The PGA Tour now moves to Maryland and the Tom Fazio designed Caves Valley Golf Club which is about 15 miles northwest of Baltimore and sits amidst the rolling terrain of Baltimore County with dense trees around the perimeter of this 962 acres estate. The trees have been thinned out on the front nine with many of the fairways routed through the woodland.
The two par 3s on the front nine are standout holes, both protected by water, with the 224-yard 4th playing to a large green with a bail out area to the right, whilst a couple of large bunkers flank the left side of the green at the 215-yard 8th. The courses signature hole comes at the 12th a 179-yard, par 3 played downhill, that is all carry to a green protected by a three bunkers and a hillside backstop.
The best par 4 on the course is the 400-yard, 9th and is a significantly better finishing hole then the 18th, its a dogleg right with bunkers framing the left side of the fairway and has a stream meandering down the right side and plays to a narrow green that sits in an amphitheater of trees and anything right will result in a visit to the water.
The course finishes with a couple of strong par fours, the 480-yard 17th doglegs right to an offset green that sits behind a cluster of bunkers and the 460-yard 18th is another hole where the green is framed by bunkers and positioned above a small gulley on the front left.
To be honest it was no real surprise that Jon Rahm 13/2 with BetFred lost the lead coming down the stretch at The Northern Trust when you think that he hasnt really been in the heat of battle since the US Open with his end of season plans being thrown up in the air due to his positive COVID tests. What it did prove is how good he is to put himself in that position with all that disruption, he is also the defending champion this week so I expect him put himself right back in the heat of battle again come Sunday.
Back-to-back eagles, back-to-back triple bogies Jordan Spieth 20/1 with UniBet certainly had an eventful Northern Trust, but lets not forget among the carnage of all those bogies on Monday there were birdies as well, it was like watching a boxer on the ropes taking a battering but still managing to hurt his opposite with an upper-cut and a right-hook. I still feel Jordan will be back in the thick of it again this week, but this time landing more solid hits to the body.
A Top 25 finish at The Northern Trust should see Sam Burns 60/1 with MansionBet arriving in Baltimore in confident mood. Sam already has a win and two runner-up finishes so far this year with his latest coming a few weeks ago at the WGC St Jude and I think finishing well at the Northern Trust will only start to confirm to himself that he should not only be in this company, but competing and beating some of the best players in the world.
I am going to stick with Kevin Na 80/1 with UniBet again this week after another Top 10 finish at The Northern Trust which now makes it two runners-up and a Top 10 from his last four starts. Let's not forget that Kevin also had a win earlier in the year and he will want to keep this run going all the way to East Lake.
I must admit I was surprised to see Erik Van Rooyen 100/1 with UniBet this far down the betting odds, yes that triple bogied on the par 3 11th took him out of contention yesterday, but he did fight back well to stay in the Top 10. Erik shot a 62 on Saturday and being in contention Monday comes on the back of his win at the Barracuda Championship a couple of weeks ago and I think this are good odds for the South African if he takes the positives out of the last few weeks to Baltimore with him.
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