By Walker Polivka
The PGA Tour holds its second major of the year this week as it visits the Southern Hills Championship Course for the 104th PGA Championship. Read on below to see our prediction for who will win the tournament, as well as our predictions for who will finish in the top 10, our dark horse, and our player to fade.
Winner: Justin Thomas- Winner of the 2017 PGA Championship, Thomas has been the model of consistency on tour this season, with 4 top 5’s, 7 top 10’s, 9 top 25’s, and 0 missed cuts in 12 starts. Thomas has a game that fits Southern Hills quite well, ranking 5th in Strokes Gained: Approach-The-Green and ranking inside the top 30 in both Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee and Around-The-Green. Thomas also ranks 1st in Fairway Proximity and is ranked inside the top 10 in Sand Save Percentage, Scrambling, and Scrambling From The Rough. There aren’t many holes in Thomas’ game right now and he has sort of taken a back seat of late due to the dominant stretch of play that Scottie Scheffler has put together this year. Thomas has done everything but win on tour this season, but that will change on Sunday, as I predict that Justin Thomas will win the PGA Championship at Southern Hills and hoist up that Wanamaker Trophy for the second time!
Top 10: Shane Lowry- Lowry has been playing quite well of late on the PGA Tour, with 3 top 5’s and 6 top 15’s in his last 7 starts, including a magnificent T-3 finish at The Masters. Lowry’s game has been pretty solid all the way around, as he is ranked 4th in Strokes Gained: Approach-The-Green and 13th in Strokes Gained: Putting. Like Thomas, Lowry’s bread and butter has been his short game, as he is ranked 9th in Scrambling From The Rough and 2nd in both Sand Save Percentage and Scrambling. Southern Hills is a diabolical course as you get closer to the green and Lowry’s skills put him in prime position for a top 10 finish this week.
Dark Horse: Ryan Fox- The 90th ranked player in the Official World Golf Rankings, Fox has been on quite the heater over the past few months, going 1, T-16, T-9, T-8, T-2 in his last 5 DP World Tour starts. The pride of Auckland, New Zealand, Fox has previously played in just 16 PGA Tour events in his career, with a best finish of T-16 coming at the 2019 Open Championship. He may not be super well known here in the United States, but Fox is a fine player who is arguably playing the best golf of his career right now. A win would be unheralded, but a top 25 finish is certainly within reach for Fox.
Player to Fade: Alex Beach- One of 20 PGA Professionals in the field this week, Beach has had no success in past PGA Tour starts, missing the cut in each of the 4 PGA Championships he was a part of previously and missing the cut in all 10 PGA Tour events he has played in. There is usually a Cinderella Story each year at the PGA Championship when at least 1 PGA Professional makes the cut, but it certainly won’t be found with Beach this year.