The ties that bind this week's Valspar Championship bets are recent ball-striking and driving accuracy. The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort is unique on the PGA Tour in that it rewards shorter, more accurate drivers more than most tracks the Tour attends.
Ball-striking is (and always will be) the preeminent focus when looking at this week's top plays, but I kept one eye on accurate drivers and leaned in that direction considering the golfers who have found success at this course -- the likes of Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar and Luke Donald.
Here's a look at five plays this week for the 2021 Valspar Championship.
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1. Abraham Ancer top 20 (+125): My pick to win this week seems like such an obvious lock to play well at Innisbrook. Six consecutive top 30s are complemented by the fact that he's sixth in this field from tee to green over the last two months and has been incredibly consistent while being a slightly negative putter. If and when it pops off again, he'll contend.
2. Chris Kirk top 20 (+175): His game has been so solid of late. Five top-25 finishes in his last six starts, and the only one that was outside the top 25 came at the loaded Players Championship. It was between him and Jason Kokrak here, and I like Kirk at +175 better than I like Kokrak at +125.
3. Doug Ghim top 20 (+300): I'm going to keep riding Ghim and trust that the putter is going to start breaking his way at some point. Of the top 10 players from tee to green over the last two months, Ghim has been by far the worst putter. He is traditionally not that poor of a putter so I'm trusting that it will turn around at some point. Seven of nine cuts made for Ghim.
4. Corey Conners top 10 (+175): Conners is in a different class than anyone else on this list. A top 20 for others I've highlighted translates to a top 10 for him, and he's been racking up plenty of them in recent weeks. He has four in his last six starts, and is No. 3 in this field over the last two months in strokes gained on approach shots as well as tee to green. If you need any other evidence here, he's much closer to a zero putter on Bermuda since the start of 2018 than he is on all putting surfaces.
5. Emiliano Grillo top 20 (+175): I have concern over the short game, which has not been great over the last few months, though his ball-striking has been an absolute joke. In his last 10 measured rounds, Grillo is gaining over 2.1 strokes per round off the tee and on his approach shots alone. He also has two straight top 10s and comes in (quietly) as hot as anyone in the field.