May 15, 2022; McKinney, Texas, USA; Justin Thomas waves to the gallery after making a birdie putt on the 17th green during the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
- The PGA Championship from Southern Hills Country Club tees off Thursday, May 19th from Tulsa, OK
- Jon Rahm is the +2200 favorite over Justin Thomas and Scottie Scheffler to be atop the leaderboard after day one
- See the best bets and odds to grab the first-round lead in the article below
The second major championship of 2022 heads to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. 2021 US Open champion Jon Rahm is the slight favorite in the PGA Championship odds to earn his second career major title. This course is a familiar one, as it last hosted Tiger Woods’ triumph at the 2007 PGA. Tiger is competing for the second time this year, having also teed it up at the Masters. He sports +6000 odds to jump out in front of everyone after 18 holes.
Jordan Spieth enters this tournament on a hot streak, having won two stars ago then was runner-up last weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Should he win, he’d become just the sixth man to complete the career grand slam. Five players have shorter odds than him to grab the first round lead.
There are plenty of opportunities for PGA Championship sleepers and longshots to make some noise for the deepest field in golf. In this article, we’ll explore which players have the best chance of being the leader after day one, along with what players are fast starters on Thursday’s this season.
2022 PGA Championship First Round Leader Odds
Odds as of May 17th at DraftKings Sportsbook
The forecast is expected to be mainly sunny throughout the day. Temperatures will be the low 70’s for those teeing off first, reaching 90 degrees for the afternoon wave. It’ll be windy for the players, as gusts will swirl between 22-28 miles per hour for much of the day. The wind won’t be quite as gusty for the morning wave.
A benefit for those teeing it up in the morning is the exact same as it is every week – less bumpy greens with fewer players chewing them up.
Justin Thomas Quietly Playing Great Golf
Justin Thomas has found himself winless since his spellbinding weekend at the 2021 Players Championship, but it’s not for a lack of chances to claim a trophy. Just last week, he was right in the thick of things before he wound up in a tie for fifth. He hasn’t missed a cut all season, and in fact the last time he failed to play the weekend was last year’s PGA Championship.
He’s been inside the top-ten in five of his last six stroke play events, with T-35 finishes (twice) being his worst result in the last 18 tournaments. In the last 24 rounds, he’s put together some impressive stats.
Justin Thomas’ Strokes Gained Stats Last 24 Rounds
|Tee-To-Green||Total||Approach||Ball Striking||Around-The-Green||Short Game||Off-The-Tee||Putting|
JT had his second best putting week in his last eleven measured tournaments at the AT&T Byron Nelson, and if he can keep that flat stick hot, he’s dangerous, as he’s second in birdie average for the campaign.
- Pick: Justin Thomas (+2500)
Cameron Smith a Fast Starter
Reigning Players champion Cameron Smith has proven the last two seasons that he isn’t afraid to go low on Thursday’s, as he was tops in first round scoring average last season, and he’s third in that category this year.
In eight of his ten opening rounds, the Aussie has shot in the 60’s to get off to a fast start. Only Patrick Cantlay and Joaquin Niemann have a better average in the first 18 holes of tournaments.
2021-22 PGA Tour First Round Scoring Average Leaders
|1. Patrick Cantlay||67.25||+4000|
|2. Joaquin Niemann||67.62||+4500|
|3. Cameron Smith||67.78||+4000|
|4. Russell Henley||67.79||+6000|
|5. Matt Kuchar||67.93||+6500|
|6. Billy Horschel||68.30||+5000|
|7. Patton Kizzire||68.47||+15000|
|8. Jon Rahm||68.50||+2200|
|9. Scottie Scheffler||68.54||+2500|
|10. Daniel Berger||68.57||+4500|
For the season, Smith is first in SG: putting on Thursday’s and second in total strokes gained. He’s first in birdie average and scoring average, making these odds very intriguing.
- Pick: Cameron Smith (+4000)
Max Homa Coming Off Victory
In his last start, Max Homa endured a very challenging week at the Wells Fargo Championship to pick up his second win of the season. That week, he gained over seven shots tee-to-green on his competitors, and in his last five measured tourneys, has picked up at least four shots in that category each time.
He hasn’t displayed much weakness in his game for quite some time now, and in the last twelve rounds, has looked solid in several categories.
Max Homa’s Strokes Gained Stats Last Twelve Rounds
He ranks 21st in first round scoring, with six of his last eight opening days yielding a score in the 60’s. He’s posted top-20’s in five of his last seven times teeing it up, and has a boatload of confidence coming off a victory.
Michael “Hound Dog” Harrison is well known in the sports industry as the resident statistician for the SC with Jay Onrait Show. He has worked at TSN for over 13 years, where he’s been featured on Sportscentre, That’s Hockey, That’s Hockey 2Nite, The Masters preview shows, and several more.