The season’s last major is up next as the 100th edition of the PGA Championship comes to the Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country, Missouri on August 9-12, 2018.

This will be the final time that the PGA Championship will be the last major of the PGA season because beginning next years, it will be held in the month of May, after the Masters and before the U.S. Open.

The Course History

The current 7,547-yard par 71 course Bellerive Country Club traces its history to 1897 when it was known as The Field Club. The club was later renamed after the last North American French governor-Louis St. Ange de Bellerive and in the year 1960, Robert Trent Jones Sr. was hired to choose the land and build the course on its current site.

Five years later, the U.S. Open came. Gary Player won and became the third player in gold history to complete the career grand slam. In 1992, Bellerive hosted the PGA Championship and Nick Price won the first of his three major golf titles. The club was slated to host the WGC American Express Championship in 2001 but it was canceled in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Bellerive underwent a $9.5M renovation from 2005-06 to establish itself as one of the bigger player courses in the PGA Tour. The course is built a large creek that is part of play in nine holes and which brings potential water hazard in 11 holes. The course is known for its large and heaving greens but will be much easier to play in as compared to the other three courses which hosted this year’s other major tournaments: Augusta National for the Masters, Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open and Carnoustie for the British Open.

Thomas Title Defense

Last year, Justin Thomas broke away from a seven-man pack with three birdies in the back nine at Quail Hollow to finish two shots ahead of the field and win his first ever major title.

Thomas was trailing Hideki Matsuyama at the turn but his fortunes changed after sinking a birdie at the 10th hole, a shot that hung on the edge for about 10 seconds before falling in. Thomas took the lead with a chip in birdie at the 13th and then birdied again at the par-3 17th to build enough cushion for the victory. Thomas would finish two strokes ahead of Louis Oosthuizen, Francesco Molinari, and Patrick Reed.

The Kentucky native carded one of the best rounds of the final round with his 3-under 68 to become only the 8th first-time major winner in a span of 9 major tournaments played. This year, Thomas undertakes his first ever major title defense against one of the season’s deepest fields.

Only #87 Bernd Wiesberger and #90 Just Luiten, both out with wrist injuries, are absent from the world’s Top 112 ranked golfers. The Top 20 finishers from the Professional National Championship last June are also entered in this tournament which has a champion’s purse of $10.5M and which will earn the winner 600 FedEx Cup points.

The Favorites

Here are the Top 5 favorites to win the 2018 PGA Championship:

  • Dustin Johnson +1000

    The FedEx Cup frontrunner leads the pack at Bellerive. It looks like Johnson’s had a quiet year but when you take a look at his 2018 resume, he has three wins (including last week in Canada) and also has 9 Top 10 finishes in a total of 14 starts. He is the PGA Tour leader in eagles, birdies and scoring (68.68) but has been held down in the major tournaments this year because of one bad round in each major. When he is on though, he is virtually unstoppable. Johnson has four Top 10 finishes in 8 starts at the PGA Championship with his best finish coming in 2010 at #5.

  • Rory McIlroy +1200

    McIlroy has been absent for most of the season but he sprung to life with a T-2 finish at the British Open in Carnoustie. With momentum on his side, you bet McIlroy will have a different bounce in his step at Bellerive. He has already won this tournament twice-at Kiawah Island in 2012 and Valhalla in 2014. In nine total starts in this tournament, he has two victories and 3 Top-10 finishes.

  • Jordan Spieth +1400

    Spieth takes another shot at becoming the sixth golfer ever to complete the career grand slam. He will attempt to become the second player ever to do so at Bellerive after Gary Player did it here in 1965. Spieth finished four shots behind Francesco Molinari at The Open Championship after having the share of the lead entering the final day. The 25-year-old hasn’t won since The Open in 2017 but with the extra motivation here, he might have a special weekend. Spieth’s best finish in the PGA Championship was a runner-up finish in 2015, his lone Top 10 finish here in five starts.

  • Justin Thomas +1800

    It’s been a quiet year for the defending champion of this tournament. Thomas only has one Top 10 finish in 8 starts since his semifinal appearance at last March’s WGC Match Play. But Thomas certainly has plenty of firepower as he showed last August at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow. Thomas ranks fourth in the PGA Tour in scoring and fifth in strokes gained-both birdies and total. He would love nothing than holding on to the Wanamaker trophy.

  • Justin Rose +1800

    The World #2 has back concerns heading into the PGA Championship as Rose sat out last week’s WGC Bridgestone Invitational as a precautionary measure. Rose has been hit and misses in this tournament with three Top-10 finishes and six missed cuts in 15 starts. His best finish at the PGA was in 2012 in Kiawah when he ended up tied for third with Rory McIlroy. Rose has peaked in the majors this year, finishing T-12 at the Masters, T-10 at the U.S. Open and T-2 at the British Open. He ranks second in scoring and fourth in birdies. With a mature game, he knows that winning here is all about positioning on Sunday and he knows how to get there.

Here are the Top 20 odds to win the 2018 PGA Championship Odds as of August 1, 2018 at Bovada:

  • Dustin Johnson +1000
  • Rory McIlroy +1200
  • Jordan Spieth +1400
  • Justin Thomas +1800
  • Justin Rose +1800
  • Tiger Woods +2000
  • Rickie Fowler +2000
  • Brooks Koepka +2200
  • Francesco Molinari +2200
  • Jason Day +2500
  • Jon Rahm +2500
  • Tommy Fleetwood +2800
  • Hideki Matsuyama +3500
  • Henrik Stenson +3500
  • Patrick Reed +4000
  • Sergio Garcia +4000
  • Bubba Watson +4000
  • Xander Schauffele +4000
  • Paul Casey +5000
  • Tony Finau +5000
  • Alexander Noren +5000
  • Phil Mickelson +6600
  • Matt Kuchar +6600
  • Branden Grace +6600
  • Patrick Cantlay +6600
  • Kevin Kisner +6600

Who Wins?

At +2200, Francesco Molinari definitely has value. The hottest golfer in the world has three wins (including a grand slam) and two runner-up finishes in his last six starts. The Italian has plenty of pop to hang around in a bigger course as we saw when he finished second in this tournament last year at Quail Hollow.

Speaking of juicy odds, Tony Finau needs to be taken a little more seriously at +5000. Although his lone PGA win was the 2016 Puerto Rico Open which isn’t on the same level as the PGA, Finau is the only player to finish in the Top 10 in all three Major Tournaments so far.

Tiger Woods led the Open on the back nine in the final round and then he fizzled out. Still, a T-6 finish at the British Open is proof that he is nearing his old form in the majors. But can he still return to the Tiger Woods of old? Or is he just the old Tiger Woods now? At +2000, you might want to take a chance on Tiger again.

As far as picking the winner is concerned, it’s definitely a tough call considering this is the best field that can ever be assembled. But if we take a look at recent memory, it Francesco Molinari who has been on a tear lately. Some say he’s due to cool off after a string of victories but it could go the other way around too.

He finished second in this tournament a year ago and showed that he has enough pop to hang un big courses. was bogey-free during the weekend at Carnoustie. He’s just playing at a different level right now and it’s hard to bet against him.

Betting Prediction

We’re picking Francesco Molinari to win the PGA Championship.

Place Your Bet Here

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