Chan Kim … The most recent winner on the Japan Golf Tour rose to second in its Order of Merit with the season-ending victory at the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup in December. It was his fifth title on the circuit. He already was in terrific form leading up to it with a trio of top-five finishes in Japan. Overall, he paced the JGTO in scoring average and ranked T2 in greens in regulation and converting GIR into par breakers. The 30-year-old was born in South Korea but he was raised in Hawaii and went to high school near Phoenix before playing collegiately at Arizona State University. So, he represents America abroad. Currently 88th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Daniel van Tonder … You can’t ask for anything more than beating the competition directly in front of you. That’s what the 29-year-old from South African did four times in a 10-week period on his native Sunshine Tour late in 2020. He’d finish second on the circuit’s Order of Merit to qualify for the WGC-Workday. Expanding the perspective that includes the quad-Ws, in a 12-start stretch that spanned seasons and a global shutdown, he recorded 11 top 10s.
Rasmus Højgaard … The sweet-swingin’ Dane was born on van Tonder’s 10th birthday, so he won’t turn 20 until March 12, but he’s already a two-time winner on the European Tour. Højgaard also has opened 2021 with a surge. After a T25 in Abu Dhabi, he finished T9 in Dubai and T6 in Saudi Arabia. With that form in tow as he sizes up The Concession in his World Golf Championships debut, his go-to asset of power off the tee and precision on approach projects success since very few have even a semblance of a working knowledge of the greens.
Thomas Detry … Here’s another WGC first-timer from Europe, but the 28-year-old Belgian already has a record of first-hand experience at The Concession. It was here in the 2015 NCAA Men’s Championship when he placed T3 representing the University of Illinois. Nowadays, he’s 90th in the Official World Golf Ranking thanks most recently to a pair of runner-up finishes on the European Tour in 2020. (Coincidentally, Sam Horsfield prevailed in both.) Detry finished 18th in the Race to Dubai to qualify for this tournament. Also ranked sixth in scoring average last season.
Laurie Canter … Snuck inside the top 20 of the 2020 Race to Dubai at 19th to qualify for his first World Golf Championship. Three tournaments into the 2021 European Tour season, he’s 15th in the R2D with a T4 in Dubai and a T21 in Saudi Arabia. In his last dozen starts in the circuit, he’s risen for a pair of runner-up finishes among five top fives. It’s rarefied air for the 31-year-old from England since he hadn’t cracked the top 150 in the R2D in three prior full seasons. With 10 rounds contributing, he ranks sixth in greens hit on his home circuit.
NOTE: Sleeper is a relative term, so Rob uses unofficial criteria to determine who qualifies. Each of the following usually is determined to be ineligible for this weekly staple: Winners of the tournament on the current host course; winners in the same season; recent major champions; top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking; recent participants of team competitions.
Odds will be updated on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 10:30 a.m. ET. For live odds visit betmgm.
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