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Players Championship: Sleeper Picks to win at TPC Sawgrass

Players Championship: Justin Rose leads the sleeper candidates

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA – MARCH 17: Justin Rose of England looks on on the fourth hole during the final round of The PLAYERS Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 17, 2019 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

In this week’s edition of sleeper picks we head down to TPC Sawgrass for the Players Championship.

Last year, Rory McIlroy won the Players Championship in a very exciting final round. We saw one of golf’s long time greats, Jim Furyk, put together a run. An unknown, at least to many in the USA in Eddie Pepperell, a true sleeper in Jhonattan Vegas, and DJ himself all fighting towards the end to catch Rory.

No one was able to do so amidst Rory’s torrid pace to start the season. He seems to be on another one this year, as he has been dominating the PGA Tour in 2019-20 so far.

We aren’t here to talk about Rory, even if it is fun to do so. We want to look further down the list of players this week, not at the go-ahead favorite. It’s time to examine some of the sleeper candidates who, like Vegas or Pepperell last year, could make some noise at the Players Championship. All of the players picked will be below +5000 (50/1) odds.

Before we get there, let’s check-in and see how last week’s picks did. Also, we will check on the newest addition to each week’s sleeper picks. Last week, the golf ball bets were introduced to help keep track of the sleeper pick performance throughout the year. There is already some controversy, as I am retracting one of the bets from last week. Francesco Molinari withdrew before teeing off, so that bet was canceled. Here are the plays from last week, and how they fared.

PlayerGolfball BetGolfball BetPlaceGolfballs Won
Lee Westwood50 to win75 for top 10MC0
Max Homa25 to win50 for top 10T-24th0
Rafa Cabrera Bello25 to win50 for top 10MC0
Matt Wallace10 to win50 for top 20T-24th0

 

It looked like it was going to be a good week. Homa was in the top 10 heading into the final day, and Matt Wallace was -2 heading into the weekend. Unfortunately, none of it panned out. The bets were probably all a little high, so let’s scale it back a bit. Here are this week’s sleeper candidate picks for the Players Championship.

Justin Rose: +7000

Rose is coming off of a T-8th at last year’s event. If not for a poor opening round 74, he would’ve had a shot to contend come Sunday. Rose is one of the more veteran players on Tour now, as he is approaching his 40’s. This is a great opportunity to get in prime playing condition as we see the Masters in sight.

The Bet: 15 golf balls to win, 25 to finish top 10 (+600)

Henrik Stenson: +8000

Stenson hasn’t played much on the PGA Tour this year, and his entrance into the Arnold Palmer last year was actually his first PGA golf of 2020. He did win the Hero World Challenge in December, showing he can still compete. If he plays anything like he did during 42 measured rounds last year, Stenson will be a master of approach shots, in which he ranked 1st in the PGA Tour last year. If he can do so again at TPC Sawgrass, Stenson will be near the top of the board come Sunday.

The Bet: 10 golf balls to win, 25 to finish top 20 (+320)

Louis Oosthuizen: +8000

Like Stenson, Oosthuizen hasn’t played a ton on the PGA Tour this year. He did play well at the WGC-HSBC, although it was four months ago. He had a nice stretch on the Euro Tour, finishing T-20th, 2nd, 5th, and T-23rd. It wasn’t that long ago that Louis almost won the Players Championship, as he finished T-2nd in 2017 behind Si-woo Kim. If not for finishing rounds of 73-73, the tournament would’ve been his.

The Bet: 5 golf balls to win, 15 to finish top 20 (+260)

Joel Dahmen: +9500

Dahmen has quietly been playing great golf. Not only is he finishing well, but he is racking up stats in SG also. He currently sits 24th off the tee, 22nd on approach, and 61st around the green. Add it all up, and he is 25th overall. He’s coming off of back-to-back T-5th place finishes at the Genesis and the Arnold Palmer, and is looking to carry that into the Players Championship. In his lone appearance here last year, Dahmen shot -11 to finish in amidst a crowded leaderboard in a  T-12th place.

The Bet: 5 golf balls to win, 15 to finish top 20 (+340)

Talor Gooch: +24000

With five top-25 finishes on the season already, Gooch is quietly racking up not just FedEx points, but awareness in the golf world as well. He shot -5 combined in rounds one, two, and four at the Arnold Palmer, but a second-round 80 found him finishing in a T-13th place, which is still quite impressive. Gooch has made the cut in 12 straight events, with his fair share of low rounds as well.

He does everything well on the course, with putting being his strong suit. As the 47th ranked putter on Tour, he gives himself plenty of opportunities. He should continue his run of making cuts, and finish in the middle of the pack this week.

The Bet: 1 golf ball to win, 14 golf balls to finish top 40 (+290)

When all is said and done, here is where the sleeper tracker is at for golf balls this year. We started the year with 1000 golf balls, and a rough first week knocked it down to 600. Admittedly, I went a little overzealous with last week’s wagers. I contained myself a bit better this week for the Players Championship after remembering that these are sleeper picks, and they are long odds for a reason.

Total Golf Balls: 600 (-400)
Total Golf Balls Bet: 130
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Best of luck to all the sleeper candidates out there this week at the Players Championship.