There will be a marked difference in the atmosphere on the Thursday of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans compared to the Valero Texas Open. New Orleans is known for being a party town and their PGA Tour event certainly guarantees a fair amount of fun. TPC of Louisiana is one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour and provides a welcome relief after the tough challenge posed by TPC San Antonio last week. It is going to be a very low score that wins this and we are all set for a cracking display of golf from some of the best in the business.
At 7,425 yards you may think that the par 72 layout at TPC Louisiana looks a bit of a brute but it never quite turns out like that when the PGA Tour stars turn up to play. The last four years have seen winning scores of -22, -19, -20 and -19 which gives you an idea of just how many birdies we are expecting.
As ever with a course that yields some ludicrously low scores it largely boils down to being a putting competition. When Jason Day played at the RBC Heritage a couple of weeks ago he said that it was a strange course for him because everybody is playing their shots from the same places. Harbour Town was designed by the same man who designed TPC Louisiana, Pete Dye, and while they are very distinct courses Day’s point will hold true in that everybody is going to hit the greens in regulation. It’s how well they take their chances that will matter.
Day loves to overpower a course but he is not afraid by a putting competition. You don’t get to world number one if you are a bad putter and Day’s rise up the rankings has coincided with something clicking on the greens. The end of last season was characterised by the Australian pouring in putt after putt and if he is well enough rested after an average display last time out he will take some stopping at 11/2 with BetVictor.
Rickie Fowler will not only be gunning for Day this week but will have an eye on his top spot in the rankings. Fowler has been outshone by some of his peers but whenever you talk about the young talent making an impact at the very top of the game you have to talk about Fowler. Anybody with a Snapchat account will know exactly how rested Fowler is and with a current ranking of 26th for strokes gained putting he should be well in contention for the win at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.
Statistically speaking, Patton Kizzire is one of the very best putters in the field. Of course, confidence on the greens can come and go incredibly quickly but the 30-year-old Web.com Tour graduate should go into the Zurich Classic full of belief that he can claim his first PGA Tour title. There have been some big odds winners of this event in the recent past, so Kizzire’s odds of 55/1 with Bet365 are incredibly tempting.