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USPGA Championship Tips & Predictions: Big bad Bryson to land first major

Bryson DeChambeau features amongst our USPGA Championship tips and predictions.
Bryson DeChambeau features amongst our USPGA Championship tips and predictions.

It's major week and our golf tipster Russell Palmer is back with three more outright tips for this week's USPGA Championship, fresh from a first and second place pick at last week's WGC FedEx...

I often take the view that it's a negative for a golfer to come into a major championship having won the week before. Perhaps too much energy has been used up on Sunday or too much partying.

Having picked out both Justin Thomas to win the WGC FedEx St Jude Invitational at 12/1 plus a 110/1 place return for Phil Mickelson who finished second, I'm determined to come at this week's long overdue first major of the season, fresh and ready to back it up with my third win in nine weeks.

We got a real flavour for major golf on Sunday night, as Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka served up some drama on the back nine at TPC Southwind with Thomas coming out on top, riding his luck at times along with mistakes from Koepka on 16 and 18.

The pair head the USPGA betting this week at 10/1, with Brooks bidding for a third straight win of this particular major.

Can he do it?

He's certainly trending in the right way, although he showed some cracks under pressure on Sunday that were enough to keep me from backing him here.

Thomas was clipped in a couple of points to 10/1 from 12's for this week but I'm going to venture further down the betting for my first selection.

With Rory McIlroy still not showing anything like his best form, I'd want him a bit bigger in the betting to get involved with the Irishman who won the WGC Matchplay at this week's venue, Harding Park in 2015, so this week's first pick is the ever popular Bryson DeChambeau, as he bids to win his first major tournament.

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DeChambeau is a player I was really interested in those early tournaments after the re-start where he put up finishes of 3rd, 8th and 6th in successive weeks before going on to win the Rocket Mortgage Classic on his fourth start back, absolutely overpowering both the course and the field.

The 26-year-old isn't everyone's cup of tea and has a habit of upsetting both fellow players and golf fans, with red ants the latest in his firing line after asking for a ruling when hitting his ball in some scrub and asking if they were classed as dangerous animals - video below.

Joking aside and looking at the stats, DeChambeau's game should be primed for a big week here and the missed cut at The Memorial three weeks ago plus last week's T30th in Memphis means the heat's been taken off his price, now a 16/1 chance this week which really grabs me.

TPC Harding Park plays long, measuring 7,234 yards but only a par 70, DeChambeau's prodigious length can be a huge advantage.

Ranking 1st for shots gained off the tee, the American also ranks 1st for driving distance, averaging 324.4 yards per drive on the PGA Tour this season, over 12 yards further than Rory McIroy who ranks 5th.

Ranking 6th for shots gained putting, 9th for shots gained tee to green and seconds for total shots gained, I'm happy to overlook a couple of bad/mediocre weeks at the prices.

Second up is a player whose only major tournament win came in the USPGA Championship back in 2015. Jason Day continues to go under the radar as far as the odds are concerned, available to back at 40/1 this week with William Hill who are going nine places.

The Australian former world number one has had a rough time of it in recent years, mainly down to injury. With 12 wins on the PGA Tour and over 50 weeks holding that number one spot the 33-year-old knows a thing or two about how to contend.

Three top tens in his last three starts has him in good shape this week and his stats stack up as well. 

Day ranks 2nd in shots gained around the green, 4th for sand saves and 16th for shots gained total.

I'd have the Aussie at around a 33/1 chance this week so loving a bit of the 40's on offer.

My third selection comes in the shape of a player who has some course form, Gary Woodland.

The American has two top ten finishes in the six events he's played in since lockdown plus a T22 at The Memorial which was playing really tough that week.

His course form comes in the shape of a runners-up finish here in the WGC Matchplay in 2015, beaten by Rory McIlory, but Woodland also plays some of his best golf on the west coast, contending at Torrey Pines just down the road a number of times.

The 36-year-old has six top ten finishes this season and can kick on from his maiden major win in the US Open last year.

Ranking 12th for shots gained approaching the green and 25th for putting, he has a top 20 ranking for shots gained total, at 50/1 with Bet365 who are going eight places this week he's another solid each-way play.

Best of the rest

Tiger Woods is a 33/1 chance this week which is just a touch on the skinny side as I'd have liked to see him play more than just the once since lockdown.

Matt Fitzpatrick comes here off the back of two top ten finishes on the PGA Tour but I didn't like the way he fell away when having a slight chance on the closing holes on Sunday, whilst Louis Oosthuizen is another 'under the radar' type player, finishing sixth last week in Memphis and reaching the quarter finals of the WGC here back in 2015.

Good luck if you're following this week as we bid to go 'back-to-back'. There will be more USPGA Championship content in the build up to Thursday and remember, please gamble responsibly.

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