As a large part of the country is looking at a weather forecast of snow, the top PGA pros will be in the Bahamas this week at the 2021 Hero World Challenge. Although the PGA Tour is on a break through the holidays, 20 PGA Tour players will be a part of the Hero World Challenge, competing for the $1 million first prize, total world-ranking points over a field that includes 15 of the world’s top 20 players. The tournament was not played last year due to the pandemic, but in 2019 Hendrik Stenson outlasted Jon Rahm by one stroke by shooting an 18-under to win the tournament.
The Hero World Challenge benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, and we expect to see the 15-time major champion this week, as he will host this unofficial PGAT Tour event.
Heading into play on Thursday, Jazzsports.ag had Rory Mcllroy favored to win the whole tournament just ahead of Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth. Sitting right behind the top group of favorites sits Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who just finished their showdown in the Match 5, which was won pretty easily by Koepka.
Keep an eye on Morikawa, who seems to be on the top of his game right now, and should be in contention come Sunday afternoon.
This is starting to look like a pattern as we look at the leader board after round one at the 2021 Hero World Challenge. Rory Mcllroy is paying some solid golf and seems to be in contention or winning tournaments at the start of the season. Mcllroy won the CJ Cup in October, and then nearly won the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai in November, and now finds himself in a tie for the lead at 6-under with Abraham Ancer and Daniel Berger. With his play on Thursday, Mcllroy maintains the favorite to win the tournament, as projected by Jazzsport.ag. Mcllroy turned it on with his play on the back nine, including an eagle on the par-4 14th to grab his share of the lead.
I’m not sure people realize how good Daniel Berger has been this year. Berger has ten top 10s in 19 starts in 2021, and coming into this tournament; he was not considered a favorite. Berger could be atop of the leader board all alone, as he was 7-under through 11 holes, but he played the last seven at one over to keep him in a tie with Mcllroy ad Ancer. Keep an eye on him this weekend, as his short game is fantastic and fits this course well.
A group of three, including Webb Simpson, Justin Thomas, and Brooks Koepka, sit right behind the leaders at 5-under. He was followed closely by a group of four at 4-under, including Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Viktor Hovland, and Collin Morikawa.
What’s the key to grabbing the lead at the 2021 Hero World Challenge? Well, ten birdies is a pretty good start, and that’s precisely what Bryson DeChambeau did in his second round 64 to jump to the top of the leader board at 11-under par, and now has become the overall favorite to win the tournament at +300, as projected by Jazzsports.ag. I’m pretty sure not many people would have given DeChambeau even a chance this week after he got roughed up last week in his match with Brooks Koepka.
DeChambeua started his birdie run on the par-5 sixth, and the only hole he didn’t birdie over the next hour was the par-3 12th. Then, in classic DeChambeau fashion, he nearly drove the green on the reachable par-4 14th and caught a break when it was rolling off the steep slope and went into a sprinkler hole, which left him a simple up-and-down.
Thursday’s leader Rory Mcllroy seemed to run out of gas. Nevertheless, he played well and was within striking distance of the leaders until a double bogey on the 14th. Mcllroy sits four back with Viktor Hovland and Patrick Reed.
Collin Morikawa, my pick to win the whole tournament, made a late run on the back nine with a birdie-birdie-eagle sequence. Morikawa had a chance to tie or take the lead as he teed up on the tough 18th, but he shot a bogey that left him with a 66 for the round and put him right behind DeChambeau to win the tournament at +350, as projected by Jazzsports.
A win this week among this field, and Morikawa can reach No. 1 in the world, but it might be short-lived as Jon Rahm, who is not playing this week, is projected to return to the top based on the two-year rolling formula.
Maybe the surprise of the tournament thus far is Tony Finau, who dropped a 15-foot putt on the 18th to finish with a 66 and one shot back in a tie with Morikawa and Koepka. Finau increased his odds to win the tournament to +700, as projected by Jazzsports.
Koepka shot his second 67 in a row finishing 5-under for the day and one shot back at 10-under for the tournament. Koepka seems to be playing with a lot of confidence after his nine-hole beat down of DeChambeau last week. It looks as if the knee surgery that had slowed him down for most of the season is healed, and he is poised to be in contention come Sunday afternoon.
In a group right behind the leaders at 8-under sits Daniel Berger at +1200 odds, and Tyrell Hatton at +2000 odds to win the tournament, as projected by Jazzsports.
After round two at the 2021 Hero Word Challenge, Bryson DeChambeau is currently at the top of the leaderboard and is the favorite at +300 as projected by Jazzsports.ag/*. The odds after round two have been updated below.
|FIELD (ANY OTHER)||+275|
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