Tee-Off on These Matchups in the PGA Bermuda Championship
With the 2020 Masters Tournament a few weeks away, a lot of the big names will skip this week's event in Bermuda and use next week's Houston Open as their warmup for the major.
That means we have a pretty weak field for this week's Bermuda Championship at Port Royal Golf Course. This tournament will be another opportunity for young, up and coming stars like Will Zalatoris and Justin Suh to earn a full-time position on the PGA TOUR.
After back-to-back no-cut events, the Bermuda Championship is a 130-player event with normal cut rules--top-65 and tied advance to the weekend. Brendon Todd was the winner of the inaugural event at Port Royal Golf Course.
Course and Key Stats
This oceanside course is one of the shortest courses on the PGA TOUR. For that reason, we will put added significance on Driving Accuracy and Strokes Gained: Approach. Players who are able to find the fairway with regularity and who are strong iron/wedge players should have a lot of success this week.
The weather could play a factor this week, particularly on Friday. Winds are expected to be around 42km/h in the afternoon on Friday, so players teeing off on Friday morning may get better scoring conditions. The clouds will roll in with a chance of precipitation over the weekend, with winds staying steady around 30-to-35km/h.
With that said, here are my favourite head-to-head bets for the Bermuda Championship;
Scott Piercy (-105) over Luke List
Piercy is not a long hitter like List, but he's far more accurate and has Gained Strokes: Off the Tee in four straight events. Piercy, who's not a historically strong putter, has struggled more than average as of late, but his irons have been as hot as ever. Piercy most recently ranked third in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach at the Shriners, where he finished T-19. And if he's a bad putter, then List would be considered terrible. List missed the cut in his last two starts and has lost strokes putting in six straight events.
Given the fact that Piercy's lack of length won't affect him at Port Rush, his accuracy, iron play and putting advantage should be more than enough for him to finish higher than List this week.
Will Zalatoris (-130) over Brendon Todd
Todd may be the defending champion and have one of the hottest putters in this week's field, but Zalatoris is going to break through with a win soon. Zalatoris is the favourite to win this week and has three Top-10s in his last four PGA TOUR starts. Zalatoris has been a ball-striking mating during the 2021 fall season and just needs to dial the putter in for an entire week. If he can hit the fairways, the 24-year-old should have a plethora of birdie chances this week with his iron and wedge play.
It's not that I don't like Todd this week, I just think Zalatoris earns his first win.
Pat Perez (-125) over Danny Willett
Perez withdrew from back-to-back tournaments to end the 2020 season but has completed four straight events to kick-off the 2021 fall campaign. He has missed two straight cuts because his putting has been awful, but it should come around soon. He's Gained Strokes: Putting in four straight PGA seasons, so you expect improvement in the near future.
Even if it only improves marginally, that may be enough for Perez to beat Willett. The Englishman has missed the cut in four of his last European and PGA Tour starts and has been a mess with his ball striking for the better part of a year. With his lack of accuracy off the tee and poor approach game, another missed cut could be in the cards for Willett this week.
When you factor in the potential advantage of Perez’s Friday morning (8:05 am) tee time (Willett goes off at 12:35 pm), he looks like a strong bet in Bermuda.
Peter Malnati (-125) over Stewart Cink
Malnati has been one of the hottest players on tour as of late, finishing second at the Sanderson Farms Championship and T-5 at the Shriners. Malnati has been riding a red-hot putter, leading the PGA TOUR in SG: Putting so far in 2021.
Cink has been riding a hot streak of his own, making three-straight cuts with a win at the Safeway Open to start the 2021 season. However, his irons finally let him down at the Shriners, reverting to the Cink we saw in 2019 and 2020.
Neither player is particularly good with the driver but Malnati's irons are still cooking, and the flat stick is scorching, so I expect him to compete for his second career victory again this weekend.
Henrik Norland (-115) over Aaron Wise
Norlander is one of the most accurate drivers on tour, ranking eighth (69.57%) in Driving Accuracy in 2020. Conversely, Wise was 106th/193. In addition to his driving accuracy, Norlander has the potential to be one of the best ball strikers in the field this week. He went through a terrific stretch from June to August but has seen his irons cool down a bit to start 2021.
Neither golfer is a particularly good putter, but Wise has been the worse of the two over the last year. Wise's form leaves a lot to be desired as well. He's missed the cut in six of his last eight events, while Norlander has made it to the weekend in eight of his last 10. All signs are pointing towards Norlander winning this matchup handily.