Another week, another ocean view as the PGA TOUR heads to Bermuda for the penultimate event of the FedExCup Fall. Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton, Bermuda, will serve as host for the fifth consecutive year.
Playing 6,828 yards, the Par-71 is the shortest track on the schedule each year. Only four courses used annually play less than 7,000 yards. Situated on the coast of Southampton, the breezes of the Atlantic Ocean will influence the field of 132 over all four rounds.
With only two players in the top 50 of the OWGR (Lucas Glover 31, Adam Scott 45) and just eight from the top 100, most will feel like they are in with a shout. The tournament record holder, Brendon Todd, and the course record holder, Taylor Pendrith are both in the field. So are past champions Brian Gay and Lucas Herbert. Defending champion Seamus Power has been out of action since early September with a hip injury.
On the line is a purse of $6.5 million with the winner earning $1.170 million plus 500 FedExCup points.
Top of the Board
Adam Scott (16/1) returns to Port Royal for the first time since winning the Grand Slam of Golf in 2013. The Australian picked up his last worldwide victory at The Genesis Invitational at Riviera in 2020. The major champion has produced top-seven finishes at Wyndham and the BMW PGA Championship (DP World Tour) in two of his last five starts.
Making his 162nd career start, Alex Noren (18/1) is looking for his first win on the PGA TOUR. Buoyed by a podium (T3) payday at TPC Summerlin, the response the following week in Japan was T48. Making his second appearance in Bermuda (T15, 2019), he will look to add four more rounds in the 60s.
Brendon Todd (18/1) owns the tournament scoring record, 24-under, set in 2019, in benign conditions on the island. Announcing his intent with second-round 63, he posted 62 on Sunday to win by four, setting the record for margin of victory. Returning the following season, he shot 71-75 and went home early. Posting solo sixth at Fortinet is his only appearance in the FedExCup Fall, but it was his third top 10 in his last six starts. Super on and around the greens, if the wind blows, he won’t mind grinding it out.
Akshay Bhatia (18/1) has a proven track record in the breeze of the Caribbean, Pacific, and Atlantic. The winner on the KFT Great Exuma Classic in the Bahamas added top five paydays in visits to Puerto Rico and both stops this season in Mexico. Sitting in the top 33 in the Strokes Gained categories for ball striking, he posted four rounds in the 60s for T17 here last year. Closing with 64 last week in Mexico he now owns five top-10 paydays on the season, including his first victory at Barracuda in August. He’s the first name on my team sheet this week.
The shortest track on TOUR will force strategic plays, especially when the wind blows.
With 87 bunkers, four ponds, and water in play on seven holes, the wind will force players to commit and hit.
Only two of the Par-4 holes stretch over 440 yards.
All four winners have been statistically excellent putters over their careers.
All four winners have finished T10 or better in Putting Average (no ShotLink) for the week.
Past winners’ pre-tournament odds included Brendon Todd at 80/1, Brian Gay at 200/1, and Lucas Herbert at 60/1 before Seamus Power was the co-favorite last year at 20/1.
Power circled a tournament record of 28 birdies and became the first player to lead or co-lead after 54 holes to go on and win.
Alex Smalley (20/1) has cashed T11 and T12 in his two visits over the last two years. Navigating his golf ball on small tracks doesn’t bother him as he cashed T9 at TPC River Highlands last June.
Taylor Pendrith (22/1) brings the intersection of course form and current form. The leader after 36 and 54 holes in 2021 set the course record, 61, in Round 2, before settling for T5. After T3 in Las Vegas, he returned to action last week in Mexico and added T15. With value completely out the window this week, let’s have fun and connect some dots.
If Luke List (25/1) is in the field, I’m paying attention. The winner at SFC backed up his victory with T18 in Las Vegas. Returning after a two week break last week in Mexico, he knocked off the rust and cashed again (T45). Play hot guys. Don’t overthink it.
Lanto Griffin (55/1) has been simmering and has rattled off three consecutive cuts for the first time in months. Super on approach, I’ll ride a flyer here.
Russell Knox (80/1) joins Brian Gay (175/1) as the only two players who have made the cut in the previous four events in the field. Knox has cashed T11, T12 and T16 before T49 last year. Gay, the 2020 winner, was T3 on debut in 2019 and has never been worse than T12.