Who will win the strong Memorial this week?
This week is one of the stronger fields that isn’t for a major, and includes world-class players such as Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler and even Tiger Woods. This is one of the few weeks that isn’t a major that an avid golf fan and a casual fan can both enjoy watching golf together. Many stats matter this week, meaning well-balanced golfers should excel here. Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, Par 4 Scoring Average, Par Breakers, Par 5 Scoring Average, Ball Striking and Scrambling have proven to be important in the last few years.
Pick to Win:
Hideki Matsuyama (18/1): After listing seven elite players to watch this week, my pick to win it isn’t even one of them, showing just how strong this field is. It was no fluke that Hideki won last year: in the six stats respectively, he ranks second, third, 22nd, 11th, third, and 10th. Those are unbelievable stats unmatched by the rest of the field. He also is coming in off of six straight top-25s. With 12 top-25s in 14 tournaments this year, it is no surprise that he is on this streak. It is extremely tough to repeat a win, but this course is perfect for Hideki. As long as he plays like he usually does, don’t be surprised to see him near the top of the leaderboard all week long.
Keep your eyes on:
Brooks Koepka (40/1): Although this is Koepka’s first time playing this course, the stats love him this week. He is ranked in the top-30 on tour in all the important stats this week except for scrambling. However, with there being four reachable par 5s this week, you can expect the player who is ranked No. 1 on tour in eagles per par 5 to be getting a lot of birdies, with perhaps an eagle or two as well. Also playing in Koepka’s favor is his win in the Waste Management Open in Phoenix in his first appearance.
Pat Perez (80/1): This week, there are so many people that can be included in this section. This week, Perez has so many factors going for him that he is impossible to ignore. In the last six tournaments, he has finished no worse than T-26th. In addition, his stats are working in his favor, with a well-balanced skill set that has him averaging 63rd from the six stats. Lastly, in the last five years, he has made the cut every time, with four of those being top-30s.
Kevin Na (28/1): Na is locked in right now, having strung together seven top-20s in a row, with six of those being T-12th or better. He’s giving himself plenty of chances to win, and it is only a matter of time before he gets one. He finished runner up last year here as well. I could see a repeat of Hideki vs. Na.
Ben Martin (55/1): I just have a hunch about Ben Martin this week…and also the stats to support it. He is ranked highly in all the important stats this week, except for scrambling. He is coming in off a strong four-tournament stretch, which has seen him finish top-10 twice, and no worse than T-38th. With strong recent performance and strong stats on his side, I see him continuing his hot run this week.
Chesson Hadley (125/1): I only have one point to support Hadley as the sleeper pick this week, but I don’t think I need a second one: He is coming into this week extremely hot, having finished top-25 in his last four tournaments in a row. He has also made nine of his last 10 cuts, with six top-25s. That is the only reasoning I have for him this week, but when someone is playing so well and getting himself into the mix for such low odds, it is really the only reason needed.
Cameron Smith (250/1): The rookie from Australia is far from a household name. However, in his first ever PGA start, he recorded an impressive T-fifth place finish at The CIMB Classic. The next three events, he missed the cut, but since then, he has made the cut in all three, finishing T-15th, T-43rd, and T-46th. He is elite at Par 4 Scoring Average and Par Breakers, which has been a good indicator of success at this course. While I don’t expect him to win, I think he could make the cut and compete for a top-25 this week.
Edited by Emily Berman.
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- Bowditch has never won on tour