The PGA Tour has an event running alongside the Open this week – the Barracuda Championship – where some of the circuit's lesser-lights will be seeking a breakthrough victory.
|Where||Old Greenwood, Tahoe Mountain Golf Club, Truckee, California|
|When||15:00, Thursday, 20th July, 2023|
|How to watch||bet365's Live Golf Tracker + Sky Sports Golf|
|Odds||Stephan Jaeger 16/1, Taylor Pendrith 18/1, Keith Mitchell 20/1, Patrick Rodgers|
The Barracuda Championship is a great opportunity for the relative unknowns of the golfing world to lift a PGA Tour trophy and secure their playing rights for next season.
The 'strategic alliance' between the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour means that much of this week's Barracuda field is made up of players from Europe, who are used to competing on their home circuit. It was the same story in last week's Barbasol Championship, where Englishman Nathan Kimsey nearly transformed his career.
Kimsey, a 30-year-old Boston man, lost a Barbasol playoff to Vincent Norrman. Both men are back in action in this week's Barracuda Championship. Norrman, who parred the first playoff hole to beat Kimsey in the Barbasol, is to complete back-to-back PGA Tour triumphs.
Taylor Pendrith is for a breakthrough success. The Canadian powerhouse was magnificent from tee to green in the Barbasol last week – nobody in the field was striking their ball with more authority – but some dodgy putting meant he finished in sixth place.
Pendrith, well backed for the Barbasol, has been popular again. His form figures at the Old Greenwood course being used this week are 13-11 and if he can improve on the greens this week, he seems a likely title contender.
It must be noted, though, that his only victories in professional tournaments have come on the Canadian Tour. Pendrith did not even lift silverware on the Korn Ferry Tour before graduating to the PGA Tour.
A Modified Stableford scoring system is used for the Barracuda, allocating points based on the number of shots taken at each hole. An albatross is worth eight points, an eagle is five, a birdie is two, a par is zero, a bogey is minus one and a double-bogey or worse is minus three.
The highest-ranked player in the field is Keith Mitchell (62). He missed the cut in the Scottish Open last week and has been in poor form for four months.
Each-way terms of a quarter the odds, the first five places are available for the Barracuda Championship, as well as alternative options, like a fifth the odds, the first eight places, in the Each Way Extra section.
Old Greenwood, Tahoe Mountain Golf Club, Truckee, California, is a 7,480-yard, par-71, with three par-fives, 11 par-fours and four par-threes.
The 72-hole course record under the Stableford scoring system is 50 points, managed by Erik van Rooyen on his way to victory in 2021. The best 18-hole total has been 22 points, achieved by Kyle Reifers and Chad Campbell.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed Old Greenwood has hosted this event since 2020. Balls fly far at the altitude (almost 6,000 feet). Water hazards and deep bunkers guard the fast, undulating greens. Sunny and warm weather is forecast, with light breezes for the most part.
Jaeger was 11th in the AT&T Byron Nelson, 24th in the Memorial, ninth in the Rocket Mortgage Classic and 13th last time out in the John Deere Classic. The six-time Korn Ferry Tour champion could be the man to beat.
Six of the last seven Barracuda champions were PGA Tour maidens. Improving 27-year-old Nick Hardy has won on the PGA Tour in a pairs event – alongside Davis Riley in the Zurich Classic in April – but is still awaiting a first success as an individual.
The 30/1 about Hardy's breakthrough coming in California this week may tempt plenty of punters.
Another exciting young talent who could use this low-grade gathering to show off his ability is Akshay Bhatia, who can be backed at 28/1.
The Californian will be fully aware of what a golden opportunity this home-state gig is to take his career to the next level. Bhatia is an attacking birdie machine who should appreciate the Stableford format.