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.
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.
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
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