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PGA Championship Sleeper Picks & Predictions: Morikawa Wants More

Collin Morikawa's struck gold in majors before, including the PGA Championship. See why he's got the right mix of value and potential to make some noise at Oak Hill this weekend.

Daniel Dobish
Last Updated: May 17, 2023 10:48 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Collin Morikawa PGA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for the 105th PGA Championship, beginning Thursday, May 18 at Oak Hill Country Club in Pittsford, N.Y., located right outside of Rochester. 

The course is a Par 70, which measures at 7,394 yards with a Bentgrass surface. We’ll have 156 players eyeing the major title, although Tiger Woods will be sitting this one out due to injury. Will Zalatoris, who nearly posted a victory last season, also is on the shelf due to an ailment. 

We have some tremendous value plays that might not necessarily be the golfers everybody is talking about heading into the tournament, but these guys could be hoisting the Wanamaker Sunday. Here are three 2023 sleeper PGA Championship picks.

2023 PGA Championship sleeper picks

  • Tony Finau (+2,200)
  • Max Homa (+3,300)
  • Collin Morikawa (+3,300)

Picks were made on 5/17/2023 at 8:30 a.m. ET.

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Oak Hill Country Club key stats

Oak Hill plays rather long for a Par 70, at 7,390 yards and sporting a 77.3 course rating and 153 slope rating on bentgrass surfaces.

Some key stats to focus upon are Strokes Gained: Approach, Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and Driving Distance. Focusing on Greens In Regulation (GIR) is also a good metric to watch for, and it always helps to have a guy who has ice in his veins on the putting greens.

2023 PGA Championship sleeper predictions

Tony Finau +2,200

The 33-year-old is playing great golf this season, and has made the cut in 13 consecutive events with a win at the Cadence Bank Houston Open back in November, and the Mexico Open at Vidanta Vallarta at the end of April. In his first major at The Masters, he was T26, and he managed a T19 at THE PLAYERS Championship, widely considered the unofficial fifth major.

Finau leads the PGA Tour in the Strokes Gained: Approach category, checking in at 45.436 across 41 measured rounds, or an average of 1.108. In addition, Finau has hit 629 greens in 900 total holes, which is good for a 69.89% Greens-In-Regulation (GIR) percentage. 

While that’s great news, Finau is also a tremendous putter, posting a 14.314 in Strokes Gained: Putting, which is good for 0.349. He can be a masher, but he can also show off a little bit of the finesse needed in a major.

Toss in the fact Finau ranks third on the PGA Tour in Birdie Average at 4.82, which is well ahead of the Tour average of 3.71, and Finau is a solid value at this price point.

Max Homa +3,300

I am going to stick with the metrics I highlighted above, and Homa checks out pretty well in those areas.

The 32-year-old former Cal Golden Bear has racked up six career victories in his PGA Tour career, including two this season. He isn’t a guy who should be flying under the radar, ranking No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings, while checking in No. 6 in the World Rankings. But, here we are.

Some of the shine came off of Homa when he missed the cut at the RBC Heritage after a T43 at The Masters, then missed the cut the next week at the Zurich Classic, a team event. However, he improved his image dramatically, posting a T8 at Quail Hollow in the Wells Fargo Championship to get himself right back on track.

Homa has also posted wins at the Fortinet Championship and the Farmers Insurance Open, while also posted a runner-up at The Genesis Invitational.

Homa is outstanding ranking second on Tour in Par 3 Scoring Average, and he is ninth in that all-important Strokes Gained: Approach category, posting an average of 0.771 across 41 measured holes. In addition, Homa ranks No. 10 in Strokes Gained: Putting at 0.677, another key area, especially in majors.

Collin Morikawa +3,300

At an identical price point to Homa, Morikawa could help you multiply your initial wager by 33. That’s hard to pass up, especially for a player with his pedigree.

Morikawa has been shut out in the wins department this season, and he has just five career victories, but he’s posted four Top-10 results this season, he’s a respectable No. 23 in the FedEx Cup standings, and he ranks No. 16 in the OWGR.

Playing Morikawa in this major requires a bit of a leap of faith, as he missed the cut in the team event at the Zurich Classic, and he also had back-to-back 2-over 73 rounds to miss the cut at Quail Hollow. So, if you ride with Morikawa, you’re likely going to have him mostly to yourself.

However, there is plenty to like about Morikawa. He has posted a 30.244 in 29 measured rounds in Strokes Gained: Approach, good for a 1.043 average. He is solid in the Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee category, ranking No. 23. In addition, he is outstanding in Driving Accuracy, ranking No. 3, as he just never gets himself into trouble.

The one concern with Morikawa is his putting, which negatively affects his game. He is just No. 169 on the Tour, and that simply will not do. However, he is No. 5 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, and he has hit 537 of his 756 holes, or 71.03%, to rank No. 5 in Greens In Regulation percentage, too.

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