2023 Butterfield Bermuda Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis
Life as a PGA Tour pro isn’t bad - this week they head to the Butterfield Bermuda Championship as the FedEx Cup Fall Season nears its end.
The tournament will be played at Port Royal and it represents a golden opportunity for some of the tour’s lesser lights and those still trying to make a name for themselves out here as most of the world’s top golfers are giving the event a miss.
Akshay Bhatia is looking like the real deal. He won the Barracuda Championship in July, finished second at the Peurto Rico Open and fourth at the Mexico Open. There have also been a lot of missed cuts but that is hardly surprising as the left-hander’s swing has many moving parts. But he was a wonderful touch around the greens.
And Lucas Glover is looking to take advantage of the incredible form he has found in the second half of 2023. He celebrates his 45th birthday on November 12 and has had a year he will never forget.
It all started to turn around for him when he finished in a tie for fourth at Rocket Mortgage Classic and followed it with tied sixth at the John Deere Classic and fifth at the Barbasol. He then missed the cut at the 3M Open before winning the Wyndham Championship and FedEx St Jude in successive weeks and was extremely unlucky not to be given a Ryder Cup wild card.
Australia’s Adam Scott is also in the field and he could do with a decent performance. He currently languishes outside the top 70, and that is not where he wants to be. He remains a brilliant ball striker but has had his problems on the greens.
For Jimmy Walker it is an entirely different story. He lies in 132nd place in the standings - and only the top 125 are guaranteed full playing privileges next year. As a former US PGA champion, Walker is certain to get a few sponsors’ invites but he will want to do it as a matter of right.
Walker and his wife have both suffered health problems, which has put golf in perspective for him. But he is now fully recovered and will surely feel inspired by what Glover, who is also in his forties, has achieved this season.
Lucas Herbert is a former winner of this tournament but he is another who has suffered in 2023 with a solitary top-10 finish, and that came at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play way back in March, where he finished tied ninth.
There was a sensational 63 to open the week at the Fortinet but he followed it with rounds of 75, 71 and 72 to end the week in a tie for 30th place. He has had more success on the DP World Tour, winning the ISPS Handa Championship in April and finishing third at the Dubai Desert Classic. And he will be in the field for DP Tour World Championship. But the Australian really wants to makes his mark in America.
Look out for 15-year-old Oliver Betschart. The teenager, who lives in Bermuda, came through qualifying for the tournament. And it was no fluke. A year ago, Betschart became the youngest to win the Port Royal Golf Club Championship.
Betschart will be the second 15-year-old to play in the Butterfield event. Kenny Leseur qualified for the 2019 championship.
“This has been my goal for the whole year,” said Betschart. “And now it’s finally true and it’s hard to accept it but I am really excited.”
The only younger players to appear in a PGA Tour event are Michelle Wie, Tianlang Guan, Andy Zhang and Lorens Chan.
It was first staged in 2019 and was won by Brendon Todd, in 2020 by Brian Gay, in 2021 by Lucas Herbert and last year by Seamus Power.
Port Royal Bermuda is a breathtaking layout. It measures just 6,842 yards, is a par 71, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr in 1970 and has recently undergone a $14.5m update. It is tree-lined, has several water features, lots of bunkers and is made for low scoring.
Which Akshay Bhatia is going to turn up? If it’s the one who already has a victory to his name this season then the rest, of the field had better watch out. If Adam Scott can hole a few putts, however, he could well be the man to beat this week.
Akshay Bhatia. Looking for second win
Lucas Herbert. Needs to have more self-belief
Adam Scott. Glorious swing
Five to Follow:
Akshay Bhatia. Fabulous short game
Lucas Herbert. Big hitter
Adam Scott. Fabulous ball striker
Lucas Glover. Having an absolute ball
Jimmy Walker. In desperate need of a good week
Be part of the action with a selection of unique golf tournament experiences, from playing in a pro-am with the stars to watching the action at golf’s most illustrious events. Whether it’s the Masters or The Open, The Ryder Cup or WM Phoenix Open, build your own bespoke package with the experts at Golfbreaks.com.
What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)
comments powered by Disqus