Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for this week's PGA tour event, The Bermuda Championship.
Bermuda Championship Winner
The Port Royal GC is an interesting venue on the tour and it's a shame that it boasts a field this weak as we near the end of the golfing calendar. One of the shortest courses on tour it yields plenty of birdies but it is not without its challenges. Off the tee it's one of the tougher assignments on the schedule with only just over 50% average fairways hit. Long par 3s play their part also but without doubt the biggest talking point here is the wind that is set to blow once again this week.
Lucas Herbert at 66/1 (7 Places)
Fitzpatrick heads the betting in what is a poor field and despite fitting the bill course fit wise I'm not prepared to get involved with the jolly given the volatility of the wind throughout the week. I'd much rather risk those who have a tendency to play well in high winds at much bigger than the 12/1 being offered about Fitzpatrick. Top billing goes the way of Aussie Lucas Herbert. Herbert does not fit the course profile we are looking for here but his CV speaks volumes about he plays on these tracks in these conditions. His win in Dubai is significant as the wind blew there probably the worst we've seen in a long time which decimated the final day where Ashun Wu and Dechambeau looked set to dominate. Instead Herbert shot the best round of the day that Sunday (68) coming from 9 shots behind to beat Bezuidenhout who also came from 9 shots behind that day. That is a sign of the carnage that can happen in the wind, and although they will never find conditions as tough here in Bermuda, Herbert could easily capitalise again. A win in Ireland, two top 5s in the Scottish Open, 3rd British Masters, 3rd Sicily, 7th Dunhill Links are all results which look super on paper given this test. There aren't many above him in the world rankings in this field and should his approach play improve from what it has been in recent weeks he must be a big runner. Has the length to cope with the long par 3s better than most also.
1.5pts each-way L.Herbert 66/1 (1/5 7)
Aaron Rai at 66/1 (7 Places)
Similar to Herbert one must not forget how Aaron Rai won his Scottish Open back in 2020. Horrendous conditions presented themselves that weekend at the Renaissance and Rai excelled whilst others flapped. He has kicked off the 2022 season in the States poorly with three missed cuts but that has been largely down to an ice cold putter. It has been the weakest part of his game for a fair while now but with slow greens we could see him return to some sort of form with the putter like he did in Scotland that week. His long game remains in more than good enough nick to contend an event of this quality, in fact the Korn Ferry event he finished runner up in a couple of months ago was only slightly weaker than this. Certainly looks like one of those at bigger prices who could play well and doesn't need to improve an awful lot bar one club.
1.25pts each-way A.Rai 66/1 (1/5 7)
Denny McCarthy at 50/1 (7 Places)
Denny McCarthy has a good record here over the past couple of years and looks another of the prime contenders in a weak contest. 17th a couple of starts ago at the Sanderson was a fair effort and he was let down by a poorly behaving putter at the Shriners. Bermuda should be more up his street and his long game remains in good shape. 4th at Corales as well as other efforts in the RSM, Honda, Valspar and Heritage suggests he is well suited by a test like this. That has been proven in his results here the last few years and I'd be surprised if he doesn't put his best foot forward once again.
1pt each-way D.McCarthy 50/1 (1/5 7)
David Lipsky at 50/1 (7 Places)
David Lipsky went well for a long way at Valderrama and just wasn't strong enough to break down the likes of Fitzpatrick on the final day. It was another solid effort for the American and he looks to be trending towards another big win. He was another who played very well in the windy edition of the Dubai Desert Classic in 2020 eventually finishing 11th there. Add in a few good finishes in Malaysia as well as a runner up finish on the Coast of Florida on the Korn Ferry Tour earlier this year and we have enough evidence he can play well on this type of track. Fits the bill of hitting the ball very straight also with a win in Crans as well as the solid effort two weeks ago in Spain. Price looks fair for someone clearly playing some of the best golf in his career.
1pt each-way D.Lipsky 50/1 (1/5 7)
Kurt Kitayama at 100/1 (7 Places)
Kurt Kitayama has been backed early this week at triple figures and it's no surprise given his credentials here. Last time out he finished 45th at the Sanderson which doesn't quite tell the whole story as he was in contention on days one and two with an approach game to rival the best in the field that week. He is another to feature in that Dubai Desert of 2020 finishing 6th that week eventually succumbing to the high winds on Sunday like many others around him on the leaderboard. Wins in Mauritius and Oman are a sign of how well he can play by the coast and has also landed a top 20 at Pebble Beach which has been mentioned by many as a strong correlating course this week. I'm surprised any triple figure quotes were out there and a couple remain.
1pt each-way K.Kitayama 100/1 (1/5 7)
Camillo Villegas at 100/1 (7 Places)
Finally I'll have a flyer on Camillo Villegas getting back into the winners circle. He finished 35th last time out at the Shriners which was a much stronger field than this week and may be suited by a lack of punishment with stray balls off the tee here. His approach game was flying that week and if he brings that to Bermuda he could score very well. His better efforts last season came at correlating courses to this one finishing 6th at the RSM, 8th at the Honda and 11th at the Valspar. If he is to play well it may well be prudent to throw a few quid on the First Round Leader market also. The Colombian has landed that market twice in the past year at the RSM and Texas and may well be much more likely to land the honours after day 1 than day 4.
1pt each-way C.Villegas 100/1 (1/5 7)
0.75pt each-way C.Villegas First Round Leader 85/1 (1/5 6)