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Adam Scott One To Beat At Valspar Championship
After a field that saw all of the world's Top-50 players compete last week at the big-money WGC-Cadillac Championship in Doral, it's a bit watered-down this week as the PGA Tour switches to the opposite cost of Florida for the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort's Copperhead course in the Tampa Bay area. Adam Scott is the 12/1 betting favorite at Bovada.
World No. 3 Henrik Stenson, making his first visit to Innisbrook, and No. 5 Adam Scott join defending champion John Senden in a lineup that features four of the Top 10 in the current rankings and 11 of the Top 30.
Expect High Scores
Copperhead is a tough track. Senden's 7-under 277 last year ranked as the second-highest in tournament history to Sean O'Hair in 2008 (4-under 280). Copperhead’s Snake Pit ranked No. 5 among last year’s toughest closing three-hole stretches, averaging .564 strokes above par.
Senden finished the week tied for third in both par-3 and par-5 scoring, critical since Copperhead boasts five par 3s and the full slate of four par 5s. Gusty winds helped inflate scoring in the first and final rounds last year. The tournament not only hasn't ever produced a back-to-back champion, just three of 14 defending titleholders have finished in the Top 10 a year later.
Scott played well last week at Doral with a T4 in his first start anywhere in the world since December. He also used a short putter as the long putters anchored to a golfer's body will not be allowed starting in 2016. Scott returns to Innisbrook where he appeared in command two years ago before stumbling to a T-30 finish. It's a course that rewards strong ball-striking, which is Scott's strength.
Stenson and Jordan Spieth are 14/1. Stenson is making his first trip to the Copperhead Course, but he brings with him plenty of momentum after a T-4 finish at Doral. Stenson has thrived on prior ball-striking venues like Firestone Country Club. Spieth has been quietly lurking on the fringe of leaderboards for more than a month now: T-7, MC, T-7, T-4 and a T-17 finish last week. He notched a top-10 finish at this event in his 2013 debut and chased it with a T-20 finish last year.
Best of Rest
Jim Furyk is 18/1. He has Top 20s in last five editions of this event, including 2010 title and runner-up in the 2012 playoff. He's fourth in all-time earnings here. Top 15s in first three starts of 2015.
How about Luke Donald at 25/1? The former world No. 1 won here in 2012 around the peak of his powers and has been T-4 here in the last two years. He played well in a T7 effort at the Honda two weeks ago, but was simply outmatched by Doral’s length last week.
Brandt Snedeker might be good value at 33/1. He finished T17 at Doral where he ranked eighth in both proximity to the hole and strokes gained: putting. He has two career top 10s at Valspar.
Senden is 66/1 to repeat and hasn't been playing well of late.
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