Golf tips and free bets: Three picks for the PGA Championship including Rory McIlroy and 400-1 European ace

THE PGA Championship takes place at Kiawah Island this week with Rory McIlory among the favourites for the second major of the year.

McIlroy, who won here by eight shots in 2012, and fresh from his Wells Fargo victory is the shortest price with most bookmakers.

Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson aren’t far behind though.

Defending champion Collin Morikawa is also in the mix.

And SunSport’s David Facey takes you through his selections.

Hot shots

Rory McIlroy, 11-1

Fully deserves his place at the head of the market after winning the USPGA by eight shots the least time it was held here, in 2012.

And he looked far more like the old Rory as he ended his 18-month win drought with victory in the Wells Fargo Championship.

His cause will be helped by the fact most of his top rivals have big question marks over them.

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka are battling knee injuries, Justin Thomas has failed to fire in four starts since winning the Players Championship, and Jon Rahm has not looked like winning since switching clubs.

Viktor Hovland, 25-1

Third place finishes in his last two starts – the Valspar and Wells Fargo – have kept the needle moving in the right direction for the ever-smiling young Norwegian.

He is now up to 11th in the world rankings, and a place in the top ten beckons this week.

Those latest near-misses means he has rattled off a win, two seconds, three thirds and a couple more top six finishes in his last 13 starts.

Needs to close the deal more often, but if he keeps putting himself in contention it will happen, especially with such a great temperament.

Mid price

Brian Harman, 80-1

The gritty left hander keeps defying the odds by playing great golf on courses that should be too long for him in theory – think Sawgrass, where he was a close third in the Players Championship.

Expect a similar outcome at Kiawah Island, despite the fact it is regarded as a bomber's paradise.

Harman’s scrambling skills and deadly putting will make up for a lack of length off the tee.

He has been the model of consistency since the Players, and his top twenty finishes at the Masters, Heritage and Wells Fargo would have been even better if he had not pushed too hard at the death.

Billy Horschel, 125-1

Three-figure odds for an in-form golfer from the world’s top twenty – 18th to be precise – who has beaten the best of the best in the last couple of months at the World Match Play?

We’ll have some of that, thank you very much.

It was not as if Horschel’s Match Play triumph came out of the blue. He was runner-up in another World Golf Championship, the Concession at the end of February, and is one of the best iron players on the planet.

The same cannot be said of his putting, but if he gets hot the bookies could regret those odds.

Long shots

Dean Burmester, 250-1

European Tour form doesn’t always carry over to the other side of the Atlantic, especially with European fields weakened by the absence of US-based stars.

But with a win and two top six finishes in his last three starts, Burmester still looks a tempting proposition.

The fact that he is one of the biggest hitters in the game will be a big asset for the South African star at Kiawah, and he will handle it better than most if the wind picks up.

It has taken the 31 year old longer than expected to break into the world’s top 100, but should make up for lost time.

Kalle Samoioja, 400-1

Another player who has to show he can produce the goods in the States as well as the European Tour.

But pricing him in the same bracket as the twenty PGA Professionals and a bunch of has-been ex-champions is little short of insulting.

Finished third and ninth in his last two outings, in the Canary Islands swing, but it was the Finn’s fourth place finish at the Dubai Desert Classic that really caught the eye.

He was just a shot behind Robert MacIntyre in that event – and the Scot is priced up at around a quarter of Samooja’s odds.

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