The PGA Tour makes its way back to the main land this week for the Humana Challenge at La Quinta, California for the start of the West Coast swing.
There is one thing that is a guarantee this week and that is birdies, birdies and a few more birdies! This tournament is a celebrity Pro-Am which is being played on three of the easiest courses on the Tour.
Celebrities and Pros will play the three courses together before there is a 54 hole cut when the pros will move on to the fourth round to fight out the finish.
Everyone will play PGA West Palmer (6950 yards), PGA West Nicklaus (6924 yards) and La Quinta Country Club (7060 yards). All three courses are Par 72. The Pros then play the host course PGA West Palmer for a second time.
Expect the first three rounds to take a long time while the celebrities rake up some high scores and the pros patiently wait for tier playing partners to get around the course. Some Pros can handle the long day while others find it irritating.
While this is a birdie-fest it is worth looking at a few stats that will help you find the winner. There are a total of eighteen Par 5’s to play and they are all reachable in two shots so this is where you want to be making the eagles and birdies.
To be able to get into contention to make the birdies you want to be keeping the ball on the fairway so driving accuracy is also important along with hitting plenty of greens in regulation to give yourself the chance at making those birdies.
The bookies Top 5 in betting are- $13.00 Patrick Reed, $19.00 Matt Kuchar, $23.00 Phil Mickelson, $23.00 Ryan Palmer and $26.00 Chris Kirk.
If you like one of the players at large odds do not hesitate to get on. Looking at a few of the recent winners you will see that this tournament has a tendency to throw up a big priced winner. 2013 Brian Gay, 2012 Mark Wilson, 2011 Jhonattan Vegas, 2009 Pat Perez and 2008 D.J Trahan.
The two players to follow this week are-
Many will remember my interview with Zac late last year when he was down in Australia playing golf. This young guy has a head on his shoulders and knows what he wants.
He played his first tournament of the year last week at the Sony Open where he finished T6th. His game was in fine tune and he really stood up against players with a lot more experience on the PGA Tour.
Zac ended the week at the Sony ranked 2nd in driving accuracy, 3rd in birdie average, 15th in greens in regulation and 11th in strokes gained tee to green. Those are perfect stats for this weeks tournament.
This time last year Blair was ranked 1514th in the World. Fast forward 12 months and he is now 172nd! This guy is going places fast.
His stats also stand up when you look at his rankings from the web.com tour last year. 14th in putting average, 9th in birdie average, 1st in scrambling, 19th in Par 5 birdie or better percentage and 30th in driving accuracy.
The laid back Pro-Am format will be a big plus for Zac as he is such a calm and easy going bloke. The pressure will be off and he should enjoy the resort style courses where his game will thrive.
Charley won this tournament in 2007 and in the last two years has finished 9th and 10th. He loves the tournament.
Last year he won the OHL Classic of Mayakoba and found himself in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii two weeks ago. He finished T14th so enters this w eek in good form.
At the Hyundai Tournament he was 10 under Par on the Par 5’s and was ranked 8th in driving accuracy, 8th in greens in regulation, 15th in greens in regulation and 14th in birdie average. Those stats are perfect for this week.
Hoffman is entering the tournament in good shape where he has a good record and he is available at 40/1. What is not to like!