The American Express
January 20th – 23rd, 2022
PGA West Stadium Course
La Quinta, CA
Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,044
Purse: $7.6 million
with $1,368.000 to the winner
Si Woo Kim
3rd round results picks for the final round
So again we find frustration in our third-round picks. Like last week, we won one matchup and lost the other two. Our winning was Hudson Swafford, who shot 66 to beat Lucas Glover, who shot 69. With the win on our $5 bet, the return was $10.50. So for the round, we were $4.50 losers. On the Si Woo Kim bet, he shot 69 to lose to Patrick Reed, who finished birdie-birdie to shot 68 and beat him by a shot. Our second loser was Emiliano Grillo, who shot 73 and was beaten by Jhonattan Vegas, who shot 67.
Going into the final round, the leaderboard is not very inspiring. We have Lee Hodges and Paul Barjon, two players with a total of 26 PGA Tour starts between them with no top-ten finishes. By pure coincidence, they played with each other in the first three rounds. They will be paired up in the final pairing with Tom Hoge. Hoge, a regular PGA Tour member since 2015, has seen a lot of action playing in 200 events but still hasn’t won on Tour. His closest brush with victory came in the 2018 Sony Open when he went to the 70th hole with a one-shot lead. With no wind, the last three holes at Waialae are easy, and the chances are better of making birdies, not bogeys. After a perfect drive at 16, Hoge had just 156 yards left to the green and hit a terrible shot left into a greenside bunker. After that, things went terribly wrong as he barely got his third shot out of the bunker, and after a poor chip shot 11 feet past the hole, he missed that putt and made double bogey. Hoge couldn’t make a birdie on 17 and 18 and missed getting into a playoff by a shot. After that, Hoge finished 2nd at the 2020 Greenbrier, but he was six shots back of the winner Joaquin Niemann. Last year at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, Hoge shot a final round 69 to finish three back of winner Viktor Hovland who shot 65. So frankly, the final pairing on Sunday could get messy. The second to last group is also loaded with talent, but at least Seamus Power, who is two shots back, and Hudson Swafford, who is three back, have won. Power won over the summer at the Barbasol Championship while Swafford has won twice, the first coming in the American Express in 2017.
So what happened to our star-power? First, Jon Rahm shot 70 in the second round, and even with a third-round 67, he is five shots back of Hodges and Barjon. And while Patrick Cantlay looked unbeatable with his 62-68 start, he struggled with four bogeys on his first nine holes at the Stadium Course and struggled to shoot an even-par 72. Another player that some thought would do well, Will Zalatoris, shot a 70 on Saturday after a 61 on Friday. One person to seriously watch on Sunday could be Francesco Molinari, who has struggled since winning the 2018 British Open. He has shot rounds of 67-67-67 and is just three shots back. So we have to think that the winner won’t be coming out of the final group, so it will be a wild final round.
So let’s make some bets for the final round
A bit disappointing, but as of 1 AM Draftkings has only given us nine possible bets even though 70 players are in 27 pairings in the final round. Since they are going off in threesomes, DraftKings has made up pairings, some of them in the same group. But you have to be careful, some pairings like the Russell Henley Vs. Christiaan Bezuidenhout is not only in the same pairing, but they are teeing off on different tees. Now Bezuidenhout has been one of the hottest players in golf. At the Sony Open, he shot rounds of 65-69-65-67 to finish T-17th. He was T-6th in the South African Open a month later, so I like his chances. He is first off the first tee, and he is priced +100 against Russell Henley, who also is playing well. Henley will be playing in the second group off the 10th tee, and I like Bezuidenhout. With a $5 bet, the return will be $10, which is our first bet.
Our second bet is the matchup between Will Zalatoris Vs. Harold Varner III. Unfortunately, they aren’t playing together. Zalatoris is off the 1st tee at 10:15, while Varner is next at 10:25. Despite Zalatoris shooting 61 at the Nicklaus Tournament Course, he came back to shoot 70 at the Stadium Course. Varner has been a lot more consistent with rounds of 68-66-67, and with him priced at +100, I am taking him with a return of $10 on our $5 bet.
For our third bet, it was a toss-up between the Lanto Griffin/Francesco Molinari pairing, in which Molinari is priced at +100 and tempting to take. But I like the 1:45 pairing between Harry Higgs and Hudson Swafford. They are in the same group as Seamus Power, who I also like, but I think Swafford has been there before and knows what to do at the Stadium course by winning on that course in 2017. Have to give away a bit as Swafford is priced at -115, so our $5 bet returns $9.34.
So the bets are in, and we are hoping for a good final round.
2nd round results picks for 3rd round
So it looks like Patrick Cantlay is off and running. After his first-round 62, he came back to earth with a 68 at the Nicklaus tournament course, something that I thought would happen. My only problem was that I thought that Scottie Scheffler would not shoot 70, so I lost the first bet. I was also disappointed that Wyndham Clark would do better than a 69, but Cameron Tringale was very hot in shooting 65, so I lost two matches. Our third bet was a tough win as Adam Long shot 71 even with a double bogey on a par 5. But we got very lucky as Kevin Streelman finished his day bogey, double bogey, par to shot 74. With our $5 bet at -105, we got back $9,76 so we showed a loss of $5.24 for the day.
So let’s make some bets for the second round
The first matchup that catches our eye is the 12:00 PM match on the Stadium Course of defending champion Si Woo Kim Vs. Patrick Reed. Kim has shot a pair of 68s, while Reed has struggled with the putter and has shot rounds of 71-70. I have a feeling that Reed is going to continue to struggle and Kim is priced at -105, so with a $5 bet the return is $9.76 so that is our first bet.
Our next bet is the 12:00 PM match on the Stadium Course between Hudson Swafford, who shot 70-65 in the second round to beat Lucas Glover who shot 66-69. Swafford is priced right at +110 so with a $5 bet the return is $10.50, so that is our 2nd bet.
Our third bet is the 12:50 matchup on the LaQuinta course between Emiliano Grillo who shot 71-65 Vs. Jhonattan Vegas who is struggling with rounds of 72-72. Grillo is priced at +100 so with a $5 bet the return is $10.
So that completes our picks, check back with us tomorrow at around midnight for final round picks.
1st round results picks for 2nd round
Ok, we are off and running. Of our three bets, we won two and lost one. In our first bet, Adam Hadwin shot 68 to beat Alex Noren who shot 70 so with our $5 bet we got $9.54. In our second bet Adam Long shot 68 and beat Kevin Streelman who shot 73 so with our $5 bet we returned $10.25. The bad news, Chris Kite shot 71 and lost to Russell Henley who shot 67 so we lost $5. The good news, with our two wins we profit $4.79.
The first round saw a lot of great scoring as 109 players broke par with Patrick Cantlay and Lee Hodges shooting 62. Now for Hodges, he is only playing in his 14th career start on the PGA Tour and you have to wonder if he is a bit over his head. Some other players that went low in the first round that I would be worried about in round two are K.H. Lee and Cameron Young who shot 64.
So surprises from round one were Sam Ryder and Brandt Snedeker shooting 65. For Snedeker, have to think that with Snedeker playing well it bodes well in his next two stops and the Farmers and AT&T Pebble Beach. Also, think for Ryder it bodes well for him to have a good week.
So let’s make some bets for the second round
The first bet I am looking at is the 1:00 PM pairing at the Nicklaus Tournament course between Patrick Cantlay and Scottie Scheffler. In the first round, Scheffler look sluggish on the back nine, shooting one over on the way to shooting a first-round 69. I feel that he can and will do better in the second round, while I am worried about Cantlay coming back after shooting 62. Now record wise when Cantlay has gone low, he has struggled a bit in his next round. In 2011 when he shot 60 at the Travelers, he shot 72 in the next round. Last year in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Cantlay shot an opening-round 62 and shot 73 the next time he played. We realize that when a player goes really low, it’s hard to back it up the next day and I feel that Cantlay will probably shoot a 68 or so. In one of the matchups, Cantlay is priced at -160 while Scheffler is priced at +140, so with a possible return of $12.00 with $5 wagered, that is our first bet.
After 1 AM Draftkings doubled their matchups and in looking at them, it’s tough to find some “Sure Bets.” Our second bet is in the 12:20 match at Nicklaus Tournament between Cameron Tringale Vs. Wyndham Clark. In the first round, Tringale shot 74 while Clark shot 65. Now what shocked me was the odds, in the 2nd round they have Clark priced at +125 which seems remarkable and frankly a “Sure Bet.” So for our $5 bet the return will be $11.25 for a win. Sure this is one of those head-scratchers, but we feel that Clark can beat Tringale again.
Now our third bet we are going back to the same pairing we won in the 1st round, the 1:20 match at Nicklaus Tournament between Kevin Streelman Vs. Adam Long. In the 1st round, Streelman shot 73 compared to Long’s 68 and I don’t see the outcome changing. The odds on Long is -105 so with a $5 bet the return is $9.76.
So check back with us tomorrow at around midnight east coast time. Remember that because of the time change, the first match-off is 12:20 so there is a lot of time in the morning to place our bets.
Good luck and tell us which “Sure Bets” you see.
Welcome to our “Sure Bets” for the American Express
So welcome back to the American Express edition of “Sure Bets.”
What we are trying to accomplish is finding the best bets out there. We are realistic and realize there is never anything that is a “Sure Bet,” but if we can figure out a way to win each day, then we are doing “Sure Bets.” We are looking at being right between 66 to 80% of our bets. So if we place three bets, we want at minimum to win two of them.
Last week was a terrible week. With the time change making bets at 3 in the morning is hard, but still, the process is there just have to study hard.
To do that, we have to scrutinize the bets and the odds and pick the best ones with the best chances of winning and return. This week is an entire field of 156 players. It will make it harder to choose the overall winner or get good odds for a top-ten finish. I will take it a bit further and pick two players for top-20 finishes for the week. My first choice is Adam Svensson, priced at +450, so with a $5 bet, the return is $27.50. I like Svensson for several reasons. First in his only Amex start was T-18th in 2019. Also, like how well he played at the Sony Open, he finished T-7th with rounds of 64-67-65-67. The key to Svensson playing well last week was his tee-to-green game, he ranked 22nd. He was T-6th in Greens in Regulation and 12th in Strokes Gained Putting. He also was 22nd in putting inside ten feet, all of these are way over his season-high, and if he can repeat that this week will do well.
Our second bet is Adam Hadwin at +250, so with a $5 bet, our return is $17.50. I like him based on his outstanding play in this event since it moved to the Stadium Course in 2016. That year he was T-6th, the next was runner-up. In 2018 he was T-3rd, and in 2019 was T-2nd. His first child was born the week of the 2020 American Express, so he didn’t play, and last year was T-32nd. The key to Hadwin’s good play is his rounds at the Stadium Course. In 11 rounds played, his scoring average is 68.72 at the Stadium Course, and if that isn’t good enough, he shot 59 at La Quinta in the third round in 2017. In his six starts in 2022, he has made five cuts, and I like that he was T-6th at the Shriners Children’s in Las Vegas, showing his love of playing in the desert
Both players give us excellent results of nice returns on Sunday.
So let’s look at our first-round matchups in DraftKings. This is a unique event since it’s a pro-am, so they will play in foursomes with two pros and two amateurs. They play three different courses over the four days, but these matchups are based on the pairings,
so it’s essentially two players against each other.
In scrutinizing the possible bets, I like the 11:40 matchup on Adam Hadwin Vs. Alex Noren. They are playing the La Quinta course, the one Hadwin shot 59 on in 2017, so I think he has the advantage. We know Hadwin’s history in this event, but for Noren, he has played twice, finishing T-40th in 2021 and T-14th in 2020. The last time he played was back in November at the RSM, and he missed the cut. So we like Hadwin, his price is -110, so with a $5 bet, the return is $9.54
The next bet that catches my eye is the 11:40 pairing between Kevin Streelman Vs. Adam Long at La Quinta. We like Long for several reasons. First, he won this event in 2019, and Streelman has struggled missing his last two Amex cuts. Long did miss the cut at the Sony but shot 67 in the second round, which should give him some confidence. Long is priced at +105, so with a $5 bet, the return is $10.25.
Our third bet is in the 1:20 pairing between Russell Henley and Chris Kirk. They are playing on the Nicklaus Tournament Course, in which a lot of birdies are always made. Now on paper, this should be an easy Henley win. He outguns Kirk in Par Breakers for the year ranked 15th while Kirk is 119th. But there are some circumstances that work against Henley. First, what happened to him in Hawaii last week, he went into the back nine with a five-shot lead and lost the tournament in a playoff with Hideki Matsuyama. But the biggest problem for Henley is his record in this event. He has missed the cut in his last 4 starts and only broke 70 twice in those starts. Kirk is a bit better, he did finish T-16th last year, and he played ok at the Sony last week, finishing T-27th with rounds of 66-65-71-66. Kirk is also priced favorably at +120, so with a $5 bet, his return would be $11.
So we are looking for a great start now with the event being played on West Coast time expect to get these results and 2nd round bets at around midnight.
So what are your thoughts and bets for the first round of the American Express?