The third Butterfield Bermuda Championship takes place this week with an increased purse and for the second year in a row will award 500 FedEx Cup points, a two-year PGA Tour exemption, and entry into the 2022 Masters Tournament to the winner. Brian Gay, the 48-year-old 2020 winner, collected $720,000 for his victory, but the 2021 champion will pick up $1.17 million in prize money.
Despite all of the benefits that are up for grabs in the small island that sits just under 800 miles off the coast of the United States, most of the top players in the world and in the FedEx Cup standings have chosen to skip the fifth of eight tournaments played in the fall portion of the 2022 wraparound PGA Tour season. The lack of star power in the field provides an opportunity for many new Tour members and veterans who are looking to grab a win following a down period in their careers.
Gay was a good example of that in 2020, as he was able to pick up his fifth Tour win and first since the 2013 Humana Challenge by defeating Wyndham Clark with a birdie on the first hole of a sudden death playoff. The veteran player was preparing to transition to the PGA Tour Champions in 2022 but instead was able to extend his time on the regular and more lucrative Tour for an additional two years.
The tournament is contested on the short and tight Port Royal Golf Course, which plays to a par 71 and measures 6,828 yards, much like Harbour Town Golf Links on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina that hosts the RBC Heritage. The winning scores in the two years of competition were Gay’s 15 under 269 and Brendan Todd’s record 24 under par 260 in the inaugural event in 2019.
The wagering leader at odds of +1000 is Matthew Fitzpatrick, the Englishman who represented Europe in the Ryder Cup and has had significant success on the European Tour but is looking for his first PGA Tour win. South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who won three times on the European Tour in 2020, is next at +1200, with Chilean Mito Pereira close behind at +1600 and former Masters champion Patrick Reed and Irishman Seamus Power rounding out the top five at +2000.
The rest of the field is made up of Korn Ferry Tour graduates including Stephen Jaeger at +4500 and Joseph Bramlett at +5000, PGA Tour veterans like Adam Hadwin at +3500 and Nick Watney at +6500, and some former major champions with Jason Dufner at odds of +6500 and Danny Willett coming in at +4000.
Underdog Betting Picks
The 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell is in the field after playing in just one PGA Tour event since May, but he has a win in the 2013 RBC Heritage and fits the profile of a player who could resurrect his career in a fall series event. At odds of +10000, he might be worth taking a shot on, especially since the distance isn’t a primary criterion for winning at Port Royal.
Success on the Korn Ferry Tour can often be a precursor to a solid career on the PGA Tour, so it’s probably just a matter of time until Jaeger breaks through with a victory after leading the stepping stone tour in points during the elongated 2020 – 2021 season, with two wins and 13 top-ten finishes in 35 events.
Garrick Higgo from South Africa who played his college golf at UNLV shocked the Tour with a win in his second PGA Tour start in the Palmetto Championship at Congaree but hasn’t been able to follow it up with much success. Perhaps the favorable field will benefit the 22-year-old and he can go on to grab a second Tour title at odds of +5000.