The PGA Tour scene shifts east this week for the Bermuda Championship.
The island nation will host a Tour event for the second straight year, as Brendon Todd returns to defend his drought-ending title from a year ago. But he's the only player in the field who teed it up at last week's Zozo Championship, and at No. 41 he's the only participant currently ranked inside the top 50 in the world rankings. Throw in some unpredictable weather, with 20 mph winds expected at times during the week, and the elements are in place for a potentially surprising outcome.
Korn Ferry Tour sensation Will Zalatoris still doesn't have any formal status on the main circuit, but that hasn't slowed down oddsmakers as he is listed as a +1100 favorite this week. Todd (+1200) is close behind, while North Carolina products Harold Varner III (+2200) and Doc Redman (+2500) both face relatively short odds as they look to win for the first time.
To Win (odds via PointsBet Sportsbook)
Peter Malnati (+3300): Believe it or not, Malnati just might be the hottest player on Tour right now. The affable veteran has largely struggled in recent years but found his game in a big way during the final round at the Sanderson Farms, where he shot 63 to nearly catch Sergio Garcia. He followed that with a T-5 finish in Las Vegas that included a second-round 62 and now leads the Tour this season in Strokes Gained: Putting. Malnati has played well before on seaside layouts like Mayakoba and Kapalua, and his lone prior win (2015 Sanderson Farms) came against similar competition. Playing on conditional status, he was looking just a couple weeks ago to snag a top-10 finish to earn an additional start. Now his card is all but locked up into 2022 and he could be poised to turn his newfound momentum into a second win.
Russell Knox (+5000): When dealing with windy forecasts, always bet on a Scot. Knox tamed blustery conditions two years ago en route to winning the Irish Open, and he might be the pick of the litter at this price given his pedigree and recent hints of a turnaround. Knox had a lean 2020 season and missed the playoffs as a result, but he has switched swing coaches in recent weeks while re-dedicating himself to the gameplan that brought him past success: hit fairways and don't chase distance. That effort was on display last month in Napa, where he finished T-9 and was seventh for the week in SG: Tee-to-Green. At less than 6,900 yards, Port Royal GC this week will be much more about finding fairways than bombing drives. Knox finished T-11 here a year ago and seems poised to improve upon that result considerably.
Scott Stallings (+5000): Stallings finished a respectable T-18 here last year in the inaugural edition, and two of his three career wins have come in places that emphasize shot-making over driving: The Greenbrier and CC of Jackson. The veteran can be hit-or-miss at times, but this summer he has shown a penchant for turning good weeks into big results: in 11 starts since the break, he has finished T-6 or better three times. That includes a T-6 result earlier this month in Mississippi, where he was fifth in SG: Tee-to-Green. Stallings is currently 14th on the young season in SG: Approach, indicating his irons are performing as he might expect, and he shot 4 under in his last start despite missing the cut in Las Vegas.
Top-10 Finish (odds via PointsBet)
Emiliano Grillo (+275): Grillo fits the bill of a player who should have some success in these conditions, having factored previously in places like Puerto Rico and Punta Cana. The Argentine has been quietly solid in recent months, making the cut in each of his last eight starts since the Memorial in July. Six of those results have been T-35 or better, including four in a row, as Grillo continues to make iron play one of the strengths of his game. He finished seventh on Tour last season in Greens in Regulation percentage and 25th in fairways hit, a combination that should work to his advantage in a big way this week.
Pat Perez (+450): Perez has won at Mayakoba and in Kuala Lumpur on a pair of golf courses that have some similar traits to this week's seaside layout. While he has fallen from his lofty perch two years ago, when he was among the top 20 players in the world, he has bounced back a bit in recent weeks with a top-10 in Napa and a T-21 finish on another oceanic course in Punta Cana. Perez has battled injury issues in recent months, but he has largely factored during the good weeks: each of the last four times he made it to the weekend have ended in top-25 finishes. Another early exit is possible, but so too is a brush with contention.
Ollie Schniederjans (+1200): Schniederjans hasn't played a PGA Tour event since Bermuda nearly a year ago, a steep fall for a player who was viewed as a can't-miss prospect coming out of Georgia Tech. But while he's been toiling in Korn Ferry events since then, he's had a modicum of success: five top-10 finishes in 13 starts since June. Like Knox, Schniederjans has pledged an effort to return to a strategic approach built more on accuracy and power. That could shine brightly this week, where his all-world stinger could see plenty of action off the tee if the wind picks up.