A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier returns to the PGA Tour rotation as the first event on the 2019-20 schedule. The tournament will be the first played under to new cut rule of the top 65 and ties at the end of Round 2 making it through to the weekend. Here, we look at the top Greenbrier betting picks and best longshot values to win.
A thinned-out 156-man field is in attendance for the season opener. Bryson DeChambeau is the top player from the Official World Golf Ranking at No. 10. Marc Leishman (No. 24) is his closest competition by the metric. Kevin Na is scheduled to defend his 2018 title, while past champions Danny Lee, Ted Potter Jr., Scott Stallings and Stuart Appleby will also be helping to ring in the new season.
The field is comprised largely of graduates of the Korn Ferry Tour and veteran’s vying to be a captain’s pick on either Tiger Woods‘ U.S. Team or Ernie Els‘ International squad at the upcoming Presidents Cup, taking place in mid-December in Melbourne, Australia.
The course: The Old White TPC
The Old White TPC first hosted The Greenbrier Classic in 2010 with Appleby winning the inaugural event at 22-under par with the help of a final-round tournament record 59. The event took place under the same title through 2017 with the exception of the 2016 season, when flooding forced its cancelation.
It was rebranded in 2018 when Na claimed a five-stroke victory over Kelly Kraft. The event was left off last season’s schedule as it was shifted from an Open Championship tune-up tournament in July to its new spot as the season opener.
The course measures 7,286 yards and plays as a par 70. The four par 3s measure between 177 and 234 yards with three topping the 200-yard threshold. Two par 5s are 568 and 616 yards while the 12 par 4s range from 385 to 493 yards.
The fairways are considered relatively easy to hit with the trees being thinned out with a modest re-design following the 2016 floods. Water truly comes into play only on No. 1 and No. 16. Na’s finishing score of minus-19 in 2018 marked the lowest aggregate score since Appleby, with the other six winning scores ranging from 10-under to minus-16 (twice).
Key stats to consider for The Greenbrier
Based on historical data from Fantasy National, Strokes Gained: Putting, Strokes Gained: Approach and Proximity: 125-150 Yards are three of the most important key stats for a finish near the top of the leaderboard. Strokes Gained: Par 4 and Birdies or Better Gained are added to my model based on the par-70 layout and past finishing scores.
Pay extra attention to those who had success on the Korn Ferry Tour last season or before. The competition is comparable.
The Greenbrier betting picks: Sleepers and value bets
Nate Lashley +11000 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Lashley is way underpriced as the winner of last year’s Rocket Mortgage Classic in a much tougher field. The 36-year-old finished at 25-under to win by six over Doc Redman and gain entry into the 2019 Open Championship, as well as this year’s Players Championship and Masters.
He ranks 11th in my stat model with a top rank of 10th in SG: Approach. He missed the cut at The Open and didn’t finish higher than 26th in six events following his win, but he finished the season at No. 92 in the OWGR after entering the campaign at 477th. He is one of just 18 winners from the past two years on the PGA Tour in the field but 52 golfers have better odds to win this week at DraftKings.
Sepp Straka +8000 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Straka made just 13 of 25 cuts last season, picking up his lone top 10 at the watered-down Barbasol Championship as the second runner-up. He turned pro in 2016 and debuted on the PGA circuit last year. His lone professional win came at the Korn Ferry Tour’s (then the Web.com Tour) KC Golf Classic in Aug. 2018.
The Austrian is 10th overall in the stat model. He leads the field in Birdies or Better Gained and ranks 12th in SG: Par 4. He qualified for last year’s FedExCup Playoffs but was eliminated after missing the cut at The Northern Trust.
Joel Dahmen +9000 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Dahmen made it to the BMW Championship in last year’s FEC Playoffs before falling short of the season finale; finishing 24th at Medinah. The 31-year-old made 21 of 29 cuts on the year, picking up two top 10s. The highlight was a runner-up finish in a loaded field at the Wells Fargo Championship in early May.
He participated in 2019’s final three majors but made the cut only at the PGA Championship, finishing T71. Putting can be a weakness of his, but he ranks 19th in the field in BoB Gained and 25th in SG: Approach. While he doesn’t yet have a PGA win, he has shown well in strong fields. He stacks up well against the weaker competition on the PGA’s fall swing.
The Greenbrier betting picks: Our winner
Joaquin Niemann +2200 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
The 20-year-old Niemann collected four top 10s in 28 events last season and made it to the BMW Championship before being eliminated from the FEC Playoffs with a finish of 31st. The peak of his 2018-19 season was back-to-back fifth-place finishes at the Travelers Championship and Rocket Mortgage Classic. He fired eight straight rounds in the 60s over those two tournaments in late June.
The Chilean ranks 84th in the OWGR and fifth by the stat model. He leads the field in strokes gained on par 4s and is eighth in BoB gained. Niemann skipped many of the weaker-field events to close last season, but he’s in a great spot to claim his first PGA victory this fall.