2018 WGC-Bridgetstone Invitational Preview
Who's the best bet in the 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational?
by Fairway JayThe 2018 WGC-Bridgetstone Invitational takes place in Akron, Ohio, at Firestone Country Club for the 19th and final time before moving to Memphis in 2019 as FedEx has anted up to become the title sponsor. The field is elite, but just 73 players tee it up; less than half that of a normal PGA Tournament. The top 51 players in the World Rankings will all be playing this week in the final farewell to Firestone with a $10 million dollar purse and first place prize of $1.7 million something big to shoot for at Firestone.
The South Course at Firestone Country Club hosts the event, and it’s a Par 70 that plays to 7,400 yards. The classic parkland design has tree-lined fairways, thick rough and intermittent water hazards. The par 5 signature hole is #16, which at 667 yards is the longest hole played on Tour outside of the majors. The finishing hole at #18 is one of many long par 4’s and has seen some fantastic finishes decided in the event. Last year the course played to a stroke average of 70.5, making it the 18thtoughest golf course on the PGA Tour.
Tiger Woods is an 8-time winner of the event and is in the field this week. Hideki Matsuyama is the defending champion having scored a 16-under par 264 in victory thanks to a course-record-tying 61 in the final round. Current World No. 1 Dustin Johnson won here in 2016 with a 6-under par score of 274. Weather forecasts call for mid-to-high 80 degree temperatures with light winds and just a 20% chance of precipitation.
Players odds to win golf events can vary from sports book to sports book, but at a leading offshore bookmaker and the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, here are the top favorites and contenders to win the 2018 WGC-Bridgetstone Invitational event at Firestone.
2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Odds 7-1 Dustin Johnson 10-1 Rory McIllroy 12-1 Tiger Woods 17-1 Jordan Spieth 18-1 Rickie Fowler 20-1 Jason Day, Francesco Molinari, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm 25-1 Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka 30-1 Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Xander Schauffele 40-1 Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson, Hideki Matsuyama 50-1, Finau, Kuchar, Leishman, DeChambeau, Simpson
Past winning scores in the event at Firestone suggests a winning score from -10 to -13 under par. Length is definitely an advantage at Firestone, but with more narrow fairways, success is had by those that keep it in the short grass. Total driving and Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Tee-to-Green are areas of focus in your player profiles and stats analysis at Firestone. Greens-in-Regulation will be a strong stat for top contenders this week as well. Note that since 2005, every champion (except for Keegan Bradley in 2012) has finished in the top four for the week in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
The course has Pencross Bent Grass and Poa Annua on the fairways and greens. The rough has a 4” cut of Kentucky Blue Grass and Perennial Rye Grassgreens. The greens are harder to hit when it’s very dry, but that may not be the case this week.
The 2018 WGC-Bridgetstone Invitational event this week is followed the year’s final Major next week when the players tee-it-up at Bellerive CC in St. Louis, MO for the PGA Championship.