The PGA makes its final stop of the Florida swing at Innisbrook Resort for the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida. Atypical of Florida courses, Innisbrook has plenty of undulation and elevation changes, uphill and downhill from tee to green. A par 71, there are five Par 3s, all about 175 yards or longer, and it’s ranked top 10 for the toughest Par 3s on tour. The Par 5s, although not dauntingly long, are tough because of the restrictive layouts with either doglegs or even double doglegs.
The players who fit well to this course are positional golf players, which has me looking at iron play and putting. Here is a full tournament head-to-head to bet for the Valspar Championship. These selections are now 4-0-1 overall.
Wyndham Clark (-130) vs. Maverick McNealy
Clark was on my original long list of players who could win this tournament. Perhaps I’ll regret leaving him off. However, backing him in a head-to-head matchup is the route I’ll go. Clark has had a good run this year with five top-40 finishes in six tournaments, including T10 in the Phoenix Open. Ranked fourth in the field in approach play, that gives him a huge edge over McNealy, who has lost strokes ball-striking in three of his last four events. In two of his last three, McNealy has had to withdraw due to a shoulder injury and then follow that up with a T60 in The Players Championship last week.
The concern with fading McNealy is that he’s a stellar short-game player, first in the field for strokes gained putting. Despite gaining seven strokes with the flat stick last week, McNealy lost seven strokes from tee to green. McNealy, until he shows he’s back to full strength, makes for a good fade in a head-to-head matchup. Another positive for Clark: He’s gained strokes putting in back-to-back events.