QBE Shootout: Hoffman and Kisner chanced in Florida

Golfer Kevin Kisner
Kevin Kisner - fancied to go well with Charley Hoffman in Florida

Our man takes a quick look at this week's live PGA Tour team event in Florida where 12 teams of two will attempt to win the QBE Shootout title...

"The Sportsbook are offering four places which is extremely generous and the 12/1 about Charley Hoffman (who’s finished third three times in four attempts) and slick putting Kevin Kisner looks more than fair."

Tournament History

Formally known as the Shark Shootout and the Franklin Templeton Shootout and in existence since 1989, this will be the 31st edition of the Greg Norman-hosted QBE Shootout.

Tournament Format

The QBE Shootout is a 12 two-man team event staged over three days with the following format.

Friday - First Round, Scramble
Saturday- Second Round, Modified Alternate Shot
Sunday - Final Round, Better Ball

Venue

Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, Florida.

Hole-by-Hole Course Details

TV Coverage

No live coverage on Sky Sports on day one but live coverage on Saturday and Sunday.

Last Five Winners

2018 - Brian Harmon & Patton Kizzire
2017 - Steve Stricker & Sean O'Hair
2016 - Harris English & Matt Kuchar
2015 - Jason Dufner & Brandt Snedeker
2014 - Jason Day & Cameron Tringale

Is there an angle-in?

Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 61 in round one in 2015 but that was fairly pedestrian and the highest opening round score by a winning team in the last five years! Three of the top four duos shot a round in the 50s 12 months ago, four of the last five winners have opened up with something in the 50s and when they took the title back in 2015, Jason Day and Cameron Tringale combined to kick the event off with a 55!

The Scramble format used on day one, sees both players tee-off, before both players play again from wherever the best of the two drives or tee-shots has landed and that system is repeated until the hole is complete. On an easy course for the pros, that format produces a ridiculous number of birdies and eagles and pars get you nowhere.

Chances to break par occur on virtually every hole on day one and a hot putter right from the outset is key.

Is there an identikit winning pairing?

This is a very relaxed tournament and I just wonder how seriously the younger players take it. Whether they mean to or not, it must be really difficult for the elite pros to be mentally sharp after such a long year of contending in big events and even majors and previous renewals suggest siding with the older pros makes sense.

At the age of 50, Steve Stricker, who had his wife caddying for him two years ago, won the event alongside Sean O'Hair, demonstrating at this an opportunity to show the young pups that there's life in the old dogs yet.

If Stricker (and O'Hair's) success had been a one-off then the argument that the aging pros have a big opportunity could be dispelled as hogwash but the 2017 result wasn't a one off. Kenny Perry won with O'Hair in 2012, at the age of 52, Scott Hoch was 53 when he won with Perry in 2008 and there have been a number of winning partnerships in their 40s. This is an event were the old guys get a chance to upstage their younger counterparts and it's definitely an angle-in.

In-Play Tactics

As highlighted above hot putting and a fast start are usually the key to victory here and seven of the last ten winning pairings have been in front after round one. Winners reaching 30 something under-par is common so making up ground is nigh on impossible.

Harris English and Matt Kuchar were trailing after the opening round three years ago but only by a stroke and Sean O'Hair and Kenny Perry trailed by two in second place in 2012 so the only winning pairing to make up any sizable disadvantage was Dufner and Snedeker four years ago, who shot 61 in round three, but they only trailed by three in a tie for six and the pairing that had led after round one, English and Kuchar, finished second.

Keeping your powder dry and making a move after Friday's first round makes quite a bit of sense.

Fancied Pairings

Billy Horschel and Brendon Todd

This is Billy Horschel's seventh appearance in the event and Brendon Todd's first. Horschel was originally due to partner Brandt Snedeker, who won the event alongside Jason Dufner four years ago. Horschel was third, alongside Charley Hoffman in 2016 but that's as close as he's come to date and the pairing makes little appeal.

Todd has been in terrific form, winning back-to-back tournaments in Bermuda and Mexico before he just ran out of steam in the RSM Classic two weeks ago. He's been putting brilliantly and if he plays like he has in his last three events, Horschel should improve his mediocre event record but there's every chance he won't. It was incredible that Todd kept it going for three events in-a-row but it would be a surprise to see him still in tip-top form yet again.

Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff

This has to be considered the most exciting and promising pairing in attendance. At 22 and 20, the two Oklahoma State grads have already taken the professional ranks by storm and having begun their pro rank careers so well, they're certain to enjoy the week, no matter how they play.

Hovland has been extremely consistent but he missed the cut in Mexico almost a month ago when last sighted and we have to go back to October for Wolff's latest appearance when he was 13th in Japan.

Lack of a recent outing can't be considered a plus and Wolff's putting stats aren't spectacular either so I'm happy to leave them alone too.

Corey Conners and Andrew Putnam

Like Hovland and Wolff, Corey Conners and Andrew Putnam are both tournament debutants but they're more experienced and I marginally prefer their chances. Both have been in reasonable form of late and both are more than capable of a decent week with the flat-stick but again, I'm happy to let them go unbacked at a single-figure price.

Selections

I've enjoyed this event in the past. I've backed a couple of winning pairs, with Sean O'Hair and Steve Sticker two years ago at 25/1 the highlight but I'm struggling this time around.

I like the look of the defending champions, Harmon and Kizzire, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell fit the veteran profile nicely and I'm keen on the Jason Kokrak and JT Poston pairing but the market has them about right at around 8.615/2 so I'm going with just the one pick...

The Sportsbook are offering four places which is extremely generous and the 12/1 about Charley Hoffman (who's finished third three times in four attempts) and slick putting Kevin Kisner looks more than fair.

Selections:

Charley Hoffman and Kevin Kisner @ 12/1 (Sportsbook)

There'll be no In-Play Blog or De-brief this week but Dave Tindall has covered the Presidents Cup here.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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