2022 Golf Betting Preview: Jordan Spieth a First Round Leader Play at PGA Championship

The second major of the year kicks off in Southern Hills, Oklahoma, a track which most recently hosted the 2007 PGA Championship and 2001 US Open. The course has been redeveloped since then in 2019 to present a fine, all-round test, with every facet of the game needing to be in good shape.

A longer course now, over 7500 yards, means that driving distance will be needed, and a strong short game will also be especially important in determining the winner of this event,  with the main changes being the restoration of edges around the green, with lots of elevation changes to deal with. Not too many in the field will have tournament experience on this course, so recent form and a look at the all-round stats may be our best chance of seeing who will start fast. 

Weather is set for some classic Oklahoma winds of up to 20mph in Round 1 throughout the day, so nobody seems to have any advantage starter-wise. Maybe a comfortable wind player can adjust the fastest on Thursday. 

Jordan Spieth at 30/1 with 888 Sport

Jordan Spieth has been trending upwards recently, and looks to be returning to the form that made him so ominous to the rest of the field from 2015 to 2017. A win at the RBC Heritage, followed by 2nd place last week in Texas, sees Spieth heading into the major 8th in the world, and with confidence sky high, this event may present him with his greatest opportunity to win the Grand Slam. As stated, an all-round game needs to be at hand to negotiate the long course, sloping contours and small greens, and Spieth has that in spades. He ranks 33rd for driving distance this PGA Tour season, which is by no means short, and in strokes gained tee-to-green he ranks 12th. With scrambling also looking to be a key requisite for Southern Hills, Spieth’s notorious short game can get him out of troublesome situations. Strong winds should be no hindrance to the native Texan and former Open champion, and he seems a good fit to lead after round one and remain in the picture for the whole tournament. 

Matt Fitzpatrick at 70/1 with 10bet

Matt Fitzpatrick screams value this week, due to his all-round game being in excellent shape, and can make a fast start. One of the most consistent performers on the PGA Tour, the par machine has some tremendous stats. He is the leader in total strokes gained, 3rd in scrambling and 4th in the scoring average this season, so Fitzpatrick certainly has the all-round game to contend at a tough major-calibre course. His last win came in October on the DP World Tour at the daunting Valderamma Golf Club, and he comes into this tournament off the back of a T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship, where he shot an impressive final round 67 in extremely testing conditions. Those conditions will help prepare Fitzpatrick for Thursday and he can go low at Southern Hills. 

Jason Day at 80/1 with Coral

Jason Day has shown signs of late that he can contend in one of his favourite tournaments. Perhaps he’ll have his hands on the Wanamaker Trophy once more come Sunday, but I prefer him in this market right now due to his lack of consistency and injury issues. He shot a brilliant opening 63 at the Wells Fargo Championship 2 weeks ago to hold a share of the lead. What stood out was his approach play, and with Southern Hills’ small greens, that will be a big factor in having good birdie opportunities. His recent swing changes seem to be coming together, and with his love for the PGA Championship, that may propel him to a fast start. 

Cameron Champ at 100/1 with Unibet

Cameron Champ is a seriously long driver, ranking 1st for distance on the PGA Tour this season, and at a course with widened fairways, and over 7500 yards, he can thrive. 2 incredibly large par fives over 600 yards, and a multitude of testing par fours, may present Champ with eagle and birdie opportunities that are not in play for most of the field. He has been playing his best golf of the year over the last month, finishing a steady T38 last week after a final round 65. He was on course for a win at the Mexico Open until a mediocre final round finished his chances. Add the encouraging 10th at the Masters, with sloping contours similar to Southern Hills, and there are signs that Champ can start well here at a nice price. 

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