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Byeong Hun An blasted out for a tip-in putt on the 18th hole at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC on Aug. 1, 2019.  (H. Scott Hoffmann/News & Record)
Byeong Hun An blasted out for a tip-in putt on the 18th hole at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC on Aug. 1, 2019. (H. Scott Hoffmann/News & Record)|Associated Press
Golf

Greenbrier Classic: The PGA is back and Kern picks longshots Byeong Hun An, Scottie Scheffler, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Nieman & Robert Streb

The tournament starts Thursday morning in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Following a brief three-week break, the new PGA Tour golf season is already teeing off. From January through the Tour Championship we tried to give you a winner. And we were successful on three occasions, including Rory McIlroy to close things out. And a few of them paid off pretty well, such as Phil Mickelson at 40-1 at Pebble Beach back in February. We also had some close calls, and a few tournaments where we didn’t threaten.

So let’s try to cash some more tickets this time around, starting with The Greenbrier Classic, or the Military Tribute at the Greenbrier, which is played on the Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. It wasn’t on the schedule last season, due to some changes that had to be made to move the PGA Championship from August to May to make sure the FedEx Cup playoffs finished earlier to avoid the NFL season. Got all that? Anyway, this used to be played in July. Not any more.

The field isn’t all that, as you might expect for this time of the year. Bryson DeChambeau is the top-ranked player there, at 12-1. Which also makes him the co-favorite. Again, no surprise. Now here’s a look at what some of the other co-called contenders are going off at.

Vicktor Hovland, coming off a fine rookie year, is also listed at 12-1. Jason Kokrak is 16-1. Marc Leishman is next at 22-1, followed by Byeong Hun An at 25-1, and Scottie Scheffler, Sungjae Im and Bubba Watson, who has a residence at the resort, at 28-1. Im was the only rookie to make the FedEx playoffs. And he made it to the final tourney.

Joaquin Niemann, who had four top 10s in his last eight events, is 33-1. Keegan Bradley, who won a major (albeit eight years ago), is 45-1. As is Russell Henley. Brian Harmon is 50-1, with Cameron Smith and Harold Varner III. Zach Johnson, a two-time major winner (including the 2015 British Open), is 60-1. Robert Streb, who’s finished second in two of the last three tourneys here (he tied for 11th in the other), is somehow 65-1. Brendan Grace is 90-1, along with Jason Dufner, your 2014 PGA champ.

So there you have it, at least for the most part. And here are my opening picks:

No need to take the faves here, because of the many good prices available, so we won’t.

First we’ll go with Byeong Hun An, at 25-1. He had seven top 10s, and tied for fourth in his first start last season. Good enough for me to give him a try.

Then we’ll take Scottie Scheffler, at 28-1. He was the best player on the Korn Ferry Tour, the triple-A minor leagues. Here’s hoping he can keep playing well at the next level, at least for starters against a field where he might be able to do some damage.

And let’s also try two guys at 33-1, Sungjae Im and Joaquin Nieman. Hey, at odds like these you don’t have to play a whole lot to get back a lot. So you can afford to mix and match a little. It’s not like you have to beat Brooks Koepka, right?

And just for fun let’s throw out a real longshot. That would be Robert Streb, at 65-1. If only for his history at this place. That has to be worth something. Well doesn’t it?

See you next week for the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss., where I once played in the pro-am. Honest. How could I make that up? Our group’s pro was Brendan Todd. Lucky guy. Let’s just hope we have a little extra something in our 401K by then.

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