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2017 Valspar Championship Predictions

Who will win the 2017 Valspar Championship? Our research staff offers predictions and analysis. The defending champion is Charl Schwartzel. The 2017 Valspar Championship is scheduled for March 9-12 at Innisbrook Resort in Tampa Bay, Florida.

⛳Course Preview

The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook is a highly underrated venue. The course is as tough as it gets on the PGA Tour without all the bells and whistles. Copperhead is designed to favor accuracy over power. The rough here is demanding; some even compare it to the formidable U.S. Open rough. It also does not help that the greens are firm and undulating.

­čĆîAnalysis

World Rankings
Henrik Stenson - 6
Justin Thomas - 7
Patrick Reed - 12
Bubba Watson - 16
Matt Kuchar - 20

Course Compatibility
Jim Furyk - Former champion with four other top-25s including a runner-up.
Luke Donald - 2012 champion, four other top-25s.
Jason Dufner - One of the best tee-to-green players, eight top-30 finishes here.
Retief Goosen - Two wins, three other top-25s.
Ryan Moore - Accurate off the tee and an excellent iron player, two top-5s in the last two years.

Strokes Gained-Tee to Green
Justin Thomas 1.69
Kyle Stanley 1.68
Lucas Glover 1.44
Gary Woodland 1.24
Bill Haas 1.20

Recent Form
Gary Woodland - T2 at Honda Classic, T5 at Pebble Beach.
Henrik Stenson - Six top-10s plus a WD in last seven worldwide starts including three runner-ups.
Charles Howell III - Runner-up at Farmers Open, seven top-15s in last eight starts.
Graham DeLaet - Three top-20s in last three starts.
Jason Dufner - Three top-25s in last three starts.

Modified JScore
1. Gary Woodland -3.5
2. Justin Thomas -4.0
3. Henrik Stenson -4.5
4. Jason Dufner -6.0
5. Charles Howell III -10.0
6. Jim Furyk -10.5

­čĆćPredictions

Winner: Charles Howell III. With how consistently good he has been, it would be a big disappointment if he does not rejoin the winner’s circle this season. In his last eight PGA Tour starts, Howell finished in the top 15 seven times for an 88% success rate! The good news is that the field at this year's Valspar Championship is a little weaker than in years past; he will have a chance to improve on the T2 finish at the Farmers Open. Also, highest ranked player Henrik Stenson withdrew from the WGC-Mexico Championship last week due to a stomach virus and his status for this week is uncertain. Howell's solid ball-striking is a good fit for Copperhead, as illustrated by his five top-15 finishes here including a runner-up. He finished T5 last year. The two-time PGA Tour winner currently ranks 35th in SG Putting and 32nd in SG Tee-to-Green with a 73% GIR rate.

Top 10 Finish: Ryan Moore. The 34-year-old has finished in the top 5 at Innisbrook the last two years and it is for a good reason. Moore is one of the premier ball strikers on tour and the Copperhead Course has earned a reputation as a ball-striking haven. The 5-time PGA Tour winner is also a marvelous putter. His recent form, however, has been mediocre. After starting the season with four straight top-25 finishes, his last three starts were below average. Nonetheless, we still expect a strong performance from Moore on a course that perfectly suits his game. Don't be surprised to see him contend for the title comes Sunday.

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