The US PGA Championship gets underway at 12.00pm GMT this Thursday, and planning on keeping abreast of events from across the pond throughout, Ladbrokes News are teeing off by handpicking three players to shoot the lowest of their 3-balls on day one.
In making our selections we’ve paid careful heed of the experts’ analysis that the key to taming Baltusrol’s Lower Course is accurate driving, with length off the tee providing an added boon to any would-be champions’ chances.
There is also a distinctly American theme about our picks that, if thrown into a multiple, would pay out at 14/1.
Brooks Koepka to beat Lee Westwood and Brandt Snedeker @ 7/4
Koepka was in stellar form before an ankle injury curtailed his WGC-Bridgestone challenge in the first round – posting a pair of runner-up finishes and T13 at the US Open. Forced to miss the Open Championship to recover, the Florida State graduate is also gunning for a Ryder Cup spot this week.
His chances of gaining ground in that pursuit are good if finishes of 15th then fifth in the last two editions of the season’s final major are anything to go by. After compiling the four most suitable stats for Baltusrol, including Good Drive Percentage, the American actually comes out as the PGA Tour website’s perfect profile for glory.
Tony Finau to beat Matthew Fitzpatrick and Anirban Lahiri @ 5/4
If you watched The Open, then you were probably very impresses with Finau’s all-round performance. The Salt Lake City native was electric from the tee box, setting up plenty of birdie opportunities with some of the longest driving at Royal Troon, ending up in a tie for 18th.
Finau ranks third in driving distance on the PGA Tour and he can bomb his way to victory here.
Jason Dufner to beat Martin Kaymer and Y-E Yang @ 6/4
According to the same stats table that framed Koepka as the winner, a man who knows exactly what the gigantic PGA trophy feels like to hold also featured at number 11 overall.
Solid driving was the bedrock of that 2013 major triumph and coming off his best finish at a major since then, tying for 22nd at Royal Troon, Dufner is in the kind of shape to have another run after some time out of the limelight.
He features in the top 50 for Driving Accuracy and top 25 for Total Driving among his PGA Tour peers.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.