Garrick Higgo +6500 win and +600 top 10 with DraftKings
Adam Long each way at +5000 with bet365
Russell Knox to beat Justin Lower at -110 with DraftKings
A fourth edition of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship this week but the field is not the strongest.
In fact, the best-known name teeing it up on Thursday is that of two-time major champion John Daly who is now a senior golfer.
It’s highly unlikely that Daly will contend this week but his fellow Champions Tour performer Brian Gay will be fancying his chances.
The journeyman finished third in the Tour’s first venture to the island in 2019, he claimed victory in 2020, and he was even 12th on the defense of his title - incredibly he has never needed more than 69 blows in any of his second, third or fourth rounds.
Gay’s triumph was on-trend with Brendon Todd’s win in the inaugural event in that both players are experienced (and very good) on coastal courses with lots of wind.
Last year Australian youngster Lucas Herbert prevailed but even he was proven in such circumstances - his win in the Dubai Desert Classic in 2020 coming when the wind was very blustery.
Port Royal Golf Club is not a long course at around 6,800 yards with a par of 70 but that wind prevents the scoring from getting out of control (or at least it did in 2020 and last year, Todd won when it was a little more settled).
The layout was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and features a few holes that call for approach shots to elevated greens while some of the holes right by the sea are dramatic and offer a big threat with errant shots disappearing down the cliffs.
The American Denny McCarthy is the man the bookmakers are most afraid of.
He is yet to win on the PGA Tour but 11 of his 15 top 10 finishes on the PGA Tour have come on Bermuda (or grainy) grass greens, which he will face again this week.
He finished 15th at Port Royal in 2019, fourth in 2020, 39th last year, and he was 37th in last week’s CJ CUP.
Belgium’s Thomas Detry is another player who is yet to win, either on the PGA Tour or the DP World Tour.
He finished 22nd in this event last year but it is his form that has him the second favorite.
He’s opened the new season with three-weekend finishes - 12th, ninth, and 69th (when top five after 18 holes).
In his two visits to Bermuda Mark Hubbard has always made the cut but he is yet to land a top 20.
In the summer he finished third and fourth in the Barbasol and Barracuda Championship, up against similar quality fields to this week.
He was also fifth in the recent Sanderson Farms Championship when solo leader after 54 holes but he is yet another non-winner at this level.
It’s clear from the background of the leading three players that this week offers a great opportunity because the favorites lack gravitas.
Among those who can pounce is the South African Garrick Higgo who has three wins on the DP World Tour and one on the PGA Tour in the last two years alone.
His breakthrough was in the Open de Portugal in late 2020 and he added a pair of wins on the Canary Islands in early 2021.
All three of those results came on island resort courses with sea breezes and Bermuda greens which read very well for this week.
His triumph in America was at Congaree which hosted last week’s CJ CUP and was also on Bermuda grass.
He missed the cut last time out but before that he finished third in the Sanderson Farms Championship.
He’s got a live chance. Back him at +6500 for the win and +600 for a top 10 with DraftKings.
Performance on the greens tends to matter at Port Royal with all three of the winners thriving in the putting stats and that might easily suit Adam Long who was 24th for Strokes Gained Putting last year and is already second this campaign.
He’s a course debutant, but a look at where he plays well certainly makes him look even more like a good fit.
He has top 20 finishes in the Dominican Republic as well as at Harbour Town, Sea Island and twice at El Camaleon.
In fact he has been second and third at the latter course - and two of the three winners at Port Royal (Todd and Gay) have won at that Mexican course.
Take the hint and back Long each way (five places) with bet365 at +5000.
In recent times Justin Lower has had a better time of it than Russell Knox.
But don’t discount the Scotsman this week.
Lower leads the head-to-head count 8-2 in the last 10 encounters but Knox leads 12-9 in all.
On Bermuda grass, however? Knox is 8-2 clear.
He is also 3-for-3 at landing top 20s in this tournament which means Lower might need a very good week to beat him.
DraftKings have matched them this week and Knox is the call at -110.
|Tournament||The Butterfield Bermuda Championship|
|Location||Port Royal Golf Club, Bermuda|
|Time||Thursday, October 27 - Sunday, October 30|
|How to watch||Thursday through Sunday 1.30 - 4.30 p.m. ET (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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