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Butterfield Bermuda Championship Preview

Seamus Power

Seamus Power

Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA TOUR heads past the East Coast this week for a trip to Bermuda.

After back-to-back elevated-purse events, the prize pools dip this week and the strength of field follows the money with a major dropoff in strength this week.

There is still plenty of talent teeing it up though, just not the superstar level that we’ve seen over the last few weeks.

Arriving off a few limited-field, no-cut events, the field expands to 132 golfers this week with a 36-hole cutline which will trim the field to the top 65 and ties.

The Course

Port Royal Golf Course returns to host another edition of the Bermuda Championship.

This event is relatively young and Port Royal has been the host of all three editions. Winning scores have been 24-under, 15-under, and 15-under with the weather certainly playing a key role in deciding the scoring environment.

As Patrick Reed put it last year, “It’s one of those golf courses that if they didn’t have wind around here, you’d go out and you’d destroy. So I almost feel like they need the wind here to be kind of a defense mechanism for the golf course, for the tournament.”

If you like tougher scoring then you’re in luck because it’s rarely calm here on the Bermuda coast.

This Robert Trent Jones design was laid out in 1970 and is one of the shortest courses we’ll see all year. It’s a par-71 layout that plays at just 6,828 yards for the pros.

The par 3s are no pushover with three of them playing over 210 yards but the par 4s and 5s are there for the taking.

Diving into the par 4s specifically, there are eight of them under 415 yards and the longest plays to just 458 yards. The wind levels will determine just how easy those holes play but in general you are giving these pros a lot of wedges and short irons.

For turf, they’ll see wall-to-wall bermudagrass with some zoysia blended in the rough. As for green speeds, we’ll let Scottie Scheffler do the talking, “The green speeds are a little slower than what we’re used to, but that’s kind of what you have to do on a piece of property like this because if the wind picks up and the greens are too quick, then all of a sudden we can’t play golf.” That sums it up well and is often the case when heading to a coastal track.

Brendon Todd won the inaugural event at 24-under which is what this course will yield in calmer conditions but the last two years have produced 15-under winners which is probably what we should expect again if the early forecast of wind and possible precipitation holds true.

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Correlated Courses

Using historical data we can look at overperformance and underperformance at this week’s host course and compare that to all of the courses played out on TOUR. Here are the ones that shared a lot of overlap:

Sedgefield CC
Sea Island Resort
Country Club of Jackson

The theme of the week is courses in the Southeast with bermuda greens and no emphasis on distance.

The Weather

Thursday: Overcast with a high of 77 degrees. Winds at 5 to 11 MPH.

Friday: Storms possible with a high of 76 degrees. Winds 15 to 20 MPH.

It’s too early to lock in this forecast but certainly one to montior closer to Thursday as wind and storms could give an edge to particular tee time waves.