Give Armour some love at Port Royal

This is just the third edition of the Bermuda Championship and, so far, the identity of the winners rather than their scores offer the best clues.

The two champions are the types you’d expect to be winning on a short par 71 with Bermuda grass – Brendon Todd and Brian Gay.

Both hit it straight rather than long and can really get the putter going.

Todd won the inaugural edition in 2019 with 24-under but Gay ousted Wyndham Clark in a play-off last year after both had fired 15-under.

The difference, as you might expect, was the wind and it’s again due to be quite fresh this time.

Gay had also finished third the year before although Todd missed the cut when defending.

On the stats, both Todd and Gay ranked in the top six for Putting Average while Driving Accuracy was far more relevant than Driving Distance. The two winners also topped the Par 4 Scoring charts.

It certainly feels like one of those course specialist weeks so I’m going to go with a player who has finished tied eighth in both editions here – Ryan Armour.

The 45-year-old (Gay was 49 when he won) has shot all eight rounds under par at this venue and opened with 64 last year. He fired middle rounds of 66-65 in 2019.

Armour played some strong golf in July with fifth at the Barbasol and sixth at the 3M Open before having to settle for tied 32nd and tied 33rd in the two closing Korn Ferry events.

He’s been a little sluggish since but this could be the place that kicks him back into gear.

Armour has five top 25s at El Camaleon which is a similar test and does the right things to succeed on this course.

In both his visits to Port Royal, Armour finished in the top 10 for Driving Accuracy and Putting Average while he finished 21st in Par 4 Scoring on the PGA Tour last year.

Take Armour at 50/1.

At the top end of the market, Valderrama winner Matt Fitzpatrick looks very short at 10/1 for a non-PGA Tour winner and I’m not busting a gut to back Christiaan Bezuidenhout, another maiden at this level, at 14s.

Patrick Reed is a bigger price than both and, if anything near his best, could look real value at 18s given his record on Bermuda greens.

Youngsters Mito Pereira and Hayden Buckley are huge talents but I can let them go for now at 20/1 and 25/1 respectively.

I toyed with Dylan Frittelli at 50s but his fifth at the Open Championship is surrounded by a bunch of missed cuts and, once more, it’s his course debut.

So I’ll have a punt on a player with a proven record on this track.

Denny McCarthy shot 67-71-65-68 to post tied 15th in the first running of the event in 2019 and finished fast to take fourth place last year after firing 70-67-72-63.

He fits the mould of straight hitter (24th for Driving Accuracy this year) and strong putter (22nd for Strokes Gained: Putting last year) so those good finishes here come as no surprise.

While his form is a little patchy, he has a tied 15th and a tied 17th in two of his last five starts.

Both those finishes – at the Wyndham Championship and the Sanderson Farms Championship – came on Bermuda surfaces and that’s the deal here.

The Sanderson came just two appearances ago at the start of October and McCarthy had opened 69-65-65 to sit second with 18 holes to play.

He’d also shot bookend 65s at the Wyndham so that’s four 65s in his last 16 rounds.

There’s enough in his current and course form for a punt at 40/1.

To close with, I’ll pick another player who we know can score well on this course.

Anirban Lahiri opened with a 66 on debut in 2019 before withdrawing after his second round.

He returned last year and fired rounds of 68-70-69-67 to finish in a tie for 11th, his tally of 10-under just two shots outside the top four.

Lahiri finished 8th in Putting Average on the PGA Tour last year which is some going and, at this course, he was 7th for PA in 2020 so he read them well.

It’s also comforting to see that he finished sixth in the Corales Puntacana last year – an event held by the ocean with some obvious parallels to this one.

He said back then: “The golf course here reminds me of my days on the Asian Tour. Similar grasses and temperatures and conditions to what I played for years back home. Definitely a feeling of familiarity.”

As for current form, the Indian finished in third at the Barbasol Championship a couple of months ago and has played all four rounds in four of his last five events.

He hasn’t threatened to land the place money in any of those but it’s kept him ticking over and this looks a great opportunity to get involved again.

The two-time European Tour winner is worth a spin at 80/1.

At the same price I also had a look at Bo Hoag. The American shot a pair of 64s when tied 11th here in 2019 and has done well on some similar tracks.

At 70/1, Nick Taylor has his putting boots on at the moment and has the right profile to do well here on his course debut.

Author: wpadmin

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