders

He may not rank highly in the world rankings, or be a household name to casual golf fans, but 26-year-old American, Denny McCarthy, is the correct favourite for me. He knows how to win, having won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship last year, he arrives in form, having finished ninth in each of his last two PGA Tour starts and he might just like the venue given he was fourth in the aforementioned Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship in 2018.

Lanto Griffin held his nerve superbly to win the Houston Open last time out but I'd be surprised to see him go back-to-back. An understandable emotional letdown is far more likely.

This looks perfect for Alex Noren, who's been showing glimpses of form of late and Russell Knox is also just the accurate type to take to the short venue but I'm happy to swerve all the market leaders. We're faced with taking relatively short prices about classy types that aren't at their best or up and coming players who could be anything.

Selection

The Bermuda Tourism Authority and the PGA Tour have signed up to stage the event for the next five years at least so I'm going to use this running to learn as much as I can about the event, but I am going to play at least one player from the start.

The 2018 winner of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, Dominic Bozzelli, is little more than a speculative guess if the truth be told but he was sixth at the Safeway Open last month and he should take to the venue.

Selection:
Dominic Bozzelli @ circa 75.074/1

I'll be back on Thursday with the In-Play Blog after the completion of the opening round at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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