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A total of 156 players will tee it up at Oak Hill this week in hopes of winning the PGA Championship, but realistically not every player in the field has a legitimate chance at hoisting the Wanamaker Trophy.
Twenty-five PGA professionals are in the field this week, and while it would be cool to see a few make some noise come the weekend, it’s incredibly unlikely one of the 25 will be in serious contention on Sunday. If you add past champions in the field and players who haven’t shown much life all season, the group of players that can actually win the year’s second major isn’t a very long one.
I’ve circled three players who I believe could be standing in the winner’s circle in New York after 72 holes.
The Numbers Pick: Scottie Scheffler (+700)
If you like numbers, then you love Scottie Scheffler, not just this week, but every week.
Scheffler’s incredibly consistent run and two wins since February speak for themselves, but when it comes to statistics, Scheffler’s jump off the page.
Scheffler is the No. 1 ranked player on the PGA Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green and strokes gained: off-the-tee. His around-the-green game isn’t anything to laugh at either, as he ranks 21st on Tour in that strokes gained metric. Total driving? He’s third on Tour.
With narrow, firm fairways this week at Oak Hill and length and accuracy off the tee at a premium, Scheffler checks both boxes.
The only thing holding Scheffler back this year has been the putter, as he ranks 102nd on Tour in strokes gained: putting. Despite the relatively cold flat stick, Scheffler’s worth finish in his 10 starts this year is a tie for 12th in the Genesis Invitational.
The Dark Horse Pick: Adam Scott (+8000)
While his fellow Aussie Jason Day stole the show last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Adam Scott has been trending in the right direction this month.
The 42-year-old has finished inside the Top 10 in each of his last two starts, plus, the putter has shown serious life this season which is always a plus for a guy who’s overall game is always more consistent than not.
READ: TOP PGA CHAMPIONSHIP STORYLINES TO PAY ATTENTION TO HEADING INTO OAK HILL
Scott has the length off the tee to play the bomb-and-gauge game if Oak Hill turns into that sort of track throughout the week. His approach game hasn’t been sharp enough this season, but his short game around the greens and putting from the 10-15 foot range has been rock solid.
Scott is hitting just 65% of greens in regulation this season, if that number can inch closer to the 70% mark and his putter remains warm, the 2013 Masters champ should be a player we’re talking about heading into the weekend.
The Gut-Feeling Pick: Tyrrell Hatton (+3500)
While the feisty Englishman hasn’t won this season, he’s entering the week in stellar form with a pair of back-to-back Top 5 finishes. Outside of a T-34 finish at the Masters, Hatton has performed incredibly well at the other big stops on the calendar this season with a T-6 at the Waste Management, a T-4 at the Arnold Palmer, and a runner-up finish at The Players.
Difficult golf courses and big stages seem to bring the best out of Hatton therefore he should have no problem getting juiced for the test at Oak Hill.
I’ve had Hatton’s name circled for this week for quite some time now. He’s not necessarily flying under the radar given his recent form, but he’s also not getting the respect he probably deserves.
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All odds via DraftKings sportsbook as of May 16.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris