Barracuda Championship Golf 2022 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

While the eyes of the golfing world will be focusing on the stars at the iconic St Andrews for The Open, the lesser lights of the sport get their own chance to shine when they tee it up in the Barracuda Championship, the event for which the Stableford scoring system is used.

We are guaranteed a new winner this year because like is so often the case for the champion of this event, their career gets elevated and they end up on the other side of the world instead of making a defence of the title. That is the case with Erik van Rooyen.

Recent Winners

2021 – Erik van Rooyen

2020 – Richy Werenski

2019 – Collin Morikawa

2018 – Andrew Putnam

2017 – Chris Stroud

2016 – Greg Chalmers

2015 – JJ Henry

2014 – Geoff Ogilvy

2013 – Gary Woodland

2012 – JJ Henry

The Scoring

It is Stableford scoring this week rather than the usual scoring system used on the PGA Tour. Players receive two points to their score for every birdie they make while each eagle is worth five points. You get nothing for a par and lose a point for each bogey your player makes. Double bogeys and worse are worth a loss of three points. At the end of the week the highest number of points wins the tournament.

The Course

This tournament will be staged at the Old Greenwood Course at the Tahoe Mountain Club for the third time this week so we are getting more of a feel for what is required. The Nicklaus designed course is a par 71 which measures 7,480 yards and is perfect for this scoring with three par 5s and three drivable par fours. It is a cross between Riviera and Muirfield Village, albeit easier to score on. The overriding thing to remember is birdies are the order of the day. While bogeys aren’t helpful here they might not be the hindering factor of a normal event, especially if a player backs it up with an ocean of birdies.

We are at altitude this week so the ball is going to go further so players with a good record in this part of the world or in places like Mexico or Switzerland are good to have on side. Nearly all Nicklaus designs have wide open landing spots and require accurate irons and this is unlikely to be any different. I’m after players who can putt well. A decent short game would be a bonus as I don’t expect many long irons being hit in. The temperatures are expected to be high so conditions will be quite firm here.

The Field

One of the things which will make this field a little stronger than it might normally be is the fact that for a second week in a row this is a co-sanctioned event between the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour so there are a number of players from Europe flying over for the tournament to join those from the PGA Tour who weren’t able to qualify for The Open. Alex Noren is probably the biggest name with a tee time this week, certainly of those who have a legitimate chance at least.

The field is made up of players who have knocked on the door of a first win without it coming, young rising stars who are ready to contend and mixed in are a few veterans who will be hoping to give the latter part of their career a boost. Some other names to look out for include Maverick McNealy, Nick Hardy, Taylor Pendrith, former champion Andrew Putnam, Rasmus Hojgaard and Chesson Hadley. 54 hole leader at the Barbasol last week, Matti Schmid, is also in the field.

Market Leaders

Maverick McNealy is widely considered the best putter in the field this week and he is a 12/1 favourite to come out on top as a result of that. One immediate negative is that this will be his fourth straight week on the course and he has been to Scotland and back in that time so he might be reaching the end of his petrol tank. He has a top 10 and a top 20 in the two years on this track and a couple of runner up finishes in California so he ticks boxes but not enough for me.

Cameron Davis gives it a good smack off the tee and he is 16/1 to run off with the title this week. He was only T32 in his only previous spin here and while you have to highlight that he is a much better player now. He has three top 10s in his last seven starts including one at The Heritage which has a similar course layout to this one. If the putter catches fire this week then there is certainly a lot to like about him but 16/1 just feels a little skinny.

Alex Noren was the first alternate for The Open and might be kicking himself that he didn’t stay at St Andrews because he would have got in at the last minute had he done so. The travelling certainly isn’t going to help his chances but at 20/1 he is on a course which should really suit him. He has gone well at altitude before and finished ninth here in 2020 but if he flew back early enough for the travelling not to be an issue I’d be amazed.

Nick Hardy certainly carries the form with him this week after a decent month of golf and he and Taylor Pendrith are 25/1 to be the champion here. Unlike some in the field, Hardy had the week off last week despite there being a couple of tournaments which might be a positive. Pendrith blew the cobwebs off with a solid effort at the Barbasol last week and if he can go again after being out for a few months then he is entitled to be in the mix.

Main Bets

Nick Hardy has burned me a couple of times recently but he gets one last chance to deliver the goods for me here. Even though he has cost me at the Travelers where he should have given me a full place but bogeyed the second last for a share of one, he has still gone 21-2-35-14-8-30 in his last six starts and those have been in much better company than he is keeping this week. What I like most about Hardy this week is he’ll be fresh as he didn’t tee it up last week, particularly at the Barbasol where a lot of golf was crammed into a short time frame after the weather delays. Although he was only T30 at the John Deere, he closed with a 64 and looks primed to give this a very strong assault.

You almost have to back Andrew Putnam in this tournament. He has won it once and was second to a bonkers score from Erik van Rooyen a year ago. The win was on a different golf course but he has a very good record in California overall and even though this hasn’t been the best year of his career he remains a good putter and is generally strong with the irons. His three best results have been at The American Express (T14), Pebble Beach (T6) and Charles Schwab Challenge (T15). Two of those events are on exposed tracks in California which bodes well. He seems to understand what is needed in this scoring system and should go well again.

Outsiders

Brandon Hagy has no real form to speak of in terms of his overall results this season but in the second round of the Barbasol last week he swiped it round in 62 blows and I don’t care who you are or how soft a course is if you can do that you are not hitting the ball terribly badly. That caught my eye because he has a wonderful record here with T12 and T5 finishes in the two years the event has been played here. He finished last year with a 63 which highlights the potential for his scoring when he gets it right. As a big hitter he can reach all the holes that length is a benefit on and should go pretty well here.

Kevin Chappell has been in the doldrums for a fair while in his career but when he gets it right he should be far too good for this company and I’ll pay to see if this is the week it comes good for him. There is nothing sensational in the Chappell form book this season but T15 at the Corales followed by a T18 at the Texas Open offers signs that the wind won’t be an issue. He was T21 last week which involved a concluding 66 so there are bits and bobs that will encourage him. He was 24 in strokes gained putting last week while earlier in the season at the Farmers Insurance Open and Phoenix Open he ranked 17 and 10 for strokes gained on approach. If he can stick the two together he’s a big price here.

Tips

Back N.Hardy to win Barracuda Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 23.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back A.Putnam to win Barracuda Championship (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 36.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-8)

Back them here:

Back B.Hagy to win Barracuda Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with Betway (1/5 1-6)

Back K.Chappell to win Barracuda Championship (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)

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Author: Martha Chavez