While the European Tour has attracted many of the biggest names in golf to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the PGA Tour is having its own fun in the desert this week with the CareerBuilder Challenge. This Californian event is different to most, in that each of the professionals is paired up with an amateur partner. The teams play a round at each of the PGA West Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club in the Sonoran Desert, before the winner is crowned on Sunday at the Stadium Course.
Pro-ams aren’t everybody’s cup of tea. As well as a more relaxed atmosphere, the pace of play is slower than usual and it can be tough to maintain the required levels of concentration. For those who get them though, pro-ams like the CareerBuilder Challenge are among the most enjoyable weeks of the PGA Tour calendar.
Obviously, each of the three courses used this week have their own intricacies for the players to navigate. That said, they’re all stock par 72 layouts and each provide plenty of scoring opportunities. But rather than focusing on key technical stats when looking for a winner, it’s mental attributes that are most important. The winner will have to strike the right balance between patience and aggression as the winning score will likely be a minimum of -20.
Simpson the Pick of the Shorter Priced Options
The history of the CareerBuilder Challenge shows a combination of top quality golfers and longer priced options have flourished. Before getting onto a couple of golfers worth chancing at bigger odds, it’s worth picking out the best option from the top of the betting market.
There’s no doubting Jon Rahm’s ability and Brian Harman is in great form but it’s Webb Simpson who looks the most tempting of the favourites. Simpson has a decent record at the CareerBuilder Challenge with four top 20s to his name. That shows he has few problems with the pace of play and the atmosphere. He’s also in good nick currently as his excellent play at the Sony Open proved. It’s been some years since Simpson won on the PGA Tour but he looks a good price to put that right at 25/1 with Coral.
Bryan and Hadwin Set to Contend at Big Odds
With mentality set to play an even more crucial role in deciding the winner on the PGA Tour than normal this week, it’s worth taking a chance on a couple of laid back players. Wesley Bryan and Adam Hadwin fit that bill very nicely indeed.
Bryan claimed his place on the PGA Tour last year thanks to a season packed with wins on the Web.com Tour the year before. He wasted no time in proving himself at the top level with victory at the 2017 RBC Heritage and will surely contend for more titles in 2018. At 100/1 with Coral, Bryan is well worth each way support.
The same can be said for Hadwin at 66/1 with Betfred. The Canadian also came through the ranks of the Web.com Tour and claimed his maiden PGA Tour win in 2017 at the Valspar Championship. Another win could be as close as Sunday evening for the talented Hadwin.