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Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. For the second week running a golfer came from seven back to win on the PGA Tour. Only in the case of Sam Burns and the Charles Schwab Challenge, the man he overturned was the world No.1.
The previous week’s PGA Championship had at least been predictable because the 54-hole leader was the barely-known Mito Pereira. At Colonial it was the all-conquering Masters hero Scottie Scheffler, odds-on starting the final round two ahead, who couldn’t get it done.
A 65 for a nine-under total by early finisher Burns, a 30/1 shot at the start of the week but three times those odds when he teed off on Sunday with 17 players in front of him, held up for two hours, to be matched only by Scheffler whose gutsy par-saving putts on the last three holes nudged him into a shootout.
Then his best friend proceeded to sink a 38-footer at the first extra hole to halt what would have Scheffler’s fifth win in ten outings. Now Burns is catching him up. Following the Sanderson Farms last October and the Valspar in March this was Sam’s third victory of the 21-22 wrap-around season.
The man Burns beat in that Valspar playoff, Davis Riley, led Colonial with six to play and looked like justifying our 45/1 advice but blew his chance in the gusting wind. A first win cannot be far away as this Dallas-based rookie has now gone 4-5-9-13-4 for his last five starts.
Maybe the breakthrough will come at Memorial this week when Scheffler and Burns, along with PGA champion Justin Thomas, are missing from an otherwise strong cast headed by Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa, Jordan Spieth and defending champion Patrick Cantlay.
We always get a good turn-out in Ohio for Jack Nicklaus’s tournament at Muirfield Village, a course that holds great memories as it was the scene of Europe’s first Ryder Cup victory on US soil in 1987.
A European win this week would not come amiss with the US Open just two weeks away but it’s hard to get carried away by anything Rahm and McIlroy have done in the last few weeks while Matt Fitzpatrick surrendered a golden chance with a sloppy final round at Southern Hills and Shane Lowry isn’t finishing off some tremendous play.
Yet there are grounds for thinking this week might see Rahm in a better light. He was the moral winner at Jack’s Place last year when he led by six going into Sunday only to have to withdraw after testing positive with Covid. That wretched luck left Cantlay to pick up the pieces and defeat Morikawa in a playoff. And Rahm’s victory the previous year lifted him to the No.1 spot on the rankings so the Spaniard has quite a history at Muirfield Village.
So comprehensive has been Rahm’s domination of this tournament - winner by three in 2020 and goodness knows how many last year if Covid hadn’t been around - that it would be foolhardy to overlook him even though he does not arrive with his short game in the best or order.
The 7543-yard par 72 course, named after Muirfield where Nicklaus won his first Open, clearly suits Rahm’s eye and it is not as if his golf has been disastrous, only disappointing on the big occasions by his own high standards. He did, after all, win in Mexico, weak though the opposition was.
And it’s not as if his main rivals are going great guns: Morikawa’s last four outings (26-29-55–40) suggest he has his own problems, Cantlay missed the cut at the PGA, McIroy (never better than 4th in ten Memorials) plays like a million dollars one day and a dud fiver the next.
Only the revived Spieth (1-2-34-7 for last four tournaments) has been looking the part but his Memorial record, only one top-five in nine attempts, is nothing special.
Bryson DeChambeau and Hideki Matsuyama are both past winners but, if he plays after a long injury lay-off, DeChambeau has to be rusty. Matsuyama, an early-year winner in Hawaii and third at the Byron Nelson after shooting a 62 on Sunday, looks a betting proposition despite making no show at the PGA.
If you can forgive Cantlay that blip last time out, he looks the most likely winner on current and course form. Pre-Southern Hills, he was brilliant with pal Xander Schauffele as his partner at the Zurich Classic pairs and runner-up to Spieth at Hilton Head the previous week. True, his second Memorial triumph was by default last year but there was no fluke about his first victory there two years earlier and he’d been only a shot outside the playoff when DeChambeau prevailed in 2018.
Schauffele, without a solo victory since taking gold at the 2020 Olympics, has been lifted by that team success in New Orleans, following up with fifth at the Nelson and 13th in Tulsa. A week’s rest and he should be good to go on a course where he’s been 11-13-13 the last three years.
Good to see Patrick Reed returning to something like his best after a torrid spell and last year’s fifth must have an each-way shout after his seventh at Colonial, while Kevin Na, beaten by Matsuyama in a 2014 playoff, continues to pile up the dollars. He shared seventh with Reed and Spieth on Sunday and won’t be far away either.
Memorial is prone to throwing up a winner out of left field. Will McGirt beating Jon Curran in a 2016 playoff? What’s all that about and where are they now? Ditto David Lingmerth, conqueror of Justin Rose the previous year.
Victory for Riley, PGA runner-up Will Zalatoris (but still winless) or Cameron Young (five times a top-three finisher in his rookie season) would hardly qualify as shock winners but they are the ones the big names will be fearing. All three only need to brush up their putting to become multiple winners.
Cam Smith has a woeful Memorial record and looks one to avoid. Recent winner Max Homa and ultra-consistent Lowry, who shared sixth place last year, both have a solid chance although Cantlay is the man to beat.
After a showery start on Thursday, the rest of the week should be dry and warm.
Memorial Tournament Golf Betting Tips 2022
- 2pts each-way Patrick Cantlay at 16/1 with William Hill (8 places) (opens in new tab)
- 1pt each-way Xander Schauffele at 22/1 with William Hill (8 places) (opens in new tab)
- 1pt each-way Hideki Matsuyama at 28/1 with William Hill (8 places) (opens in new tab)
- 1pt each-way Jon Rahm at 11/1 with William Hill (8 places) (opens in new tab)
- 0.5pt each-way Cameron Young at 35/1 with Bet365 (5 places) (opens in new tab)
- 0.5pt each-way Max Homa @ 40/1 with Bet365 (5 places) (opens in new tab)
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Celebrating my 50th year tipping and writing about golf. Tipped more than 800 winners (and more than 8000 losers!). First big winner Lee Trevino at 8-1, 1972 Open at Muirfield. Biggest win £40 each-way Ernie Els at 80-1 and 50-1, 2012 Open. Most memorable: Giving the 1-2-3 at 33-1, 50-1, 33-1 out of 4 tips from a field of 180 in 2006 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. According to one bookmaker “Undoubtedly one of the greatest tipping performances of all time”. Lowest handicap 9 Present handicap 35.6. Publications tipped for: Sporting Life, Racing Post, Racing&Football Outlook, Golf World, Golf Weekly, Golf Monthly, Fitzdares Times. Check our Jeremy's latest tips at our Golf Betting tips home page
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