CIMB Classic and Turkish Airlines Open – Betting Preview

It was quite a successful week last week with Kevin Na and Patrick Reed both finishing in the places but it could have been so much better. With Justin Rose having won in Hong Kong on Sunday morning Kevin Na would have brought up the 202/1 winning double if he had managed to win The Shriners. I didn’t see much of it but I turned on about 11pm to find Na one shot behind the clubhouse lead with 4 holes left to play and at least 2 of them playing fairly easy. So when he birdied the 16th to tie the -16 lead I was pretty confident that it would be a playoff at worst for him. I was promptly regretting that at the 17th when Na found himself just short of the green but with a fairly lush fringe between him and the hole. The one key attribute that made me pick him last week was his excellent scrambling ability. This made it all the more hard to take when he duffed his chip shot into the fringe to leave himself with a 12ft par save that just missed agonisingly on the high side. He rallied well and played the 18th strongly to give himself a 15 footer for a playoff but again the putt just wouldn’t drop.

Whether I will ever manage to back him again I don’t know, he is a supremely talented golfer and battled back well from his demoralising driving yips of 4 years ago. But there is no question that his pre shot routine slows down dramatically when he is in contention and he looked a bag of nerves over the last few holes. He gave an excuse in his post round interview that suggested an awkward lie on 17 but for such a good chipper it would have been a routine up and down on Thursday or Friday for him. For the future Na is definitely one of those players worth laying back when in contention as it’s hard to be too confident of him getting over the line. He traded as low as 1.80 or so and as I was about to lay my stake back he duffed his chip and I couldn’t get it matched.

As for Hong Kong it was fairly obvious Rose would play well and go close but as I wrote he felt a bit short at 6/1. However with his long game so much better than the majority of the field when he plays in Europe it could be that he manages to rack up a few easy wins in Asia as Westwood did when he was the same age with similar long game prowess. Rose might be worth reconsidering at 6/1 in similar fields in the future.

Last week’s 20.29 pts returns from the two places and two diluted ew doubles gives the following running results.

 Total Pts advised – 224 pts

Total Returns – 322.26pts

ROI – 43.87%

 This week the PGA Tour makes its now regular stop out East in Malaysia for the CIMB Classic. The European Tour begins its Final Series with the top players heading to Turkey for the Turkish Airlines Open.

CIMB Classic

Ryan Moore isn’t even in the first 5 in the betting this week as he looks to get his hands on this trophy for the 3rd year in a row. I backed him last year at 14/1 along with many others as he was certainly a popular pick. This year coming off a fairly unspectacular 43rd place at the Shriners he sits at 20/1 and for me looks the most likely winner unless Stenson takes to the course immediately as the 7/1 favourite. Last week’s shock winner rookie Smylie Kauffman served to prove just how much strength in-depth there is in the PGA Tour right now so short prices should probably be avoided heading into an ultra-competitive 2016 season but when a player is 2 from 2 at a course he is going to prove hard to leave out at 20/1.

With Moore as a two-time winner on the course you would expect Kuala Lumpur Golf Club to reward accurate driving but a look at some of the other players who have done well there over the 2 runnings of this (and recent Malaysian Opens) and you will see less accurate drivers like Gary Woodland have prospered. Moreover, Greens in Regulation looks to be most important with Lahiri, Westwood and Aphibarnrat all having won there.

Given this is a co-sanctioned event with Asian Tour, it usually doesn’t have the best of fields which has probably suited Ryan Moore who has never quite managed to push towards the very top-level of World Golf despite having one of the best Amateur/College golf records of recent times. Which suggests that it might be worth looking at players with a similar profile who have the game to compete with the best but maybe not quite the belief to take one of the bigger titles they play for. This year’s running looks a little stronger down the field but is still lacking any of the game’s very best except Stenson.

The course is a short par 72 at 6951 yards with tree-lined fairways and small, fiddly greens which are Sea Isle Supreme grass (basically a sea paspalum I believe). Other courses to feature sea paspalum greens for reference are El Cameleon (Mayakoba Classic), Trump International (Puerto Rico Open) and Kiawah Island (2012 USPGA). The conditions will be warm and humid with rain expected over the four days.

John-SendenJohn Senden finished 7th in last year’s renewal and has exactly the right sort of neat and tidy game which can prosper around KL Golf Club. At his best he is a fairways and greens machine but over the years his short game has let him down and stopped him from winning more than twice on Tour. However hailing from Australia he is used to the grainier greens that we find this week at KL Golf Club. His putting stats have improved the last few years and on a course he likes, where he will hit more of these smaller greens than most, I’d expect him to go well again. Senden arrives here off the back of a T16th last week so he appears to be in some sort of form and looks slightly over priced at 66/1.

Alex Cejka was a bit of a journey man on the PGA Tour until last year when he finally got his first win at the age of 43. He was a multiple winner on other tours but had always came up short on the main Tour. Cejka is an accurate driver of the ball so will keep it in play around KLGC. His win came at the Puerto Rico Open which has small, sea paspalum greens and a similar climate to that of Kuala Lumpur. Cejka also tied for 2nd last week at the Shriners Open so arrives in good form and also looks over priced at 125/1.

I decided I can’t leave Ryan Moore out. Last week was annoying enough seeing Rose win but you don’t get too disconsolate at missing out on a 6/1 winner. But if Moore were to complete his hat trick bid at 20/1 unbacked then I would certainly be annoyed. He completes the line-up.

Turkish Airlines Open

 It’s the third running of this tournament  with the first two having been won by Victor Dubuisson and then Brooks Koepka. The course at Belek is The Montgomerie Maxx course and as you would expect with those two winners it is a relatively open course with forgiving rough where you can let rip off the tee on most holes. They are both big hitters with aggressive iron games which helped yield winning scores of -24 and -17 respectively.  The course is 7133 Yards long and a Par 72 with five Par 5s and water in play around several of the bent grass greens. So long driving combined with an accurate iron game looks the way to go again.

LevyAlexander Levy fits the aggressive bomber profile down to a tee although he does appear to have attempted to become more accurate off the tee this year with his average driving distance down somewhat. Normally he likes to get his driver out there and fire at every single flag which can allow him to contend on good weeks but also results in his fair share of missed cuts when off his game or playing on a course that doesn’t suit. Both Levy’s wins have come on bent grass greens where low scoring was the order of the week. His 1st win was also out east in China and his 2nd win was at the rain shortened Portugal Masters last year where other big hitters like Quiros and Colsaerts have solid records.

He hasn’t been in the greatest of form but he did have a T17th finish at the British Masters three weeks ago on a course that wouldn’t have suited him which that suggests that something was working for him. He was T11th last year on his first go at this course and a further look at his stats show 25th for driving accuracy, 11th for driving distance and 7th for greens in regulation for the week. While it’s a leap of faith perhaps to think he can win again this week his price of 80/1 looks very nice indeed when compared to some of those at the head of the market. When we consider he is arriving with sound course knowledge this time around I’d expect him to resort to his aggressive approach and go low this week.

 My shortlist for this comprised of a few big hitters and Peter Uihlein was one of the first names down. He is renowned for his big hitting, birdie heavy game but also his ability to throw in several double bogeys over the course of a tournament due to his erratic driving. Yet when you get him on the right course he is still an excellent talent. When he first joined the tour at a similar time to his friend Brooks Koepka they both looked destined for the top. Uihlein is a former US Amateur Champion and if anything he looked like he may have been the better of the two. He got his first win out of the way in 2013 but has struggled for consistency ever since. Although a T13 last week would point towards a small turnaround and he finished T11th at this course last year which confirms he is suited to the course. 66/1 is fairly generous for a player who still threatens to be top class and arrives with his game in decent shape.

The combination of struggling for a third pick and the respect that must be afforded to Mcilroy in a relatively weak field are pushing me towards including a win only single on him. He is definitely going to make the each way doubles as he is easily the best player in the field and we have seen him go off at the same price (9/2) in better class, full fields in recent years. So with just 77 players to beat here it doesn’t look the worst price ever on a course where his length off the tee will benefit him massively. But there are just about enough question marks coming off a very normal looking T26th two weeks ago at the Open. Mcilroy cuts a spoiled brat like figure these days when he falls out of contention and it won’t be winning him any new fans amongst those that follow the game closely. When you compare that attitude with others at the top who battle for every single stroke I think I can afford to leave him out when he won’t be too focussed this weak given that he still leads the European Tour money list and there are another 3 weeks to go after this.

I like both Andy Sullivan and Thomas Pieters’ chances but despite them having impressive multiple win seasons, they look very short in the betting at 20/1 and 25/1 respectively. So I’m going to have a very small interest in Jorge Campillo who had a T6th finish last time out at the Portugal Masters. A finish that makes me think he  will be suited to this challenge and is a monster price at 200/1 in a 78 man field.

Summary of bets

CIMB Classic

 Ryan Moore – 1pt ew @ 20/1

 John Senden – 1pt ew @ 50/1

 Alex Cejka – 0.5pt ew @125/1

Turkish Airlines Open

 Alexander Levy – 1pt ew @ 80/1

 Peter Uihlein – 1pt ew @ 66/1

 Jorge Campillo – 0.5pt ew @ 200/1

 3×3 0.25 ew doubles (Moore, Senden and Cejka x Mcilroy (9/2), Levy, Uihlein)

Additional 0.25pts ew on Moore + Mcilroy double

1pt double –  Scott Brown Top 20 CIMB + Andy Sullivan Top 10 Turkey @ 27/1

Weekly pts advised – 16pts

Total pts advised – 240pts



Shriners Hospital for Children Tournament and Hong Kong Open – Betting Preview

Last week was a bit of a disaster. Not only were there no returns on the 15.5 pts but none of the 6 players even got into contention at any point so it made for a rather dull weekend of Golf. My main two fancies Koepka and Olesen did their best to play themselves out of their respective tournaments on Thursday and never recovered. Mahan made it onto the Sunday evening leaderboard temporarily before throwing 5 shots back coming home and also finished down the field.

It was young Argentine Emiliano Grillo that won the on his first start in his rookie season, a very impressive feat. European Tour followers will be familiar with him after he plied his trade there for 3 seasons before successfully tackling the Tour and it’s Q School last month. Grillo’s tee to green game rivalled the best on the ET and he is undoubtedly a highly talented player. But given his tendency for mistakes on and around the green under pressure, many will be surprised by how quickly his 1st PGA Tour win came on Sunday. Another hugely talented youngster that could have a big season. One to keep an eye on around ball striking courses.

In Europe Andy Sullivan came storming back to form in style to become the 1st player to win 3 times in 2015. He had gone off the boil a little as the season wore on after recording two wins early in 2015. He obviously found something in his swing prior to Portugal as he gave a masterclass all week to record a 9 shot win. At his best Englishman Andy has one of the purest swings on Tour and you can see why he can hit great shot after great shot when playing well. But he also has no real weakness to his game so perhaps the early 66/1 on offer last week should have been taken on value grounds alone. Given his canter around Oceanio Victoria it will be a long time until we see 66/1 about this likeable sort who plays the game the right way, quickly and with a smile on his face.

Total Pts advised – 208.5

Total Returns – 301.98

ROI – 44.8%

This week the PGA Tour stays out West but moves further inland to Las Vegas and TPC Summerlin for the Shriners Hospital  for Children Tournament. The European Tour heads East to Fanling Golf Club for the co-sanctioned Hong Kong Open.

Shriners Hospital for Children Tournament.

 Justin Timberlake was a key figure as host of this tournament for 5 years until 2012 and whoever wants to win this week will need to have their swing N Sync and hope their decision to play here is Justified……..

The tournament is held at the TPC Summerlin Par 72 course designed by Pete Dye protégé, Bobby Weed. It plays at 7243 yards long but is at altitude so the ball will fly that bit further for everyone.

Recent winners include Ben Martin, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Kevin Na, Jonathan Byrd and Martin Laird. Bobby Weed’s other course on Tour, TPC River Highlands hosts the Travellers Championship and its recent role call includes Bubba, Kevin Streelman (2nd last year at the Shriners), Ken Duke, Marc Leishman and Frederik Jacobsen. So as you would expect from a designer with such a close connection to Dye, a tidy short game is required as these names are some of the better chippers and putters on Tour. Given that last week was also a good test of their short games I’m going to look strongly at current form in addition to the scrambling and putting stats for 2015. I would expect those that played last week will be in a better position to contend this week although it is important that they had a break at some point over the last few weeks as the humid Vegas conditions will be hard to contend with if running on empty.

The course plays simple enough with large, easy to hit greens and the last few editions have all been low scoring. So proximity to hole and putting look key as well as a degree of accuracy off the tee as several players have noted that in order to get close to the flag, you need to have the right position in the fairway. Ryan Moore and Kevin Na are both capable of hitting it very close and holing plenty of putts when on their game and a T10th and 2nd place respectively last week tells us both their games are in great shape. I’m sure they would have been the first two players on most people’s short lists this week and while I’m not completely convinced by their prices I can’t get away from either of them this week as former winners arriving in good form. Na regularly ranks as one of the best scramblers on Tour and also has an excellent record at Pete Dye’s TPC Sawgrass. I’d expect him to put last week’s disappointment behind him and contend again.

Moore is one of the most accurate drivers on Tour and he usually plays well at this time of year (3 of his 4 wins have come in October/November). Last week could be the start of an improving run that should see him feature towards the top of the leaderboard on his home course. With familiar greens a good week with the putter could be the difference for Moore and his putting gradually improved last week so that is a real possibility.

After two obvious picks my 3rd is a rank outsider. With huge greens this week then 3-putt avoidance will be crucial. Colt Knost ranked 5th in 2015 for this. He also had other relevant, impressive stats for this season; 12th in proximity to hole, 7th in driving accuracy and 8th in approach putting. Knost is a former US Amateur Champion and World No. 1 ranked amateur so we know he has ability. Since his 2007 Walker Cup appearance he has had to sit back and watch many of his team mates go onto far bigger things (Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson, Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk) but after getting his card at the Final Series he will be determined to keep it and have a good year on Tour. This week’s course looks ideal for him and a look at last year’s leaderboard shows a T18th so he will know the course. I think at the very least he can go well and outplay his price of 150/1

Hong Kong Open

The last three titles here at the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling have been won by Scott Hend and Miguel Angel JIminez (2) so immediately that tells me that any type of player can win as they are on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Hend is an out and out bomber with a decent short game and Jiminez is a very short, accurate sort but also with an excellent short game. Looking further back we have the likes of Mcilroy, Montgomerie and Harrington winning here so usually one of the elite players gets to the front by Sunday.

The 6699 Yard course is very short and can be quite fiddly off the tee. The greens aren’t the easiest to hit as they are slightly elevated and firm up over the weekend with the usual hot conditions. So maybe the one common factor between Jiminez and Hend is their ability to find greens at Fanling, Hend with his power off the tee allowing him lots of wedges and Jiminez with his excellent long iron game. This would be strengthened by Monty and Mcilroy  being former winners as they both have exquisite distance control with their irons. So I’m looking for a classy player with an accurate iron game, great touch around faster greens, and capable of going low when their putter is hot. Justin Rose had a Top 10 last week in California and has made the long journey to Hong Kong for this. He is undoubtedly a worthy favourite and the best player in the field but given how poorly he has putted over the last year or so it would be hard to make a compelling case for him at 6/1 in a tournament where the winning score looks set to be in excess of -20. But conversely, I’m finding it hard to find someone with a good enough game and the current form to stay with Rose even if he doesn’t hole much.

Dustin Johnson is 2nd in the market and we know he travels well with several high finishes in the Open and also a WGC HSBC win in China in 2013. His game was in good shape throughout 2015 but he obviously had some high-profile woes under pressure at the Majors although he did win his 2nd WGC at the Cadillac Championship. That’s a course where your short game has to be up to scratch with approach putting and scrambling always massively important. I expect Dustin and Justin to both play well in a field that isn’t exactly packed with depth. However taking single figures about either of them doesn’t look the wisest of plays even if they should win.

Patrick Reed is 4th favourite for this and looks to be the best piece of value in the field. While the course will be unknown to him, he looks the type that could prosper around Fanling. He has a solid tee to green game but Reed’s strength is on and around the greens so at a course where Hend’s win suggests at least a small degree of leniency off the tee, I’d expect Reed to go well. He has already shown he can mix it with the best having notched up 4 wins on the PGA Tour in strong fields and also taking last year’s Ryder Cup by storm. Going head to head with either Johnson or Rose would be no problem for this confident young player so hopefully he will be there or thereabouts come Sunday at a far better price of 22/1.

Other options are proving harder to come by again this week so I’m just including one larger priced ew shot but then I think I will use Rose and DJ in the each way doubles where their price isn’t such a problem.

Craig Lee led the field for GIR last week and came 2nd in fairways hit en route to a T6th finish in Portugal. He has proven in the past that he can hold his form and also contend in good European Tour fields when he is playing well. His best finish on Tour came at the Omega European Masters when he lost out in a playoff to Thomas Bjorn in 2012. One of Jiminez’s favourite courses besides Fanling is that of Crans where the European Masters takes place and so it is reasonable to assume that someone who fares well at Crans should take to this week’s test at Fanling. With no win yet at the age of 38 he certainly doesn’t fall into the classy bracket but looks worth a small stakes play at 150/1 while playing well.

Summary of Bets


Ryan Moore – 1.5pts ew @ 28/1

Kevin Na – 1pts ew @ 28/1

Colt Knost – 0.5pts ew @ 150/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 5/1

Hong Kong Open

Patrick Reed – 1.5pts ew @ 20/1

Craig Lee – 0.5pt ew @ 150/1

3×3 0.25 pts EW doubles (Moore, Na, Knost x Reed, Rose (6/1), Johnson (8/1))

Weekly outlay – 15.5pts

Total outlay – 225 Open and Portugal Masters – Betting Preview

With the Presidents Cup taking place in South Korea it meant I managed to watch very little so don’t have any real insight to what went on. The only 2 noteworthy occurrences that I managed to pick up on was the amazing number of hole outs than went on all week and the records of Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace. Given the two South Africans performances last week (5pts and 4 1/2pts) and their strong record in the 2015 majors it seems very likely that they will continue their form into 2016 and could well be the players to attempt to take the fight to Jason Day and Jordan Spieth.

As for the hole outs it seems that more and more of these are occurring every week and suggests to me that the overall standard of the game is improving. 2016 is already shaping up to be an excellent year for Golf.

I did however manage to watch the final round of The British Masters and what a round it was from Matt Fitpatrick. After spending the front 9 just not quite on his game and being kept at bay by both Zanotti and Kjeldsen, Matt fired 4 birdies on his back 9 and the two older men had no response to his aggressive yet controlled iron play and even with a slight wobble at the 18th he maintained a 2 shot lead for his first win as a professional. It was impressive to watch and also very pleasing after deciding it was just a matter of time before he won and he proved me right. With the manner in which he won and his undoubted talent then I imagine he will go on to win many more Tournaments however the bookmakers will be only too aware of this and some players can find the 2nd win a lot tougher than others so it may be hard to find him at a value price again for a little while. Definitely a player to a keep an eye on though.

Total points advised – 193 pts

Total points returned – 301.98pts

Return on investment – 56.47%

This week the PGA Tour 2016 season gets underway with the Open and the European Tour is back in Continental Europe with the Portugal Masters at Villamoura in the Algarve. Open

With the 2015 season having only finished 2 weeks ago, the start of 2016 season is quite a different time on the PGA Tour. Given such a long year for many players, some will be turning up here with limited motivation. Others will be arriving determined to get off to a great start in order to get their card for 2017 season as early as possible and others will be arriving looking to prove that they should have been a part of last week’s Presidents Cup. Either way I think it is important to look at players that are not only suited to this week’s course but have something driving them to play well.

The course at the Silverado Resort in California is 7203 yards long and has only had one running at the course. Several players are on record saying how these are small greens that are tough to hit and even harder to get up and down when you miss. So that points me to the neat and tidy iron players who feature prominently in the proximity to hole stats but also the strong putters that will be able to make the clutch par save putts when they haven’t got their chip as close as they would have liked. A liking for fast poa annua/bent grass greens is also an advantage given their slightly specialist nature. Riviera, Pebble Beach and Torrey Pines are three other courses with similar greens.

Many in the golfing world thought Brooks Koepka should have been an original US Captain’s pick last week so when he wasn’t even drafted in to replace Jim Furyk it appeared a slightly odd decision. But JB Holmes (who replaced Furyk in the end) had a decent week and US won so the decision stood up and most of the team probably quickly forgot. Koepka on the other hand will be gutted to have missed out and he will have 1 main goal this year and that will be to make the Ryder Cup Team. There is no better start than to take an early lead in the money list so on a course where he finished in the Top 10 last year I’d expect him to feature very prominently. He is a solid iron player and scrambler but is an exceptional putter on his day sitting 17th for Strokes Gained:Putting: He is undoubtedly quite a skinny price at 18/1 this week given that he has only won once on the PGA Tour but he arrives fresh off a T2nd in Scotland 2 weeks ago where he led the field for Greens in Regulation. Koepka also has a European Tour title to his name and a further 4 Challenge Tour  wins so he knows how to get over the line. I’m going to take the 18/1 as I think he will go very close this week and when we break his price down he would surely win this at least once in 19 runnings given this week’s scenario.

Other than Koepka there aren’t a lot of players that I really like this week despite the bigger prices that Mcilroy and Rose are creating. So I’m going to have a couple of small stakes plays on two proven winners that could be overpriced this week given their extra motivation.

Brandt Snedeker  (50/1) and Hunter Mahan (55/1) will also both have been gutted to miss out on The Presidents Cup. They have a lot of US Team Matchplay experience already and wouldn’t have enjoyed watching it on the TV last week. Similarly to Koepka they will be looking to fly out of the blocks in 2016.

Snedeker always enjoys the California swing and is one of the best putters around on Poa annua/bentgrass having won twice at Pebble Beach and once at Torrey Pines.

Mahan will also have been left frustrated when he failed to make the Tour Championship for the first time this year. He also lost the honour of having been the only player to have played in every single playoff event since the Fed Ex Cup Series began. This will fuel Mahan further and I dont doubt he will have been using the last two weeks to get his purest of ball striking back up to speed in order to make some dollars before the Christmas break. He also finished T3rd last year so would appear to enjoy the course.

The Portugal Masters

 Thorbjorn Olesen won only two weeks ago at The Dunhill Links so I’m quite surprised to see him available to back at 50/1 this week. Given his pedigree and his return to form it looks a standout piece of value in the field at the Oceanico Victoria GC in Villamoura. Olesen has already shot a 64 and a 66 at the course so it clearly fits his eye when playing well. When when we look at previous types of players to go well in this tournament there a lot of aggressive bombers taking advantage of the wide fairways that allow them more loft on their approach shots. Alvaro Quiros and Alexander Levy are two previous winners while Nicholas Colsaerts also has a credible record. They love nothing more to go flag hunting and subsequently low scoring when their putters are warm. Olesen is also fairly long and inaccurate off the tee but there was nothing wrong with his iron game 2 weeks ago and he was holing putts from everywhere. My main pick at a generous 50/1.

 I’m struggling with any strong thoughts for backing anyone else but the 3 from each tournament format is currently serving me well so I will keep it going with another couple of less confident picks. Joakim Lagergren led the field for putts per round and putts per GIR at The Dunhill Links two weeks ago for a share of 4th place and also had a T3 in Italy two weeks before that. With putting so important this week as scoring looks likely to go low I think he is an ok price at 80/1 for someone in such good form.

Benjamin Herbert also finished T4 in Scotland and recorded a T10th at The Qatar Masters this year where form usually ties in very nicely with Villamoura. Good form and may outplay his general price of 80/1

Summary of bets Open

Brooks Koepka – 2pts ew 18/1

Brandt Snedker – 0.5pts ew 50/1

Hunter Mahan – 0.5pt ew 55/1

Portugal Masters

Thorbjorn Olesen – 1.5pts ew 50/1

Joakim Lagergren – 0.5pts ew 80/1

Benjamin Herbert – 0.5pts ew 80/1

0.15pts ew on 3×3 doubles (Koepka, Snedeker, Mahan x Olesen, Lagergren and Herbert)

0.9pts ew Koepka/Olesen double (additional bet due to higher confidence)

Weekly outlay – 15.5pts

Total outlay – 208.5pts


The Presidents Cup and British Masters – Betting Preview

The Dunhill Links Championship was a tournament to forget for me. All four outright picks missed the 3 round cut and it’s perhaps a timely reminder that where these slightly novelty tournaments are involved, stakes should be lowered accordingly. That’s not to say Thorbjorn Olesen wasn’t a deserving winner with a great bank of Links form it’s just that there are many more variables that can lead to someone under-performing. The Top 20 bets however fared a lot better. Both Anthony Wall and Paul Dunne led the whole tournament at points over Friday/Saturday and were still both right in contention entering Sunday. Ultimately, their high finish disappeared at The Road Hole and their bogey 5s left me with two T19ths and a 2/7ths reduced pay out for very modest returns of 3.43 pts on the week. Although it’s better than nothing and leaves the blog’s running totals as follows.

Total advised – 179 pts

Total returns – 237.10

 ROI – 32.36%

This week we have another slightly different tournament to look at with a matchplay team event where US take on the International team in The Presidents Cup and the European Tour stays in the UK with a trip back to Woburn after some 11 years away.

I’m going to take my own advice and not get overly carried away with stakes this week as the nature of The President’s Cup doesn’t give up a lot of value betting propositions and any course form at Woburn is extremely dated.

The Presidents Cup


For those hailing from eligible countries (everywhere bar Europe) I’m sure this biennial event is quite a big deal but it usually fails to get the heart racing for most European golf fans. There are 24 of the World’s best present but for the US team it only really sets up as a match play warm up for The Ryder Cup and for the International team there never appears to be any great cohesion given the very make up of their team. But of course golf bettors can’t always be considered normal European golf fans so there must at least be an angle in for the punters.

Twelve of The United States’ best take on twelve from around the world over four days starting on Thursday. The host course is Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in New Songdo City, South Korea and it plays as a 7413 yard Par 72. The format has been tweaked slightly at the request of the hosts with only 30pts up for grabs as oppose to the 34 from previous years. Thursday sees 5 foursome matches with 5 four-balls on the Friday. Saturday has a morning session of 4 four-balls with an afternoon session of 4 foursomes. The tournament culminates with the usual 12 singles matches on Sunday.

I’m sure most of the people reading this will know who is competing but for those that don’t the two teams with their respective World Rankings are listed below.


Jordan Spieth (1), Bubba Watson (4), Rickie Fowler (5), Dustin Johnson (8), Zach Johnson  (10), Matt Kuchar (16), Jimmy Walker (17), JB Holmes (18), Patrick Reed (19), Phil Mickelson (24), Chris Kirk (27) and Bill Haas (29)


Jason Day (2), Louis Oosthuizen (13), Adam Scott (14), Hideki Matsuyama (15), Branden Grace (22), Thongchai Jaidee (31), Danny Lee (36), Marc Leishman (37), Anirban Lahiri (39), Charl Schwartzel (47), Steven Bowditch (58) and Sang Moon Bae (88)

 Now the first thing I notice when comparing teams is the average World Rankings. US – 14.83 and Internationals – 33.5 This together with a US 8-1-1 (there’s been one draw) winning run over the series so far combine to make US very short favourites at 1.59 vs ROTW’s 3.1 as I write this.

Personally I don’t see a lot of value there as the International team look up against it even with “home” advantage given they have such limited match play experience compared to the US team. But they do have Jason Day along with other in form players like Danny Lee and Thongchai Jaidee. Although to make any real profits on the outright market then stakes would have to be high and I certainly don’t have the confidence or the required patriotic urge to advise a bet on this market. But given the recent trend of winning margins being 5, 4 and then 3 in 2013, it looks perfectly reasonable that this International team can keep that improving sequence going by making it a tight contest and only giving up a 2pts difference. So a small play on the correct score of US 16-14 Internationals with a saver on 16 ½ – 13 ½ looks like a cheap way to carry an outright interest through to Sunday. In short, I expect US to win but it’s a definite possibility that a couple of their big guns don’t play well after a long season and that could be enough to let a poorer but also slightly younger International team make a proper match of this.

I’ve had a long look at the individual player markets and there isn’t a great deal that excites me beyond the glaringly obvious. Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are by far the best two players on their respective sides at the moment and so head up the Team points scorer lists at 4/1 and 7/2 respectively. Neither price looks particularly generous at first glance. However as I scroll through the International team and consider the requirements this week at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club I don’t see any real threats provided Day still has something in the tank. Even then Day will be in strong pairings Thurs-Sat so I can see getting a minimum of 3 pts from the 5 that will be available to him if he plays all the matches as expected. Day is also a former WGC Matchplay Champion at a Jack Nicklaus course (Dove Mountains) and scored 3 1/2 pts / 5 in the 2013 renewal at another Jack Nicklaus design. This is no surprise as his designs are famed for being tougher as you get towards the green with a strong emphasis on approach play and scrambling. Day’s scrambling is among the best around. Factor in the temperature of his putter over the last 8 weeks and the 4.7 available on Betfair starts to look like a decent enough bet.

As for Top US player, Spieth looks a little more vulnerable even with his slightly larger price of 4/1. Spieth doesn’t quite have the length off the tee that can prove such a weapon in Matchplay golf. Of course he makes up for that with his approach play and a short game only rivalled by Jason Day right now. But there are a few players that look capable of having a good week and getting close to the 4 pts that could win this market. If, as predicted, Patrick Reed is paired again with Spieth then he will accumulate a very similar number of points. Given how brilliantly they fared in last years Ryder Cup at Gleneagles (yet another Jack Nicklaus design!) then they won’t fear anyone this week and could quite easily rack up 4/4 pts in the team events should they be given the chance. Reed’s odds of 8/1 factor all this in but he still looks a better value play than Spieth who is coming off the back of his Fed Ex Cup win and history tells us that those $12m bonus winners struggle in the immediate future for form. Although Jordan Spieth has made a career of redefining history so far, I’m still happy to side with his accomplished friend Patrick Reed at double the price. I’m also going to have a small play on both these in the Overall Points Scorer market.


The British Masters

We don’t have a lot of elite European Tour course form at Woburn to go on with only the 2001 and 2002 runnings of this tournament being held at The Marquess Course at Woburn. They were won by Thomas Levet and Justin Rose which gives us an immediate idea that it is a bit of a test tee to green. A further delve into those results back that up as Levet finished 3rd for Driving Accuracy, 1st in GIR and a lowly 71st in putting. While a year later Rose was 7th in Driving Accuracy and 5th in GIR.

A look through pictures of Woburn (above) helps corroborate that as the course winds through the forest with lots of tight tee shots and many greens that appear to only be approachable from the correct areas of the fairway. I have seen several comparisons to Wentworth a little further south and it is yet another solid tee to green test where shorter, accurate types prevail. With this in mind I have looked largely at the recent Driving Accuracy and Greens in Regulation stats and will use those as a guide.

Many golf punters will bemoan the need they have to continue backing certain, highly talented maidens until their first win. Often doing so at prices that aren’t really considered value. I’ve done this with a few players over the last couple of years, some with success (George Coetzee, Bernd Weisberger) and some without (Romain Wattel). Right now Matthew Fitzpatrick keeps pulling me (and plenty others!) back in. It can be even harder to avoid them if you like them as a golfer and Fitzpatrick is a very likeable character so makes it easier to back him. He’s a grounded, laid-back young man who plays at a refreshing speed compared to some of the robotic and monotonous pre-shot routines that are so rife in the game. This tight track looks ideal for him as he ranks 9th in Driving Accuracy and 6th in GIR. It is surely a matter of time before he wins and at 33/1 this week I think he is just about worth one more go.

Peter Hanson hit more greens than anyone in the field last week in Scotland and while they were largely fairly big greens that sets him up very well for a test such as Woburn. He is also familiar with the course as he finished in T11th in 2002 ranking 3rd in Driving Accuracy and 5th in GIR. At the top of his game he is a proven winner and Ryder Cup player so with his long game is in such good shape I’d expect him to contend this week.

If Woburn does play very much like Wentworth then I would expect Luke Donald to feature but his stats last week were very poor so he can easily be overlooked at just 28/1. Shane Lowry is a deserved favourite and his T19th last week will have shaken off the cobwebs for him but I still can’t help but think he is a little short at 16/1.

Another course in the same area that appears to have similarities with Woburn is Sunningdale and if that is the case then Graeme Storm will be in his element. He has qualified for The Open on several occasions at Sunningdale and openly admits to loving the course. Storm hit more greens and more fairways than anyone else two weeks ago in Germany so we know he is playing well. Even though he is hardly a prolific winner he is a fair each way price this week (125/1) at a course that could suit him perfectly.

Summary of bets

The Presidents Cup

Jason Day – Top International Points Scorer – 2pts @ 4.7 on Betfair

Jason Day – Top Overall Points Scorer – 1pt @ 10

Patrick Reed – Top US Points scorer – 2pt @ 10 on Betfair

Patrick Reed – Top Overall Points scorer – 0.5pt @ 19 on Betfair

Correct Score US 16-14 Internationals – 1pt 8/1

Correct Score US 16 1/2 – 13 1/2 Internationals – 0.5pt 10/1

The British Masters

Matthew Fitzpatrick – 1.5pt ew 33/1

Peter Hanson – 1pt ew 66/1

Graeme Storm – 0.5pts ew 125/1

0.5pt ew double – Fitzpatrick and Jason Day Top Overall Points scorer @ 305/1

Outlay – 14pts

Total Outlay – 193