Will Davis Riley and Nick Hardy defend their title at the 2024 Zurich Classic of New Orleans? Odds explored

Zurich Classic of New Orleans - Final Round
Nick Hardy and Davis Riley, 2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans (Image via Getty).

The defending champion must always be taken into account in golf tournaments and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans is no different. Nick Hardy and Davis Riley will be playing at the TPC Louisiana starting this Thursday, April 24, and they have no shortage of options to defend their title.

Specialized forecasting sites consider Hardy and Riley to have +8000 odds of successfully defending their title. This places them in the middle of the prediction lists, as experts consider that other teams, such as Patrick Cantlay / Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy / Shane Lowry, have a better chance of winning the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.

The predictions take into account the recent performance of Riley and Hardy on the PGA Tour, which has been generally discreet. Riley has played 11 tournaments during 2024, with only four cuts made and a T14 at the Houston Open as his best finish. He is currently ranked 245th in the world.

Hardy, meanwhile, has played 12 tournaments in the current season. He has made seven cuts and his best result was finishing T25 at the Valero Texas Open. He is currently ranked 180th in the world.

Both Riley and Hardy have two experiences at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, although only one as a duo. Riley played in 2022 with Will Zalatoris as his partner and fthey inished fourth, while Hardy was also in the 2022 field as Curtis Thompson teammate and finished 21st.

Hardy and Riley's victory at the 2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Nick Hardy and Davis Riley did not start as favorites in the 2023 Zurich Classic of New Orleans, just as they will in 2024. Other teams were considered with better options, such as Cantlay / Schauffele and Nick Taylor / Adam Hadwin who, by the way, repeat also in 2024.

Hardy and Riley did not have the best score in any of the four separate rounds, but were able to maintain a stability in their performance that led them to the title.

Their first round was a 64 that put them in contention, while their second round of 66 allowed them to make the cut comfortably. They posted their best score of the tournament during the so-called “Moving Day” (63) to become serious contenders for the title and closed with a 65 in the fourth round to finish at 30 under, two strokes ahead of Taylor and Hadwin.

As a team, they carded an eagle, 30 birdies and only two bogeys. They were especially effective in the foursomes format (second and fourth rounds) where they shot their best scores and had only one bogey.

Wyndham Clark and Beau Hossler finished third, one stroke behind Hadwin and Taylor. Previous year's champions, Cantlay and Scahuffele, tied for fourth with Matt NeSmith and Taylor Moore.

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