Best two-ball bets and parlay for Thursday at the PGA Championship: Niemann is the man in first rounds

Joaquin Niemann
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email

The PGA Championship is here. Thursday morning marks the start of 2022’s second golf major, which is taking place at Southern Hills Golf Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And what a first round we have in store for us — at least on paper. One pairing features Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Another includes Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm and Collin Morikawa.

Without further ado, let’s dive into some of the best two-ball bets for Thursday at Southern Hills.

Be sure to check out Diane Knox Balas’ full PGA Championship preview and course insights

Cameron Smith (+100) over Viktor Hovland

One of our golf experts likes Smith’s chances of being the first-round leader and I will tail that play to the tune of at least backing him to beat Hovland. The 28-year-old Australian is without question one of the best players on tour at the moment. He won the Players Championship and finished third at the Masters. Smith thrives on the big stage, with five top-10 performances in majors. It should also be noted that he has broken 70 in four of five first rounds this season – including a pair of 67s. Meanwhile, I’m not so sure Southern Hills sets up well for Hovland. Greens are alarmingly small and if the Norwegian is forced to use his inconsistent short game more than usual that is only bad news.

Rory McIlroy (-115) over Jordan Spieth

McIlroy already has seven top-13 performances this season, including one win and also a runner-up result at the Masters. It seems like only a matter of time before the 33-year-old finally wins another major. At the very least he should get off to a hot start. McIlroy has been in the 60s in five of eight opening rounds during the 2022 campaign. Spieth is playing well again, but this still isn’t the 2015-2018 version of Spieth and his first-round scoring average is right around 71 so far this year.

Diane Knox Balas also has her best prop bets for the PGA Championship

Joaquin Niemann (+100) over Matthew Fitzpatrick

Take a look at Niemann’s last 12 first-round scores: 67, 64, 69, 70, 67, 69, 63, 70, 67, 69, 65, 67. His two most recent major first-round performances are 68 (2021 U.S. Open) and 69 (2022 Masters). The 23-year-old Chilean has been in outstanding form all round, with six top-35 performances in his last seven events – including a victory at Riviera and sixth-place finish at Torrey Pines. Fitzpatrick has never placed better than T23 in six PGA Championship appearances. The 27-year-old Englishman has broken 70 during first rounds only twice in five starts on the PGA Tour this season.

A three-leg parlay with and Smith, McIlroy and Niemann pays out at +648 odds.

Get info on EVERY golfer at the PGA Championship with our player-by-player guide

Pickswise is the home of free expert Golf Picks and Golf Predictions. Our PGA expert picks go live every Monday or Tuesday, so check out our latest golf picks, best bets and analysis for the PGA Championship.

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