Two of Sam Burns’ four PGA Tour wins have come at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida, and he’ll be looking for the first threepeat on the tour since Steve Stricker pulled off the feat from 2009-11 at the John Deere Classic.
Even though the Valspar Championship comes after two designated events on the schedule (Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship), 10 of the world’s top-50 golfers are in the field and vying for the winner’s share of a tournament-record $8.1 million purse.
The tournament dates back to 2000 with Burns, Paul Casey, K.J. Choi, and Retief Goosen two-time winners of this event.
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook, northwest of Tampa, has hosted this tournament since its inception. It’s a par-71, 7,340-yard track that isn’t as flat as most courses in Florida, especially for one so close to the coast. Holes 16-18 are known as the “Snake Pit” and provide a big challenge to golfers finishing up their round.
Vijay Singh holds the course record here, shooting an 18-under 266 in 2004, when the tournament was played in October. Burns’ winning score each of the past two years has been a -17.
PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas is the betting favorite after a third-place finish in this event last year. He’s scored four top-20 finishes at Innisbrook in five tries, but outside of a fourth at the WM Phoenix Open, he hasn’t looked himself so far in 2023. He did manage to finish between 20th and 25th in four other events before settling for a 60th last week at TPC Sawgrass.
Won here in 2015 and was fourth at Bay Hill two weeks ago. Last week, he was fortunate to make the cut at The Players after his shot on the 18th hole on Friday hit a spectator and led to a favorable lie. He ended up finishing 19th, allowing for the typical feast-or-famine nature to Spieth’s game. It was back in January where he led the Sony Open in Hawaii after the first round and then missed the cut a day later.
The reigning U.S. Open champ, finished tied for fifth here last year. It’s an opportune time for him to break out of a slump, as he’s missed the cut in three of his last five events. He’s alternated good finishes with bad, however, including a 14th at Bay Hill and then missing the cut last week, so he could be in line for a good result this week.
sits behind three top-tier golfers, but all who have some questions attached to them. Sam Burns sits 15th in the Official World Golf Rankings, but he’s also been a bit quiet so far in 2023. Before finishing 35th at TPC Sawgrass, he missed two cuts, and he’s scored one top 10 in the fall and one so far this calendar year. But his ability to win here can’t be ignored.
If you prefer someone in solid form, look no further than Keegan Bradley. He’s currently fourth in FedEx Cup points with a win, a runner-up, and a fifth-place effort so far this season, and he was also runner-up to Burns here in 2021.
Was a surprise winner here in 2017 and was seventh at the Valspar in 2022. He also played very well at The Players this past week, logging a 13th-place finish. Hadwin, who is still sitting on that one career win from six years ago, has three top-10 finishes and just one missed cut in 11 PGA Tour events this season.
Doesn’t have a win here, but he’s recorded five top-15 results in 11 trips to Innisbrook. A win this week wouldn’t be a surprise given his career resurgence in 2023. Remember that he won at Pebble Beach and is coming off a sixth-place finish at TPC Sawgrass, so the Englishman is riding high in confidence.
Is playing here for the second time after coming in a respectable 16th last year. He was one of the many victims of the Stadium Course last Sunday, dropping from fourth to start the day to 27th on the final leaderboard. He’s typically in contention wherever he plays despite not having a PGA Tour title to his name. He did win in South Africa on the DP World Tour last November.
Lost to Burns in a playoff here last year and missed the cut at The Players, but he did finish eighth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational against a stacked field the week before for his only top-10 finish of the season.
Comes in playing some excellent golf. A 14th at the Honda Classic and 19th at The Players is a part of three top-20 finishes in his last five starts.
Is the points leader on the DP World Tour and won against a top-tier field in Abu Dhabi in January. He played a bit on the PGA Tour two years ago, including a ninth-place finish at The Players Championship and a run to the semifinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play that year.
This is a tricky one because while Thomas, Spieth, and Fitzpatrick are all top-tier golfers, their game is full of question marks at the moment. Of the three, we would favor Thomas due to his strong finish here last year and ability to be more consistent than the other two at this point. Burns is worth a shot at +1500, and we also like Bradley, Rose, and Perez for the longshot.
|ODDS TO WIN 2023 VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Check out the 2023 Valspar Championship: Round 1 & 2 Recap +Rd 3 Odds