2018 Australian PGA Championship Preview
At this time of year in the golfing calendar, some of the best golf anywhere in the world can be found in Australia, and arguably that’s the case once again this week.
Make no mistake, for Antipodeans the Australian PGA Championship is their fifth major, and it’s no surprise to see the best Aussies in the business – albeit Marc Leishman’s name is missing from the trophy – getting the job done here.
Indeed, the support of the European Tour has helped bump up the prize fund as well, and that perhaps explains why the likes of Rickie Fowler and, bizarrely, Harold Varner III have been convinced to travel to the other side of the globe in the past.
There’s a strong European presence this week in Queensland, while the likes of HVIII and Barbasol Championship winner Troy Merritt will be looking to represent the PGA TOUR in style.
There is a unique skillset that seems to come up trumps at the Royal Pines Resort, which will host this event for a sixth time this week.
Typically, those who can give it a bit of a bump off the tee (six of the first eight home last year averaged 295+ yards) while staying fairly straight (70% of fairways) have an advantage, and oddly GIR isn’t a stat to get too hung up on.
These baked Bermuda greens are slick and contoured, and with shaved run-off areas it is hard to keep landing your approaches in the middle of the dancefloor and holding on.
Instead, those with creative chipping games and who can scramble tend to prosper, and of course a hot hand with the putter never goes amiss: seven of the first eight in 2017 ranked top-20 for Putts per Round.
And so really we’re expecting short game masters to get the job done; perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the talented youngster Cameron Smith took the spoils 12 months ago? He really is excellent with wedges in hand, and is also a player expected to win plenty of silverware on the PGA TOUR in years to come.
When you look at the field, he and Leishman are light years ahead of the rest of their company, and so one or t’other has to be selected in your draft this week.
Otherwise, it would appear that backing the home favorites is the way to go. Varner III won here in 2016, but the Aussies generally tend to have their way, winning four of the five renewals at Royal Pines and 17 of the last 18 in all!
So, with all of this in mind who makes our draft for the 2018 Australian PGA Championship? Let’s take a look…
This Week’s Australian PGA Championship Fantasy Picks & Predictions
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Cover photo via Instagram