Schwartzel to strike at TPC Sawgrass

The unofficial fifth Major gets underway at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida on Thursday and South African Charl Schwartzel looks ready to clinch The Players Championship for the first time.

Schwartzel to end trophy drought in Sunshine State

Understandably, much of the attention this week will be on the likes of former world number one Tiger Woods (25.00 – Outright Winner), Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy (13.00 – Winner), Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and the other leading candidates for the title.

However, 2011 Masters champion Schwartzel looks to have sneaked under the radar at massive odds of 101.00 and he is well worth a punt at that price as he aims to become just the second South African to lift the trophy after Tim Clark in 2010.

There was a slight worry about the 34-year-old’s fitness after he withdrew from the Genesis Open in February, but he bounced back to form with a tie for sixth at the Puerto Rico Open before ending up T16 at the Honda Classic.

Course form can often prove so decisive when it comes to the prestigious tournaments and Schwartzel certainly has that, having been runner-up alongside Jimmy Walker and Xander Schauffele last year to champion Webb Simpson.

Another South African in Florida mix

Sticking with players from the African continent, world number 28 Louis Oosthuizen also looks fantastic value at 91.00 and he has produced some positives performances over the past couple of months.

The 36-year-old, who landed his ninth European Tour title at the 2018 South African Open in December, kicked off 2019 with a fourth-place finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship before he then failed to make the cut at the Genesis Open.

Since that outing in California, the 2010 Open champion has gone T25-MC in his next two tournaments and although that is not spectacular form, he always seems to turn up when it comes to the big events.

Oosthuizen came close to landing the title in 2017 when finishing joint-second alongside Englishman Ian Poulter, with only South Korean champion Si-woo Kim better that week.

Fleetwood peaking at the right time

The third and final selection goes to the in-form Tommy Fleetwood, who is on the cusp of breaking into the world’s top 10 after recently climbing to 13th in the rankings.

England’s number two had recorded two top-20s from five starts in 2019 before he really kicked into gear at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week, where he ended up tied third.

The 28-year-old, who finished T7 in his second appearance in The Players last year, is ninth in strokes gained: off-the-tee and 10th whilst he is first in sand saves this season, an area that could be crucial to success.

Fleetwood certainly looks a decent shout for the win at 26.50 but it is the top Englishman market that provides some good value, with the Southport-born star 4.00 to outscore his fellow countrymen.

In total, nine English players will be teeing it up this week with Rose, Paul Casey, Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Matt Wallace, Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Eddie Pepperell also in the field.