2011 The Players Championship Sleepers and Underdogs – Kevin Na a Potential Sleeper to Bet On to Win at the TPC at Sawgrass: The Players Championship is famous for its deep, tough fields, but that doesn’t mean a longshot can’t win. Bettors looking to hit it big have a number of options to pick from, but Kevin Na could be the most intriguing. No one has worse odds to win this weekend than Na (+6000), but with a quick look at his credentials, the odds could end up being a benefit for bettors.
Na has already made a serious push to win the Players Championship in the past. He finished third in the 2009 event, and the difficult, obstacle-laden layout of Sawgrass didn’t seem to bother him. Not to mention the fact that he has been playing some of his most consistent golf in 2011, finishing in the top-10 in four of his eight events. Given his past success in the event and the momentum he carries into Thursday’s opening round, he may be even better equipped to contend for the win this time around.
His game does have some weaknesses, but they are confined to his driver for the most part. He tends to spray the ball all over the place off the tee in an attempt to make up for his lack of length, but golfers don’t need to drive the ball 300-plus yards off the tee to compete at Sawgrass. In fact, the layout often calls for a decrease in power for some of the Tour’s heaviest hitters.
What Na lacks in length, he makes up for in his ability to improvise. He currently ranks in the top-25 in the PGA in sand save percentage, and while avoiding the bunkers is the best strategy, it is nice to have a guy that can handle the sand at a Sawgrass course littered with traps. Na also ranks in the top-25 in Birdie average, which means that he has is going to have his fair share of good holes during a round. Basically, Na is good enough to get some Birdies but crafty enough to minimize his bad holes. The combination is the biggest reason that he has been a staple of the top-10 in his starts this year.
That being said, there is a reason that he is such a longshot to win. However, he is one of the few longshots in the field that has been close to winning the Players Championship in the past. More importantly, he has the skill set needed to stay in the hunt at Sawgrass, even if he isn’t hitting perfect shots. Bettors that throw a few dollars in his direction could end up smiling after this weekend is all said and done.
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