With it being Cheltenham week this will be fairly brief with a limited write up. I haven’t had the time to do as much research as usual so don’t go blowing all your Cheltenham Day 1 profits!
A very good week last week returned 65.38pts for the 3 places and two each way doubles but it still could have been so much better. Although both Scott Hend and Charl Schwartzel were deserving winners it was annoying to have three players bang in contention but ultimately never really look like winning on Sunday. Schwartzel was particularly annoying having backed him on his last 2 US starts but he disappointed at Doral so wasn’t keen to go in again a 3rd time.
Anyway that takes the totals to;
Total pts advised – 476pts
Total pts returned – 610.87
ROI – 28.33%
It also brings 2016 into profit for the first time with a 6% ROI.
This week the Florida Swing winds up at Bay Hill for The Arnold Palmer Invitational and The European Tour stays east for another co-sanctioned event, The Hero Indian Open from Delhi GC.
Arnold Palmer Invitational
Henrik Stenson is my number one pick this week. His record is excellent at Bay Hill and I can’t have the first two favourites at the prices. Mcilroy disappointed last time out at Doral and Scott is going for a three-timer which is so hard to do. Stenson’s course form the last 6 years reads 2-5-8-15-47-52 and the only place to improve from there is to win. He has also ranked 5th-1st-2nd for GIR the last three years here and it is regularly one of the most important stats around Bay Hill which is very forgiving off the tee. His last two starts have seen him finish 11th and 28th so they too are progressive and he ranked 4th for GIR last week so looks to be rounding nicely into form as The Masters approaches. With the recent roll call of winners on Tour all being top class Stenson would also keep that recent trend going with a win and he looks to have the best chance of doing that at an ok price of 14/1
I wanted to back Paul Casey a few weeks ago such were his impressive GIR stats for the broken down approach yardages. But he didn’t play that week and then I forgot all about him at Doral so was kicking myself when he was on the leaderboard at the start of last week. He fell away over the weekend but still finished 7th and ranked an impressive 10th for GIR, 13th in scrambling and 19th in total putting. That sort of combination is dangerous on any course but even more so where driving is not too important. He also still sits 6th in GIR from 150 yards to 175 yards and that is crucial on any course but particularly one like this. He doesn’t have the best record at Bay Hill with only a 14th in 2007 to note but a 7th place at Doral should have him set up nicely for this test.
I want a classy player for my 3rd pick too and I’m prepared to give Marc Leishman one more go. I won’t repeat myself from two weeks ago at Doral but he has a 3rd place here in 2011 and while he hasn’t gone so well here recently I’d expect to see him return to his Riviera form rather than the up and down game that we witnessed at Doral. He found the water 6 times over the week and still finished 28th so there was a lot of good golf on show hidden in between the errors. If he has sharpened up his approaches on his week off then I expect him to go well again. I also feel a bit burnt from Schwartzel winning last week so don’t want to give up too quickly on Leishman!
Hero Indian Open
Even less time has been spent on this Tournament and there is only last year’s tournament to look at for top tier form. So stakes will be small but there are still some angles in. Anirban Lahiri won last year and ranked 2nd for total putting while SSP Chawrasia who chased him home finished 1st. I can only find stats for two of the Asian Tour tournaments here but it is more of the same in terms of the winner. In the Panasonic Open in 2015 Chiragh Kumar ranked 6th in putting when winning and Siddikur Rahman led the field in putting while finishing runner-up. The same tournament in 2014 was won by Chawrasia who again ranked top in putting. You can see the pattern and it is clear that putting is of the utmost importance around this course.
I’m giving Peter Uihlein another go this week as I don’t think he did a lot wrong last week and he is a similar price again in what appears a similar strength field. He ranked 3rd in putting last week and his touch was also excellent around the greens. Better than most of these and can hopefully contend again.
Siddikur Rahman has course form of 2nd-7th-5th and he ranked 1st-4th and 2nd in putting in those events. An extremely short hitter so his missed cut last week can easily be forgiven on a bombers course. He looks a good price at 70/1 given the lack of any real depth here and his superior knowledge of the course.
Chiragh Kumar won The Panasonic Open last year and he finished 19th last week in Thailand. He ranked 1st in putting in Thailand so will relish a return to this course where he won on his last start. Again looks very fair at 100/1.
Anirban Lahiri is a short favourite but is a class above most of these when at his best. He hasn’t been playing great in the US lately but this is a massive drop down in quality. He could easily return to form on a course he knows well so I’m going to stick him in the each way doubles instead of the outsider Kumar
Summary of Bets
Arnold Palmer Invitational
Henrik Stenson – 2pts ew @ 14/1
Paul Casey – 0.5pt ew @ 45/1
Marc Leishman – 0.5pt ew @50/1
Hero Indian Open
Peter Uihlein – 1pt ew @ 22/1
Siddikur Rahman – 0.5pt ew @ 70/1
Chiragh Kumar – 0.5pt ew @ 100/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 4/1
3×3 0.25 ew doubles – (Stenson, Casey, Leishman) + (Lahiri 17/2, Uihlein, Rahman)
Weekly outaly – 15.5 pts
Total outlay – 491.5pts