With the PGA Championship set to take place at Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina this weekend, the second major of the 2021 season is here. Back at the ocean course for the first time since Rory Mcilroy captured the title with an eight-stroke victory in 2012, Collin Morikawa will look to defend his win from a year ago. Presenting the most extended layout in major championship history, the Pete Dye-inspired course had an extra 200 yards added on to it, making it over 7800 yards total heading into the weekend.
With weather playing a significant factor during the tournament, look for an emphasis on ball-striking and the ability to shape shots from left to right into the wind. With Jordan Spieth trying to complete the career grand slam, here are five best bets for the 2021 PGA Championship.
Five Best Bets for the 2021 PGA Championship
A winner at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, Mcilroy captured his first victory on tour since the 2019 season. Returning to his old form following an 18-month winless drought, the 7th ranked player in the world remains one of the longest and most accurate players off the tee in the field this weekend. Along with this, after struggling with his putter over the last year, the 32-year-old ranked third in the field two weeks ago in strokes gained putting, setting the stage for another strong showing on the greens in South Carolina.
Showing strongly at this tournament in the past, Mcilroy will look to capture his fifth major victory and his first since 2014. With fans back at tour events, look for the Northern Ireland native among the final groups on Sunday.
Chasing his second major title since capturing the PGA Championship in 2017, Thomas will look for his second victory in as many months after winning the Players in February. Struggling over the past month, the 28-year-old finished 13th at the Valspar Championship, followed by a 26th place finish at the Wells Fargo. Primarily due to his inconsistent play with the putter, the current world number four ranks 100th on tour in strokes gained on the greens.
However, the University of Alabama alumn remains one of the best iron players in the field heading into the tournament. Gaining over 1.671 strokes from tee to green, he also remains one of the longest players off the tee, with over 300 yards averaged per drive. Currently a 14-1 favourite to capture the victory, he remains second on our five best bets for the 2021 PGA Championship list.
Names to Watch
As steady as they come during the 2021 season, Reed has finished inside the top ten in five of his thirteen events. A winner at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier on in the year, the 30-year-old finished eighth at the Masters a month ago, followed by a sixth-place finish at the Wells Fargo. Searching for his second major victory after nearly missing out on the PGA Championship in 2017, he remains one of the best ball strikers in the field.
Ranked 16th in scoring average with just over 70 strokes averaged per round, Reed also remains top-five in putting strokes gained. Furthermore, with one of the best short games on tour, the Augusta State alumn can scramble and save par when he needs to, setting him up for success on the weekend.
Narrowly missing out on capturing the AT&T Byron Nelson a week ago after carding a final round 64 on Sunday, Berger has begun to play steady golf since missing the cut at Augusta. Currently ranked 12th on tour in greens in regulation, the 28-year-old also ranks 11th in total strokes gained per round. However, with just 297.5 yards averaged off the tee, the Florida State alumn hits just 65.2 percent of fairways.
A key for Berger this weekend with wind gusts off the ocean expected to play a significant factor at Kiawah Island; look for the current 16th ranked player in the world to need to be accurate off the tee. Solid with his second shots, with over 70 percent of greens hit in regulation, he remains the fourth player on our five best bets for the 2021 PGA Championship list.
The Long Shot
Still searching for his first win on the PGA Tour, Ancer has finished inside the top ten in four of his 18 events this season, including finishes inside the top five in back-to-back weeks. Playing solid at major championships in the past, the 30-year-old has made the cut in six of his nine appearances, including a tie for 16th at the PGA Championship in 2019.
Continuing to be one of the most accurate players in the world off the tee, he ranks 4th on tour in driving distance, with over 72 percent of fairways hit. Furthermore, the Mexico native is also inside the top 20 in scrambling, with a 64.5 percent par save rate. Destined to enter the winner’s circle with play as steady as they come over the last calendar year, he remains worth a look at 50-1 odds as the final member on our five best bets for the 2021 PGA Championship list.