US PGA Championship – Betting Preview

It was another disappointing week but luckily not as disappointing as it would have been had I backed Brandt Snedeker who was extremely close to being my main tip. He managed to give up his 3rd round lead which allowed Jhonattan Vegas to come through the field for his 2nd PGA Tour title and first since 2011.

McGirt had a miserable week and Finau didn’t fare much better. Reavie on the other hand found himself on the leaderboard a few times but quickly fell away after throwing in several untimely bogeys.

That leaves the running results as follows;

Total points advised – 721.50

Total points returned – 780.79

ROI – 8.22%

This week we are back on major duty for the last of the year, the US PGA Championship.
              

                       US PGA Championship

Baltusrol Golf Club takes its name from the ill-fated farmer who originally owned the land in New Jersey where the course now lies. Mr Baltus Roll was brutally murdered by a couple of thieves who were attempting to steal his fortune in 1831. However it’s not the fortune that the 156 man field are desperately seeking here this week but the chance to etch their name in history by lifting the Wannamaker Trophy as they assemble for “glory’s last shot”.

There is a feeling in the game that the US PGA Championship is the lesser of the four Majors but try telling that to Shaun Micheel, Rich Beem, Y.E Yang or even Jason Day for that matter. While it is the last of the four it is also usually also the easiest of the four and that is probably why there have been so many shock winners over the years. That shouldn’t be the case this week however as there has never been a winner at Baltusrol in double figures under par. That might also explain why the roll of honour is such a classy one with Phil Mickelson, Lee Janzen and Jack Nicklaus the last three men to win majors there. In fact the last time the US PGA Championship was held here 9 of the top 14 were all major winners, further highlighting that the cream usually rises to the top at Baltusrol.

That was back in 2005 however so we don’t have a lot of recent course form to go on but nevertheless that leaderboard can still offer some insight. Together with the features of the course then we should still be able to work out who should go well this week, in theory if nothing else!

The first point of note is that the course is long and that is usually the case with the PGA host course. Baltusrol is a 7400 yard brute of a Par 70 and prior to that Whistling Straits played some 7790 yards, Valhalla – 7458 yards, Kiawah Island – 7873 yards and Atlantic Club – 7613 yards so you can see a general trend. That’s not to say that only long drivers can prevail but it is certainly an advantage at the final major of the season.

Despite there being a course on site since 1895, Baltusrol (Lower) was only opened in 1922 by the legendary A.W. Tillinghast and sits alongside two of his other designs, Winged Foot and Bethpage Black as three of the best examples of classic American golf courses. Baltusrol was the first of the three to open and it really made a name for Tillinghast as he was the first man to start bringing strategy into golf course design. He also allowed for the changing equipment at the time so made multiple tees on every hole so that the course could adapt in the future. One of Tillinghast’s other signatures was his use of the natural landscape which many other designers would bring into their works.

There has been a lot of renovation work done over the years since, firstly by Robert Trent Jones Snr and then more recently by his son Rees Jones. While a lot of their work has been to protect the course from the powerful, modern golf game, they have also been re-establishing a lot of Tillinghast’s original features like the deep, strategically placed bunkers and ramped approaches to the greens.

With the course requiring such strategy it should be no surprise that it has held 7 U.S Opens and I’d expect the winner here this week to plot their way accordingly through the 72 holes. That coupled with the high scoring result in 2005 makes me think that US Open specialists will be better suited to the test this week than those who prefer the normal low scoring PGA Championships.

The course is tree-lined but they are set back somewhat and the fairways aren’t overly narrow. The rough is green but by no means as thick as a U.S. Open so while finding the fairways will be helpful I don’t see driving accuracy being as crucial as it is at a U.S. Open. The whole course is relatively flat so there won’t be any of the random bounces that we saw at Oakmont and Troon during the last two majors.

The poa annua/bent grass mix greens are fairly large averaging 6400 sq. feet but they won’t be the easiest to hit. They are well protected by lots of bunkers and water and several of them have clever slopes that will deflect any errant approaches into the surrounding hazards. There are also several angled greens to make narrower targets from the wrong side of the fairway.

I’m expecting a very fair test this week where the right mix of aggression, strategy and patience will be required. Unlike a US Open there will be plenty of birdies around but equally any bad shots will be punished on this classic layout and I think we will see a winning score towards 7 or 8 under. For me that is normally the sort of score that results in the most exciting tournaments so I think Baltusrol will pick up from where Troon left off and give us an excellent four days of golf.

Again a compelling case could easily be made for the 4 market leaders, such is their ability. But despite the fact that they are all in some sort of form, I don’t really like any of them at the prices and instead I’m looking a little further down the market.

At the start of 2016 I earmarked Phil Mickelson to have a good year in the majors as I thought he would be suited to all four venues. For some reason I forget about that two weeks ago at Troon but it was always Baltusrol that looked to be his best chance, certainly on paper. Mickelson won the US PGA last time it was here in 2005 and while there were a few others in the field that played it 11 years ago, there aren’t many that can be expected to go well this week.

Phil-Mickelson_0

The fact that he won on the course before would have meant little had he not been arriving here fresh from a majestic performance in The Open. That means he has the brilliant combination of course and current form and is the only person in the field to properly have that in his locker this week. Further to that Mickelson is also one of the few players that can compete with the world’s top 4 ranked players should they all bring their best game to Baltusrol. That makes the 5-time major winner look like a decent piece of value long before we even consider anything else.

Mickelson’s 6 runner-up finishes at the US Open is something that everyone talks about and it is a massive shame that he looks more and more unlikely to be the 6th man to achieve a career grand slam. What is lesser known however are the finer details of those US Open finishes.

By my calculations, since 2001 Mickelson has played 9 US majors on poa annua (or a poa/bent mix) greens. Two of those were at Oakmont which for some reason he really doesn’t like so I’m removing those two missed cuts from my figures. His other 7 performances read 4th, 2nd, 18th, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 2nd and that is seriously impressive. But looking further at those 7 tournaments, four of them were played on A.W. Tillinghast courses within 60 miles of each other by New York’s east coast. Those four brought about two runner-up finishes at Bethpage Black (2002 and 2009), a runner-up finish at Winged Foot when he really should have won in 2006 and his win at Baltusrol in 2005.

So it’s fairly clear that “Lefty” is getting his absolutely ideal conditions this week; poa annua putting surface (albeit mixed with bentgrass) on a Tillinghast design in the New York area.

For those that are looking for some stats to help back up the veteran Californian’s case, there are plenty of those too. He sits in 4th for strokes gained: putting right now and that is his highest position for several years. He also ranked 4th in total putting at Troon on the poa/bent/fescue mix. He ranks 5th for scrambling for the season and his long game is in good shape too coming off a ranking of 4th for GIR at the Open. When he won this in 2005 he made the 2nd most birdies in the week with 16 so despite the high scoring, birdies will need to be made and he ranks 8th for birdie average this season on Tour.

Mickelson is a long driver of the ball so he won’t be fazed by the length of the course and he ranked 8th for GIR in 2005 so we know the approach shots fit his eye too. Phil Mickelson at the very top his game with conditions to suit is a very daunting prospect and he looks a solid alternative to the front 4 in the betting.

Sergio Garcia was another that played in 2005 and he didn’t do too much wrong, recording rounds of 72-70-71-70 on his way to a 23rd place finish. Garcia also arrives in red hot form but it is the overall profile that interests me most for the Spaniard this week.

Firstly, if anything is ever going to inspire him to win a major it will surely be both Dustin Johnson and Henrik Stenson losing their maiden tags in the last month. Garcia has been touted as the best player without a major for longer than anyone cares to remember but that short list becoming ever shorter will have been at the forefront of his mind over the last 9 days. He is still a relatively young man but this looks a perfect chance for him with the last 4 major winners all having been first time winners.

Moreover though, Garcia also fits the usual profile of recent US PGA winners. One of the main stats lately has been that the winner has had a Top 20 at WGC Bridgestone the week prior but due to the rescheduling I don’t think that is as relevant this year and several of the top players actually missed Firestone this year, Garcia included. But it is the rest of 2016’s big tournaments that look to have him primed for a tilt at the PGA.

Garcia finished 34th at the Masters, 5th at the US Open and 5th again at the Open and a strong performance in the season’s majors has become increasingly relevant at the year’s last major. The last 3 PGA winners have totalled 41, 32 and 50 when adding together their 3 finishes in that year’s majors, Garcia’s total of 44 sits right in the middle.

He also has the all-important 2016 win that is usually required as only Dufner of the last 14 PGA winners had failed to win that season. His win was at the Byron Nelson Championship and that is of added interest as 3 of the last 4 US PGA winners have also won the Byron Nelson.

I’m not going to go in to any great details about Garcia’s game as everyone reading knows how well suited to major golf he is. He has amassed 22 major top 10s already and 12 of those would have paid out for a top 5 finish so it truly is just a win that is missing. It’s just really about whether he can have a decent week with the flat stick and Henrik Stenson showed us in Scotland just what is capable when one of the game’s best ball-strikers has a good week on the greens.

Unfortunately he ranks just 114th in strokes gained: putting for the season but I’m confident that the poa annua could be an equaliser of some sorts. He ranked 15th for putting at the Open and 34th on the poa annua greens at Oakmont in the US Open so he has been putting ok over the last month. Of Garcia’s 9 wins on the PGA Tour, 3 of those have been on poa annua greens so while many in the field won’t enjoy the surface, Garcia won’t be worried. Despite the putter being cold throughout the season he still ranks 8th in birdie average and 4th in the all-round ranking for 2016. Baltusrol should suit him perfectly where his solid ball-striking will be rewarded and other’s mistakes will be punished.

I guess it is always a risk backing Sergio to win a major but is a long time since I did so and I think he looks worth another go again here. This week he has a couple of extra things in his favour that might just help him over the line so he looks a very solid each way bet at 28/1

I looked fairly in depth at the 2005 leaderboard in an attempt to try and find some of the main attributes that helped them to play well at Baltusrol. I used ten in total and ran around 40 of the market principals through a model. The stats that I chose were birdie average, bogey avoidance, driving distance, scrambling, approach proximity from rough under 100 yards, GIR under 100 yards from rough, 3 putt avoidance, putting from 15” to 25”, all-round ranking and par 4 scoring.

Despite the top 10 being made up of some of the best players in the world, there were a couple of surprises. Ranking in 8th place alongside Day, Spieth, Mcilroy, Fowler, Garcia, Mickelson and DJ was Daniel Berger. The same Daniel Berger that won just two starts ago at the St Jude Classic before injuring his shoulder after a 37th place at the US Open. That injury resulted in his high profile withdrawal at Firestone before having to sit out The Open. But he seems to be back fit according to his twitter posts and if that is the case he looks extremely over priced at 125/1 on a course that looks like it will suit him perfectly.

Berger is currently 16th in birdie average, 29th in 3-putt avoidance and 17th in Par 4 scoring and arriving with a win he fits a similar profile to Keegan Bradley when he won this in 2011. Looks a nice each way price but I’m also including him for a Top 20 finish.

Charl Schwartzel was on my shortlist for this even before he ranked 10th in my stats model. The 2011 Masters winner has been threatening another major win for the last couple of years and he has a lot of sneaky high finishes. He has gathered five Top 25s from his seven US Opens and three Top 25s from his six US PGA’s and having finally won his 2nd PGA Tour title earlier in 2016 I think his game and mentality are in perfect order to enjoy the test that Baltusrol presents.

He finished 23rd at the US Open and 18th at the Open as well as 7th at Firestone in between those starts. Both his long game and putting are ticking over nicely and I expect him to contend this week. One of his favourite US courses is Riviera as he says that it plays a lot like the courses he grew up on in South Africa. That will be down to both the kikuyu grass fairways and the poa annua greens. While there is no kikuyu this week we can expect him to enjoy the poa annua present in the greens.

I seem to have a very bad habit of backing Brandt Snedeker in majors but this 8 time winner on Tour always seems to be a very fair price. While he can contend on almost any course when playing well he has a habit of popping up at the same venues again and again. That was evident only just this weekend past when he finished 5th in Canada after leading through 54 holes on the Glen Abbey layout where he won in 2013.

Most of his 8 wins have arrived after a strong run of form so given that he led the field in putting at Troon the week prior to his 5th place finish I think he looks likely to have another good week. Snedeker is perhaps Mickelson’s only peer when it comes to putting on poa annua with 5 of his 8 wins being on the trickier surface. He also has three US Open Top 10s on poa or poa mixed greens and I’m including him again here. If the course dries out a little and plays a bit tougher I think it will play into Snedeker’s hands.

Matt Kuchar let us down at the US Open but his form remains as strong as anyone’s with yet another Top 10 last week. In his pomp he was a Top 10 machine and I think Baltusrol will suit him nicely this week so there is no reason he can’t rack up another Top 10 at 9/2.

Andy Sullivan has developed a knack of playing well on the same courses as Rory McIlroy over the last two years. He has chased him home in a few European Tour events, namely their own DP Tour Championship where he gave him a real fight right to the 72nd hole. We know McIlroy loves US PGA set ups and Baltusrol should suit both him and Sullivan as long as it doesn’t dry out too much. There has been a recent pattern of a less heralded British golfer doing well at majors over the last couple of years and I think it could be Sullivan’s turn this week. He has gradually found his feet in major company this year with a 23rd at the US Open followed by a 12th place finish at Troon two weeks ago. He should go well and looks a very fair price for a Top 20 finish at 5/1. To me this looks like just about the standout US PGA bet.

Bubba Watson has often started very strongly in US majors and he looks massively over priced to do so here. Bubba hasn’t had the best of times in the majors this season but he has made all three cuts and returned to form with a 14th at Firestone. Baltusrol isn’t tricked up in anyway so I don’t see anything to unsettle him here this week. He could leave the field behind here if he putts well on the poa and with 3 of his 9 wins coming on the surface 50/1 looks a huge price.

Emiliano Grillo  can be a bit of a streaky putter and already in his young career he has some low rounds to his name. When he won his 1st PGA Tournament in October he had a 3rd round 65 and just two weeks prior to that he threw in a 64 on his way to winning the Web.com Tour Championship.

The young Argentine’s brilliant tee-to-green game is also helping him to some good major finishes with a Top 20 at both the Masters and the Open.

The key here again could be the poa annua greens as that was the putting surface for his win at the Fry’s Open. I expect one low round from him this week and with an early tee time I’m hoping it can be the 1st round. I’m also going to back him for a Top 10 finish as 10/1 looks more than fair.

 Summary of Bets

Phil Mickeslson 2pts ew @ 22/1

Sergio Garcia 2pts ew @ 28/1

Daniel Berger – 0.5pt ew @ 125/1 and 2pts Top 20 @ 9/2

Charl Schwartzel – 0.5pt ew @ 66/1

Brandt Snedeker – 0.5pt ew @ 50/1

Matt Kuchar – 2pt Top 10 @ 9/2

Andy Sullivan – 2pt Top 20 @ 5/1

Bubba Watson – 0.5pt ew 1st round leader  @ 50/1

Emiliano Grillo – 0.5pt ew 1st round leader @ 100/1 & 1pt Top 10 @ 10/1


Weekly pts advised – 20pts

RBC Canadian Open – Betting Preview

We witnessed something quite special last week in Scotland as Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson delivered one of the best final day battles in major golf that we have seen for some time. In all honesty I’m not sure just where it lies in history though as Troon was undoubtedly playing pretty easy before it gave up two 63s during the week. That’s not to take anything away from Stenson or Mickelson however and the very fact that they finished 11 and 14 strokes ahead of 3rd tells us just how brilliant they were. I’m convinced though that the fact they only played somewhere between 18-27 holes in anything like tough conditions gave them a massive advantage and while it was playing soft it was still by no means going to be an easy course to chase two World-Class players down and a lot of the field knew that only too well.

It was a poor week for the blog with all 23 pts going and it is something that I am only too aware of. The major weeks have been poor with the exception of last year’s US PGA so I’m definitely going to review how I have approached the opening 3 majors this year prior to next week’s preview.

The results are as follows;

Total points advised – 715.50pts

Total points returned – 780.79

ROI – 9.15%

Meanwhile it’s back to the humdrum of a normal Tour week as we head to Oakville, Ontario for the Canadian Open. It’s just a one week hiatus from major golf however as we have the US PGA Championship to look forward to next week.

The course is Glen Abbey Golf Club and it has been the off and on host over the last 15 years but was the regular stop throughout the 80’s and 90’s so there is a decent amount of form to look at. I’m going to pay closest attention to the four most recent editions, 2008 won by Chez Reavie, 2009 won by Nathan Green, 2013 won by Brandt Snedeker and finally last year’s which was won by Jason Day who returns this week to defend.

glen abbey

It plays as a 7273 yard par 72 course and with some fairly short Par 5s it plays rather easy. The last 4 winning scores have been -17, -16, -18 and -17 so birdies and eagles are very much the order of the week. The course is a lush green parkland one with water in play and lots of elevation changes. The rough while being green and lush isn’t as deep as it used to be as those in charge decided that 6” rough was removing some of the excitement so it is kept at a more playable 3” and that may help explain the two men on top of the leaderboard last year, Jason Day and Bubba Watson. They both repeatedly got their driver out as far as possible knowing that they would be able to find the green from the shorter rough.

That’s not the only recent changes however as all the poa annua greens have been replaced with bentgrass since last year’s competition. It has been a gradual changeover however as last year half the greens had already been changed. While the two surfaces are quite different, last year a lot of care went into ensuring that they played to the same speed at least and there didn’t appear to be any complaints.

From looking at the stats of the last four tournaments at Glen Abbey there aren’t any real standouts other than total putting. I guess that is to be expected when scoring is low but they really did all putt brilliantly with their rankings for the week reading 2nd, 1st, 5th and 9th. Other than putting there was a mix of attributes with Day not ranking too highly in GIR but Bubba the runner-up ranking 2nd. It was more of the same for the other three runnings so I delved a little deeper and discovered that the one thing they all seemed to do well was get the ball close to the pin from the rough at both the 50-75 yards and 175-200 ranges. On first thought that seemed a little random when we have 4 fairly different winners but perhaps it is maybe not that strange. Bombers will be left with the 50-75 yard range a lot when letting rip on the Par 4s and the shorter hitters will be left with the same sort of distance for their 3rd shot on the Par 5s. The players will also be in the rough a lot knowing that it isn’t too penal so it figures that those who have better proximity figures out of the rough should go well.

Glen Abbey also has a couple of strong course correlations that come to mind for me; Riviera, home of the Northern Trust Open and Torrey Pines, home of the Farmers Insurance Open. Quite how much that has been down to the poa annua greens in the past I’m not sure but they also appear similar visually. Riviera also has some huge changes in elevation and some blind shots making distance control extremely important. Torrey Pines has lots of water in play and also features a rolling landscape. The most pertinent link comes from the list of winners and the last two at Glen Abbey were also the last two winners at Torrey Pines. Besides his win, Nathan Green only has one runner-up finish and that was at Torrey Pines in 2006. Chez Reavie very nearly won at Riviera this season before giving way to some world-class players on the Sunday.

With the greens no longer poa annua it is hard to say how much these course links will stand up in the future but I’d certainly view it as a positive if they have done well at Riviera or Torrey Pines. Moreover having played Glen Abbey before also looks vital as only Reavie out of the last 8 winners hadn’t played the course before.

Being sandwiched between two majors it probably isn’t the week to go getting too involved in, especially not at short prices. So while Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are some way ahead of this field, I expect them to be far more focussed on the US PGA Championship next week so I’m happy to let them go un-backed.

The next three in the market are a little harder to dismiss at their prices but it is too tempting to take some of the fancier prices down the field, despite Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar and Jim Furyk being a step above the rest of the field. With 32 PGA Tour wins between them I expect them to be going all out for the win here but having played all four rounds in at Troon I think there might be others better prepared.

William McGirt finally got his first win in May at the Memorial around Muirfield Village. That of course is another Jack Nicklaus design and there are many players over the years that have won on both. McGirt has some solid Glen Abbey form too with a 2nd and a 34th and he arrives in good form despite missing the cut on his Open debut last week. The change from poa annua grass to bentgrass might just be the push over the line here that McGirt needs to follow-up with another win. He is a good putter and currently ranks 26th in Strokes Gained:Putting but a lot of his best work comes on the slicker bentgrass surface (Muirfield) and despite playing well at Glen Abbey he never fared too well on the greens.

The rest of his game reads well statistically too as he ranks 15th in total driving over the last 3 months and sits 32nd in scrambling, 53rd in approaches from 175-200 in the rough and 51st in approaches from 50-75 yards in the rough.

Prior to his win he had three runner-up finishes on Tour and two of them were not only in Canada but in Ontario. He was 2nd to Snedeker here in 2013 and also 2nd to Scott Piercy 30 minutes down the road at Hamilton Country Club.

Having only played two rounds in Scotland he will be better prepared for this week than the 5 market principals and he has already qualified for next week’s PGA Championship so he will be playing with out any pressure. He hasn’t really done that in a normal PGA Tour field since his win in early June as his next three starts were the US Open, WGC Bridgestone and The Open. Stepping down a grade and as a recent winner I think McGirt looks to be about the best piece of value in the field this week.

Tony Finau putted very well on the slower greens at Troon last week on his way to an 18th place finish and he is already making a name for himself with some good major performances early in his career. That was his 3rd Top 20 in from just 4 majors and he looks to have a very bright future. Finau won earlier in the season in Puerto Rico so he is another player that willo be looking to follow-up quickly with a 2nd win and firmly establish himself on Tour.

Glen Abbey looks a good fit for him as we know that bombers can fare well. He also finished 22nd here last year and has played well twice at Torrey Pines (18th and 24th). The Hawaiian powerhouse also ranked 18th in total driving last week and he currently sits in 6th place in approaches from 200-225 yards in the rough, which will no doubt help him on the Par 5s at Glen Abbey.

While there is plenty of fancy prices down the field I think this looks like a week where the 2nd tier of proven winners in the market could go well. Finau seems to fit a decent profile for the week and will be riding high with confidence after being on the leaderboard for 3 rounds at Troon.

It was the Glen Abbey/Riviera link that led me to Chez Reavie for the Northern Trust Open in February and despite him finishing in 7th I think I need to give him another go at the site of his only PGA Tour win. Reavie is an extremely accurate driver with a great short game but his iron play isn’t always the best. He is however better than most out of the rough and this year he ranks 23rd in proximity to the hole from the rough . He also sits in his usual high spot in the scrambling department ranking 7th. If he take advantage of the Par 5s this week then he can give us a good run at a decent enough price.

Michael Thompson came back to form impressively last week at the Barbasol and he is a player that did me a huge favour 4 years ago at the US Open when landing 1st round leader at a fancy price. He often starts quickly and he looks a very decent price to carry that on here this week. Thompson didn’t even putt very well last week so if he any small improvement with the short stick could see him contend early on as he will arrive in confident mood after ranking 1st in total driving and 3rd in GIR.

Summary of bets

William McGirt – 1pt ew @ 50/1

Tony Finau – 1pt ew @ 40/1

Chez Reavie – 0.5pt ew @ 125/1

Michael Thompson – 0.5pt ew @ 150/1  1st round leader

 

Weekly pts – 6pts

Total pts – 715.50

 

@theGreek82

 

The Open Championship – Betting Preview

It was a good week last week but it was still hard not to be a little gutted with another 2nd place, even if it was accompanied by a 3rd place too. Tyrrell Hatton was one of a whole host of players who played their final round like a seasoned winner and he can be very proud of the fight that he put up against Alexander Noren. If he continues in that vein then it is just a matter of time before he gets his first win.

It was also good to see Nicolas Colsaerts keep his form going as expected with a couple of 66s on the weekend. He is another that will be looking to get back to winning ways this year but he might have to wait a couple of weeks as I don’t see this week quite suiting him.

Hatton on the other hand could go well after ranking 2nd in the all-round ranking and should certainly be given some consideration.

Their combined return of 31 pts helps to finish the 1st year with a profitable week and it leaves the totals as follows.

Total pts advised in first year – 692.50

Total pts returned – 780.79

ROI for one year – 12.75%

 


 

The Open

In April most golf fans will tell you their sporting highlight of the year is The Masters but as soon as we reach July that narrative changes somewhat and The Open becomes the focal point of the golfing year. They are tough to separate and while both are completely brilliant in their own way, they are two very different tournaments and there is nothing quite like an Open Championship.

Having finally attended my first Open three years ago at Muirfield I can now appreciate the buzz of the early morning tee offs and 15 hours of solid golf (weather permitting of course). I had heard people talk about it before but it was truly amazing spending time on the 1st tee and listening to the dulcet tones of Ivor Robson announce world-class golfer after world-class golfer. Sadly Mr Robson is retired now but everything else is as we were and Royal Troon is the lucky host this year of what is one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Sporting calendar.

It is twelve years since the course last hosted although Troon has held seven previous Opens after being a bit of a latecomer to the rotation in 1923. To my mind it is a quintessential links course and while St Andrews carries with it all the history and glamour, Royal Troon is far more of a links course’s links course and features the classic 9 holes out and 9 holes back. Despite its classic appearance however there is very much a feeling within the game that Troon is one of the more boring courses on the rotation with too many holes that lack any character. While that may well be true everyone in the field still plays the same 18 holes and I don’t believe that will detract too much from the excitement this week.

Visually to me the course resembles both Royal Birkdale and Gullane and that is very welcome as last year’s Open never really took the form of a proper Open due to both the perfect conditions for the last two rounds and it being held at St Andrews. Louis Oosthuizen is a prime example of the different test presented by St Andrews. He has finished 1st and 2nd around The Old Course but elsewhere he can only boast a 19th, 36th, 54th and three missed cuts. It looks all about links golf exponents in Ayrshire this week.

Despite apparent one-hit wonder Todd Hamilton winning in 2004, Troon is normally won by one of the game’s elite; Justin Leonard in 1997, Marc Calcavecchia in 1989, Tom Watson in 1982, Tom Weiskopf in 1973 and Bobby Locke in 1950. Not only that but you have to go back to Locke’s 1950 win to find a winner that didn’t hail from the USA.

Troon

The fairways at Troon meander up and down and around and if you see a flat lie anywhere this week then pause your TV and take a photo. There are hillocks and undulations as many of the holes are framed by dunes, fescue and gorse. There are deep bunkers galore as you would expect both on the fairways and protecting the greens, many of which are elevated. When they get to the greens however they will be met with some of the best surfaces in the whole of the UK. They are a blend of poa annua, bent grass and fescue and as long as the wind doesn’t blow too hard there should be absolutely no complaints about them whatsoever. (the USGA should take note!)

The forecast currently suggests that the wind will be steady all week (10-15mph) but as someone who lives at the Scottish coast I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we see something a bit stronger. Just last week at Castle Stuart we saw the mild forecast winds turn in to 40mph winds. With quite horrid rough I expect driving accuracy to be important this week as you certainly don’t have double fairways to hit like St Andrews. The course isn’t the longest at 7175 yards but as ever the further you can get off the tee the closer you are to the green. So total driving was on my mind even before I took a look at the stats from Hamilton’s win in 2004.

The 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th , 9th,10th, 13th and 16th ranked players in total driving for the week all finished inside the Top 10 and it is rare to see such a strong attribute for any tournament never mind a host course for a major.

The next most pertinent attribute looks to be scrambling as the 1st and 2nd ranked scramblers finished 3rd and 7th respectively. Who can forget Hamilton’s bump and run with his 3 wood to set up his 2ft putt to win the Claret Jug? Imagination around the greens is very important in links golf but especially so at Royal Troon.

With the greens being immaculate the better putters would normally be expected to thrive on them but they obviously need to get there first. The greens are average in size and well protected but relatively flat. That might take away some of the advantage that the likes of Spieth and Day have at reading the breaks on undulating greens, however lag putting will be crucial to avoid 3-putts.

I expect hitting greens and indeed proximity to the hole to be very important this week, particularly from the tougher 175-200 yard range and if we look at 2004 season’s final rankings then that is backed up. Hamilton finished the season ranked 18th in GIR from 175-200 yards and 12th in approaches from 175-200 in the rough. Many others from the leaderboard also finished the season in lofty positions in this area and while there are a number of short holes at Troon it will certainly test their longer irons too, even more so if the wind does get up.

Other stats in which Hamilton ranked highly that season were 3-putt avoidance, putting inside 10ft and approach putt performance and that just confirms the need to keep the three-putts to a minimum. While Justin Leonard’s win in 1997 came before such an array of stats were available he did rank 2nd in scrambling and 3rd in putts per round during that season and he was regularly one of the better drivers on Tour.

I think on the whole this gives us a decent idea of the attributes that will help win this week. A decent links pedigree, proven in high-class fields, long and accurate driving, good GIR numbers from distance, strong scrambling ability and solid lag-putting.

With Dustin Johnson having won his last two tournaments, the US Open and WGC Bridgestone, he has firmly pushed himself into the World’s top 4 players and the market here can barely separate them with Day, Spieth, McIlroy and Johhson all trading at around the 10.0-12.0 mark. Their chances must be respected but I don’t really like any of them at the prices this week on a course like Troon. Day has been very wild off the tee lately and will probably find himself in trouble too many times to finish on top this week. Spieth’s game just hasn’t been at its best in 2016 and while he was one putt away from the play-off at St Andrews last year I think he would need to be playing better to win here and doesn’t make much appeal to me at the prices. McIlroy also hasn’t been playing his best stuff and has struggled for consistency across four rounds since returning from injury last year. With his well-known aversion to poor weather I can’t consider him at single figures when it looks like we could be in for proper links golf conditions.

Rickie-Fowler-Cover

But I don’t have to look much further down the market for my idea of the best bet in Ayrshire. I have backed Rickie Fowler in most Open Championships since 2010 when he finished in 14th place at St Andrews after an opening 79. He played the last three rounds better than anyone and firmly announced himself as an Open specialist (5 shots better than the 3rd lowest!). I probably won’t stop until he wins one as he is surely an Open Championship winner in waiting and possibly the next Tom Watson if he can win one soon.

Fowler is a self-confessed lover of links golf and that is clear every year with the number of different shots he plays. He has every type of links shot in his locker and at the age of 27 that is quite impressive. He can shape the ball both ways in the wind and has the imagination to flight the ball down and use the lie of the land to his advantage. That is something that took the likes of Phil Mickelson years to appreciate and then a few more to master before winning his Claret Jug in 2013.

But it isn’t just links potential with Fowler any more as he won the Scottish Open at Gullane’s hybrid Championship course last July. That is a classic links course and as I have already alluded to, it more than resembles Troon with its narrow fairways sculpted into the land. Fowler won that with an exquisite week on and around the greens ranking 5th for scrambling and 3rd in total putting. He didn’t drive the ball well but Fowler handled playing out of the rough perfectly. He was able to get the ball out and get it running on the firm fairways and that is yet another important aspect of links golf as there will be some nasty lies in the rough where hitting a towering 7 iron just isn’t possible. He can also play the bump and run around the green that is so important in links golf. Anyone that was watching the Scottish Open at the weekend will have noticed the number of times that the players were forced to utilise that shot given the undulating nature of the ground around the greens.

At the start of this season it was actually his long game that was standing out and through the first few months of the year he was right at the top of total driving and GIR but struggling to get the putter going. He still ranks 26th for total driving and an impressive 4th in GIR. Throw in the fact he is sitting 13th in scrambling from the rough, 21st in 3-putt avoidance and 4th in GIR from 175-200 we can see how well his game should suit from a statistical point of view too. I have touched on the important attributes this week but moreover at Troon every aspect of the game is tested so it also worth having a look at the all-round ranking. Fowler at the top of his game has very few weaknesses and that is perhaps another reason that he goes so well on links courses.

If we look exclusively at his Open record then it is very solid for one so young. The 14th place finish at St Andrews was his debut and he followed that with a T5th in 2011 (Royal St. Georges), a T31st in 2012 (Lytham), a missed cut in 2013 (sun-baked Muirfield), a T2nd in 2014 (Hoylake) and then a T30th last year when crucially on the wrong side of the draw at St. Andrews.

His form in 2016 has been quite up and down so far but he did win in January in Abu Dhabi and he still has some high finishes with a proper return to form two weeks ago at the WGC Bridgestone where he finished in a tie for 10th. His 2016 results read 5-1-MC-2-6-8-38-10-MC-20-4-MC-MC-MC-44-10 and that is a lot of golf with trips to Hawaii and Abu Dhabi in there so it is fair to think that he was maybe just running on empty by the time he missed his three consecutive cuts. The lack of weekend golf will have helped him re-energise however and he also arrives after a week off. I’m expecting to see the Rickie Fowler of 2015 and early 2016 rather than the one that we witnessed during May and June. If that proves to be the case then he will take the world of stopping and at 33/1 he looks a solid alternative to the front 4 in the betting.

 

Graeme McDowell has always been a very good links player and as soon as I saw him on the leaderboard at Castle Stuart I knew I would be backing him for Troon if his price held. His accuracy off the tee will help this week and he ranked 3rd in the all-round ranking at the Scottish Open. He isn’t the longest of drivers but he makes up for that with a very accurate long iron and hybrid game when playing at his best. The 80/1 for such a classy major winner is frankly a bit strange. Not only did he finish in the Top 10 last week but he won earlier in the season in the US and he also finished T18th at the US Open so his game is pretty close to its best.

He currently ranks 8th for driving accuracy so will be finding more fairways than the majority of the field and should he miss the green he is an excellent scrambler on links layouts, ranking 4th in that department last week.

He already has a win in Scotland to his name further north at Loch Lomond and he has a solid Open record with the pick being a T5th at Royal Lytham in 2012. He also has a win at Celtic Manor where the weather is usually miserable and two wins on Le Golf National layout in Paris which plays very much as a links track. If the wind blows and Troon doesn’t play too easy then GMac should make a mockery of his price this week.

 

One of the interesting course links that I found when researching Troon was through the Honda Classic. The last two winners at Troon, Justin Leonard and Todd Hamilton both won the Honda Classic around Country Club Mirasol in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Now I guess that might not be that interesting unless you take into account the fact that it was Hamilton’s only other win on Tour.

This told me that there must be some sort of link so I looked a little deeper. The other two winners at CCM were Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald which gives an impression of both short game prowess but also some sort of correlation with links conditions.

Looking at pictures of the course doesn’t make anything immediately obvious however the fairways are undulating, it is exposed, there are plenty of bunkers and the green complexes don’t look too dissimilar. It may be a rather tenuous link but the Honda Classic in general has always thrown up good Open players and it is interesting that Harrington went on to win his 2nd Honda Classic at the new host course which is located in the same area as Mirasol at Palm Beach Gardens. Marc Calcavecchia and Tom Weiskopf have also won the Honda as well as a Troon Open so while I can’t fully explain it I’m going to take the hint and back Luke Donald accordingly.

I backed him last week at 50/1 and he had an ok week finishing in 45th place as he struggled to get anything going but it will have been good preparation all the same . For someone who doesn’t have the best of major records his Open results are actually a little bit better than you might think. Since 2009 he has 4 Top 12 finishes and Donald is probably another that has taken some time to get used to the unique challenges of an Open Championship. Two of those were T5th finishes and they both occurred on proper links layouts, Turnberry and Royal Lytham.

He currently ranks 6th for scrambling and if his short game is anywhere near its best then Troon should play to Donald’s strengths. If the wind gets too severe then he might struggle but he has always coped well in light winds having won at Castle Stuart and Wentworth.

He also has the advantage of having played Troon competitively 12 years ago even if he did miss the cut when a far less accomplished player. Over the last few years we have seen a few older winners that have perhaps arrived not expecting too much. Playing without that pressure can surely only be an advantage and when Donald was at his peak it appeared to often be the expectations that ruined his chances with a poor opening round. I’m expecting him to have a good week and his price has more than a touch of value at 150/1.

 

Given the nature of Hamilton’s win and a couple of other left field American winners this century, I was keen to get an outsider from the US onside. The Honda Classic link has thrown up Russell Henley who won it in 2014 and given that we know his two main strengths are long, accurate driving and putting it seems fair to part with some cash at a massive 250/1. He also had his best Open finish in three attempts last year finishing T20th.

He hasn’t been at his best in 2016 missing a lot of cuts but yet he still ranks 4th in total driving, 36th in scrambling and 12th in 3-putt avoidance. He also pulled out a 7th place finish from nowhere at the Fed Ex St Jude Classic a few weeks ago so it hasn’t been all bad for him. His stats combined with the Honda link and a tasty price make him look like the sort of dark horse who could come alive on a course like Troon that clearly suits players from the USA.

With the short prices of the front 4 and most bookies paying 6 places there is a lot of value around so I have added a couple of late picks just on price alone.

 

Patrick Reed and Kevin Kisner are no strangers to this blog and I rate them both very highly. Reed is one of the best scramblers in the world game but it has been his putter that has stopped him from pushing on in 2016. He arrives fresh from two closing 67s in Scotland last week and if he can keep that going then he should go well. His price probably reflects how poorly he has done in the bigger tournaments this year but I think he has a chance on any course where scrambling is vital. It could be that his driving gets him into trouble this week but 66/1 for a proven winner who excels in the wind looks too good to pass up.

Kevin Kisner could just have the perfect profile for the week and I must admit he wasn’t really on my radar for this until I saw his price. He is a general 200/1 and that seems far too high and surely must be backed. His form has dropped off a little in 2016 after closing 2015 brilliantly with his 1st win. His stats still look very solid for this week’s test though as he ranks 32nd for total driving, 20th in 3-putt avoidance and 10th in putting inside 10ft. It isn’t even like he is in terrible form right now with a 16th place finish at Firestone last time out. That is another tough driving course and with his long game clearly in good nick I’d expect a strong showing in Scotland from Kisner.

Lee Westwood has a brilliant record at Troon having finished T10th in 1997 and then T4th in 2004. We know he is in excellent form having been in contention at both 2016’s majors so  far. Unfortunately he played poorly again when properly in the heat of battle and so it is hard to recommend a win bet this week despite the fact he is sure to play well. Instead I will back him for his 19th major Top 10 at his 74th attempt. A stat which makes the 5/1 available look great value even without considering his brilliant course form.

monty

There is just no way I can get away from having some sort of bet on Colin Montgomerie this week at his home course as he returns to The Open after 6 years away. It is just a question of how to back him. With his recent success in Senior majors he will be confident of a good showing here and I’m going to have a small play on the 1st round leader and the Top 20 markets. Betfred are offering a huge standout price of 14/1 for the Top 20 and that looks like perhaps the best piece of value around this week.

Dustin Johnson came good with a place in the 1st round leader market at the US Open and backing him to be leading on the Thursday would have yielded some serious profits over the last 18 months. I don’t see any reason to stop despite how obvious a bet it is.

I’m also going to play Callum Shinkwin in the 1st round leader market. He will be arriving full of confidence having qualified for this with a 9th place finish at the Open De France before firing a closing 65 in Scotland last week on his way to another Top 10. Countless times we have seen young, relative unknowns surge up the leaderboard at the Open on a Thursday. Shinkwin currently ranks 2nd in total driving and 18th in GIR over the last three months and finished 7th in the all-round ranking last week so I think he could easily take to Troon. It’s a tall ask for him to even contend but if he carries on from that final round at Castle Stuart then he could outplay his odds of 150/1

 


Summary of Bets

Rickie Fowler – 3pts ew @ 33/1

Patrick Reed – 1pt ew @ 66/1

Graeme Mcdowell – 1pt ew @ 90/1

Kevin Kisner – 0.5pt ew @ 200/1

Luke Donald – 0.5pt ew @ 150/1 and 2pts Top 20 @ 5/1

Russel Henley – 0.5pt ew @250/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 9/1

Lee Westwood – 2pts Top 10 @ 5/1

Colin Montgomerie – 1pt Top 20 @ 14/1 with Betfred and 0.5pts ew 1st round leader @ 150/1

Dustin Johnson – 1pt ew 1st round leader @ 16/1

Calum Shinkwin – 0.5pt ew 1st round leader @ 150/1

Outright winner bets are 6 places this week.

Weekly outlay 23pts

@theGreek82

The Scottish Open – Betting Preview

Last week we came extremely close to a winner with Scott Piercy and it was a bit agonising to see Dustin Johnson saunter through the field to pip him by 1 shot. But as expected Piercy massively outplayed his odds and he managed to make it a profitable week with 21 pts returned. Hopefully that is a sign of things to come as we enter the start of the summer golf season and it leaves the results as follows.

Total points advised – 682.50pts

Total points returned – 749.79pts

ROI – 9.86%

This means that with just one week to go until the 1st anniversary of the blog, it is guaranteed to finish in profit. It has been a little tougher in 2016 with the winners drying up but there have been enough places and I would certainly have taken a +ve ROI when I started out last July. Thanks to everyone that has read this over the year, it is certainly most appreciated.


The Scottish Open

This week we just have the one tournament with the Greenbrier Classic literally being a washout in West Virginia, but it’s a cracker as the European Tour takes us to the Scottish Open. Not only is it a tournament used to help prepare players for The Open Championship the following week, but it could help from a punting point of view given the conditions in Scotland will be quite similar. Five of the last six Open winners have played the Scottish Open the week before so it is definitely worth keeping an eye on proceedings in Inverness.

After a couple of years away visiting Aberdeen and East Lothian, The Scottish Open returns to the Inverness area and to Castle Stuart which hosted from 2011 to 2013. While the course is definitely a links course and exposed to the Moray Firth coastal conditions, it doesn’t represent the stiff test that Royal Troon will next week and it is usually a bit of a birdie fest.

The three winning scores were -17 (Phil Mickelson 2013), -17 (Jeev-Milkha Singh 2012) and -19 (Luke Donald in just 3 rounds due to torrential rain) so unless the weather takes a turn for the worse then I would expect more of the same this year.

Castle Stuart stands as a 7193 yard Par 72 and that average length combined with some of the widest fairways you will see on a Scottish Championship standard links course, means the layout is there for the taking for some of the bigger hitters. It makes hitting greens easier for them with the shorter clubs in hand especially given the number of elevated greens at the course. There is still the chance to play knock down shots into some of the greens but ultimately getting the ball out there off the tee appears to be an advantage around Castle Stuart.

Castle-Stuart-Golf-Scottish-Open-2012-40

With some reasonably steady winds forecast then distance control will be paramount but inevitably greens will be missed and scrambling will be important as it always seems to be on any links course. With tighter lies around the greens than on parkland courses, a lot more imagination is required to get up and down on links courses and those can play the lower bump and runs from 40 yards and in will fare well.

If we look at the three previous renewals then we see these two attributes are backed up somewhat. Mickelson ranked 7th in driving distance, Singh was 13th but Donald only ranked 67th. In terms of scrambling then Mickelson ranked 3rd and Singh 2nd but again Donald was the slight anomaly only ranking 33rd. But given we know what a great scrambler Donald is then we can perhaps ignore that as he ranked 2nd for GIR so he would have had far fewer opportunities to get up and down.

It does also suggest that there is more than one way to win at Castle Stuart but I’d certainly want anyone I was backing to be prominent in at least two out of the three key attributes (driving distance, scrambling and GIR)

So where do we start with our search for an in-form links exponent that is reasonably priced?

Well given the high-profile of this tournament there is no shortage of talent on show and a case can be made for nearly half the field as there are plenty that have shown form in Scotland, be it here or the Alfred Dunhill, Johnnie Walker or The Open itself. I’d certainly think twice about backing anyone that doesn’t have at least a Top 10 in Scotland but I’d also go a little further and ideally want experience of the course itself. With this being an easier links course than normal I think knowing when to be aggressive from previous editions will be beneficial this week.

The market is headed deservedly by Henrik Stenson fresh off a win in Germany 9 days ago and with him having the taste of victory again, the assured links player can be expected to go well on a course where he has finished 3rd and 8th on his two appearances. His odds of 9/1 are almost appealing too, but I’d imagine that he is using this as a chance to reacclimatise to links golf ahead of The Open as he continues his quest for his 1st major. That’s not to say he can’t and won’t win but I’d expect there are others hungrier for a week in the heat of the battle than Stenson.

Branden Grace and Phil Mickelson are the next two up and they have both shown plenty at Castle Stuart before and the course undoubtedly suits them. Mickelson won in 2013 before famously going on to win at Muirfield the week after and Grace chased him home that year. Their chances must be respected but they both appear maybe a tiny bit short for not quite being bang on their game at the minute. With such a deep field there are a lot of decent prices about further down the field.

Four years ago Nicolas Colsaerts would have probably been 4th in the betting here as a 22.0 chance in this quality of field. We all know the plummet that his game took however after his 2012 Ryder Cup appearance and he has spent a considerable amount of time in the golfing wilderness. Given the Belgian’s well reported enjoyment of life, it was hard to tell just how much hard work he was putting in to attempt to get his game back. However gradually over the course of this season there has been an improvement and he arrives in Scotland with some very decent form.

His strong start last week in France ended up in a T22nd but that course doesn’t really play to his strengths. Prior to that was a missed cut, again on a fiddlier course than he really wants. But his form before that was 3rd-22nd-23rd-3rd and that gives a better long-term picture of how well he has been playing. The 3rd place finish was at The Nordea Masters on an exposed, long course that favours the bombers.

The upturn of form is also reflected in his stats as he ranks 6th for GIR over the last 3 months. His length off the tee has never been in question and he currently ranks 2nd in driving distance. That has helped him go well at Castle Stuart in the past and there are very few in the field that will have better course form as he finished 8th in 2013, 36th in 2012 and 3rd in 2011. When finishing 8th at the last running he ranked 4th for GIR and while a lot will depend on how Colsaerts putts this week, having his irons dialled in should give him plenty of opportunities to get the putter hot on greens that he knows well.

Golf betting can be difficult enough at the best of times but perhaps one of the trickier aspects can be trying to work out when a previous class-act like Colsaerts is ready to strike again. It has happened time and time again that players have had a few years in the doldrums before getting back to winning ways seemingly from nowhere. But the one common theme is that it tends to be on a course where they are comfortable and have performed well before.

With others in the field perhaps focussed on Royal Troon next week or trying desperately to gain crucial Ryder Cup points, Colsaerts will tee it up at Castle Stuart in his usual laid-back style but most importantly with his game back on track. His only stroke-play win was in China at -24 so he enjoys a low scoring tournament and if he can have an average week with the short stick then I think he will contend on a course that sets up perfectly for him off the tee.

Luke Donald is a bit of a horses-for-courses type and some of his stats this year are extremely good , suggesting that his short game could be back to its best. He currently ranks 8th in scrambling and 13th in 3-putt avoidance.

If that is the case then an open track like Castle Stuart where he has won before looks to be a great place for him to get back to winning ways. He very nearly won the RBC Heritage in April on The PGA Tour when just getting beaten into 2nd by Branden Grace. That is another course where scrambling can be key. He finished down the field in 45th last week but he ranked 5th in scrambling and 26th in GIR so he isn’t far away from another big week. I’m going with a small outright play but given how much he used to love a top 10 finish in his prime, I will also have a dabble in that market.

Tyrrell Hatton was on a great run of form before he missed the cut in Germany two weeks ago but that result came after three weeks off for the young Englishman. Prior to that his form figures read 20-7-5-13-12 in some decent fields. The 5th place finish was in Ireland in similar conditions to this week and the 7th was at the BMW PGA Championship which was a field of the same stature he faces this week and always features blustery conditions. He got back on track last week with a T33rd finish but this looks more suited to his game.

Hatton has always had the appearance of a good links player not least because of his brilliant scrambling skills and he currently ranks 1st in that department. He is especially good at getting up and down from tight lies on fast greens and that will help him this week.

He hasn’t actually played Castle Stuart competitively yet but he already has an impressive bank of Scottish Open form. A 5th place finish at Royal Aberdeen was followed by a 22nd at Gullane last year. Throw in a 5th place finish at Paul Lawrie’s Match Play Tournament at Murcar Links and a 10th place finish at The Scottish Challenge down the road at Aviemore and you can see that this is a player completely at home on a links golf course.

If that wasn’t enough he also finished top of my stats model where I considered driving distance, GIR, scrambling and total putting over the last 3 months. So with odds of 66/1 he simply has to be backed here this week on a course that he will surely enjoy.

Padraig Harrington played last week in France and it isn’t a tournament that he usually attends with just four career starts there. So if that wasn’t interesting enough the fact that his putter was behaving (16th in total putting) and he was driving it well (5th in total driving) really jumped out at me. He finished 30th but that should have his game in great shape for two weeks of links golf and he ranked 6th in the all-round ranking. The two-time Open champion is one of the best links players of his generation so odds of 10/1 for a Top 10 finish when his whole game is in good order look hard to pass up.

Matthew Southgate ranked 4th in GIR and 3rd in scrambling on his way to a T11th finish in France and that combination makes him a big player again this week. It’s another strong field but a Top 20 looks very achievable again and the 15/2 available looks very fair.

While I like the chances of the three outright picks they are by no means guaranteed to play well so I would like a small saver on Henrik Stenson just incase. He will surely figure over the weekend so should things go wrong he will hopefully give us a chance of recouping our stakes.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat is a player that likes to start fast and he has quite a few low rounds in him. He managed to win the Paul Lawrie Matchplay around a very narrow Murcar Links and I’m not sure how as his driving was very wayward. He scrambled and putted superbly though and with the extra room off the tee at Castle Stuart he could shoot a 64/65 if he finds his silky putting stroke. If he can do that on the Thursday then he might prove to be a worthwhile play in the 1st round leader market at 66/1.


Summary of bets

Nicolas Colsaerts – 1pt ew @ 50/1

Luke Donald – 0.5pt ew @ 55/1 and 1pt Top 10 @ 9/2

Tyrrell Hatton – 1pt ew @ 66/1

Padraig Harrington – 1pt Top 10 @ 10/1

Matthew Southgate – 1pt Top 20 @ 15/2

Kiradech Aphibarnrat – 0.5pt ew 1st round leader @ 66/1

Henrik Stenson – 1pt win saver @ 9/1

Weekly outlay – 10pts

Total outlay – 692.50

@theGreek82