US PGA Championship

US PGA Championship 2024 First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 33/1 to 100/1

American golfer Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau can start fast

It's the second major of the year and Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one at Valhalla...

  • 33/134.00 Bryson DeChambeau has three R1 leads in majors

  • 80/181.00 Akshay Bhatia won a junior event at Valhalla

  • 100/1101.00 Keegan Bradley has a love affair with the US PGA

Weather forecast for Thursday

After some downpours in the build-up - play was halted in Tuesday's practice round - we should get a clear Thursday.

Winds are light and temperatures should climb to around 80 degrees in the afternoon.

If the course is soft, scoring should be good but there doesn't appear to be any obvious draw bias.

Bryson DeChambeau @ 33/134.00

I've gone for Bryson DeChambeau in my outright preview but he looks a strong bet for FRL too.

The 'Scientist' set the pace at last month's US Masters thanks to a 65 while he was also the first-round leader in this event at Oak Hill 12 months ago via a 66.

Notably he was the solo leader after 18 holes in both. None of this split stake business!

DeChambeau should really love this lengthy par 71 and it's worth noting that Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both topped the Driving Distance stats when they won their US PGAs at Valhalla.

Woods was the first-round leader in that 2000 event while Rory sat fourth after the opening lap.

Back to Bryson and he was also the 18-hole leader in the 2019 Masters and started out with rounds of 63 (Jeddah) and 65 (Hong Kong) in two recent LIV Golf events.

He begins his bid for US PGA glory at 08:59 local time from the 10th alongside the man I'm putting up next...

Akshay Bhatia @ 80/181.00

Majors love a good early narrative so how about Akshay Bhatia showing up strongly on day one - six years on from his victory on this same course in the 2018 Boys Junior PGA Championship.

Bhatia, then 16, opened with a 68 in that event, slipped to a 76 on day two before throwing in a low one, 65, on day three.

Fast forward and he's now a PGA Tour winner and, crucially for this market, he was also the first-round leader in that pillar-to-post victory at the Texas Open just four starts ago.

That was thanks to a 63 while he also started out with a 67 a week earlier in the Houston Open.

A huge talent, it's within reason to think that he can build on his tied 35th on debut at Augusta by making a fast start here.

Keegan Bradley @ 100/1101.00

We've had a major winner leading/sharing the lead after round one of the 2023, 2022, 2020 and 2019 US PGAs.

Names? DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Brooks Koepka.

Three of those had already won this event previously so looking at a past Wanamaker Trophy winner isn't the worst idea.

The one I like is Keegan Bradley and he's a three-figure price.

Bradley won the 2011 US PGA at Atlanta Athletic Club on his very first start in a major so this has always been a special tournament for him.

Sixth when defending, he's also been seen on first-round leaderboards in recent editions.

The 35-year-old was second after day one at Kiawah Island in 2021 and sixth after Thursday's action at Oak Hill last year.

He's gone a little quiet of late in first rounds but punters have had good success with Bradley in this market down the years - he's been an 18-hole leader 10 times on the PGA Tour - and the American can thrive again.

Bradley is another early starter at 08:04 and has Tiger Woods for company.

The two have actually been paired seven times in past US PGAs (all between 2012 and 2015) and Bradley shot the lower score in four to Tiger's three.

Now read Dave Tindall's 10 Year trends piece

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