Best bets for THE PLAYERS Championship and Magical Kenya Open

March 7, 2023 05:30 PM

THE PLAYERS Championship

After a triple-bogey at the ninth hole on Sunday, it looked like Kurt Kitayama's opportunity at his first PGA TOUR victory had slipped away. However, he hung in there and made seven straight pars before draining a birdie putt on 17 to get his maiden TOUR win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at 200/1. Kitayama was being chased by marquee players like Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Harris English, Tyrrell Hatton, and Viktor Hovland. Kitayama ranked 2nd in the field for Strokes Gained: Putting for the week and was the first of all the contenders to make a putt late, and that sealed the victory. 

Last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational had 44 of the OWGR Top 50. This week, THE PLAYERS Championship has 43 of the OWGR Top 50. Last week's favorite Jon Rahm was the first-round leader at Bay Hill, and it looked like he was going to emerge victorious for the fourth time in 2023 before finishing T-39. Rahm, usually one of the world's best for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee, actually lost strokes off the tee for just the third time in three and a half years and ranked dead last in the field, losing seven strokes to the field off the tee. He shares the co-favorite role this week with 2019 PLAYERS champion McIlroy (9/1), who finished T-2 last week after missing a 10-foot birdie on 18 that would have eventually forced a playoff. 

Scheffler (11/1) finished T-4 last week at Bay Hill and was 2nd for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green. Patrick Cantlay (18/1), also T-4 last week, was right behind, ranking 3rd for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green. Justin Thomas (20/1), the 2021 PLAYERS champion, was in the mix for a while at Bay Hill before falling back on Sunday to T-21. Max Homa (22/1) finished T-14 last week in the API but was No. 1 in the field for Strokes Gained: Approach. 

Xander Schauffele (25/1), like his fellow Southern Californian Cantlay, does not play a lot in Florida, but he was in the hunt going into Sunday before a poor final round dropped him to T-39. Collin Morikawa (28/1) has three Top 6 finishes in 2023 but missed the cut last week at Bay Hill. Tony Finau (28/1) finished T-24 last weekend but was 3rd in the field for Strokes Gained: Approach. 

Hovland (28/1) was in the hunt for the win again for the second consecutive year at Bay Hill before hitting his approach into the water at the Par 5 16th. He eventually dropped to a T-10 finish. Spieth (33/1) looked like he might win and held the lead for a bit on Sunday, but missed four putts inside of six feet over the course of four consecutive holes on the back nine. 

Aside from McIlroy and Thomas, other PLAYERS champions in this field include 2016 winner Jason Day (36/1), 2015 winner Rickie Fowler (60/1), 2017 winner Si Woo Kim (70/1), 2004 winner Adam Scott (100/1), 2018 winner Webb Simpson (150/1), and 2012 winner Matt Kuchar (200/1). 

The Event 

THE PLAYERS Championship was conceived by then-PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman in 1974 when Jack Nicklaus won the inaugural event in 1974 at the Atlanta Country Club. The event eventually moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (18 miles from downtown Jacksonville) and the Sawgrass Country Club in 1977 before moving in 1982 to the adjacent TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course where it remains today. THE PLAYERS currently offers the largest purse on the PGA TOUR at $25 million and is considered the unofficial “fifth major” due to arguably having the best field all year in the game of golf. The winner receives 80 OWGR points, a five-year PGA TOUR exemption and three years of exemptions to all four majors.  

There have only been six multiple winners of THE PLAYERS: Jack Nicklaus (1974, 1976, 1978), Fred Couples (1984, 1996), Steve Elkington (1991, 1997), Hal Sutton (1983, 2000), Davis Love III (1992, 2003) and Tiger Woods (2001, 2013). Outside of this list, 24 other major champions have won this event including recent ones like Cameron Smith (2022), Justin Thomas (2021), Rory McIlroy (2019), Webb Simpson (2018), Jason Day (2016), Martin Kaymer (2014), K.J. Choi (2011), Henrik Stenson (2009), Sergio Garcia (2008), Phil Mickelson (2007) and Adam Scott (2004).  

Five players have won The PLAYERS and a major championship in the same calendar year: Jack Nicklaus (1978, Open), Hal Sutton (1983, PGA), Tiger Woods (2001, Masters), Martin Kaymer (2014, U.S. Open), and Cameron Smith (2022, Open).

The Field 

The field of 144 players consists of the following criteria:  

1. Winners of PGA Tour events since the 2022 PLAYERS Championship

Keegan Bradley (2,16,17)

Sam Burns (2,16)

Patrick Cantlay (2,8,14,16)

Tony Finau (2,16,17)

Matt Fitzpatrick (2,5,16)

Russell Henley (2,16)

Max Homa (2,15,16,17)

Billy Horschel (2,10,14,16)

Mackenzie Hughes (2)

Si Woo Kim (2,4,16,17)

Tom Kim (2,16,17)

Chris Kirk (2,16,17)

KH Lee (2,16)

Rory McIlroy (2,4,8,12,16)

Trey Mullinax (2)

J. T. Poston (2)

Séamus Power (2,16,17)

Jon Rahm (2,5,14,15,16,17)

Chad Ramey (2)

Chez Reavie (2)

Justin Rose (2,16)

Xander Schauffele (2,16)

Scottie Scheffler (2,3,10,13,16,17)

J. J. Spaun (2)

Jordan Spieth (2,16)

Adam Svensson (2)

Justin Thomas (2,4,6,7,11,16)

Will Zalatoris (2,16)

Cameron Smith (4,7,16) was not invited after joining LIV Golf.

2. Top 125 from the previous season's FedEx Cup Playoffs and Eligibility Points List

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Ryan Brehm

Hayden Buckley

Stewart Cink

Wyndham Clark

Corey Conners (16)

Joel Dahmen

Cameron Davis

Jason Day (16)

Tyler Duncan

Tommy Fleetwood (16)

Rickie Fowler

Dylan Frittelli

Doug Ghim

Lucas Glover

Lanto Griffin

Emiliano Grillo

Chesson Hadley

Adam Hadwin

James Hahn

Brian Harman (16)

Tyrrell Hatton (13,16)

Lucas Herbert

Kramer Hickok

Lee Hodges

Tom Hoge (16)

Beau Hossler

Viktor Hovland (16)

Mark Hubbard

John Huh

Sungjae Im (16)

Stephan Jäeger

Kevin Kisner (10,16)

Kurt Kitayama (16)

Patton Kizzire

Russell Knox

Kelly Kraft

Matt Kuchar

Martin Laird

Nate Lashley

David Lipsky

Luke List

Adam Long

Justin Lower

Shane Lowry (7,16)

Peter Malnati

Hideki Matsuyama (3)

Denny McCarthy

Max McGreevy

Maverick McNealy

Troy Merritt

Keith Mitchell (16)

Taylor Moore

Collin Morikawa (6,7,9,16)

Matthew NeSmith

Alex Norén (16)

Ryan Palmer

CT Pan

Taylor Pendrith

Scott Piercy

Andrew Putnam

Aaron Rai

Doc Redman

Davis Riley

Patrick Rodgers

Sam Ryder

Adam Schenk

Matthias Schwab

Adam Scott (15,16)

Greyson Sigg

Webb Simpson (4)

Alex Smalley

Austin Smotherman

Scott Stallings

Sepp Straka (16)

Robert Streb

Kevin Streelman

Callum Tarren

Nick Taylor

Sahith Theegala (16,17)

Michael Thompson

Brendon Todd

Kevin Tway

Jhonattan Vegas

Matt Wallace

Nick Watney

Vincent Whaley

Danny Willett

Aaron Wise (16)

Gary Woodland (5)

Brandon Wu

Cameron Young (16)

Daniel Berger will not play due to injury. 

Anirban Lahiri, Marc Leishman, Joaquín Niemann, Cameron Smith, Cameron Tringale and Harold Varner III played in the 2022 FedEx Cup Playoffs but are ineligible due to joining LIV Golf. They were replaced by Wallace, Smotherman, Lower, Redman, Willett and Kraft, the players ranked 126 to 131 in the points list as of August 7, 2022, the end of the regular season of the 2021–22 PGA Tour.

Danny Lee, Sebastián Muñoz, Mito Pereira (17), and Brendan Steele were not invited due to joining LIV Golf. 

3. Recent winners of the Masters Tournament (2018–2022)

Tiger Woods will not play.

Dustin Johnson (8) was not invited due to joining LIV Golf.

4. Recent winners of The PLAYERS Championship (2017–2022)

5. Recent winners of the U.S. Open (2017–2022)

Bryson DeChambeau (13) and Brooks Koepka (6,11) were not invited due to joining LIV Golf.

6. Recent winners of the PGA Championship (2017–2022)

Phil Mickelson was not invited due to joining LIV Golf. 

7. Recent winners of The Open Championship (2017–2022)

Francesco Molinari

8. Recent winners of the FedEx Cup (2019/20–2021/22)

9. Recent winners of the WGC Championship (2020–2021)

Patrick Reed was not invited due to joining LIV Golf. 

10. Recent winners of the WGC Match Play (2019–2022)

11. Recent winners of the WGC Invitational (2019–2021)

Abraham Ancer (16) was not invited due to joining LIV Golf. 

12. Recent winners of the WGC-HSBC Champions (2019)

13. Recent winners of the Arnold Palmer Invitational (2020–2023)

14. Recent winners of the Memorial Tournament (2019–2022)

15. Recent winners of the Genesis Invitational (2020–2023)

Joaquín Niemann (16) was not invited due to joining LIV Golf. 

16. Top 50 from the Official World Golf Ranking following The Honda Classic

Ryan Fox

Min Woo Lee

Talor Gooch, Thomas Pieters, and Harold Varner III were not invited due to joining LIV Golf. 

17. Top 10 in the current season's FedEx Cup points standings after The Honda Classic

February 26, 2023

18. Remaining positions and alternates filled through current year FedEx Cup standings after The Honda Classic

Taylor Montgomery (14)

Thomas Detry (17)

Ben Taylor (27)

Davis Thompson (31)

Eric Cole (33)

Ben Griffin (37)

Robby Shelton (47)

Tyson Alexander (48)

Garrick Higgo (50)

Kevin Yu (51)

SH Kim (53)

Byeong Hun An(57)

Will Gordon (61)

Joseph Bramlett (62)

David Lingmerth (63)

Harris English (73)

19. SENIOR PLAYERS champion from previous year

Jerry Kelly

20. Leading points winners from the Korn Ferry Tour and Korn Ferry Tour Finals during the previous year

Justin Suh (led both categories)

21. Top 125 (medical extension)

Nick Hardy


The Course 

The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is one of the most iconic courses in the world of golf. The course was designed by the legendary late Pete Dye in 1979 (with a Steve Wenzloff and Pete Dye re-design in 2017). It tests all facets of a player’s game and has never favored any type of player. In 2019, the event returned to March, where it was on the schedule from 1977-2006, before being moved to mid-May from 2007-2018. Since the event moved from May to March back in 2019, the scoring average at TPC Sawgrass has been 0.18 shots over par. It ranks as the 14th-toughest scoring course on TOUR. The two-month date change has had such a dramatic effect on how the course has played that it does not make sense to take much of the pre-2019 results into account. With coastal winds gustier in March, scoring is more random, and the course plays longer thanks to the softer fairways.

The track is a Par 72 of 7,275 yards. The layout features 88 Scottish-style bunkers (10th most on TOUR), 16 water holes (most on TOUR), including the famous island green on the 17th and a variety of waste areas. The course is unique in that no consecutive holes play in the same direction, and there are both left and right doglegs throughout. The fairways and rough (3.5") are comprised of overseeded Ryegrass. The 100% Poa Trivialis greens are 5,500 sq ft on average and are fast (13 on the Stimpmeter). In the past, the greens have been Bermudagrass overseeded with Poa and Velvet Bentgrass. They still have a Bermuda base, but the Bentgrass is gone for an exclusive Poa overseed. 

Tee shots on the angled fairways are well-designed and encourage golfers to hit toward the trouble for the least obstructed approach shots into the demanding greens. So, there is very much a risk/reward element here at TPC Sawgrass. 


Correlated courses include PGA National, Innisbrook (Copperhead), PGA West Stadium (Dye design), Sedgefield (Dye renovation), TPC River Highlands (Dye design), Harbour Town (Dye design), Bay Hill, Waialae, and TPC Southwind. 

Other Pete Dye designs on the PGA Tour include the following:  

  • Harbour Town Golf Links (RBC Heritage) 
    • Recent winners: 2022 - Jordan Spieth, 2021 - Stewart Cink, 2020 - Webb Simpson, 2019 - C.T. Pan, 2014 - Matt Kuchar.
  • TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship) 
    • Recent winners: 2022 - Xander Schauffele, 2021 - Harris English, 2019 - Chez Reavie, 2017 - Jordan Spieth, 2016 - Russell Knox, 2014 - Kevin Streelman, 2008 - Stewart Cink
  • TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic) 
    • Recent winners: 2022 - Patrick Cantlay & Xander Schauffele, 2019 - Ryan Palmer & Jon Rahm, 2018 - Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy, 2015 - Justin Rose, 2013 - Billy Horschel, 2009 - Jerry Kelly, 2007 - Nick Watney
  • Austin Country Club (WGC Match Play) 
    • Recent winners: 2022 - Scottie Scheffler, 2021 - Billy Horschel, 2019 - Kevin Kisner, 2016 - Jason Day 
  • TPC Stadium Course at La Quinta (American Express) 
    • Recent winners: 2018 & 2023 - Jon Rahm, 2021 - Si-Woo Kim, 2019 - Adam Long, 2018 - Jon Rahm, 2011 - Jhonattan Vegas, 2007 - Charley Hoffman
  • Crooked Stick (2012/2016 BMW Championship) 
    • Recent winners: 2012 - Jason Day 
  • Whistling Straits (2015, 2010, 2004 PGA Championship) 
    • Recent winners: 2015 - Jason Day
  • Kiawah Island (2012/2021 PGA Championship) 
    • Recent winner: 2012 - Rory McIlroy 

Recent History/Winners

2022: Cameron Smith (-13/275); 30/1

2021: Justin Thomas (-14/274); 20/1

2020: Tournament cancelled due to COVID-19 

2019: Rory McIlroy (-16/272); 14/1 

2018: Webb Simpson (-18/270); 100/1 

2017: Si Woo Kim (-10/278); 500/1 

2016: Jason Day (-15/273); 12/1 

2015: Rickie Fowler (-12/276); 66/1

2014: Martin Kaymer (-15/273); 90/1 

2013: Tiger Woods (-13/275); 9/1 

2012: Matt Kuchar (-13/275); 55/1 

2011: K.J. Choi (-13/275); 45/1 ** 

2010: Tim Clark (-16/272); 100/1  

Playoff Win over Sergio Garcia & Kevin Kisner - * 

Playoff Win over David Toms - ** 

Trends & Angles 

  • 10 of the last 12 winners of THE PLAYERS had already bagged a T4 (or better) finish on the PGA Tour (in the same calendar year) prior to their PLAYERS win.
  • The last 15 winners had already achieved a finish of 23rd or better at THE PLAYERS in a previous appearance.
  • 17 of the last 19 PLAYERS winners ranked at least in the Top 45 of the OWGR.
  • 10 of the 12 PLAYERS winners played in at least five PLAYERS events. 
  • Last six winners had all finished T22 or better in their previous start.
  • Last 24 winners made the cut in the previous start before their wins.
  • Only twice since 1983 has a player won here on course debut (Hal Sutton - 1983, Craig Perks - 2002). 

Statistical Analysis

TPC Sawgrass is the fifth most difficult course on TOUR to gain on approach. 

Strokes Gained Approach (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Tom Hoge 36.1
  2. Tom Kim 30.1
  3. Rory McIlroy 27.8
  4. Scottie Scheffler 27.8
  5. Collin Morikawa 26.9
  6. Tony Finau 24.5
  7. Xander Schauffele 23.9
  8. Russell Knox 23.5
  9. Max Homa 23.1
  10. David Lipsky 21.6
  11. Sepp Straka 21.6
  12. Corey Conners 19.1
  13. Mark Hubbard 18.9
  14. Will Zalatoris 18.2
  15. Jon Rahm 18.2
  16. Robby Shelton 18.1


Since 2019, TPC Sawgrass has averaged the third-fewest number of drives over 300 yards at only 23.1% to go along with an average driving distance that is well below TOUR average at 281.7 yards. Dye’s setup mitigates the advantage of longer hitters and provides few opportunities for players to overpower the course. With the distance being down, Good Drives Gained looks to be the better category to model off the tee versus Strokes Gained: Off The Tee. 

Good Drives Gained (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Collin Morikawa 47
  2. Justin Suh 44.1
  3. Tony Finau 32.3
  4. Russell Henley 31.9
  5. Jason Day 31.6
  6. Aaron Rai 31.4
  7. Hayden Buckley 29.5
  8. Nate Lashley 29.2
  9. Matthew NeSmith 28.3
  10. Scottie Scheffler 27.2
  11. Gary Woodland 27
  12. Patrick Cantlay 25.9
  13. Brandon Wu 23.7
  14. Will Gordon 23.6
  15. Adam Hadwin 23.5


Opportunities Gained measures the number of times a golfer hits a green in regulation inside of 15 feet or hits a green in under regulation. Sawgrass greens in regulation have a wide dispersion in terms of proximity. These greens average proximity to the hole is much longer than tour average. By incorporating Opportunities Gained, we can give a boost to players who are not only hitting greens but hitting close approach shots. 

Opportunities Gained (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Rory McIlroy 38.9
  2. Kurt Kitayama 34.2
  3. Tom Hoge 32.7
  4. Cam Davis 32.7
  5. Si Woo Kim 32.6
  6. Patrick Cantlay 32.6
  7. Scottie Scheffler 30.4
  8. Will Zalatoris 28
  9. Cameron Young 27
  10. Jon Rahm 27
  11. Shane Lowry 26.6
  12. Corey Conners 26.1
  13. Davis Riley 23.9
  14. Gary Woodland 23.8
  15. David Lipsky 23.5
  16. Tony Finau 22.6
  17. Wyndham Clark 22.2
  18. Tom Kim 21
  19. Justin Thomas 20.4


All four Par 5s had a birdie or better rate north of 30%, with those two shorter ones (No. 2 and No. 16) clearing 40% (sub 9% bogey rate). Players must score on the Par 5s or risk losing shots to the field. 

Strokes Gained Par 5s (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Patrick Cantlay 24.7
  2. Rory McIlroy 24.6
  3. Garrick Higgo 24.5
  4. Jon Rahm 24.2
  5. Wyndham Clark 21.7
  6. Sungjae Im 19.5
  7. Tony Finau 19
  8. Justin Thomas 18.1
  9. Eric Cole 15.8
  10. Shane Lowry 15.7
  11. Adam Scott 15.2
  12. Cam Davis 14
  13. Jhonattan Vegas 14
  14. Davis Thompson 13.8
  15. Adam Hadwin 13.5
  16. Matt Fitzpatrick 12.9
  17. Ryan Palmer 12.8
  18. Alex Smalley 12.6
  19. Dylan Frittelli 12.3
  20. Will Zalatoris 12.2


Five of the 10 Par 4s measure this length at TPC Sawgrass. 

Strokes Gained Par 4s 450-500 (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Maverick McNealy 30
  2. Sam Ryder 25.3
  3. Max Homa 23
  4. Viktor Hovland 21.6
  5. KH Lee 18.9
  6. Wyndham Clark 18.7
  7. Patrick Cantlay 18.4
  8. Tyrrell Hatton 17.9
  9. Xander Schauffele 17.8
  10. Ben Griffin 16.4
  11. Hayden Buckley 16.3
  12. Ben Taylor 16
  13. Jason Day 15.9
  14. Rory McIlroy 15.2


The 17th hole alone has one of the highest double-bogey or worse rates on TOUR at 7.9%. Dye makes you hit towards the danger spots off the tee, so bogeys lurk everywhere. 

Bogey Avoidance (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Jason Day 33.4 
  2. Scottie Scheffler 29.9
  3. Tony Finau 28.4
  4. Matt Fitzpatrick 25.6
  5. Si Woo Kim 25.3
  6. Thomas Detry 25.3
  7. Rory McIlroy 24.2
  8. Xander Schauffele 24.1
  9. Lanto Griffin 22.6
  10. Patrick Cantlay 21.9
  11. Matt Kuchar 20.9
  12. Max Homa 20.4
  13. Sahith Theegala 20.2
  14. Maverick McNealy 20.2


Having to putt around the numerous ridges and slopes leads to one of the highest 3-putt rates on Tour at 3.85 %. These greens are lightning-fast, so it will not be uncommon to see a putt go six feet or so by the hole.

Three-Putt Avoidance (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Brian Harman 9.73
  2. David Lingmerth 8.83
  3. Denny McCarthy 8.76
  4. Harris English 7.99
  5. Billy Horschel 7.93
  6. Mackenzie Hughes 7.3
  7. Tyrrell Hatton 7.16
  8. Stewart Cink 7.13
  9. Scottie Scheffler 6.89
  10. Corey Conners 6.82
  11. Justin Thomas 6.73
  12. Sepp Straka 6.71
  13. Tony Finau 6.68
  14. Lanto Griffin 6.23
  15. Doc Redman 5.9


TPC Sawgrass ranks inside the top 10 for toughest courses to gain strokes around the green. Both scrambling and sand saves are below average.

Scrambling Gained (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Mackenzie Hughes 18.3
  2. Jason Day 18.2
  3. Andrew Putnam 17.2
  4. Aaron Wise 16.9
  5. Hideki Matsuyama 16.7
  6. Maverick McNealy 15.6
  7. Matt Kuchar 14.8
  8. Max Homa 14.5
  9. SH Kim 13.3
  10. JJ Spaun 13.2
  11. Aaron Baddeley 12.9
  12. Matt Fitzpatrick 12.5
  13. Danny Willett 11.9
  14. Brendon Todd 11
  15. Tony Finau 10.7


Strokes Gained Around The Green (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Justin Thomas 22
  2. Rory McIlroy 15.8
  3. Scott Piercy 15.7
  4. Danny Willett 14.8
  5. Robby Shelton 14.7
  6. Christiaan Bezuidenhout 14.1
  7. Patrick Rodgers 13.7
  8. Stephan Jaeger 12.8
  9. Tommy Fleetwood 12.3
  10. Byeong Hun An 12.2
  11. Hideki Matsuyama 12.1
  12. David Lipsky 11.9
  13. Seamus Power 11.9
  14. Kurt Kitayama 11


While TPC Sawgrass is the most unique of the Pete Dye designs, it has many Dye trademarks and players that play well on one Dye design tend to play solid on all of them. 

Strokes Gained Total - Pete Dye Designs (Last 36 Rounds)

  1. Patrick Cantlay 53.9
  2. Brian Harman 53.7
  3. Keegan Bradley 50.8
  4. Jon Rahm 50.3
  5. Shane Lowry 50
  6. Tommy Fleetwood 47.3
  7. Sungjae Im 47
  8. Adam Scott 46.3
  9. Corey Conners 44.3
  10. Rory McIlroy 42.7
  11. Matt Fitzpatrick 41.2
  12. Justin Thomas 41.1
  13. Webb Simpson 40.4
  14. Hideki Matsuyama 38.3
  15. Kevin Streelman 37.5
  16. Jason Day 34.7
  17. Sam Burns 34.4



Patrick Cantlay 16/1 SuperBook Sports

"Patty Ice" has been ice cold at the PLAYERS, missing three consecutive cuts, but he comes in hot this week with a 3rd at Riviera and a 4th at Bay Hill, where he was 3rd for Strokes Gained: Tee To Green. 

He's also an ace on Pete Dye designs with a victory at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, plus runner-up finishes at the RBC Heritage and The American Express. 

Justin Thomas 23/1 Circa Sports

Thomas had a disappointing weekend at Bay Hill but was 4th in the field for GIR. 

We were on him two years ago at the PLAYERS at a similar price when he was victorious, and this course suits him where he can work the ball all around the course. 

Viktor Hovland 29/1 Circa Sports

Hovland was in contention on the back nine last weekend, but his short game let him down before the water ball on 16 took him out of contention for good leading to a T-10 finish. 

The Norwegian finished 9th here last year. 

Jason Day 30/1 Draft Kings

The 2016 PLAYERS champion now has four consecutive Top 10s coming into this week.

Very few players have consistent form, but Day does. Outside of his victory, he also has three additional finishes of 8th or better. 

Tom Kim 42/1 Circa Sports 

A debutant has only won twice here in the history of the PLAYERS, but Tom Kim can be the third.

Last week, we saw Kurt Kitayama along with caddie Tim Tucker, who was on Bryson DeChambeau's bag at the 2021 API, win. Perhaps Tom Kim can do the same with caddie Joe Skovron, who won here at the PLAYERS with Rickie Fowler in 2015.

Keegan Bradley 50/1 BetMGM

Bradley got back in the winner's circle last fall at the ZOZO and continues to maintain consistent form with a runner-up at the Farmers and a Top 10 last weekend at Bay Hill.

He has finished inside the Top 30 in each of his last four starts at the PLAYERS. 

Webb Simpson 150/1 Draft Kings

Simpson, the 2018 PLAYERS champion, has been plagued with injuries in recent years and has not contended for a win in a long while. 

Nevertheless, he was 4th on Approach last weekend en route to a T-24 finish. 

Matchups (15-8-1, 2-1 last week):

Viktor Hovland -145 over Jordan Spieth

Shane Lowry 109 over Keith Mitchell

Harris English -105 over Kurt Kitayama

Tom Hoge -125 over Taylor Montgomery 

Matt Kuchar -130 over Jhonattan Vegas

Magical Kenya Open 

The DP World Tour returns this week after a short break, with the players first heading to the Magical Kenya Open before venturing to South Africa for a fortnight of co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour events.

Antoine Rozner, off consecutive Top 6 finishes, tops the betting market this week at 18/1, followed by Robert MacIntyre at 22/1. Adri Arnaus (25/1) finished 8th here last year. Adrian Otaegui (28/1) and Julien Brun (30/1) follow in the market.

Ashun Wu (33/1) is back to defend his title. At 40/1 are Jayden Schaper, Jorge Campillo, who finished 4th at the Hero Indian Open two weeks ago behind Marcel Siem, also at 40/1, along with Oliver Bekker, who finished 8th here last year. 

The Event​

The Kenya Open was founded in 1967 on the now-defunct Far East Circuit/Asia Circuit. The tournament later became part of the Safari Circuit, a collection of tournaments initially in Kenya and Zambia, and then later in Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe. The Challenge Tour eventually became the home of the event from 1991-2018. 

In 2019, the tournament became a European Tour event annually played in mid-March. The tournament has always been held near the capital city of Nairobi, either at Muthaiga Golf Club (1967, 1969–2002, 2009–2012, 2017–2018, 2022) or at Karen Country Club (1968, 2004–2008, 2013–2016, 2019, 2021).

The title has been won by some of Europe's Ryder Cup golfers, including Seve Ballesteros, Ian Woosnam, Ken Brown, Edoardo Molinari and Christy O'Connor Jnr, as well as future Masters champion Trevor Immelman. The most successful player is England's Maurice Bembridge, who recorded three victories between 1968 and 1979.

The Course 

Muthaiga Golf Club is a 7,228-yard, Par 71 parklands layout that dates back to 1926. The front nine plays 400 yards longer than the back nine on this 36-35 split. 

The club claims to have the fastest greens in Africa, which were switched to Bentgrass as part of Peter Matkovich's 2004 renovation. Matkovich is a former Sunshine Tour player with many designs to his credit in Africa, especially South Africa. 

Nairobi sits at around 5,000 feet above sea level so the altitude here at Muthaiga also helps the ball fly further. 

Recent History/Winners​

2022: Ashun Wu (-16/268); 60/1

2021: Justin Harding (-21/263); 33/1

2020: Tournament canceled (COVID-19)

2019: Guido Migliozzi (-16/268); 300/1

Note: The 2019 and 2021 events were held at Karen Country Club.


Adri Arnaus 25/1 BetMGM

Arnaus seems to enjoy these short, altitude tracks in Kenya having finished 2nd at Karen Country Club back in 2019 and finishing 8th here at Muthaiga last year. 

Julien Brun 30/1 DraftKings

Brun has two Top 5s already on the DPWT this season. He currently ranks 8th for Scrambling, 14th for Strokes Gained Approach, and 18th for Greens In Regulation.

Jayden Schaper 40/1 BetMGM

The South African will turn 22 next week. He currently rates 6th for Driving Accuracy and 9th for GIR for the DPWT season to date. 

Marcus Kinhult 45/1 BetMGM

Kinhult finished 8th here at Muthaiga last year and currently rates 12th in GIR and Strokes Gained Around the Green on the DPWT. 

Angel Hidalgo 55/1 BetMGM

He was 5th at the 36-hole mark here at Muthaiga last year after an opening pair of 68s, but the weekend saw him fall back to a tie for 17th. The Spaniard finished Top 10 two weeks ago at the Indian Open.

Connor Syme 55/1 BetMGM

As he still seeks his first DPWT win, Syme has not been spectacular to start 2023 but has been consistent and made every cut and can get his maiden win in this field without a ton of quality at the top. 

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