Take a look at long shot Keegan Bradley

The PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club is less than three weeks away. Defending US Open champion Jon Rahm, Masters winner Scottie Scheffler and 2017 PGA Champion Justin Thomas (12/1) are tri-favorites to win the event, while Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy (14/1) round out the top-five on the BetMGM odds board.

But, we’re not here to focus on the favorites most likely to win the year’s second major. Rather, we’re going to look further down the board and attempt to discover some long shots that have a chance to lift the Wanamaker Trophy.

Keegan Bradley (125/1) is a former PGA champion who has quietly put together a very good season thus far. In his last four starts, the 2011 winner has gone 11-5-MC-8. Most notable will be that fifth-place finish at the Players Championship, where Bradley was second in SG: tee-to-green.

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley
AP

That will come in handy at Southern Hills, which stretches about 200 yards further than TPC Sawgrass. Plus, Bradley had great success in last year’s PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, another 7,400-plus-yard course.

Another positive? The course at which Bradley won in 2011 – Atlanta Athletic Club – was another lengthy setup that required strong driving and accuracy with mid- to long-irons, both attributes Bradley possesses. Given Bradley has gained strokes tee-to-green in eight of his past nine events, I believe he’ll do well at Southern Hills. He’s gained strokes on the field in 25 of his past 36 rounds, and 19 of his past 24 rounds played on 7,400-plus-yard courses.

The only real cause for concern with Bradley is his putter. He’s now lost strokes to the field in seven of his past nine events, so he’ll need to figure that out in a hurry to have a chance, but at 125/1, Bradley is worth the risk.

This is more of a hunch, but I’m a fan of Thomas Pieters (200/1). The DP World Tour representative has missed the cut in three of his past four PGA Tour appearances, but there are reasons to believe his game di lui will fit Southern Hills well.

Thomas Pieters lines up a putt at the Masters at Augusta National on April 8, 2022.
Thomas Pieters lines up a putt at the Masters at Augusta National on April 8, 2022.
Getty Images

Pieters ranked inside the top 16 on the DP World Tour in SG: off-the-tee two straight seasons and sits ninth in the same category this year. Plus, Pieters has a good track record at lengthy midwestern setups.

In the 2018 PGA Championship played at Bellerive Golf Club – a nearly 7,600-yard track in Missouri – Pieters finished in a tie for sixth. Further, Pieters was a solid 23rd in the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black – another long, challenging setup. Though he missed the cut at Kiawah in 2021, Pieters is a winner on the DP World Tour this season. That victory came at the Abu Dhabi HSBC championship, which was played at another 7,400-plus-yard track.


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Finally, much like Bradley, Pieters has an affinity for long courses. In his past 10 rounds on courses longer than 7,400 yards, he’s gained strokes on the field in six. For those reasons, I think this price may be slightly inflated.

Bradley and Pieters both have some red flags that make them long shots in the betting odds. However, each golfer has a better chance to be in contention on the final day than the odds suggest. One of them could surprise and pull out an unlikely win at Southern Hills.

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