Accurate Chappell rarely needs prayers to find fairways
Reed may be left behind
Kevin Chappell has a solid record in Stateside Majors, has proven himself at Quail Hollow in the Wells Fargo Championship and has found some excellent form in the build-up to the USPGA, so it would be a shock if the Californian failed to get his name on the leaderboard this week.
Chappell is a supreme tee-to-green operator and finding the dancefloors in regulation is the main challenge facing the 156 USPGA competitors at Quail Hollow. Long, accurate ball-striking, something upon which Chappell has built a lucrative career, is the key to success.
Patrick Reed is much looser off the tee, and the slinging hooks he typically uses on approach to greens can also go badly awry. Chappell, eighth in the Canadian Open and 13th in the Bridgestone Invitational in his last two starts, seems a much safer bet in a 72-hole match.
Chappell's best Major finish came in the 2011 US Open at a rain-sodden Congressional, where he finished third, and he will be licking his lips at the damp Quail Hollow track in front of him this week. Reed, with form figures of MC-MC-19-36 from his last four tournaments, is yet to post a top-ten finish in Major competition.
Thomas Pieters got frustrated early in his final round in the Bridgestone on Sunday, buckling under the pressure applied by Hideki Matsuyama, but the Belgian could be more than content when looking back at another excellent course debut. He followed fourth place on his Augusta bow with the same position at Firestone, highlighting his immense talent.
Pieters faces another new assignment this week and can be expected to enjoy the task. His power off the tee stands him in great stead at Quail Hollow, while his approach-play at Firestone was nothing short of breathtaking. He can leave fellow European Alex Noren behind in a USPGA match.
Noren does not carry that same punch off the tee or the assurance that Pieters seems to exude Stateside. Noren has played in ten Stateside Majors and missed the cut in seven of them, with a best finish of 34th place. Both men are Quail Hollow debutants.
The other match-bet option which appeals is with Hills, who offer their 72-holers as draw-no-bet wagers. Bill Haas at 5-6 to outscore Francesco Molinari, with stakes returned if they tie, looks a tidy investment.
Haas was born in Charlotte and has twice contended for the Wells Fargo title in his home city, finishing fourth in both 2006 and 2011. He has made the cut in the last six USPGAs and has finished 37th or better in his last six Stateside tournaments, including a share of fifth place in the US Open. The local man could easily register a top-20 finish at Quail.
K Chappell to beat P Reed
3pts 4-6 BoyleSports
T Pieters to beat A Noren
2pts 5-6 Betway
B Haas to beat F Molinari
1pt 5-6 Hills