Henrik Stenson, right, of Sweden, and Justin Rose, of England, check their shots on the 17th green during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament Thursday, March 7, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
- The Zurich Classic tees off Thursday (April 22nd) at TPC Louisiana, and features a unique team format
- Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson have loads of experience playing together, and are both coming off strong showings at the Masters
- Read below for analysis of the event and our favorite sleepers and longshot plays
Fresh off an incredible performance at the RBC Heritage that earned 47-year-old Stewart Cink his second victory of the season, the PGA Tour heads to another Pete Dye track for the Zurich Classic. The unique team format event will be contested at TPC Louisiana starting Thursday (April 22nd), and is bound to produce plenty of longshot contenders.
One of the sleeper duos to bank on this week is the team of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, who’ve played together twice in the past at this tournament, and have teamed up for eight Ryder Cup matches.
2021 Zurich Classic Odds
|Golfer||Odds to Win at DraftKings||Top-10 Odds||Top-20 Odds|
|J. Rose/H. Stenson||+4500||+350||+120|
|K. Kisner/S. Brown||+6600||+450||+150|
|C. Hoffman/N. Watney||+7000||+500||+164|
Odds as of April 19th.
Bet On Familiarity
Rose and Stenson are 6-2 as teammates at the Ryder Cup, posting impressive victories over Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, DJ and Rickie Fowler (before his downfall), and Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. This week’s event is stroke play not match play like the Ryder Cup, however don’t underestimate the importance of being familiar with your partner’s game.
Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson hang on to win their match over Koepka/DJ#RyderCup pic.twitter.com/sNEaEepBd3
— PGA of America (@PGA) September 29, 2018
The tournament format calls for Four-Ball (best ball) for Rounds 1 and 3, and Foursomes (alternate shot) for Rounds 2 and 4. Nearly every team will go low in the best-ball format, meaning this event will be decided by how teams perform in the alternate shot rounds. Rose and Stenson of course have plenty of experience playing that style of golf together, which should give them a leg up on the competition.
Another reason to like this duo, aside from their favorable price tag, is the strong form they showed at the Masters. Rose was the Round 1 and 36-hole leader before slipping to 7th, while Stenson finished 38th, but ranked top-3 in putting.
As everyone predicted, the three leaders in strokes gained putting this week so far are Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Will Zalatoris.
— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) April 11, 2021
Rose also has elite course history at this tournament from when it was played as a traditional every man for himself event, posting a victory and three additional top-15 finishes.
Pick: Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson to Win Outright (+4500)
2021 PGA Championship Odds Tracker
Kisner and Brown Are Course Horses
Another duo to target this week, is Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown who have the best course history at the Zurich Classic. The pairing has made the cut in all three years the team format has been in place, finishing 5th in 2019, 15th in 2018 and runner-up in 2017.
The Kevin Kisner-Scott Brown team has opened with six consecutive birdies.
They lead by one #QuickHits pic.twitter.com/KJ2MOIYrgc
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) April 30, 2017
I won’t sugarcoat it, neither is entering with particularly good form, but there’s just something about this event that brings out the best in both of them. One reason for their success is the fact that they’ve been playing together their entire lives. They grew up competing in Junior golf and are members at the same course in South Carolina.
Another reason they fare so well together is that their games are virtually identical, which helps in the alternate shot format. They’re both short knockers meaning they’ll be used to hitting from similar spots on the course, which should keep them in their comfort zone.
Pick: Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown Top-10 (+450)
Ride Hoffman’s Hot Form
Last but not least is the team of Charley Hoffman and Nick Watney, who outside of Kisner and Brown, have some of the best results over the past few years. The duo has finished 9th, 31st and 5th in the team format, and Hoffman’s game in particular is on fire.
Charley Hoffman excelled on @PenskeNews #MovingDay at the Valero Texas Open to move within two shots of co-leaders Jordan Spieth and Matt Wallace. pic.twitter.com/GKTTWSpJWZ
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) April 4, 2021
He finished 18th last week at Harbour Town, giving him six top-18 finishes in his last nine starts. He’s been gaining strokes in every aspect of his game, and ranks top-20 in this field in strokes gained tee-to-green, ball striking, approach and putting over the last 24 rounds.
Hoffman Strokes Gained Data Ranks – Last 24 Round
Watney meanwhile, has had a rough few months but a return to an event where he’s experienced so much success could kickstart his 2020-21 season. He can get scorching hot with the putter, and with how well Hoffman is striping it, they’re serious contenders to go super low in the best ball format. A top-20 finish is well within their range of outcomes, and they also make an intriguing first round leader bet.
Pick: Charley Hoffman and Nick Watney Top-20 Finish (+164)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.