US PGA Championship 2021 Each-Way Tips: Hatton can be king of Kiawah

England's Tyrrell Hatton
Tyrrell Hatton can land his first Major

It's the second Major of 2021 and Dave Tindall has three each-way selections for the US PGA Championship which begins on Thursday at Kiawah Island...

"Having won big events at Bay Hill and Wentworth and back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Championships by the coast in Scotland, hopefully this is his time."

Back Tyrrell Hatton E/W @ 46.045/1

Main Bet: Tyrrell Hatton each-way @ 46.045/1

Tyrrell Hatton enters this week's US PGA Championship as the world number nine. And yet he is 45/1 to win and Viktor Hovland is 18s. This isn't to write off Hovland as I really like his chances; in fact, I already have him onside having put the Norwegian up at 44.043/1 in my US PGA guide piece at the start of May.

Rather, it highlights what outstanding value Hatton could represent as he seeks his first Major title.

So far, his Major career has been somewhat curious.

After a T25 in this event in 2015, the following year he defied expectations by finishing T5 in the Open Championship and T10 in the US PGA.

In 2017 he missed the cut in all four but hit back in 2018 with T6 at the US Open and another T10 in the US PGA.

For the second season running he made the cut in all four in 2019 and rounded off with T6 at the Open Championship. However, then came another dud year, with three MCs out of three in 2020.

The main negative in a Majors career that clearly had big moments of promise was his Masters record: up until this year his results read MC-44-T56-MC. That was unusually poor for a player who had climbed into the top echelons.

Thankfully, a corner was turned this time and last month he battled away to finish T18: not an amazing performance on one level but quite a breakthrough on another.

That said, his best Majors are the Open Championship and the US PGA as four of his five top 10s have come in those. The other was that US Open top 10 which came at links-style Shinnecock.

So, if only he could get to play a US PGA by the coast. That would be perfect right?

Well, Hatton is granted that wish this week: welcome to the 2021 US PGA, played on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

It surely won't have been lost on Hatton on how well British players did when this course last staged the event in 2012. That year Rory McIlroy ran away to an eight-shot win, David Lynn was a shock runner-up and two other Englishmen, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, finished tied third.

Add in Jamie Donaldson in T7 and there were five British players in the top seven. A couple of other Europeans, Carl Pettersson and Peter Hanson, also cracked the top 10.

Hatton performed strongly in my 10-year trends preview given that he's a non-major winner in his 20s (he's 29) and had a top 20 in one of his two latest starts (T18 Augusta). But he didn't have a win in America this season.

However, he does have a victory in 2021 having landed the European Tour's prestigious Abu Dhabi Championship in January. That came after a month off for Christmas and he's had a bit of a break this time following T39 at Hilton Head where he posted 66s in rounds two and four and T8 alongside Danny Willett in the Zurich Classic pairs event.

His form hasn't been as good as he would have wanted in 2021 but, as well as the Abu Dhabi win, there were top 25s in the Dubai Desert Classic, the WGC-Workday Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he was defending and the Masters.

There was also a tied sixth in the Saudi International and that takes on a little more importance given that it came on Paspalum greens, the putting surfaces being used this week. He putted those well enough (28th SG: Putting) and was sharp around them.

A couple of other points.

First, Kiawah is a Pete Dye creation and Hatton was third in the 2020 RBC Heritage on another of the design legend's courses, Harbour Town.

Second, don't be too fazed by its 7,800-yard length. Tees will be pushed up on some days. It was long in 2012 and plenty of mid-range and shorter hitters did well. Hatton is just above halfway in the PGA Tour's Driving Distance stats (296.1) and that's fine.

The final point is that Hatton had to withdraw from the Valspar Championship after a positive COVID test. However, check his Twitter timeline from the last couple of days and he's clowning around on the course, hitting a driver on the run, and basically looking full of beans.

Having won big events at Bay Hill and Wentworth and back-to-back Alfred Dunhill Championships by the coast in Scotland, hopefully this is his time.

Next Best: Tommy Fleetwood each-way @ 46.045/1

Tommy Fleetwood (720).JPG

For many of the reasons mentioned above, I'll add in a second Englishman and go with Tommy Fleetwood at 45/1.

With 10 each-way places, that's a decent price on the man from Southport, especially given what he's done in majors played by the coast. Let's recap.

Fleetwood was a little slow to come to the boil in these big events but made the big breakthrough with a solo fourth in the 2017 US Open at Erin Hills.

Since then, he's had two outstanding performances in Majors and both came on links courses.

First, he shot a second-round 66 and then a brilliant closing 63 to finish runner-up and just one back from Brooks Koepka in the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock (where Hatton was T6).

Then, in the 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush he was in the top three at the end of 18, 36 and 54 holes before finishing second to an inspired Shane Lowry.

He had to contend with some grotty weather in both those events and, although the forecast doesn't suggest anything extreme at Kiawah Island, wind is always a factor and Fleetwood has the skills to cope with it.

It's fair to think that the 30-year-old hasn't had his best stuff of late but there are signs that he's peaking at the perfect time.

Fleetwood got to the quarter-finals of the WGC-Match Play at Austin CC (another Pete Dye design) and, after a modest Masters (although he did have a hole-in-one), missed the cut at Hilton Head. However, he shot a second-round 65 there and, last time out, made the top 15 in a strong field at the Wells Fargo Championship.

On the stats at Quail Hollow, he had positive SG numbers in all the main categories and his short game was much sharper after it let him down at Augusta.

Between the Heritage and Wells Fargo, Fleetwood returned to the UK and that also gave him a boost.

He said: "I was just really happy to go home. Everything feels great when you're home. And I haven't been home for a long time. So, I just really enjoyed it.

"I continued to work on the things I've been working on and trying to get better at that. And the game's funny; sometimes you feel like you're doing so many things well, but you can't seem to get a good score, and there are weeks where you feel like you played well and you come off and you've finished third or fourth, and that's just the way the game is.

"I feel like I'm doing a lot of good things and I'm doing the right things and I just have to keep kicking on and hopefully more good results will come."

A strong performer on hard courses, Fleetwood looks a good fit for Kiawah Island. As for other form on Pete Dye tracks, he's finished fifth and seventh in two of his last three visits to Sawgrass and was T13 on his only appearance (2019) at River Highlands.

Final Bet: Matt Wallace each-way @ 101.0100/1

A quick visit to the front end of the market and Rory McIlroy is 10/1 favourite ahead of 12/1 Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

All fall into the category of 'can't rule them out' but none leap off the page at me.

Xander Schauffele at 20s and Patrick Reed at 33s make more appeal at the odds.

Bryson DeChambeau came out as my trends pick so I'm happy to have him on the team. The stats like him although there have to be some doubts that a coastal PGA offers his best chance of Major glory. A calmer weather forecast will help him.

Shane Lowry and Lee Westwood have the seaside expertise to do well at 50s and 80s respectively while I looked at Robert MacIntyre but didn't get the three-figure price I was hoping for.

However, there is someone at 100/1 I like and that's a third Englishman - Matt Wallace.

Matt Wallace.JPG

The world number 52 seems to like this event and has already finished tied third at Bethpage and tied 19th at Bellerive. He was also tied 12th in the 2019 US Open so can punch high at Majors.

Wallace shot 65s on Thursday and Saturday to sit fourth with 18 to play at Harbour Town (he slipped to T18) last month - a performance that points to good recent form and being able to play Pete Dyes.

As for that current form, there's a bundle of it. He was T18 at Bay Hill, third at the Texas Open, T34 at the Masters, T18 at the RBC Heritage and T6 at the Wells Fargo.

A player who thrives on confidence, he said at Quail Hollow: "I'm playing really nice now. Ever since Bay Hill I've been on a nice stretch. I'm in a good mental space. Everything I want to achieve on the golf course, I know what I need to do to achieve that and, yeah, we're in a good spot.

"I think your golf game needs to travel with you if you play well, I did it at the PGA Championship at Bethpage, I was playing nicely there and I came in third."

Wallace ranked 1st for both SG: Tee-to-Green and Approach in Texas so the stats back up the words and he has that inner belief to thrive in elite company.

At these odds, he's definitely worth an each-way shout.

If staying on an English theme, Andy Sullivan (300/1) and Tom Lewis (400/1) aren't without hope of making the top 10.

Jumping back up the betting, I quite like Marc Leishman and Keegan Bradley (third here in 2012) at 60/1 but I'm happy to go into battle with a trio of Englishmen in Hatton, Fleetwood and Wallace.

Dave's 2020/2021 P/L

Staked: £930.00
Returned: £1822.12
P/L: +£892.12

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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