PGA Championship: 4 best dark horse picks with shot at Valhalla glory



The PGA Championship has produced plenty of longshot winners over the years.

Shaun Micheel at Oak Hill in 2003, Y.E. Yang at Hazeltine in 2009, and most recently, Phil Mickelson at Kiawah Island in 2021 immediately come to mind.

But plenty of favorites or headliners win too. Look no further than Brooks Koepka a year ago.

At any rate, anyone can win this tournament, which boasts the strongest field in golf each year. It consists of 135 of the best professionals in the world. Twenty-one teaching professionals, including Michael Block, will round out this year’s 156-man field.

Nevertheless, let’s explore four golfers who could win this week that we believe are excellent longshot picks:

Sepp Straka

Sepp Straka during a Tuesday practice round ahead of the 2024 PGA Championship.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

DraftKings Odds to Win: +9000

One of the most accurate drivers of the golf ball on the PGA Tour this season, Sepp Straka comes into Valhalla fresh off a strong performance at the Wells Fargo Championship.

He tied for eighth at Quail Hollow, and if not for a final round 3-over 74, he likely would have finished within the top five. At any rate, since tying for 16th at The Masters, the Austrian tied for fifth at the RBC Heritage and then tied for 11th at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans before last week’s strong result.

Evidently, the Ryder Cup star has his game trending in the right direction. At +9000, Straka is an excellent longshot pick for this week’s PGA Championship.

The one knock on Straka is his length. He only averages 291 yards—good for 149th on the PGA Tour this season. Yet, he is 31st in strokes gained off the tee, a testament to his accuracy. Finding fairways on this golf course is a necessity, and Straka will rely on that to contend, or perhaps even become the first major champion from Austria.

Jason Day

Jason Day, PGA Championship

Jason Day during a practice round ahead of the 2024 PGA Championship.
Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

DraftKings Odds to Win: +6500

Jason Day, who won this event in 2015 at Whistling Straits, should not have odds this high at a PGA Championship. Sitting at +6500, the Australian is a tremendous dark horse pick.

While he did not finish inside the Top 10 in 2014 at Valhalla, he entered the final round in a tie for fourth and sat only three shots off the lead. He struggled with a 1-over 72 that Sunday, but this course suits his game well.

Day arrives in the Bluegrass State full of confidence this time around, fresh off a fourth-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship. His ball-striking, which has held him back somewhat this season, showed improvement at Quail Hollow. But his short game carried him for most of the weekend. That includes his play on the greens, in which he continued to putt the ball well.

Valhalla sets up well for Day, who still has plenty of length off the tee.

Sungjae Im

Sungjae Im, Wells Fargo Championship

Sungjae Im during the final round of the 2024 Wells Fargo Championship.
Photo by Keyur Khamar/PGA Tour via Getty Images

DraftKings Odds to Win: +8000

Sungjae Im is another terrific dark horse pick this week.

He missed the cut at Augusta National, but since then, the Cheongju, South Korea native has rounded into form. He tied for 12th at the RBC Heritage, shooting all four rounds at even par or better. He then went home to South Korea and won the KPGA Woori Financial Group Championship in Korea by one shot.

Im then returned to the United States to play in the Wells Fargo Championship, where he tied for fourth—his best finish on the PGA Tour this season. If not for four bogies on his opening nine during Sunday’s final round, Im would have finished higher on the leaderboard.

But he relied heavily on his hot putter at Quail Hollow, gaining more than six strokes on the greens. Should he continue to putt well at Valhalla, watch out.

Byeong Hun An

Byeong Hun An, PGA Tour, Wells Fargo Championship

Byeong Hun An during the third round of the 2024 Wells Fargo Championship.
Photo by Ben Jared/PGA Tour via Getty Images

DraftKings Odds to Win: +5500

Thirty-one-year-old Byeong Hun An arrives at Valhalla with 55-to-1 odds to win the PGA Championship. A victory would also mark his first career PGA Tour win.

Despite that, An has contended numerous times before, recording 15 top-five finishes in his career to date. Two of those have come over the past two weeks: he tied for fourth at the CJ Cup Byron Nelson and then finished solo third at Quail Hollow.

An is trending in the right direction, mainly due to the power he has off the tee. He ranks fourth on tour in average driving distance and 16th in total driving. The Seoul, South Korea native is also 25th on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy this season.

His short game is his weakness, an issue on any golf course. But An changed that narrative on Quail Hollow’s new greens last week. He ranked first among the field in strokes gained putting, despite ranking 91st on tour this season in that metric.

Perhaps he has discovered something with his flat stick, and if he continues to roll the rock well at Valhalla, An will contend. DraftKings currently has him at +1100 to finish in the top 5. A top 10 result yields a +500 payout—any of those is worth a shot on a player who has recently caught some fire.

He also tied for 16th at Augusta National this year.

For all other sports betting content, check out SB Nation’s DraftKings site.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

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