Steve Palmer’s Players Championship first-round three-ball preview, best bets | Sports News

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Dylan Frittelli played well at Sawgrass 12 months ago despite arriving in poor shape

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Golf tips, best bets and player analysis for the first round of The Players Championship in Sawgrass, Florida.

When to watch

Sky Sports Main Event and Golf, 11:45 a.m. Thursday

Best bets

Dylan Frittelli will win the 1:02 p.m. threeball
2pts 9-5 Betfair, Power

Jhonattan Vegas will win the threeball at 1:35 p.m.
2pts 17-10 bet365

Alexander Noren will win the threeball at 1:35 p.m.
2pts 6-5 Betfair, Power

Corey Conners will win the threeball at 1:13 p.m.
2pts 11-10 Betfair, Power

Preview of the first round

World No. 1 Jon Rahm will occupy much of the early Players Championship spotlight, headlining the morning wave in a tantalizing trio with Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay, while the trio of Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas compete together in the afternoon group marquee.

Rahm is set to start his Sawgrass campaign at 12.51pm UK & Ireland time, with Morikawa at 5.56pm, but it remains to be seen how much the start times will be affected by the forecast thunderstorms.

With heavy overnight rain expected ahead of the first round – and more downpours on the cards for opening morning – first-round three-ball bettors might be better advised to back players who possess plenty of punch off the tee. .

The Players Championship date change from May to March has already made this event more suitable for long riders. The air is colder, so bullets don’t fly as far, and the terrain is lusher, so bullets don’t fly as far. Also add rain into the equation and the length of the tee becomes a big plus. The batting duo of McIlroy and Thomas won Sawgrass’ first two shootouts since the players returned in March.

Four players appeal on the first-round three-ball map – and all must start early in the humid morning conditions.

Perhaps the best price of all is the 9-5 over Dylan Frittelli, who became one of the strongest drivers on the circuit when switching to a longer round in October 2020. Those gains immediately helped the South- African to finish fifth in the 2020 Masters. A PGA Tour rule change capped driver length at 46 inches from January 1 this year, but that’s still enough for Frittelli to hit some bombs.

Frittelli has been solid in his last three starts — 26th at Riviera, 16th at Honda and 42nd at Bay Hill — and he can outrun Sebastian Munoz and Jimmy Walker in the 1:02 p.m. game. A 22nd share was an impressive full debut at Sawgrass for Frittelli last year.

Jhonattan Vegas, seventh in the 2012 Players and third in 2019, looks like a juicy prize against Ian Poulter and Pat Perez (1:35 p.m.), while Alexander Noren’s magnificent ball-striking in the Honda Classic last time out suggests the Swede based in Florida will lead Peter Malnati and Anirban Lahiri (1:35 p.m., tenth start).

Corey Conners, best for greens in regulation at Bay Hill last week and seventh at Sawgrass last year, should probably match Brian Gay and Joel Dahmen (1:13 p.m.).

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Ruth J. Leeds