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Golf tips: Zurich Classic predictions

The PGA Tour continues with the only stroke play team event of the year this week, when a strong contingent pair up for action at the TPC Louisiana for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer are back to defend their title from 2019 against a big-time field of FedExCup contenders, TOUR winners, and major champions.

However, we’re looking elsewhere for better value than the pre-tournament favourites below.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans predictions and betting tips

Zurich Classic of New Orleans course guide and where to watch

Course: TPC Louisiana, Avondale, Louisiana

Par: 72

Field: 80 teams of two

Where to watch: Live on Sky Sports Golf from 7pm on Thursday

Time difference Louisiana is six hours behind the UK and Ireland

Zurich Classic of New Orleans winner prediction: Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler at 14/1

Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer finally get the chance to defend their Zurich Classic title this week – the 2019 champions were denied a chance of a repeat in 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic – and they start as favourites on the back of some promising recent form.

Rahm finished fifth in the Masters last time out – his first start after becoming a father – while seven of Palmer’s last 11 tournaments have resulted in a top-20 finish. If Rahm has spent enough time since Augusta practising his golf game – instead of getting distracted by nappy-changing duties – then more Zurich glory could be coming.

Preference at the prices, though, is for the new partnership of Bubba Watson and Scottie Scheffler.

Watson, who won the 2011 Zurich before it became a pairs event, relishes TPC Louisiana and will be thrilled to have secured Scheffler as his sidekick. JB Holmes and Matt Kuchar have provided less inspiring back-up for Watson in this event before, but Scheffler, runner-up in the WGC-Match Play last month, is a much more potent partner.

There is hardly any breeze in the forecast this week – and the course is playing soft and long – so the power of Watson and Scheffler stands them in great stead. The sluggers can attack and churn out greens in regulation.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans outsider prediction: Billy Horschel and Sam Burns at 22/1

The main dangers to Watson and Scheffler may turn out to be Billy Horschel and Sam Burns. Horschel, the WGC-Match Play champion, has won the Zurich Classic with Scott Piercy as his partner.

Horschel has ditched Piercy this time for Burns, who is a teeing up in his home state this week, full of focus and birdie potential. Scheffler and Horschel jousted in the final of the Match Play and may end up in the final group together in the Zurich on Sunday.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans first round leader prediction: Justin Suh and Doug Ghim at 45/1

Justin Suh and Doug Ghim are two exciting young talents who seem set to enjoy lucrative PGA Tour careers – and they could showcase their potential by making a fast start in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Suh and Ghim are attacking players well suited to the best-ball format, which is used for rounds one and three of the tournament.

Given how much rain New Orleans has had in recent weeks – and how soft TPC Louisiana is playing – Suh and Ghim can play aggressively and post a competitive first-round total. Suh, a superb iron-player, was a superstar in college and expected to make the same impact in the game as Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff. Ghim played alongside Justin Thomas when Thomas won the Players Championship at Sawgrass in March, and he has settled nicely on the PGA Tour.

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