I’m beginning to think I’m placing a Fried Egg curse on players. A few weeks ago I talked up Shane Lowry, who lost on the 18th hole at the Honda after a poorly timed rain storm. This past week, Paul Casey got one of the worst breaks I have seen in pro golf, when his tee shot on the 16th hole settled in an old pitchmark, forcing him to layup on a short par 5 while in contention.
Paul Casey rolled his drive into what looks like a pitch mark on the 15th fairway. Horrific break. pic.twitter.com/T4y5gAUCUi
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) March 14, 2022
Let’s hope the curse doesn’t continue to the Valspar this week.
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort, host of this week’s Valspar Championship, can be one of the more challenging tests on the PGA Tour. The Larry Packard design emphasizes precision over distance more than most tour venues. In order to succeed at Copperhead, you must keep the ball in play off the tee, be above average with irons from 150+ yards, and have an above-average short game.
Let’s take a look at a few players to target:
Louis Oosthuizen $9,900
Oosthuizen’s game is perfectly made for the Copperhead Course. He ranks top 10 outside 150 yards on approach and around the green. He also ranks top 30 in every other major statistical category (off the tee, approach, putting). So it makes sense that Oosty has finished 16th or better in each of his last four starts at this event.
Harold Varner III $8,600
Varner’s sixth-place finish at the Players Championship could have been much better if not for his implosion on No. 17 in the first round. But at least he bring some confidence to Innisbrook, which fits his game tremendously well. He ranks top 25 in approach, around the green, putting, and approach from 150+ yards.
Keegan Bradley $8,400
Bradley is another player looking to carry over momentum from last week. He made a furious rally on Monday en route to a fifth-place finish, even after doubling the 18th hole. His elite ball-striking has led to success at the Valspar Championship, including a runner-up finish last year. Last week at TPC Sawgrass, he had his second best ball-striking week in the last 10 years! If he has any semblance of that this week at Innisbrook, he will contend once again.