Jason Day was left cursing another near miss in a Major following his second place finish at the US Open a fortnight ago – his third runner-up position in a Grand Slam tournament in two and a half years – but the back-to-form Australian can gain more than just a consolation prize by winning this week’s AT&T National at Congressional Country Club.
My lasting memory of Day at Merion Golf Club was the amount of times long birdie attempts agonizingly slid by or marginally failed to drop in his pursuit of Justin Rose. But the cold hard facts suggest he had a good week on the greens in Pennsylvania, ranking third in putting average.
That followed up a similar story in his previous start in the Memorial Tournament when he again putted well but was undone by some poor driving. If he can find the fairways with a little more regularity this week he will be very tough to beat on a course he was second in the US Open on in 2011 and eighth last year in this event.
Day has refocused after injury and the birth of his first child and is the stand-out player in Maryland this week at 14/1.
With Justin Rose withdrawing, Day’s compatriot Adam Scott looks set to be sent off favourite at 12/1 but indifferent form since his Masters success means he is overlooked especially with his scrambling – perhaps the key stat this week – out of sorts.
So instead look to Chris Stroud (66/1), a brilliant scrambler, to bounce back from the disappointment of losing in a play-off to Ken Duke in Connecticut on Sunday to come good, while Ryan Palmer (40/1) might surprise after missing the cut in the US Open. He has a good record at Congressional and comes into this week’s event on the back of three top-15 finishes in his last five starts.
My three off the tee – Day, Stroud and Palmer.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.