It’s easy to forget about looking at Paul Casey as a potential winner of an event, since he’s only won three times on the PGA Tour. Two of those victories have been at the same event, the Valspar Championship.
Sunday the 41-year-old became the first player to successfully defend a title since Brooks Koepka won the 2017 and 2018 US Open. Casey wasn’t expected to win the Valspar for the second straight year. He opened as a 20/1 underdog, well behind favorite Dustin Johnson, who was at 11/2.
Casey came into the final round with a one-shot lead, with Johnson right behind him. Johnson was the 5/4 pick over Casey, who was 9/4 going into Sunday.
Johnson had already won one event this year on tour, while Casey’s last win that wasn’t the Valspar was the Shell Houston Open in 2009. But Casey wanted to remind people that he has double-digit international victories.
“People forget, I’m not a prolific winner, but I’ve won 17 times around the world. It’s not bad,” Casey said. “I know how to win, plain and simple. I think I had forgotten, and last year’s victory maybe kind of broke the seal for lack of a better term.”
For Johnson not being able to catch Casey was a bit frustrating. It was the first time in two years, Johnson had a round without a birdie.
“I mean it’s surprising, but, yeah, I hit good putts, they just didn’t go in the hole. I didn’t feel like I played bad, felt like I was swinging well and I still feel like I’m swinging well,” Johnson said, “I still got a lot of confidence in the game but just, yeah, tough day, tough conditions, and didn’t, wasn’t spot on.”
Look to Europeans
Casey’s win was the third straight by a European. The Englishman joined Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, who won last week’s The Players Championship, and Italy’s Francesco Molinari who captured the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Justin Rose was the first European to win on tour this year, winning the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego in February.
It figures that the group will have an advantage at this week’s WGC-Match Play, considering their love of the format.
Of the top nine golfers with odds of 20/1 or better, four are from Europe. McIlroy is the favorite at 10/1, along with Johnson. Spaniard Jon Rahm is at 18/1, and England’s Rose and Fleetwood are at 20/1.
This Week’s Odds, Picks
There is a full slate of golf, with two tour events to wager on this weekend. In addition to the WGC-Match Play, there is the Corales PuntaCana Resort and Club Championship, for those who didn’t qualify for the WGC event.
In the WGC-Match Play we are backing Molinari. He loves match play, is good at it, and has really attractive 25/1 odds.
At the other PGA Tour event, we like Denny McCarthy. He had a top-10 finish last week, and finished fourth at this event in 2018.
The PGA Champions Tour is also in action this week at the Rapiscan Systems Classic. Bernhard Langer and Steve Stricker are the favorites at 11/2.
We are going with Scott McCarron at 12/1. He has three top-10 finishes this year and is due for a victory.