Most of the biggest names and strongest and longest hitters top the golf odds at this week's PGA Championship. At 7,876 yards and the longest major championship venue in PGA Tour history, the Ocean Course will be a beast for most golfers and especially those that are not the biggest hitters.
But beyond McIlroy, Rahm, DeChambeau, Thomas and DJ, there are other long and strong hitters down the odds board that can rise to the occasion in Kiawah Island and contend or win as dark horses at longer odds.
With longshots in mind, here are three dark horse picks that could make a run at the PGA Championship title and slot themselves into a top finishing position on Sunday.
1. Corey Conners (+5000)
Corey Conners has been one of the big risers on Tour this year. He's not only No. 37 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 54, but Connors is top-10 over his last 50 rounds in strokes gained: total, off-the-tee, tee-to-green, approach and No. 1 in ball striking. Conners is not a big hitter, but he's long enough averaging 295 yards. He's also extremely accurate from the tee, and his tee-to-green game excels and has him also ranking top-10 on Tour in hitting greens. Go to Par 4 efficiency from 450-500 yards and you'll see Conners top-3 on Tour over his last 50 rounds. The Canadian is in very solid form with back-to-back top-10 finishes starting with the Masters in April. Conners is a capable contender and dark horse at these odds.
2. Joaquin Niemann (+6000)
Joaquin Niemann is just 22-years-old, but he can play golf. His stat profile is strong and a good fit with top-10 ranking in driving distance and scoring, and top-20 in hitting greens and making birdies. Go to the strokes gained stats, and you'll see Niemann top-10 in off-the-tee, ball striking and tee-to-green over his last 50 rounds. He''s also a strong putter, and a consistent contender with six top-30 finishes in his last seven tournaments including a top-10 and two top-20's.
3. Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley enters the PGA Championship in very good form with a pair of top-5 finishes, a top-20 and top-25 in his last four events. The value may not be great, but Bradley is still a dark horse. His putting is very poor, but Bradley boasts top-6 rankings over his last 50 rounds in strokes gained: approach, ball striking and tee-to-green. He's also top-30 in strokes gained: off-the-tee, which is another key stat of interest at the Ocean Course.
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