Aloha! The TOUR heads stateside from the mini-Hawaii swing to play some desert golf in Palm Springs for the American Express Championship.
Gone this year is not only the Pro-Am that will now have this week’s cut after 36 holes instead of 54, but we are now working with only a two-course rotation as the La Quinta course will not be played this week.
Tourney / Course Overview
The Stadium Course at PGA West is the main track here, with all players headed out there for the Saturday and Sunday rounds after rotating Thursday and Friday with the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Both courses have Bermuda greens, play as Par 72’s, and tip out in the 7,100 range. The Par 5 scoring at this tournament is substantially lower than any other course on TOUR, so fire up your stat engines to include golfers who consistently take advantage of them.
Looking at historical winners and stats you can expect a birdie fest to transpire over the four rounds. A few housekeeping notes when placing your bets – if you are playing a first-round leader bet, target those on Nicklaus as it plays a full stroke easier than the Stadium. Also, 11 of the previous 13 winners of this tournament played at least one of the two Hawaii events before teeing it up in the desert sun. Lastly, this tourney tends to breed some very pricey winner’s; Andrew Landry at 200/1 last year and Adam Long at 500/1! the year prior are only a couple of triple digit outrights that have cashed over the past decade.
It would be counterintuitive to not at least dabble with some bombs this week given the aforementioned long shot statistic, so let’s start our card off with Keegan Bradley (+8000 Fanduel Sportsbook). Even by Keegan Bradley standards, losing an astonishing seven full strokes to the field with his putter in just two rounds last week missing the cut at the Sony should have some regression to the mean at the AmEx. He has been superb in just about every other noteworthy stat over the past calendar year, most notably his top-notch iron play and proximity from 150-175 yards, a bucket where a lot of approach shots will be fired from on the Stadium Course. The former major winner can catch even an average putter once in a blue moon, right?
Both of Cameron Champ’s (+4600 Fanduel Sportsbook) PGA TOUR wins have come in his home state of California, and his game suits up nicely to make it a trio of Sunshine state trophies here. A notable bomber off the tee, Champ figures to crush these easy par 5’s on both courses and improve from his 21st place finish last year at the AmEx, which was his maiden voyage at this venue. He dropped 3 and a half strokes to the field around the greens in 2020, a part of his game that his improved dramatically over the past season. If he can clean up consistently, he should figure into the picture on Sunday afternoon.
One of these days Abraham Ancer (+3300) is going to win a TOUR event, and why not at a place where he came so near to breaking through at last go around? Like many other times in his career, Ancer did enough that day to win the title only to be thwarted by a putting barrage from Andrew Landry down the stretch. Ancer used the hot start to his 2020 season to propel him to his best year as a pro, and it seems fitting for it to come full circle with a win now.
My Card (all prices from FanDuel Sportsbook)
💰 Keegan Bradley Outright (+8000)
💰 Keegan Bradley Top 10 (+650)
💰 Cameron Champ Outright (+4600)
💰 Cameron Champ Top 10 (+400)
💰 Abraham Ancer Outright (+3300) .3 units
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