While most of the golf world is focused on the British Open at St. Andrews this week, the Barracuda Championship is taking place at Tahoe Mountain Club in California at the same time. It's a best-of-the-rest situation, with some talented players who didn't earn a spot at St. Andrews competing in the U.S. instead.
Most people I follow who have offered advice on this tournament lean toward Maverick McNealy earning his first Tour win. It makes sense given his recent success, which includes a T8 at the John Deere and a T16 at the Scottish Open a week ago. But all that travel has me worried that the former No. 1 amateur in the world is running on fumes and won't get that coveted win. However, I do have three other players who I like to pile up the points.
Let's start with the odds.
Barracuda Championship Odds
- Maverick McNealy +1200
- Alex Noren +1800
- Cam Davis +1800
- Taylor Pendrith +2200
- Nick Hardy +2500
- Mark Hubbard +2800
- Martin Laird +3500
- Rasmus Hojgaard +3500
- Doug Ghim +3500
- Andrew Putnam +4000
- Taylor Moore +4000
- Matthias Schwab +4500
- Vince Whaley +4500
- Hurly Long +4500
- Chez Reavie +5000
- John Huh +5000
- Greyson Sigg +5000
The first thing you need to know about this tournament is it's a modified Stableford scoring system. Players get two points for birdies, five for eagles and eight for an albatross. Pars net zero points and players lose one point for a bogey and three for a double bogey or worse. So clearly, making birdies and avoiding big scores is the key to winning here.
With that in mind, here are my picks.
Barracuda Championship Picks and Predictions
Cameron Davis +1600
The Australian has been playing solid golf the last few months, making five cuts with two Top 10s in there. He shot 15-under at the John Deere to place T-8. He tied for 32nd at the Barracuda in 2020 and has the stats you want to see for a winning pick here.
He's sixth on the PGA Tour in Eagles per hole and first on the PGA Tour in bounce-back birdie percentage (32.3%). He drives the ball 306.2 yards on average (44th on the PGA Tour) and is 69th on tour in Shots Gained: Approach. That's not elite at St. Andrews, but for the players here, he has an advantage.
Nick Hardy +2500
Hardy has been on a big of a heater, and likely you've never heard of him. He tied for 15th place at the US Open, tied for eighth at the Travelers and finished with a 64 at the John Deere Classic to place T-30. While that's not a great placement, the finish has me liking what I'm seeing. So do the stats.
Hardy is 20th on Tour in Shots Gained: Off the tee and is 13th in Greens in Regulation Percentage (69.2%). That should lead to fewer negative point moments. He's 18th on tour in total putting, but needs to drain a few more on the Par 5s to have a chance this week.
Mark Hubbard +2800
Like Hardy, Hubbard is on fire recently, placing third at the Barbasol Championship last week with a -22 score and a T-13 at the John Deere the week before with a -13 score. Clearly the man is finding the bottom of the cup often right now.
Not surprising considering he's 13th on Tour in Eagles Per Hole and 57th in Birdie Average -- in large part because he's 34th in Shots Gained: Putting and 26th in Shots Gained: Approach the Green. He's shorter off the tee (286.4 yards per drive), but is 30th on tour in Greens in Regulation Percentage (68.15). Just seems like a solid bet at that number given he doesn't get into much trouble and is running a heater with the short stick.