THE Valspar Open was first staged at the Copperhead Course, Palm Harbour, Florida in 2000. The course underwent a $4.5 million restoration in 2015, has tight tree-lined fairways and is ranked sixth hardest on the PGA Tour. I think GIR and putting could be stats to look at.
After winning three times early in the season Justin Thomas had a bad February, missing the cut twice, and a T39 at the Genesis Open.
However, last week in Mexico he had a resurgence in form when he finished T5. He was leading going into the last round but just couldn’t find the birdies. His strokes gained:putting in Mexico was a superb 1.503 with a GIR of 63.89% and if he can keep that going I can see him at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Although Bill Haas has only had one top-10 finish from seven outings this year he has broken 70 all of 19 times from 28 rounds. He was runner-up here last year, beaten by Charl Schwartzel in a play off. Has won six times on Tour but not since 2015 and could get off the mark here. His GIR stat is 73.21% (16th on tour) and has a strokes gained:putting stat of 0.374.
Daniel Berger’s has only played twice at Copperhead, missing the cut two years ago and then a T11 last year. In his second year on Tour (2016) he won the Fed-Ex St Jude and although he hasn’t hit the heights of last year he seems to get better as the year goes on. With GIR of 68.25% and SG:putting 0.605 the 26-year-old American looks good for here and is definitely one to look out for as the year progresses.