The Greenbrier PGA Preview

Author
by Mark Knight
September 9th 2019, 7:12am

The PGA Tour returns this week and heads to West Virginia for The Greenbrier.

Last year Kevin Na left victorious, and a solid field tees it up again to kick off the new golfing year. It has only been a matter of weeks since Rory McIlroy was victorious in the TOUR finals, but it is now a case of starting afresh for everyone on the tour

All the players will be hoping to bag their own $15m payday next August.

GreenBrier Winner

The Course

The course was originally constructed in 1914 but has been restored a number of times since then – most recently in 2017 after severe floods left large parts of the course damaged. 

The layout is now a 7,286-yard par 70 test – where there is a strong emphasis on getting the job done on the greens. Solid putters usually come to the fore at this event. 

Greenbrier Golf Crowd

Unusually – the 18th hole is a testing par 3, and there are no par 5 holes on the front 9. With 2 par 5s on the back 9 (holes 12 and 17), a strong finish could see players rise up the leader board. It should also be noted that this event is played at a fair altitude – this leads to longer drives, so big hitters can be rewarded on the longer holes.

The field

A strong field has been assembled for the first event of the year – although the biggest names are still on holiday and Patrick Reed has opted to play in the European Tour event again this week. 

Bryson Dechambeau heads the field and has played here once before, a 14th placed finish coming in 2017. Other big names include Bubba Watson, defending champion Kevin Na and Keegan Bradley.

Top 10 Finish

Course form here does not stand out – with Na having finished 32nd and 52nd on his 2 visits to The Greenbrier before his victory last year. Indeed, none of the players at the top of the betting come to this event with exceptional course form. 

Russell Henley

Further down the betting one of the players that does stand out is Russell Henley. 4 previous visits here have resulted in finishes of 30,5,5,10 – this steady record reads well amongst a field where there are no stand out course experts. 

The 3 time PGA Tour winner could come good at a decent price this week in West Virginia. His most recent win being a 3 shot victory at the Houston Open in 2017. Although 2018 was a quiet year for the South Carolina native – a new year could see a new approach to the game, and with strong course form on his side he stands out as being a value pick this week. 

Viktor Hovland

To complete the portfolio for the Greenbrier it is worth backing Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian youngster rose to fame last year with strong showings in both the Masters (T32) and US Open (T12). 

After the latter, he turned professional and has since gone from strength to strength. He is at the top of his game, having just won the Boise Open on the Korn Ferry Tour to secure his PGA Tour card for the 2019-20 season.

Greenbrier Pick

It could well be worth siding with Hovland this week to continue his good form going into his first full season on the Tour.