By News Team
8th July 2020
There’s a fairly unique occurrence on the PGA Tour this week as the same course hosts back-to-back events.
Before next week’s Memorial Championship, Muirfield Village hosts the Workday Charity Open which, despite it being its inaugural edition, has attracted a strong field with five of the top 10 players in the world teeing it up.
Cantlay can go back-to-back at Memorial
Being designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, Muirfield Village is one of the most well-known courses on the PGA Tour and given the likes of Tiger Woods (five times), Greg Norman (twice) and Tom Watson (twice) have won here on multiple occasions, it’s usually a course where the cream rises to the top.
It also looks to be a course where players seem to continually play well, notably Justin Rose, who, in 13 events played at Muirfield Village, has finished in the top 10 in seven of them. He’s priced at 25/1 and with such impressive course form, he’ll have his supporters, however, it’s PATRICK CANTLAY at 14/1 who gets the headline vote.
The 28-year-old is about as consistent as they come and has shot up the world rankings in recent seasons thanks to a game which seems to have all areas covered. Remarkably, since the start of the 2017 season, Cantlay has played in 63 events on the PGA Tour and has missed the cut in just five of them.
Like in the 2017 campaign, he has failed to miss the cut so far this season and in six official events played, he’s only finished out of the top 25 once. The most recent of those solid performances came at the Travellers a couple of weeks ago, where he showed little sign of rust when shooting four rounds in the 60s, and he’ll surely be thrilled at the prospect of returning to a course he clearly loves two weeks later.
Having finished fourth here in 2018, Cantlay shot a superb final round 64 to take the title 12 months later and the stats back up just how well he seems to play Muirfield Village. In the last 10 years, Cantlay ranks first in the following categories here: scoring, birdies/eagles per round, strokes gained total, strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained approach and strokes gained long game. In short, his game seems perfectly suited to the challenges of Muirfield Village – and he must go very well on similar form here as he seeks a third PGA Tour title.
Leishman could go well
Justin Thomas (1o/1), Brooks Koepka (14/1) and Hideki Matsuyama (16/1) are all respected, but all look plenty short enough with not all areas of their games quite flowing as they’d like. Instead, further down the market, MARC LEISHMAN looks an intriguing contender at 40/1.
The Australian took a bit of time to figure out Muirfield Village, but he’s now made the cut in 10 of his 11 starts and has two top-five finishes in his last five.
He missed the cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge and then finished in a tie for 58th at the Travellers, although he was in contention at the halfway stage. Granted those two performances don’t give too much cause for optimism, but if you look back through Leishman’s better performances there’s a common trend. Six of his seven victories have been proceeded by a quiet week, meaning there’s every chance he’ll fire here.
He leads the tour in strokes gained approach and if his putter can warm up a bit, he could give the leading contenders plenty to think about.