The Florida Swing continues with the Valspar Championship 2018. Once again it is held at the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor. Thick rough and slick greens provide the challenges on a course that does not feature the water hazards which are prominent at many Florida venues. At 7,340 yards, it’s on the lengthy side for a par 71. So distance off the tee is an advantage, although keeping the ball out of the long grass is equally important. The course is also noted for a challenging closing three-hole stretch, known as the “Snake Pit”. Adam Hadwin was the surprise winner of this event last year. Other recent champions include Bill Haas, Charl Schwartzel and Jordan Spieth.
Valspar Championship 2018 Favourites
Jordan Spieth hasn’t finished higher than ninth in his six starts in 2018. This is a marked downturn in results compared to the way he finished 2017. However, the 2015 champion is the market leader here at best odds of 17/2* with Bet365. Rory McIlroy’s best form has eluded him over the last month. The world number 12, who was 59th last time out at the Honda Classic, looks unappealing at 14/1* with bookmakers. Sergio Garcia, who was seventh in Mexico, is at 18/1* with Betfred. They also offer the best price of 20/1* about Justin Rose.
Henrik Stenson is at the same price for his first PGA Tour appearance of the year. Paul Casey is at 25s after continuing his consistent form with a share of 12th place on Sunday. It’s almost 14 months since the Englishman missed a cut. While he has finished outside the top 25 only three times in the last year. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is at 33/1* as he continues his comeback ahead of next month’s Masters.
Valspar Championship 2018 Tips
Not many players stick around for the weekend with the same frequency as Tony Finau, who has missed only one cut in his last 22 starts. The world number 34 has posted five top 10s in his last 11 outings, including two of the last four, and he was second at the Genesis Open three weeks ago. He’s long overdue a victory and he must be a strong contender at a venue where he shared fifth place last year. Ladbrokes and Coral are each quoting 33/1*.
Cameron Smith didn’t make too much of an impression on the PGA Tour in the 2016/17 season, but he finished last year in blistering form, claiming his first career victory at the Australian PGA Championship during a run of three successive top four finishes. He was 20th at the Farmers at the end of January and then sixth at the Genesis Open on his last outing. Take your pick from a number of firms offering him at 50/1*.
Our third pick for this event is a long shot who has shown a little bit of form on his last two outings. Dominic Bozzelli’s rookie season on the PGA Tour was a struggle for the most part, but a share of third place at this tournament went a long way to preserving his playing privileges for another season. The 26-year-old was 26th at the Genesis Open, before sharing 13th at the Honda Classic last time out. He’s at 125/1* with Betfred.
*Odds subject to change.