BEDMINSTER, New Jersey – The PGA Tour playoffs begin this week with the first of three playoff events at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis. But I am going to shift the focus of this week’s gambling column to the LIV Golf event at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, N.J. While the PGA Tour is whittling its field for the Tour Championship Aug.24-27 in Atlanta, this week’s LIV tournament is special because it is a major event in the New York-New Jersey area, and it features Bryson DeChambeau, who scored a six-stroke win at the LIV event last week at Greenbrier, W.Va. with a final-round 58 that tied the all-time low round in any pro golf event in history.
Here is the amazing thing: DeChambeau’s round included a bogey at the par-3 eighth hole after he birdied six of the first seven holes. After the eighth, he birdied three of the next four holes. That made nine birdies in 12 holes. Then, two routine pars were followed by four straight birdies at the end, including a 40-foot putt on No. 18 that dropped to make him only the second major pro golfer to shoot 58 along with Jim Furyk, who did it at the 2016 Travelers championship despite parring five of the final six holes.
The first player to shoot 59 in a PGA Tour event was Al Geiberger in 1977 at Memphis. Geiberger was matched by Chip Beck in 1991, David Duval in 1999, Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby in 2010, Furyk in 2013, Justin Thomas and Adam Hadwin in 2017, Brandt Snedeker and European Tour veteran Oliver Fisher in 2018, Kevin Chappell in 2019 and Scottie Scheffler in 2020.
Jim Furyk’s 58 at the 2016 Travelers was preceded by a 2-over par 72. He actually finished fifth. By contrast, DeChambeau preceded his 58 with a 61 at Greenbrier. His 119 total for two consecutive rounds is the lowest in professional golf history, an average of 59.5. Phenomenal.
So do I expect DeChambeau to back up his first win on the LIV Golf tour with another at Bedminster? I do not. But if he can follow a 61 with a 58, then I expect him to be in serious contention at Bedminster.
Last year’s winner at Bedminster was veteran Henrik Stenson with a modest -11 score. I imagine scores will be a little bit lower this time around. Chile’s Mito Pereira is a candidate after shooting a final-round 63 to finish in second six strokes behind DeChambeau. I like Talor Gooch, who is leading the LIV team competition. He has been very consistent. Two other regular contenders are Matthew Wolff and Cam Smith. Wolff tied for second at Bedminster last year. Of course, you never can ignore Brooks Koepka. He always is in the hunt.
But my pick to win at Bedminster is Dustin Johnson. Just as Bryson DeChambeau was overdue for his first LIV win, Johnson also is overdue for his next victory. Johnson currently ranks No. 1 in birdies in LIV Golf, third in driving distance and sixth in greens in regulation. To me, that is a winning formula, and I feel Johnson has been on the verge of breaking out.
So, I am saying Johnson is my betting favorite, and my top contenders are DeChambeau, Pereira, Gooch and Wolff.
By the way, the LIV Golf website offers a fantasy betting option. You don’t have to go anywhere else to place your bets. I imagine this will be a trend in the future. Why should Draft Kings get all the business when LIV Golf provides an alternate betting avenue to go along with the statistics of all of its players? Enjoy.