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Kelly Kraft is the outright pick at +5000 each way with Unibet
Mark Hubbard to beat Kevin Streelman at -110 with BetMGM
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These are very strange times in the world of golf: the PGA Tour and DP World Tour are this week hosting their first co-sanctioned events either side of the Atlantic, LIV Golf and the organisation’s lawyers are going to war with the same two circuits, and in the Barbasol Championship a golfer who doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page is leading the betting!
Yes, the unheralded Christopher Gotterup from Sweden and an Oklahoma State University star is among the favourite in all books and shortest price in many of them.
The reason for compilers’ faith in the youngster? Well, he finished tied seventh in the Puerto Rico Open in March (which, like this week, an opposite field event), turned pro last month, made the cut in the US Open, achieved the same feat in the Travelers Championship and then flew home on a wet sail to finish tied fourth in last week’s John Deere Classic.
There is, of course, another reason why he is favorite this week: the rest of the field is quite weak because the superstars of the sport are playing the Scottish Open ahead of next week’s British Open.
In fact, as ever, this week’s event is a golden opportunity for youngsters, but also journeymen.
The former will hope to kickstart their careers, the latter to revive them.
Keene Trace Golf Club is an Arthur Hills design that plays to around 7,300 yards at a par of 72.
Former PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner said that it is a relatively straighforward track and the scores in the first three events held there have backed him up.
Last year’s winner Seamus Power said that he liked the bent grass greens and so, too, did the two men he succeeded.
The first winner, Troy Merritt in 2019, totalled 23-under for the week, second winner Jim Herman finished the event on 28-under and Power was 21-under.
This week offers players a big chance – especially those visiting DP World Tour performers who can gain a PGA Tour card with victory – but they will need to complete a big haul of birdies to gain that prize.
Three years ago, when Kelly Kraft made his only previous start in this tournament, his third round proved how much he liked the test – and also how important birdies are.
He had started Saturday in a tie for third and just two shots back of the lead, he carded a course record 61, and yet he ended the day still second and one adrift of the leader.
He might have expected to gain a lot more ground with such a brilliant round!
You’re going to need to be aggressive on this course because you’ve got a lot of wedges and you’re coming into par 5s with irons,
That’s kind of my game plan, to be aggressive.
He ended the week in second and he’s not contended again at this level – until last week, that is, when he carded a superb 63 in the second round of the John Deere Classic which vaulted him into the top 10.
Ultimately he slipped backwards to T24th but it was a third top 25 in six starts and he’s missed only one cut in that stretch.
He’s got a great chance this week to go one better than in 2019.
Take him each way in the outright at +5000 with Unibet, the industry best price and it pays out six places.
Kraft is not the only player in this week’s field who has recorded a low round on the course.
Back in 2019 Austin Cook thrashed a third round 63 on his way to finishing fourth and he backed it up with another cut made (T47th) in last year’s renewal.
I feel at home here, he said of the course. The humidity, the heat, the bent grass greens. It’s a golf course very similar to my home course.
He’s also bounced right into form in the last month.
A second round 64 helped him to T13th at the Canadian Open.
Another fast Friday produced a 65 when T63rd at the Travelers Championship.
And he closed with a 66 last week for T16th at the John Deere Classic.
Let’s keep this week’s match bet simple.
Kevin Streelman is a veteran of the PGA Tour but in pairing him Mark Hubbard BetMGM might have made an error based on their activity this year.
In 2022, Hubbard leads Streelman 7-2 in the head-to-head count.
Now let’s take a look at their individual records for the calendar year.
Hubbard has a stroke average of 69.15 and an average finishing position of 39.6
Streelman averages 70.85 this year and his average finishing position is 64.3.
The difference in that scoring average equates to just short of seven strokes over four rounds.
The clincher is that Hubbard finished T20th the only time he played the course while Streelman is a debutant.
Take Hubbard over Streelman at -110 with BetMGM
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|Barbasol Championship Information|
|Tournament||The Barbasol Championship|
|Location||Keene Trace Golf Club, Nicholasville, Kentucky|
|Time||Thursday July 7 – Sunday July 10|
|How to watch||Thursday, Friday & Saturday 4-7 pm ET (Golf Channel). Sunday 3-6 pm (Golf Channel). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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