Alfred Dunhill Links Betting Preview and Fed Ex Cup Review

Spieth

Heir Jordan.

 2015 will always be remembered as Jordan Spieth’s year (sorry Jason, if you’re reading!). Whatever this incredible young man goes onto achieve in his career, it’s very unlikely that he will have a year as impressive as 2015 unless he actually manages the hallowed Grand Slam. To win 2 majors at the age of 22 is an amazing achievement on its own, never mind doing it in the same year and chasing them with T4th and 2nd in the other two. But Jordan wasn’t finished there. After a post USPGA Championship lull which saw the Texan miss 2 consecutive cuts he was determined to wrestle back the World No. 1 from Jason Day and end the season with everyone firmly knowing who the best player in the world is.

Unfortunately this week Spieth’s efforts were at the expense of my Stenson win bet. Although I’m not going to complain too much as there would have been a slight sense of injustice had Stenson won this week to lift the Fed Ex Cup without having anywhere near to as impressive a year as Spieth or Day. It was a fascinating spectacle over all four days with Henrik flying out of the blocks on Thursday with a close to perfect ball-striking performance. This made him the man to beat come the weekend but unfortunately that just left Spieth with a very clear goal, chase down and pass Henrik Stenson to win the Fed Ex Cup. His putting performance to do so on Saturday and Sunday will surely go down in History as one of the great putting displays, with his clutch putting on Sunday in particular bordering on unbelievable. On no fewer than three occasions with Henrik in kick-in birdie range, Spieth holed monster putts ranging from 20-45ft. After one of those the camera cut straight to the wry smile of Stenson, a look which suggested that he knew then and there that whatever he did, Spieth was going to find a way to beat to him. Now that mentality, coupled with a few errant shots from the Swede could in some circumstances be judged wrongly as a “choke”. It is one thing to throw a tournament away just through the pressure of being in contention, it is a completely different thing to be ground down by the best player in the world’s relentless and timely putting. A competitor as determined and as full of self-belief as Spieth can do that to even the game’s best.

While it will no doubt be debated furiously over the next 10-15 years where Jordan ranks alongside Tiger Woods, that is almost disrespectful to arguably the game’s greatest ever player. Tiger Woods completely changed the game of golf for the better and without him the landscape would be very different today. But as in all walks of life, people come and people go. With Woods increasingly looking a spent force the game needed someone to take over his throne. While Rory Mcilroy threatened to and still rightly sits amongst the top 3 in the world he wouldn’t even get close to the Top 10 short games in the world (I know, Spieth probably wouldn’t rank in the Top 10 tee to green either!). The game needed someone with that X Factor, capable of pulling off the unthinkable at exactly the right time, again and again as per a Tiger Woods You Tube highlight reel. In 2015 Jordan Spieth didn’t just threaten to be that player, he showed us that he unquestionably is.


Despite Stenson only finishing 2nd it was a reasonable week for me as Bjerregaard managed to sneak into a share of 5th place thanks to Ross Fisher’s bogey at the 18th on Sunday in Germany. Including both those singles and the advised EW double this brought returns of 16.48 pts and nearly broke even for the week with 18pts being advised. Running totals are now as follows;

Total Points advised – 164

Total Points returned – 233.68

Return on investment (ROI) – 42.48%

If anyone wants to see a full breakdown of results then just post a comment below or tweet me @thegreek82 and I can email it out.

So with the 2015 PGA Tour season behind us we now have to wait a whole 2 weeks for the 2016 Season to start.. But luckily the European Tour is still going strong and it heads back to the UK this week for one of the best fields of the year, The Dunhill Links Championship.


The Dunhill Links Championship

The players find themselves on the east coast of Scotland this week and on three of the UK’s finest courses, St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. This tournament has a different format to the norm with it being a Pro-Am. So each player plays a round at all three courses along with their often “celebrity” amateur of choice. The cut then falls after three rounds with those who make it continuing on to a final round at St. Andrews on Sunday.

Given the slower, less serious nature of this Tournament,  players will need to feel comfortable in this environment in order to win. Scoring is always low as the courses aren’t set up as hard as they would be for a normal European Tour event given that amateurs are also playing.

With all three courses playing to a Par 72, Kingsbarns  at 7150 yards usually plays as the easiest of the three, followed by St Andrews (7307 yards) and then Carnoustie (7412 yards) which retains some of its bite even with the favourable amateur pin positions.

Unsurprisingly, given the name, this tournament is normally won by a proven Links exponent. With a winning score usually in the 20s under par it is also important to score well  with the pure links greens playing softer than in the summer. So my research is going to revolve heavily on finding players suited to the courses, putting well and with some good recent Links form also. In addition to previous editions of the Dunhill, we can look at this year’s Scottish Open held across the Firth, the Irish Open, The Open (which was held at St Andrews this year) and even the Dubai Desert Classic which plays very much as a Links course (several players have won both there and the Dunhill to back his up)

With such an impressive field I could have backed about 12 players this week but even with just the one tournament I wanted to keep it at 4 main plays and some additional side market bets. I really like Danny Willett’s chances this week but he looks plenty short enough at 20/1 as does Shane Lowry who hasn’t been seen since his US PGA missed cut.

Thomas Pieters finally got off the mark with a win in the Czech Masters in August  and he promptly followed that win up with another in the KLM in Holland which is played on the Kennemer course in Zandvoort. It is an undualting, exposed course and Links specialists like Simon Dyson, Joost Luiten, Darren Clarke and Ross Fisher have all won there previously. Pieters has several other high finishes on Links courses and a decent T18th on his debut here last year. It is very hard to win three tournaments in a row (he hasn’t played since Holland) but at this stage with the talent he has this powerful Belgian could yet be anything. As well as his length of the tee he will be aided this week by his deadly putter. He is -39 for his last 8 rounds so while he may look slightly short at 40/1, his limits are not yet known so I’m happy to include him while his putter is hot (averaging 26.25 putts/round over those 8 rounds) in a Tournament that can often turn into a putting competition in fair weather. Furthermore he can take inspiration from Branden Grace who won here in 2012 after himself having a multiple win breakthrough season.

Eddie Pepperell is a young Englishman that has been more banging the door down than knocking on it over the last 2 years. This season alone he has 4 top 5 finishes on Links courses; 4th in Qatar, T2nd in Irish Open, T4th in Scottish Open and T5th in the KLM 3 weeks ago for the blog. He told me yesterday on Twitter that he hasn’t played at all since Italy two weeks ago but I’m not that concerned as he will arrive refreshed and determined to finally get his win in a Links environment that will suit him perfectly. Those that follow him on Twitter will know that he is good fun and doesn’t take himself too seriously so he should feel at ease in this Pro-Am format. With a week off his price is possibly a little better than I expected so 50/1 looks very fair for a proven Links specialist that is deadly on the greens.

Pablo Larrazabal is a player that I struggle to get right. He has let me down a few times when everything has looked in his favour for playing well. But I think, given the course links from where he has won tournaments, he is due a big performance in a classic Links tournament. Golf Club Eichenried, where he has won two BMW International Opens, has a very similar roll call of winners as The Dunhill; David Howell, Martin Kaymer, Robert Karlsson, Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood have all won at both and a host of other players have high finishes. Now Eichenried is not a Links course so I’m not sure why this is the case. But there is a premium on distance control with the irons and also scrambling when the small greens are missed. Larrazabal’s other wins have come at Le Golf National and Abu Dhabi which have also been the scene of wins for many strong Links players, amongst these Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Jamie Donaldson and Paul Casey. He arrives in fairly poor form but those that are familiar with him know that he can appear out of nowhere to play well. Pablo’s win this year in the BMW came after 2 weeks off and prior to his T100 last week he also had 2 weeks off. It is more of a hunch play but odds of 150/1 are available and they are just too big for this proven winner who enjoys such a short game test.

Peter Uihlein has been promising to take the European Tour by storm for the best part of three years. But after his first win in 2013 Uihlein has had to sit back and watch his friend Brooks Koepka and several fellow members of the 2011 US Walker Cup team (Russell Henley, Harris English and a certain Jordan Spieth) establish themselves with multiple wins. Uihlein impressed most on courses with some room off the tee where he could let loose with his long yet erratic driving and then let his excellent iron game give himself numerous eagle and birdie chances which he would often take when his putter was hot. But over the last 18 months he has tailed off somewhat and subsequently we have seen some decent prices about him in 2015. He lost to David Howell here in a play off in 2013 and followed it up with a T18th last year when in very average form. So we know that he likes this group of courses but that isn’t really enough if he isn’t playing well. Which is why it was very interesting to see that he came 3rd in GIR (an impressive 80.6%)  last week en route to a T12th in Germany which came 3 weeks after a T30 in Holland (77.8% GIR ranking 16th). Uihlein is a serious talent and if he is going to get that elusive 2nd win he is going to do it when conditions suit. The Dunhill Links Championship looks a perfect fit and although I had hoped for odds greater than 50/1 I think he is still a good ew play this week where his putter should hopefully warm up on familiar greens.

A couple of place market bets for me this week too. Anthony Wall is a bit of a European Tour journeyman but he is always worth consideration on Links courses such is the quality of his scrambling. He finished T12th at The Open Championship this year at St Andrews so I think he looks over priced for a Top 20 this week at 13/2.

I’m also keeping the faith to a certain extent with Lucas Bjerregaard. I’d be very surprised if he wins this week but I expect him to continue his fine form for another big cheque.

Paul Dunne led The Open after three rounds at St Andrews and that was an amazing achievement for an amateur golfer. As expected he fell away on Sunday but he arrives here as a professional now and will be keen to start banking some money. The Dunhill Links looks an ideal place to start and  8/1 looks a nice price for a Top 20 when he has already proven he can handle playing with the very best on Links courses.

Darren Fichardt is an excellent putter and can go well when the his long game is in decent shape. He arrives off the back of 20th and 12th place finishes and has previous Dunhill form of 25, 28th and 13th. Again 8/1 looks a good price for another South African that putts well on the grainier Links greens.


Summary of bets

Thomas Pieters  –  2pts ew 40/1 and 1pt Top 10 7/2

Eddie Pepperell – 2pts ew 50/1

Peter Uihlein – 1pt ew 50/1

Pablo Larrazabal – 0.5pt ew 150/1

Anthony Wall – 1pt Top 20 13/2

Lucas Bjerregaard – 1pt Top 20 9/2

Paul Dunne – 0.5pt Top 20 8/1

Darren Fichardt – 0.5pt Top 20 8/1

Weekly outlay  – 15pts

Total outlay – 179 pts

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Tour Championship and Porsche European Open – Betting Preview

Last week didn’t come as a huge shock with Jason Day running away with the BMW Championship at Conway Farms. So amazing has his form been that once he hit the front that was the end of the tournament. I stated last week that I expected Day and Mcilroy to contend (hardly groundbreaking insight, I know!) so I was essentially chasing the each way money. Unfortunately when Jim Furyk withdrew after 6 holes (stakes returned as most bookmakers voided the bet) on Thursday that left Zach Johnson and Robert Streb to lead the fight and while they both performed well to finish in the Top 20 neither really looked like placing at any point. There was more joy in Europe however with Matt Fitzpatrick charging on Sunday to finish T3rd and nick a share of the place money. This also brought up the each way portion of the Mcilroy/Fitzpatrick double although at reduced stakes due to Mcilroy only having 2/3rds of the place and Fitzpatrick 3/7ths. All in it meant returns of 8.71pts on the week and so not a good week but happy to get some of the stakes back.

Total points advised – 146

Points returned – 217.20

ROI – 48.7%

This week we have the Fed Ex Cup finale as the Tour Championship takes place at East Lake and The European Open returns to the European Tour schedule in Germany.


Henrik

The Tour Championship

The Fed Ex Cup finale is here and as usual the players head to East Lake this week for the end of what will seem like a very long season for some players. With most of the Top 30 that have qualified for this week taking an extended break afterwards there will be mixed levels of motivation here. For the top 5 in the rankings they know if they win here they will scoop the $10m Fed Ex bonus. For some further down the field they will be looking to secure a big bonus cheque and finish their breakthrough season on a high. However for several of these 30 players this will be one tournament too far and with money no longer being a factor they will struggle to lift themselves for this, even more so if they are out of contention early on. So in addition to the usual course and current form I think it’s important to go with guys that will still be focussed to produce something this week.

East Lake is 7300 yards long and plays as a long but not overly tough Par 70. It’s yet another Donald Ross designed course and for some it brings a welcome return to bermuda greens. Of course there is plenty course form with East Lake having hosted this since it’s inception in 2008 but with only 30 players qualifying every year there aren’t too many that have played it more than a couple of times. With this in mind the Wyndham Championship is a useful course correlation as it is also a bermuda green Ross design. The fact that it was only last month helps also for the sake of current form. Other Ross tracks have been mentioned before and a full list can be found quite easily through any reputable search engine but I will probably list a few that relate to my picks.

Generally long and straight driving is required with some fairly lush rough and tree lined fairways. Recent winners such as Horschel, Stenson and Furyk back up the need to find fairways. The last 5 winners have all ranked inside the Top 11 for Greens in Regulation so accurate types tend to prosper at East Lake. With the bermuda grass presenting testing greens it’s important to putt well here. As with any Donald Ross course there are tight runoff areas a plenty so good scrambling skills will be required to save par when the greens are missed.

Given Jason Day’s form it was going to have to be all or nothing with him this week. At odds of 7/2 I decided he is simply too short at a course where he might just be a bit wayward off the tee to win. His form figures at East Lake are good but at 7/2 you can’t have any doubts and while I won’t be surprised in the slightest if he wins, I’m happy to take him on.

I always give Henrik Stenson the utmost respect on any Donald Ross design such is his record on DR tracks in the biggest tournaments (Won here in 2013, T4th at US Open at Pinehurst in 2014, 3rd at Oak Hill in 2013 US PGA and T4th at Oakland Hills in 2008). In fact given that he has only played once at East Lake he has never been out of the places when including only Donald Ross Majors and the Tour Championship. Now this looks impressive enough as it is but I’m after the full package this week in order to oppose Day so can Stenson putt on bermuda? Yes, Henrik won both the Players Championship in 2009 and the WGC Cadillac in 2007 on bermuda greens. When we factor in that his current form reads 2nd at the Deutsche Bank and 10th last week at the BMW then he looks a stand out pick. Stenson also hasn’t won this season yet and unlike many of these PGA Tour players Henrik will be turning his attention to The European Tour’s Final Series after this so will be hugely motivated to switch Tours coming off a confidence boosting win. At odds of 10/1 (12s on Betfair) even just a Top 4 finish this week gives us similar odds to a Jason Day win so I’m happy to have Stenson as my no. 1 pick on a course that is custom-built for the accurate Swede.

My 2nd pick is another Donald Ross lover and also a former winner at East Lake in 2011. When Bill Haas got up and down from the east lake itself to grab the $10m bonus four years ago he was a relative unknown to many golf fans. But Haas is now a proven winner with 6 PGA titles to his name and 4 of those coming on bermuda greens. He also has a fantastic record at the Wyndham Championship with recent form figures of T6, T2, T20 and T7. Haas returned to some form last week with a Top 20 and having received a President’s Cup wild card pick from none other than his dad Jay, he will be more motivated than most this week as he aims to further justify his pick. Odds of 66/1 look generous in a field that has only 8 more prolific PGA Tour winners.

I’m only going with two picks for the singles due to the restricted field and subsequent prices but the 3rd selection for the 3×3 ew doubles is Rickie Fowler. He is in great form, goes well on bermuda greens (Won The Players Championship in May) and has the added motivation of knowing a win will secure him the Fed Ex title. Which wouldn’t be a bad year for “the most over rated player on Tour”!


The Porsche European Open

We have another new course this week as The European Open returns to Tour having been absent since 2009. The course in question is the Golf Resort Bad Greisbach and while having never gathered the ET elite it has held the last 3 runnings of the Challenge Tour’s  Aegean Airlines Tournament. However with no stats available from those tournaments there isn’t a lot to go on. Pictures of the course suggest that it is relatively open off the tee and at 7188 yards long the Par 71 course is of average length. With a lot of water on the course, especially around the greens, it looks like approach play will be an important factor. There is also quite a strong field assembled so it doesn’t look like a week where we can expect players to find some form from nowhere and therefore I’ll be looking at players who are at the top of their game.

The first objective this week in Europe was to decide whether there was any value in the front three in the market with Weisberger, Schwartzel and Mahan all trading under 20/1. So often we see elite players winning events like this easily, even without great recent form. But with the new course being a leveller and a better than average field I’m not convinced by any of them. In fact it was quite hard to finalise my picks this week so in the end I have simply chosen three players who are in good form and hitting a lot of greens.

Fabrizio Zanotti led the field last week in Greens in Regulation with an impressive 83% helping him finish T3rd. Less impressive was his 29.25 putts per round average and anyone who watched the final round on Sunday would say that figure flatters him. But with approach play appearing so important it looks sensible to lead with last week’s best iron player. Zanotti also got his first win in Germany last year at the BMW International Open so a hopefully a return can bring about his zweiten sieg.

Byeong Hun An is a player I have been watching very carefully since his impressive win at Wentworth in May. Amazingly after a quite ridiculous ball striking display “Benny” went off the boil through the summer with some very mediocre finishes. His win got him into some big tournaments so after The Open he flew out to the US but failed to take the US PGA Championship by storm like he did the European Tour equivalent. He hasn’t been seen in Europe since but after an eye-catching win back home in Korea last week it seems like he is back in some sort of form. Granted it was a weak field but he did manage to get the better of proven PGA Tour winner Seung Yul Noh. If he is hitting the ball anywhere near to his Wentworth standard then he can contend every week in Europe so I’d expect him to go well coming off another win.

I really wanted to pick Jens Farhbring this week as he has played in all 3 Challenge Tour events at Bad Greisbach but he isn’t in the field. So instead I’ve picked Lucas Bjerregaard who finished alongside him at T3rd last week in Italy ranking 9th in GIR along the way. The Dane has a T12th here in 2013 so will bring some course form as well as current form and looks huge at 150/1 this week.


Summary of bets

Tour Championship

Henrik Stenson – 3pts win @ 12s, 2 pts Top 4 @ 3.55 both on Betfair Exchange

Bill Haas – 1pt win @ 95s, 1pt Top 4 @ 13.5 both on Betfair Exchange

Porsche European Open

Fabrizio Zanotti – 1.5pt ew 40/1

Byeong Hun An – 1pt ew 25/1

Lucas Bjerregaard – 0.25pt ew 150/1

3×3 0.25pts ew doubles (Stenson, Haas, Fowler 11/1) x (Zanotti, An, Bjerregard)

1pt Top 10 double 35.75/1 – Scott Piercy in US and Kiradech Aphibarnrat in Europe

Total Outlay = 18pts

BMW Championship and Open D’Italia – Betting Preview

Recap.

It was a poor week a fortnight ago as there were no returns despite an encouraging start from Keith Horne in Russia. Unfortunately I had no time to write anything last week as I was on holiday but hopefully some of you might have got on Eddie Pepperell (Tweeted last week @thegreek82) who finished in a tie for 5th after looking like he might finally get his win during a great run on Sunday only to finish a few shots shy of now two-time winner Thomas Pieters. He is a great example of a hugely talented young golfer who took a little while to learn how to win but kept knocking on the door. This happens a lot on the European Tour and I will be keeping an eye on Eddie Pepperell, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrell Hatton over the closing weeks of the season as they all chase their 1st wins after all coming so close in 2015.

Total points advised prior to this week – 127.5

Points returned – 208.49

ROI –  63.5%


BMW Championship

After a week off the Fed Ex Playoffs really start to hot up as the top 70 make their way to Chicago and Conway Farms Golf Club. This Tom Fazio designed, 7198 yard, Par 71 course has only held one previous PGA Tournament which happened to be the BMW in 2013. It was won by Zach Johnson on -20 and some other key names on the leaderboard were Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Jones.

The first thing I notice with that list is how important the wedge game and putting must have been given they are some of the best in and around the greens. Lucky for the punting world, some of those are in great form again two years later so there are some stand out picks. There are a lot of sub stories with regards who can qualify for next week not to mention who can get into the Top 5 of the Fed Ex and therefore leave their destiny in their own hands the following week. But while that can have a bearing further down the field, most Fed-Ex Playoff events are won by players already in top form which makes this week quite straight-forward for me.

Form on Tom Fazio courses was also of interest to me and some of his high-profile redesigns include Augusta National, Quail Hollow (home of the Wells Fargo Championship) Oak Hill (2013 US PGA Championship) and Riviera Country Club (The Northern Trust Open) in addition to original designs like PGA National (Honda Classic) and Sea Island (McGladrey Classic)

Jim

Jim Furyk stands out like a sore thumb.3rd here in 2013 after carding a 59 in round 2, a solid record at The Masters, won at Quail Hollow in 2006, 2nd at 2013 USPGA Championship and a series of Top 15s at Riviera. His recent form is also excellent with a T4th at the Deutsche Bank following a T11th at The Barclays. With Furyk’s confidence restored after finally breaking his 5 year drought earlier in the season at The Heritage he looks like he is trending towards another win. Throw in the fact that he won his only Major in Illinois back in 2003 and Furyk looks a stand out bet to go close in familiar surroundings.

Zach Johnson won here in 2013 and is having another excellent season. He has a history of repeatedly playing well on courses that suit his game with dual wins coming at both The Crowne Plaza and Valero Texas Open as well as regularly contending at The John Deere Classic. He has form on Fazio redesigns having won The Masters in 2007, finishing T8th at The 2013 US PGA Championship and a series of decent finishes at other Fazio layouts over the last 10 years. I simply can’t leave him out even at odds of 22/1.

My 3rd pick was tougher this week. I expect Jason Day and Rory Mcilroy both to play very well this week so I might include one of them in my 3×3 doubles. But for the single I have decided to go with Robert Streb through a couple of Tom Fazio course links as much as anything given that he isn’t in spectacular form with two T39s so far in the Play-Offs. But his only win came at the Tom Fazio redesigned Sea Island in October last year and he finished T4th at Quail Hollow earlier this year. Throw in his impressive showings in some of this summer’s biggest tournaments and I think he can go well again at a course that should suit his accurate iron play.


Open D’Italia

The European Tour returns to Golf Club Milano after a 25 year break with Sky Sports’ very own Richard Boxall the last to get the better of this 7159 yard, Par 72, parkland course in 1990. Other past winners include Sandy Lyle and Jose Maria Canizares. So with limited course form to go on I’m going to again look at the type of player that figured here despite the long break adding in current form to give me my three picks.

Eddie Pepperell is proving a very interesting follow on Twitter these days and today he tweeted that Italian fellow Tour player Marco Crespi had commented on how hard the fairways were to hit around Milano. Now when someone like Crespi is making a note of that it is a bit of a concern for those that are wild off the tee. Crespi hits fairways for fun and currently sits T3 in Driving Accuracy.

Sandy Lyle at his peak was a fantastic golfer with a good allround game but he thrived on tougher, classic layouts having won his Majors at Augusta and Royal St Georges. Also recording wins at such courses as Turnberry, Woburn and Golf Club Eichenried. He was long and accurate off the tee with a very sharp short game.

Alejandro Canizares was the first player I thought of this week so I was pleased to see that he was entered in Milan and even more pleased when I noticed he had bounced back to form recently with a T12th in Holland and two more Top 20s in Scotland and Switzerland. Canizares has always came into his own on courses that suit his accurate game and he has a very impressive CV at the classic, tree-lined Wentworth including a Top 10 there just this year. His two wins have both came on tight, tree lined courses in Morocco and Russia and so this week’s test should suit him. Alejandro ranked 2nd for Driving Accuracy and 12th for Greens in Regulation last week so his long game is in great shape. Hopefully he will also be spurred on playing at a course where his father won 34 years ago and if he has a decent week with the putter then he can go well at a nice each way price of 50/1

Matt Fitzpatrick looks short enough at odds of 25/1 in this field but he has come so close to winning in recent weeks that I can’t leave him out on a course like this that he should take to instantly. His ball-striking over the last two months has probably been the best on Tour and his putting hasn’t been too shabby either. It’s one of those situations where I don’t want to miss out on his first win so will probably continue to back him at poor value prices just because he is such an obvious winner in waiting. He tailed off last week to finish 30th but fired a low round of the week 60 on Friday and was his usual solid self from tee to green ranking 12th and 16th in Driving Accuracy and GIR respectively.

Mike Lorenzo-Vera came onto my radar with a T6th at the Open De France which is a course that requires you to keep the ball in play. So I marked his card as someone who might prefer the test of a classic layout. He came back to form with a T12th last week and he ranked an impressive 4th for Driving Accuracy and 16th for GIR. Looks a good price at 150/1 and since shortlisting him I noticed that the shrewd team at Sporting Life were  tipping him which is just the confidence booster I needed to include him over others this week.


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Summary of Bets

BMW Championship

Jim Furyk – 2pts ew 20/1

Zach Johnson – 1.5pts ew 22/1

Robert Streb – 0.5pts ew 80/1

Open D’Italia

Alejandro Canizares – 1pt ew @ 45/1

Matt Fitzpatrick – 1pt ew @ 25/1

Mike Lorenzo-Vera – 0.5pt ew @ 150/1

9 x 0.25 ew doubles – 3×3 – (Furyk, Johnson, Mcilroy) x (Canizares, Fitzpatrick, Lorenzo-Vera) I decided to throw Mcilroy into the 3×3 as he goes brilliantly on Fazio designs but couldn’t justify a single given his lack of recent competitive golf.

1pt Top 20 Double  20/1  – Chris Kirk (BMW) and Mikko Korhonen (Open D’Italia)


Weekly outlay – 18.5pts

Total outlay – 146pts

Total returns – 208.49

Deutsche Bank and Russian Open – Betting Preview

Bubba showing his more relaxed side

Bubba showing his more relaxed side

Last week

It was a really good week that threatened to be a brilliant week at times on Sunday. Zach Johnson and Robert Dinwiddie both finished 4th to get full places and also bring in the each way double money at a very tasty 308/1. This meant weekly returns of 102.69pts giving an updated running total of 109.5pts advised and 208.49pts returned for a ROI of 90.4% after 5 weeks.

With the benefit of having Johnson the proven winner T5th going into the final round I started to get a little excited about the 4535/1 win double when Dinwiddie got to within 2 shots of Pieters and Edberg at the turn on Sunday. But he quickly threw in 2 bogeys across 3 holes on the back 9 and that was that. Still very pleased to get the place returns on just the 2nd week of including the 3×3 EW doubles though.

This week the Fed Ex Top 100 move onto the Deutsche Bank to tackle TPC Boston while the European Tour goes a little further east again to Moscow and the Russian Open at Skolkovo Golf Club. Both look very hard to pick the winner so a small play on the doubles might be safer this week however I’m sticking to the same format myself especially after last week’s success.


Deutsche Bank Championship

TPC Boston usually gives us plenty of birdies and a high-class winner with Rory Mcilroy, Henrik Stenson, Webb Simpson, Phil Mickelson, VJ Singh, Steve Stricker and a certain Tiger Woods all having won here in recent times. At 7214 yards the Par 71 is of average length with a good mix of holes. As is the case with most winners of Fed Ex play off events, the winners usually arrive here in great form with either a recent win or some high-placed finishes. The winning total is always towards -20 so the putter must be fairly hot and given the amount of water around the greens iron accuracy is at more of a premium than off the tee. Looking at the winners they are all fairly long off the tee, feature high in Par 5 Scoring in addition to Strokes Gained:Tee to Green. Unfortunately most of the best players in the world right now rank highly in all these and they are all playing here! So this makes picking just 3 players very tough. The chances of Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Rory Mcilroy, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Justin Rose are obvious to everyone and I’ll be a little surprised if one of those elite 7 don’t win. But in order to have a bet on the front of the market this week it looks important to find some value. With this good a field I don’t really want to be chancing someone at single figures so that rules out Day, Spieth and Mcilroy (although I do like Mcilroy’s chances this week his lack of competitive play recently just keeps him out of the staking plan at 9/1). I’m not convinced Stenson should be so short and Justin Rose is simply not putting well enough to get any of my money.

This leads me to Bubba Watson who comes here off 3rd place at The Barclays despite having a poor week on the tricky, undulating greens. While putting will be equally as important this week the greens aren’t as tough as Plainfield so Bubba won’t cut such a frustrated figure with the short stick in Boston. He sits in T8th in Par 5 Scoring, 1st in Par 4 Scoring, 23rd in GIR and 1st in Strokes Gained:Tee to Green so his long game is as impressive as ever and should he miss these greens he is 23rd in Scrambling. Bubba doesn’t have the best of records however around TPC Boston and I’m not too sure why as it should suit him perfectly. But he did shoot a 64 on way to a T16th in 2011 so I think arriving in the form he is in he will play well this week at far more favourable odds when compared with rest of the market leaders. Week after week he is still in my mind the most under rated player in the world and as a result he is never under priced like many of his peers. It’s not the most confident pick but it does look to be the value pick.

Given the strength of the market leaders, picking another two players was very tough this week. So I’ve decided to go with a couple of overpriced players that look capable of running into a place due to their high ranking in the relevant stats.

I’m not sure Justin Thomas can putt well enough to win this week but he sits 18th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 2nd in Par 5 Scoring and 7th in Birdie Average. The birdie average interests me most. Despite what his poor putting stats say he must still be holing a few putts here and there to rank so highly in this. Not the greatest price at 80/1 but his tee to green game is strong so should give himself enough opportunities to find something with the putter and it is just a matter of time before he gets a win.

Webb Simpson is a former winner here and ranks 5th in Strokes Gained:Tee to Green despite a fairly mediocre season by his standards. Most of his woes have been a result of him trying to switch to a short putter in preparation for the anchoring ban due to come in next season. However his 6th place at the Wyndham two weeks ago showed that he can still thrive on greens that he knows well (he loves the Wyndham so much he called his first child Wyndham, no joke) so with a return to TPC Boston his ball-striking should also give him plenty of looks on greens that he has excelled on in the past.

Bryce Molder is a player I’ve been fond of since I was on him at nice odds for his 1st and only win in 2011 at the Frys Open. He finished T11th last week from nowhere and sits in 8th in Par 5 Scoring and 18th in Scrambling. Together with a finish of 9th at TPC in 2012 I thought he was worth a play in the Top 20 market at 7/1.


Russian Open

The Russian Open stays in Moscow but moves from Tseleevo Golf Club to Skolkovo Golf Club this week. Both are Jack Nicklaus designed courses and it looks like they both pose a similar test. Skolkovo is a short 7025 yard Par 71 and appears to be a very typical Nicklaus set up. His courses are well renowned for being rather lenient off the tee with the holes providing a tougher test as the player nears the hole. So GIR, Scrambling and Putting will be the order of the week here. Jack Nicklaus designs are a plenty on the European TOur schedule at the moment so there is a lot of course form to look at. While this would be handy in a decent European Tour field, this is by no means a decent European Tour field so not many of these players will have regularly played the likes of Gleneagles, Crans, and Lake Malaren. However as we mentioned the host course from 2013 and 2014 was a Jack Nicklaus course and there a few others that crop up on the Sunshine Tour and the Asian Tour so there are some players that look suited to the course and arriving in form. After looking at some pictures of Skolkovo it immediately reminded me of Gleneagles in appearance which gives me enough confidence to stick with the Nicklaus link.

Damien Mcgrane was on my mind for this even before his strong weekend in Czech Republic to finish T8th. He ranked 2nd in Driving Accuracy, 6th in GIR and 12th in Putts Per Round which is a fairly decent combination wherever you are playing. But given that he had similar rankings of 14th, 22nd and 7th respectively around Tsleevo last year it is interesting that these stats were all key for him again last week in by far his best finish of the season. He has some solid finishes on Jack Nicklaus courses and also a 2nd place at the Trophee Hassan in Morocco where recent winners include the last two winners of The Russian Open, Michael Hoey and David Horsey. Despite Mcgrane only having 1 win on the European Tour and having a poor season until last week, I’m still surprised to see him at 50/1 this week and so he looks a great value bet in a very poor field where non winner Kieffer is the 6/1 favourite!

Now with so many non winners in the field there aren’t many players proven at getting over the line in Moscow this week. This makes it look like a bit of a minefield. So I looked into the other tours to see if anyone was bringing some form from South Africa or Asia. Keith Horne won on the Sunshine Tour (SA) in August and also finished in the Top 6 last week. He leads the Sunshine Tour in GIR with an impressive 76% and also sits 16th in Europe. I was already considering including him even before I found a T6th at the Trophee Hassan so he looks a nice bet given how much confidence he will have from a strong few months in South Africa.

SSP Chawrasia is a 2 time winner on the European Tour and this season he sits in 8th place for Scrambling and 9th in Putts Per Round. That is good enough for me around a Jack Nicklaus design. He hasn’t played great the last 2 weeks but had a solid 24th at the Omega Masters in Crans last month. 125/1 looks huge against this field.


cropped-golfbetting.jpeg Summary of Bets

Deutsche Bank

Bubba Watson – 2pts ew 22/1

Justin Thomas  – 0.5pt ew 80/1

Webb Simpson – 0.5pt ew 66/1

Bryce Molder – 1pt Top 20 7/1

Russian Open

Damien Mcgrane 1.5pts ew 50/1

Keith Horne – 0.75pt ew 40/1

SSP Chowrasia – 0.5pts ew 125/1

3×3 EW doubles 0.25pts ew (Watson, Thomas, Simpson) x (Mcgrane,Horne, Chawrasia) @ odds ranging from 942/1 – 10,205/1

0.5pt ew double saver on Rory Mcilroy and David Horsey (think both will go well but too short to consider as singles)

Weekly outlay = 18pts

Total outlay = 127.5