It doesn’t happen every week in the PGA, but quite often bettors see a golfer storm out to a lead on the Thursday with a very strong first round. Sometimes that fast start isn’t sustained and the golfer is far back in the pack by Sunday. Other times it’s a sign of things to come, and the golfer is able to sustain the performance throughout the weekend. Needless to say, the ability to get a sense of which scenario is more likely can be very useful for bettors. Here are seven questions for PGA bettors to ask to help determine what could happen:
How experienced is he? – When a golfer gets off to a strong start and opens up a lead he is going to feel pressure. If it’s a big tournament then he’ll feel a whole lot of pressure. If a golfer has faced pressure like that before then we can get a sense of whether he is up to it now. If he hasn’t done so, though, then it could be a real problem. Golf tournaments aren’t won by the best player, but by the one who manages the tournament best.
Does he typically start strong? – Some PGA players are strong starters, while other guys close strong. If a guy has been a strong starter a lot in the past then it is easy to get a sense of how they are likely to perform in this case. If he hasn’t, though, it takes more work to look at why it happened this time, and whether it can be trusted.
What is his recent form? – Sometimes a golfer gets off to a hot start just because he is carrying over hot form form the week before. You’ll see this when guys string together a few top five or top ten finishes in a row. If a PGA player has really struggled recently, though, then it could be harder to believe in his ability to sustain suddenly improved play.
Did he play within himself? – If a guy is out to a strong start then he obviously has played very well. There are different ways that a guy can achieve a low score, though, and some are clearly more sustainable than others. If he has scored well by largely avoiding mistakes, hitting greens in regulation, and putting well then it’s a sign that the course suits him well and he’s comfortable. That could easily be sustained. On the other hand, if the score was the result of strong but lucky play – a hole in one, chips in from off the green, really long eagles, and so on – then it could definitely be harder for him to keep it up. Basically, the more controlled and steady the round was, for golf bettors the easier it is to believe in.
How close is the competition? – The more breathing room a golfer has when he tees off for his second round, the more relaxed he is likely to be. For most golfers that’s a good thing – though for some guys the pressure is what drives them. As significant as the gap the golfer has over his competitors is who the closest competitors are. If the guys behind him are superstars who everyone will be watching then he’ll feel them breathing down his neck, and he could be in trouble – especially if he doesn’t have a lot of experience with the situation. If the chasing group is full of younger, less experienced guys, though, then the likelihood that the golfer can relax and perform is higher.
Does the course suit him? – Obviously the course suited that golfer very well on that day. The more the course mirrors his ideal style of course, though, the more likely he is able to sustain the performance through the inevitable ups and downs of a tournament. The important thing to look at here is the broad picture – big hitters on long courses, strong putters on tricky greens, and so on.
Was his tee time a big factor? – Sometimes the tee time for a golfer can have a big impact in how he performs. An early morning tee time can be a big advantage, for example, if bad weather rolls in later in the day and impacts the way later golfers can perform. If the course was damp to begin with but dries out as the day goes along then it could be harder for later golfers to hit greens and target shoot. If the outcome was significantly affected by the tee time then that advantage will disappear in the next round, and it is hard for sports bettors to trust the golfer.