Memorial Tournament Preview: Stanley To Star Again7 min read
A stellar field headlined by Tiger Woods will be competing this week at Muirfield Village in the Memorial Tournament. Woods, seeking his sixth title at the event, is aiming to rebound after a disappointing missed cut at the PGA Championship with Rory McIlroy the 8/1 favourite this week.
Jack Nicklaus’ signature event is always one of the strongest fields on the PGA Tour with Bryson DeChambeau defending his title after last year’s play-off win. The 7,392-yard par 72 favours strong ball striking and hitting plenty of greens in regulation has often been the key to victory.
Cantlay primed for another big week
Patrick Cantlay comes into the tournament in excellent form and the American should go close to winning a second PGA Tour title. His last three individual events have seen him finish inside the top ten with ninth place at the Masters giving him a huge confidence boost. Cantlay followed this up with a top-three finish at the Heritage and secured his best major result on his last start with a tie for third at the PGA Championship.
The 27-year-old is playing the best golf of his career and he returns to a course he has played well at. Cantlay managed a respectable tie for 35th in his first appearance two years ago and improved significantly last season finishing fourth. He is fifth for strokes gained tee to green and leads the tour for scrambling this season. The strength of his all-round game suggests he is likely to be a contender this week and Cantlay should be backed at 16/1 each way.
Matt Kuchar is enjoying the most successful season of his career and the experienced American is fancied to challenge for another victory this week in Ohio. Kuchar leads the FedEx Cup standings after two victories, winning in Mexico and Hawaii at the start of this year. He has not slowed up though with second place at the WGC Match Play, a runner-up finish at the Heritage and eighth spot at Bethpage Black in his last start.
Kuchar won at Muirfield Village in 2013 and has been a consistent performer at the tournament. In addition to his victory, he has six other top tens and has finished fourth twice in the last three years. The 40-year-old has never come into the week with as much confidence as he currently has, ranking first for greens in regulation and sixth on approaches to the green. Expect Kuchar to pepper the flags again with the 18/1 shot fancied to threaten a third win of the season.
Stanley to star again at Muirfield Village
Kyle Stanley has a real comfort level at this tournament and the American could go well again this week at an appealing price. Stanley played extremely well last season as he was beaten in the play-off. It was not his first impressive performance at Muirfield Village though with Stanley third in 2013 and sixth in 2017. Three top-six finishes in six starts at the event is a tremendous record.
Stanley’s best result of the season came at the start of this month with a tie for eighth at the Wells Fargo Championship. The 31-year-old plays tough courses well and the two-time PGA Tour winner will be looking forward to one of his favourite weeks of the year. Stanley is 25-under-par for his last seven rounds at the track and merits support at 66/1 each way.
Rory Sabbatini has rediscovered his game this season and the six-time PGA Tour winner has every chance of featuring on the leaderboard this week. Sabbatini has four top tens in his last five events, finishing no worse than 18th. He tied for sixth on Sunday at Colonial which followed on from fifth place on his previous start at the Byron Nelson.
His last victory came in 2011 at another Nicklaus course, PGA National, with the 43-year-old also having played well at Muirfield Village during his career. Sabbatini’s best finish at the course came in 2012 when he was second to Woods. He has never entered the week with the consistency he has shown this season and Sabbatini could threaten the each way places at 66/1.
Andrew Putnam returned to form last week with an impressive showing at Colonial Country Club. Putnam finished joint third for his best result since second place at the Sony Open in January. The American was fourth for greens in regulation and sixth for putting last week and spoke confidently about his game after the final round in Texas.
Putnam’s breakthrough PGA Tour title came last summer at the Barracuda Championship, held at Montreux which is another Nicklaus course design. The 30-year-old showed he can compete in elite company with fourth place at the WGC HSBC Champions at the start of this season and does have some experience at Muirfield Village. He shot a second round 66 in 2015 before falling away at the weekend, but he was in miserable form and returns this week a winner on tour with renewed confidence. Putnam looks worth siding with at 100/1 and 8/1 for the top ten.
Patrick Cantlay each way
Matt Kuchar each way
Kyle Stanley each way
Rory Sabbatini each way
Andrew Putnam 100/1 outright and top ten finish at