Golf PGA Tour : Valspar Championship
Last week's WGC event at Doral was for the big hitters on Tour as I outlined on Thursday and once again the cream and the longest drivers made it to the top of the leaderboard and battled it out for the big cheques. However, someone who took my eye a little further down the leaderboard was Jason Dufner , who was ranked 121st for distance last year (110 in 2016) and was at a huge disadvantage on the "Blue Monster". He finished 11th, the best of the "short hitters" and had 20 birdies or better, which was two more than Bubba Watson who "should" have won and finished second . That is not the first time Duff has played well at Doral, but he cannot go to a course like that and give up 30-40 yards at many holes and stay competitive unless he is at, or at least near, the top of his game and he clearly is. Dufner has had a lot of issues to deal with in recent years, not least a very high profile and hurtful divorce and injury problems. He is a four time winner on Tour and has a major to his name, it should have been two, three of those wins came in a 18 months spell up to August 2013, during which he was ranked inside the top 10 on Tour for almost a year, with a high of #6. His game was good enough to become a multi winner , but then everything fell apart. He has taken a long time to get back on track, but won the aptly named CareerBuilder Challenge in January and we should not rule out another victory in 2016 on a course which suits and this might just be the one !
Duffner's record at Copperhead on the Innishbrook resort might not be spectacular, but could hardly be more solid and he has finished top 30 on each of his last seven visits, 14th and 24th on the last two in years when he was struggling with his game and life ,and now that he is back on an even keel, he can go better this week and he has additional incentive to do so. His world ranking is now back up to #62, he would get into the next big money WGC event (starts March 23rd) if he stayed inside the top 64 until this Sunday and top 50 over the next month would get him into the Masters and that would really herald his comeback.
Jason Dufner to finish top 20 2.375-2.50 general quote(best alternative top ten @ 3.75-4.50)....... he has finished 10th-28th on his last seven visits and a top 20 placing seems on the cards as a minimum if he comes even close to the form he showed last week, or at Copperhead previously and if he puts it all together, a big charge at the leaderboard and second win of the year is far from impossible .............
Jason Duffner to win outright 29.0 general quote