After all the hype and nonsense regarding the Olympic Golf it turned out to be a complete success and it had a fitting winner in Justin Rose, one of the few elite players that had supported it right from the start. It was just a shame that it came at the expense of our pick Henrik Stenson! Although the Swede traded as low as 1.40 I believe so hopefully those that were on managed to at least trade their stakes back.
It was another frustrating week as Stenson was too short to back each way so there were no returns for the blog. That leaves the results as follows;
Total points advised – 756.50
Total points returned – 793.79
Not pretty reading as the ROI falls ever closer to a negative number but August – October was a very good period last year so hopefully my fortunes will change again soon.
This week we return to the PGA Tour and also have the Czech Masters on the European Tour.
After the buzz of the Olympics its back to the norm again and the final tournament before the Fed Ex Series. That usually makes it quite an exciting week as players jostle in and out of the Top 125 as the weekend takes shape. Ever since the first Fed Ex Play-offs in 2007, The Wyndham Championship has been the final regular tournament and not only that but since 2008 it has been held at Sedgefield CC in North Carolina.
Sedgefield is a Donald Ross design and was opened in 1926. It plays as a 7130 yard long Par 70 course with tree-lined, average width fairways and, typically of a Ross design, relatively small greens. They were bent grass until 2012 when it was decided that scoring was too low so they were replaced with bermuda grass. Subsequently it might be best to focus on the last 4 editions rather than 2008-2011.
The winner is usually an accurate sort that hits plenty of fairways and greens and that certainly helps at Sedgefield. Patrick Reed maybe doesn’t quite fall into that category but he scrambles brilliantly and that is another key attribute at Sedgefield where, despite the low scoring, the small greens will be missed.
Further to the accuracy though there a couple of other key elements at Sedgefield. Most of those that have played well since the 2012 renovation of the greens have got form on bermuda greens with all of the four winners now having multiple PGA Tour wins on the surface.
They also have strong form on Donald Ross courses which include East Lake (Tour Championship), Aronimink GC (AT and T National 2010, 2011), Pinehurst No. 2 ( 2012 US Open), Oak Hill Country Club (2013 US PGA) and Oakland Hills (2008 US PGA Championship).
I backed Bill Haas in this last year and he played very well and finished just out of the places in 6th. It is a perfect course for the North Carolina native and he has been playing quite well again lately. The 6-time winner on Tour has always shown his best golf when the field strength is a little bit below top-class so it was very interesting to see him get his first ever major top 10 last month at Royal Troon. That will have given him a lot of confidence as he arrives at a course where his recent form figures read 6-2-20-7 since the renovations in 2012.
Three of his wins have come on bermuda greens and he has also won on Donald Ross’ East Lake course, when he announced himself properly on Tour scooping the Fed Ex bonus in 2011. Everything is in his favour this week and prior to his 56th at the US PGA his form has been decent this year with 6 Top 10s and he has given the impression that he is building towards his 7th win.
While he isn’t setting the world alight with his stats this year he is normally a good fit around Sedgefield where a solid all-round game is required. Indeed the last 5 winners have ranked 2nd, 1st, 10th, 1st and 1st in the all-round during the week of their win. Haas himself has ranked 4th, 6th, 15th and 7th so it is definitely a course that brings out his best golf.
He also sits in 21st position for strokes gained:tee to green which I think probably gives a better idea of where his game is at than some of the other more specific stats. The price isn’t fantastic but given his strong course form I think he looks the most likely to play well from those at the head of the market.
Webb Simpson is another North Carolinan that loves it around Sedgefield. So much so in fact that he called his daughter Wyndham! His form figures may have something to do with that as they read 6th-5th-11th-22nd-1st-8th-MC. That win in 2011 was his first on Tour so you can see why he has such a fondness for the event but it also suits his game perfectly.
Simpson hasn’t been at his best the last couple of years and at the start of 2016 he struggled with the anchoring ban. He has putted ok in spells though and a return to the bermuda greens that he knows well should see him prosper. He has also been threatening to win again this season and although the bookies are also aware of that, this looks to be his best chance of winning this year.For the last 3 months he ranks joint 1st in Par 4 scoring and that is always crucial around this Par 70 layout.
A couple of obvious picks this week but I like their each way chances a lot and there isn’t much more that stands out at the longer prices.
D+D Real Czech Masters
I’m a little too short on time to look into this in great detail but I have found a couple of small bets. This is the 3rd edition of this so we have two others to look back on.
I really wanted to back Sebastian Gros for this but for some reason he isn’t teeing it up this week. It looked perfect for him but I guess he may be injured.
I tipped Eddie Pepperell last year at just 18/1 on the strength of his 6th place finish in 2014. He did ok but finished down the field a little in 22nd. He hadn’t been in the best of form over the summer and a couple of weeks ago he had his back 9 collapse that saw him throw a 3 or 4 shot lead away in Asia at The King’s Cup. He then wrote quite an open blog entry about his troubles over the closing holes and he stated that he found it hard to keep his ball in play off the tee. That isn’t overly important at Albatross Golf Club and that could be why he has gone well at the course before.
He got a bit of a hard time on twitter for his blog comments but ultimately I think being so aware of himself will help him and I’d expect that he will have been working very hard on his swing in the two weeks since. The rest of his game is still in fine shape so the fact we can get 50/1 about him this week looks to be a nice piece of value.
I’m not sure that Calum Shinkwin is necessarily ready to win on the European Tour but he ranks highly in the relevant stats this week. He is 2nd in ball-striking, 28th in the all-round ranking, 43rd in Par 5 scoring and 44th in birdie average over the last three months.
Prior to his understandable missed cut at Royal Troon he was in very good form with a couple of top 10s in very strong fields in Scotland and France. That was his 1st ever major championship so it can probably be ignored and that was followed by his first professional match play tournament so I’m not too concerned by his 1st round exit there either.
I think both those have pushed his price out nicely and this course should suit him perfectly despite missing the cut on his only appearance last year. Shinkwin has improved massively in the 12 months since and he looks a good each way bet this week.
The Women’s Olympics takes place on the same Gil Hanse designed course that the men played on last week and while it could well be another shoot-out between Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn I think the fact that Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson pulled away from the field can tell us something about the course. Neither of those are the greatest of putters and while both putted quite well during the week, the Olympic course looks very much like a ball-strikers course. That makes me think that Lexi Thompson looks to be a reasonable piece of value given her recent 8th at the Women’s Open and a good 2016 on the whole. She sits 4th in ball striking and I don’t think the greens can be the toughest so it might help Thompson close the gap with Ko and AJ. The presence of Thomas Pieters and Bubba Watson on the leaderboard also suggested that length off the tee was quite crucial and Lexi sits in 2nd for driving distance.
Summary of Bets
Bill Haas – 1pt ew @ 28/1
Webb Simpson – 1pt ew @ 25/1
D+D Real Czech Masters
Eddie Pepperell – 1pt ew @ 50/1
Calum Shinkwin – 1pt ew @ 45/1
Women’s Olympic Event
Lexi Thompson – 1pt ew @ 14/1 (1/4 1st-5th with Betfair Sportsbook)
Weekly pts advised – 10pts
Total pts advised – 766.50pts