Overview and Betting Market
From one US Open venue to another as Congressional - host for Rory McIlroy's major success back in 2011 - takes over from Oakmont where Dustin Johnson finally got over the line in a big one. It was Troy Merritt who emerged victorious at the Quicken Loans National last year on a -18 under total but scoring like that looks unlikely as the main host course of Tiger Woods' event - Congressional Country club - returns to the rota, taking over from the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club. There's still no sign of Tiger in a playing capacity. In 2011 Rory McIlroy gave a masterclass in total driving here and with only Torrey Pines South playing significantly longer on the regular PGA Tour season roster, this is always the theme to follow at Congressional.
Rickie Fowler - 17.00 - was the Quicken Loans National runner up at the Robert Trent Jones Club last year and heads the betting. Jim Furyk - 17.00 - joins Fowler at the top of the market and is now completely over his injury problems following a runner up finish at the US Open, and Jim owns some good form here, albeit back-to-back-to-back top 10s preceded course changes including added length prior to the 2011 US Open. Byeong Hun An stands out amongst the market leaders as the horse for the course type, with his long straight driving and towering iron flight and again, this is the type of player we're looking for to fit the profile. Justin Rose won the last time the Quicken Loans was at Congressional but he won't defend.
Course features and premiums - Congressional CC, par 71, yards 7,569
For me Congressional is very similar in length, set-up and aesthetics to Quail Hollow, with the same attributes required to pass the tests and both tracks also favour a draw from the tee. Following the total driving theme (as I always do at Quail as well) found us Bill Haas - 29.00 - in 2013. Congressional is another lush parkland style track, with greens averaging 5,600 feet. A strong all around ranking will be needed to tackle the beast although the forecast is for rain in the early part of the tournament which could see it play soft like in the 2011 US Open, opening up scoring conditions.
Quicken Loans National Best Betting Tips
The man looking to be a notch above simmering right now is Marc Leishman - 31.00 or 7.00 - with a current form line of 13-11-18, and Marc placed T8 at Congressional in 2014 to add to a respectable previous record on the track. The Aussie ticks the current and course form concoction box and he has the all round game to contend here. Leish ranks 18th in scoring average and 19th in total driving. The tougher the course, the better for the 32 year old.
Benny An - 34.00 or 7.50 - as mentioned, has the length combined with accuracy from the tee and his high trajectory from approaches will stand him in good stead around Congressional. Benny is a former US Amateur Champion and has settled into PGA Tour life well even though most of the courses are new to him. The Korean lost out in a playoff in Zurich and comes to Congressional off the back of T11 and T23 finishes at Memorial and the US Open respectively. Much depends on the flat stick for An but he was 4th in putts per GIR and 2nd in birdies at Oakmont. He's 15th in putting average overall in 2016.
Justin Thomas - 34.00 or 7.50 - is another who looks to fit the profile here with his long driving and high towering irons. I haven't quite worked Thomas out yet but he seems to do better on tougher courses. He's got a fantastic group this week with good friends Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman which will give him and added incentive to kick on from a recent top 3 at the Players and a more than respectable T32 at Oakmont. Thomas also recorded a top 3 at the Honda Classic to add to his maiden success at the beginning of the season. JT ranks 25th in driving distance this year.
Patrick Rodgers - 101.0 or 19.00 - is the stand out with the Quail Hollow course correlation link and this is the main reason I'm backing him here. Rodgers' best performance to date on the main tour was a T2 behind Rory McIlroy at the Wells Fargo and similar to Rory, long launched drives and high irons was what got it done around there. He's 15th in strokes gained off the tee and 11th in GIR in 2016. Rodgers was going well in the US Open through three rounds and there's been signs of form lately with 68s recorded at Muirfield Village and Oakmont. He opened 65-67 at the Byron Nelson.
Also keep an eye out this week for Smylie Kaufman - 126.0 or 23.00 - who fits the course profile. He's playing in the aforementioned three ball to watch. Smylie excels with the putter and ranks 11th in distance of all drives. He notched a sneaky top 20 at Memorial a few weeks back.