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Highlights on Off The Ball

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the WGC St Jude Invitational

Welcome to Virtual Insanity for OTB, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on...

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan'...

Virtual Insanity! John Duggan's Golf Tips for the WGC St Jude Invitational

Welcome to Virtual Insanity for OTB, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!

The virtual pot is at €800 from €1000 for 2022 entering this week's tournament of focus, the World Golf Championship FedEx St. Jude Invitational on the PGA Tour in Tennessee.

This tournament is played at the TPC Southwind, a par 70 parkland golf course near Memphis which features challenging rough, water, dog leg holes and Bermuda greens. It's a ball striker's course, where decent tee to green play is necessary.

This is the first event of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup play off race, with 125 players to be whittled down to 70 by next week's BMW Championship. Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Seamus Power are the Irish players in this week's field.

The event starts at 1.15pm Thursday, Irish time.

Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, SKY Bet, William Hill, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfair offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top eight places.

Our headline selection is Will Zalatoris for €12 each way at 25/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet, William Hill). 

It's quite remarkable that someone who has finished runner up in 33 percent of his major championship starts is still a maiden on the PGA Tour. American Will Zalatoris has yet to win, but the 14th ranked player in the world should change that run soon. He's posted eight top 10 finishes in 22 starts this season, losing a play off at the U.S. PGA Championship and then finishing in a tie for second at the U.S. Open. Zalatoris comes across as a nice guy, but he's got a tough streak - he fired his caddie midway through the Wyndham Championship last week. The 25 year old grew up playing tournaments with Scottie Scheffler in Texas as a youngster and he's well capable of winning tournaments as Scheffler has to such a stupendous level this year. Zalatoris is iffy with short putts, but the rest of his game is excellent and Southwind should suit - he fired four rounds in the 60's en route to a tie for 8th on his Memphis debut last year. He has the fairways and greens game which is required this week and he tops the approach stats on Tour. Most importantly, he putts better on the bigger stages and that points to a strong mentality. He's the headline pick to deservedly break his duck on Sunday.

Our second selection is Russell Henley for €5 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Betfred, Paddy Power, Betfair, Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill, SKY Bet). 

A form horse this week is American Russell Henley, a brilliant iron player who tied fifth at the Wyndham Championship last week after a tie for tenth on his previous start at the Rocket Mortgage Classic. Only Zalatoris is better on the PGA Tour with approach shots than Henley, who lies 15th in the strokes gained category this season. He suffered a painful play off defeat to Hideki Matsuyama in Hawaii in January after playing out of his skin, so maybe we are only now seeing him come back into the groove. He does have a tie for seventh in his back catalogue at Southwind from 2017. Henley is a three time PGA Tour winner who is not afraid of elite company and I believe he can contend this week.

Our final selection is Denny McCarthy for €3 each way at 200/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill). 

Last week American Denny McCarthy was our headline tip at the Wyndham Championship and he missed the cut. He started at 35/1 in the betting. He's now 200/1, one week later. He has yet to win on the PGA Tour, but it's been a breakout campaign for the former Walker Cup player, who contended at the U.S. Open in June. He has five top ten finishes this season including three in his last six starts. So yes, he's missed his last two cuts, but that's factored into his price against this top field. McCarthy is 43rd in the FedEx Cup standings and putts very well on Bermuda greens which he will encounter this week. 29 year old McCarthy was statistically the best putter on the PGA Tour in 2019 and 2020 and ranks fourth in that category this season. On his only appearance at Southwind in 2018 he finished in a tie for 18th, his second best finish of that season. His long game is much better now and I am prepared to give him another chance at what I feel are generous odds.

So that's €40 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home!

Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!

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