Quicken Loans and Open De France – Betting Preview

I’ve been pressed for time this week so everything will be quite brief. David Hearn and David Lingmerth both managed to fall down the leaderboard in the U.S. after starting the final round in 7th and 3rd places. I never expected them to win but it was annoying to see them both play so poorly and not even come close to placing. In Europe Aphibarnrat played very well on teh whole but just threw in too many mistakes and could only finish 10th. That stopped the run of consecutive weeks with returns but hopefully I can get back on track this week.

2017 pts advised = 290

2017 pts returned = 202.17

ROI = -30.29%

 


Quicken Loans National

The Quicken Loans moves course this week again to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm and leaves us with another guessing game of sorts. The course was used however on the Web.com Tour for a couple of years in 2012 and 2013. It hosted the Mid-Atlantic Championship which was won by David Lingmerth and Michael Putnam respectively. Scoring was difficult with -7 and -8 the winning scores and that is what you would expect with a winner like Lingmerth who enjoys a bit of a grind.

There really isn’t much to like about this in terms of a confident betting heat so I’m going small stakes and speculative again this week to start. The regular host course for this was Congressional Country club just along the road from Potomac and few have a better record around that course than Robert Garrigus. He was 4th at Rory McIlroy’s U.S. Open win at the course and he also has 3rd, 8th and 11th place finishes there. If he is comfortable playing there then he may well be comfortable playing here as he will be able to stay in the same place as he does when playing Congressional and he will have fond memories of what was comfortably his best ever performance back in 2011. He is on a run of 7 missed cuts which is obviously far from ideal but he only missed out by 1 shot last week afer shooting 69-72. This season we have seen several left field players popping up on leaderboards, none more recently than Andres Romero who won in Germany at the weekend. Garrigus still ranks 20th for GIR over the last 3 months so clearly his long game isn’t in awful shape. If he can just hole a couple more putts then he might manage to get competitive.

After struggling to see anything else I like I’m taking Kevin Chappell again on the same Congressional link. He finished T4th alongside Garrigus in 2011 U.S. Open and he enjoys tough courses. Chappell is in the form of his life with a win just two months ago and he ranks 11th in GIR over the last 3 months. I fancied his chances at the U.S. Open but the course just didn’t represent enough of a tee-to-green test to see him at his best. If TPC Potomac does play tough and reports of thick rough are true then there will be few in the field better equipped to deal with the challenge off the tee.

 


Open De France

The Open De France returns to Le Golf National in Paris for what is its 25th time of hosting this event. That gives us lots of course form and therefore we have a good idea what is required. The course is an exposed one with fairly narrow fairways and some of the rough can be quite difficult, both in terms of thick grass and awkward stances on the rugged terrain. There is water in play on a number of holes and that combined with the potential for wind creates a course where accuracy is favoured over power. The greens are usually set-up as quick as any on the European Tour so greens can be difficult to hold and scrambling is equally tricky.

Therefore the test is an all-round one but for this tournament I always look at someone with a good combination of driving accuracy, GIR and scrambling.  It isn’t a course that can be over powered and that is evident when we consider that Graeme Mcdowell is a two time winner and last year’s winner was Thonghai Jaidee. Consider form around other difficult tracks as this is seldom a birdie fest and the average winning score over the last ten editions is just -10.

Joost Luiten has been having an ok year without doing anything amazing. He has only missed one cut so far in 2017 from 12 tournaments and 9 of those have resulted in top 30 finishes. As is the case with so many brilliant ball-strikers he has struggled a little on the greens so it was very interesting to see him rank 1st in the field last week in Germany for putting. He finished up in 14th place but nobody else had a better combination of driving accuracy, GIR and total putting and I think that sets him up nicely for another good performance at a course where he has finished 9th and 18th the last two years. With a fairly strong head of the market there is still some 35/1 around and that looks very fair. Luiten is also a winner on one of the key courses that ties in with Le Golf National, Celtic Manor. Mcdowell and Jaidee have both won there and it is another exposed, undulating course with water in play and difficult greens. Historically he hasn’t been the best of scramblers but this year he ranks 21st in that area over the last 3 months and I am expecting him to go well.

I’ve been having a few bets on some younger players lately like Lagergren and Bjork but I think this week looks more about experienced players so my only other bet will be the very obvious Graeme Storm who won here in 2007. Considering he has been playing well in 2017 and won in SA in January I thought he was a fair price at a general 100/1.

I’m very keen on Bernd Wiesberger’s chances this week as he really is playing some great golf this year and is already a winner. The scheduling of his home Open the week before the U.S. Open really must grate on him but you don’t hear him complaining about it. However there is no question that it disrupts his game at a key time in the season and the fact he never really got going last week in Germany was no surprise. He still finished 20th with his long game as strong as ever but his scrambling and putting were poor. I’m very tempted to have a saver win bet on him but I can’t quite jump in at odds of 18/1. I think it is just a matter of time before he wins again and he will be very dangerous this week around a course where he won in 2015. If he drifts over 20 I may yet add him.

 


Summary of Bets

Quicken Loans

Robert Garrigus – 0.5pt ew @ 300/1

Kevin Chappell – 1pt ew @ 28/1

Open De France

Joost Luiten – 1.5pts ew @ 35/1

Graeme Storm – 0.5pts ew @ 100/1

 

Weekly pts advised = 7pts

2017 pts advised = 297pts

@theGreek82

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Travelers Championship and BMW International Open – Betting Preview

As expected the U.S. Open became more of a U.S. PGA type test than the usual U.S. Open grind but the surprising thing was how many of the big names struggled. The course should have suited DJ, McIlroy, Day, Rahm and Pieters yet they all missed the cut convincingly. My main fancy Justin Rose played quite well in parts over Thursday and Friday but finished his rounds off poorly. Again the course should have suited but he wasn’t at his best and missed the cut by 1 shot.

It was an exciting week though elsewhere as Fowler, Henley and Steele all contended right up to the back 9 on Sunday. Even then it looked like Henley and Steele would both coast to top 20s but just what Henley was up to I have no idea. He managed to lose 9 shots across four holes to fall down to 27th and that cost us a third profitable week in a row. Steele obliged though and Fowler held on for a place so there were still 14.5pts returned.

Brooks Koepka was far and away the most solid player over the 4 days and there was no question he deserved to win but the one annoying thing from my point of view was how Fowler’s game deserted him after Thursday. He really wasn’t playing well and quite how he managed to shoot -4 on the weekend given how he was hitting it is testament to how good a player he has become. Some will consider it another poor performance in contention but if looked at Fowler’s body language it certainly didn’t appear that he was overcome by the occasion. He appeared far more to be someone who knew their game wasn’t at its best and that he was letting another major chance go. That is possibly a matter of opinion but I certainly won’t be giving up on him just yet and he will have a great chance again at Royal Birkdale next month.

It was the best major I have had since 2015’s US PGA and hopefully the next big win is just around the corner after three good weeks in a row.

2017 pts advised = 280pts

2017 pts returned = 202.17pts

ROI= -27.8%


Travelers Championship

The Travelers takes place at TPC River Highlands and it is one of the shorter courses on Tour at 6841yards. It can often be quite a fiddly course as you would expect being largely a Pete Dye design. Bobby Weed also has an influence having done another redesign in 1989 so a look at other courses which they have teamed up on might be helpful. They both worked together on Dye’s Valley course at Sawgrass which hosts the Web.com Tour Championship and TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas which hosts the Shriners Hospital for Children Open. There were some changes carried out to the course last year with a view to toughening the course up a little and they revolved around the repositioning of a number of bunkers to limit the advantage that the bigger hitters were enjoying. On paper that seemed to work with the accurate Russell Knox prevailing. One year’s worth of data isn’t much to go on and there were still plenty of big hitters on the leaderboard. It is still very much a second shot golf course where getting the ball close to the flag is the key for scoring purposes.

Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth head the market after a disappointing U.S. Open for all three. The trouble with 3 players as talented as they are is that they could easily turn up here and win by 7 but we have to go largely on what we saw last week and on a course that suited the former two perfectly, they can easily be left out at single figure prices. Of the three Spieth appeals the most but his putter wasn’t behaving normally last week and again is a little short considering he is making his course debut. Instead I’m going to dabble in an attractive looking each way market and try to find some value down the field.

From a stats point of view, proximity to the hole from the shorter iron range (125-150 yards and 150-175 yards) is key at TPC River Highlands as you would expect on any Dye course. With scoring usually fairly low and perfect bentgrass greens in play then creating chances isn’t enough as putts need to be holed to get towards the usual winning score in the high teens under par. Putting from 5ft to 15ft will be important this week. Strokes gained: approaches and par 4 scoring are other key stats to look at.

I can’t narrow it down this week so am going with 4 larger prices who are all capable of placing in this company if they play their best golf.

David Hearn is a player I always like on Pete Dye courses as he thrives when accuracy is favoured over distance, being particularly handy with his short irons. Hearn was last seen finishing 10th at the St. Jude Classic where he ranked 10th in GIR and 22nd in scrambling. The Canadian was 38th here on his only appearance and he looks over priced at 150/1.

David Lingmerth is my go to Pete Dye player at the moment and everything we saw from him last week at the U.S. Open suggested his next win isn’t too far away. The course was far too long for a player who favours accuracy over distance and the fact he finished 21st was a credit to his approach play and scrambling. Ranks 6th right now in putting from 5ft to 15ft so should enjoy this test.

Emiliano Grillo is making his debut this week but he gets in on some impressive Dye/Weed form as he won the Web.com Tour Championship on the Valley course at Sawgrass in 2015. He also finished 11th at The Players Championship just last month and he ranks 22nd in proximity to the hole from 125-150 yards. Grillo can sometimes struggle with the putter but on a course where getting close to the flag is at a premium he often comes into his own.

Adam Hadwin looks over priced here at 80/1 and he also gets in off the Web.com Tour Championship form as well as a top 30 at The Players Championship. Hadwin has a very neat and tidy short iron game and putts well. This should be right up his street and the fact he missed the last two cuts here doesn’t worry me at all. Before his Valspar win earlier this year his form there was 71-MC and he is a vastly improved player this year. He ranks 36th for strokes gained:putting and 30th in approach proximity from 125-150 yards. Played ok last week at the U.S. Open but again that course was too long form him and he should bounce back here.

 


BMW International Open

The BMW International Open now seems to be on a set rotation going back and forth between Golf Club Gut Larchenhof and this year’s Golf Club Eichenried. So there is some decent course form this week but it is important to note the years where it has been held at Eichenried. With the European Tour site being close to useless at the moment, information like that can be a little harder to find. The years we are looking at are 1997 right through to 2011 and then both 2013 and 2015. Two of the last three editions here were won by Pablo Larrazabal and other recent course winners include Ernie Els, David Horsey, Nick Dougherty, Martin Kaymer, Niclas Fasth and Henrik Stenson.

The course is situated to the north of Munich and it is around average length at 7235 yards. Visually the course looks identical to Wentworth and that might explain why so many good links players have won here. The wind can be tough to judge at Wentworth and together with the winding fairways, the course favours those who can shape their ball and control it in the wind. Those types of players generally play well on links layouts and it looks like a solid plan of attack this week. Of the 16 winners around Eichenried, 6 of them have won the Alfred Dunhill Championship and another 3 have won The Open. Another similarity are the greens as Eichenried has very fast poa annua greens which are often a feature of links courses in the summer and Wentworth also features some of the slickest on the European Tour.

Many of the European Tour’s biggest names have made the journey back from Wisconsin for this and subsequently they dominate the betting. It is hard to fancy them though at their prices and therefore it looks like an event for small plays on some of the resulting big each way prices.

David Horsey is the obvious course and current form play this week so I’m surprised his price has held at 50/1 but that is down to the big names in the field. It looks set up for him to probably bomb out and miss the cut but repeat winners are common at Eichenried with Larrazabal and Bjorn having both won twice. Several other palyers have performed well year after year at Eichenried too like Padraig Harrington and Bernard Langer. If he continues his form he should really go well again on a course he enjoys.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat holds a very good record in this event at both Eichenried and Gut Larchenoff so seems to be comfortable on German courses. He was 4th here in 2015 and when playing well he is someone who has proven themselves as an excellent ball-striker capable of shaping his ball-flight to suit. That coupled with his excellent touch around the greens makes him a solid alternative to those at the head of the betting. His form hasn’t been fantastic in 2017 but he does have some decent results on tracks that suit him; 4th in Abu Dhabi, 9th in Qatar and 14th at Wentworth. For a 3-time winner with strong event form he is a nice price here at 40/1.

I’m going to give Alexander Bjork another go here on account of how well he is scrambling and good showings at Wentworth and Diamond Country Club. He leads the Tour for scrambling and is also 41st in total putting over the last three months. He looks worth a small Top 20 bet.

Chris Paisley is another who has been tipped a few times lately but he is also one of the few players who is in profit for me. He was 3rd here in 2015 so looks massively overpriced at 200/1.

Mark Foster is a speculative punt here but he has two 3rd places at the course and has shown glimpses lately with two top 10s in May. At 200/1 it won’t cost much to get involved.

Reluctantly I can’t get involved with George Coetzee again this week after missing the cut at the U.S. Open following a 2nd round 79. Travelling over from the U.S he won’t be the best prepared for Thursday but he may be worth watching in-play as he was 3rd here back in 2011 and has been playing well on the European Tour lately.

 


Summary of Bets

Travelers

David Hearn – 0.5pt ew @ 200/1

Emiliano Grillo – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1

David Lingmerth – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1

Adam Hadwin – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1

BMW International Open

David Horsey – 1pt ew @ 50/1

Kiradech Aphibarnrat – 0.75pt ew @ 40/1

Alexander Bjork – 1pt Top 20 @ 4/1

Chris Paisley – 0.5pt ew @ 200/1

Mark Foster – 0.25pt ew @ 250/1

 

Weekly pts advised = 10

Total 2017 pts advised = 290

@theGreek82

U.S. Open at Erin Hills – Betting Preview

Last week was a second week in a row of profit and was very welcome ahead of the second major of the year. It was Chez Reavie who provided it, easily making the top 20 and also hanging on for a share of a place as he finished 4th. Again it could have been a better weekend with Harris English and Zander Lombard also in contention but it is hard to complain too much and hopefully it that might be a corner turned again for the blog.

This week needs no introduction with the U.S. Open taking centre stage. The results are starting to look a little better ahead of an exciting looking week at Erin Hills.

Total 2017 pts advised= 259pts

Total 2017 pts returned = 187.47pts

ROI = -25.7%

I have just pasted my Matchbook review below and added a few extra bets. I also have a couple of 72 hole match-ups that will be on their site at the following link shortly.

To be added


US Open – Erin Hills

The second major of 2017 is upon us as the U.S. Open takes place for the first time ever in Wisconsin. The layout Erin Hills is a new one having only been opened in 2006. It hosted the U.S. Amateur in 2011 but barring the eight players in the field who played, everyone has been reliant on practice rounds. The action kicks off at 12:45pm UK time on Thursday with coverage starting on Sky at 6pm and continuing throughout the weekend.

With Sergio Garcia having won the Masters, there will be many more arriving at Erin Hills in buoyant mood thinking that they too have a chance for a maiden win. But the course can play to some 7800 yards off the back tees so on paper it could be brutally long and favour the bombers, however it is of course a U.S. Open so we would normally expect lots of rough and slick greens to properly test every part of their game.

Everything looks in place for another mouth-watering major this week. But can we find an edge on what appears to be another exciting golf betting event?

What will be required to win?

When the first pictures were shared of the high fescue grass in the rough, many thought this was going to be a brutal US Open set-up akin to the thick green stuff we saw at Merion. However on further reading I don’t believe that to be the case. Brad Faxon played there earlier in May and he tweeted how wide the fairways were and that it will suit the bombers. Kevin Na’s instagram video on Sunday confirmed just how high the rough is but the fairways are so wide that only the truly errant will end up in there and I can’t see it preventing players from hitting driver unless their name is JB Holmes. At some 7800 yards I think we really have to focus on the big hitters this week. Some of the better players who average sub 290 yards will contend but they had better have every other area of their game in perfect shape. Playing four days’ worth of approach shots with a 5 iron when DJ/Rahm etc are going in with wedge will take its toll on all but the steeliest of shorter hitters.

A look at the 2011 US Amateur Championship backs this up perfectly. The two finalists were Kelly Kraft and Patrick Cantlay. Kraft hits it as far as anyone and Cantlay was the best amateur in the game at the time and even now he sits 7th in the all-round ranking on the PGA Tour.  I think it will pay to focus on the longer players this week, perhaps giving some consideration to shorter hitters but only if they are among the very best like Cantlay was.

One of the key quotes from 2011 was from young Englishman Jack Senior. He noted how the course was “very, very similar” to the venue where they were heading for the Walker Cup the following week. The course in question was the classic links layout, Royal Aberdeen, host of the Scottish Open in 2014. What is striking is how similar the two courses are visually, with lots of undulating fairways, blind tee-shots, hidden approaches, lots of winding bunkers and plenty of fescue grass. There will be a lot written about similarities to Whistling Straits and Chambers Bay this week and while that certainly won’t be without merit, I’m very keen on the Royal Aberdeen link too.

Another quote which sounds valuable is from Mike Davis (USGA’s Executive Director) who gave a full description of each aspect of the course in a recent press conference. The most notable was what he said about the run-offs around the greens and how they have a complete lack of immediate rough. He likened this to Pinehurst No. 2 from 2014 and stated how this was the only other US Open in recent times to feature tightly mown aprons. Martin Kaymer used them to great effect in 2014 as he putted his way around the fringes, taking the pressure off his suspect chipping.

As well as needing to be fairly long off the tee, it is paramount to have an excellent iron game to contend at a U.S. Open and with blind approaches and fast greens this week it will be the same at Erin Hills. The last ten winners of the U.S. Open averaged 8th for GIR and if picking one key attribute this week I think that would be it.

Scrambling will also be important but without lush rough around the greens the players will have the chance to use different shots and the standard scrambling statistic on the PGA Tour maybe doesn’t quite tell us everything we need to know. Another key statistic for championship courses is scoring relative to par from approaches outside 200 yards. This is vital for saving par when out of position on a long par 4 or for making tap-in birdies on the par 5s. With Erin Hills having the potential to play as the longest in the history of the event then it might be even more important than normal. If the event does turn into a slog then patience will also be important as anyone who goes chasing a score that isn’t there on Thursday won’t be around come the weekend.

Trends

With the U.S. Open moving courses every year it isn’t as good as The Masters or The Players for trends but there is still some historical data that can help rule players out or in for those who enjoy a trends based approach.

  • All 17 winners this century had at least a top 4 finish already that season.
  • 16/17 of those winners had a previous U.S. Open Top 20 finish.
  • 6/7 of the last winners had made the cut at the Masters that season.
  • 6/7 had a top 12 finish last time out.

 

Main Contenders

 Dustin Johnson 8/1 : Current form – MC-13-12-2-1; US Open form: 1-2-4-55-MC

Both the reigning champion and favourite arrives at Erin Hills after a close to invincible 12 months. The improvement in his all-round game means he is currently the best player in the world and undoubtedly the man to beat. The long course together with the wide landing areas off the tee, make the course look ideal. The only negative is his price and a slight wobble last time out at Memorial when he missed the cut.

Jordan Spieth 14/1 : Current form: 13-2-MC-MC-4 ; US Open form: 37-1-17-MC-21

After a fairly quiet 2017 where some were questioning his long game, Spieth came flying back into the reckoning with a great tee-to-green performance at Memorial. With his solid US Open record he looks the right 2nd favourite although some may use his relative lack of length as a stick to beat him with this week. That didn’t stop him at Chambers Bay however and he will surely be involved in the shake-up come Sunday night.

Rory McIlroy 14/1 : Current form: 35-7-30-7-4; US Open form: MC-9-23-41-MC

Hasn’t been seen since The Masters and with that lack of competitive golf he is hard to fancy. The course sets up well for him but he surely can’t be considered before the off having not played in two months. Those who want to get involved may be better off watching the first round to see how he has recovered from a rib injury that looks likely to significantly impact his swing.

Jason Day 14/1 : Current form: 15-2-60-MC-22; US Open form: 8-9-4-2-59

Seemingly over his personal problems since his Mother was given the cancer all clear. Has shown patches of his 2015/2016 form, but he is surely making too many mistakes to win a US Open. However that is offset somewhat by an excellent record in the event and suitability to a course that looks a lot like Whistling Straits, the scene of his US PGA triumph.

Jon Rahm 22/1 : Current form: MC-2-MC-4-27; US Open form: Debut 23rd last year as amateur

On 2017 form he is the second best golfer in the world and the Spanish powerhouse has a great all-round game already at the age of 22. His temperament has looked a little suspect at times though and it’s far from a given that he will enjoy a patient US Open style test of golf. But he may not quite face that this year with Erin Hills appearing more US PGA than US Open.

Rickie Fowler 22/1 : Current form: 2-60-MC-11-3; US Open form: MC-MC-2-10-41

Seems to be judged to higher standards than most perhaps due to the profile he has built for himself. But ultimately he is a 2017 winner with a 2nd place finishjust two starts ago. Negatives are his poor Masters Sunday performance and missing his last two US Open cuts but that is factored into his price and he shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

Hideki Matsuyama 30/1 : Current form: 45-22-32-11-51; US Open form: MC-18-35-10

Gone quiet since his all-conquering winter but he is still churning out solid results. Another with an impressive bank of US Open form already at 25 and it would be foolish to ever discount him at a major given his tee-to-green prowess. As ever though, the slick bentgrass greens may be the difference between 1st and 6th.

Justin Thomas 33/1 : Current form: 4-MC-5-22-39; US Open form: MC-DNP-32

Yet another to add to the list of “course suits perfectly”. Thomas also tailed off a little since his four win period through to January. Still playing very good golf however and was 4th at Memorial two weeks ago. Hard to see too many negatives at 33/1 barring maybe a mediocre US Open record to date.

Aside from those many will fancy Sergio Garcia to go back to back now he has got the monkey off his back while the young Belgian powerhouse Thomas Pieters will be looking to build on his 4th place finish at Augusta. But the one that stands out at the odds is sneaking in under the radar a little despite a Masters play-off loss just 2 months ago.

justin-rose-zurich-classic_3295658

I have liked Justin Rose for this most of the year. Firstly, he has an almost unrivalled record in majors for consistency over the last 5 years. Since 2012 he has played in all 21 majors, missing the cut just three times. Those 21 events have yielded 16 top 25s, with 6 of those providing returns for each way backers and of course he also has his 2013 U.S. Open win. To put those in perspective, Rory McIlroy has won three majors since 2012 but he only boasts 13 top 25s in that same period and world number 1 Dustin Johnson only has 11. Stenson has 12, Matsuyama 9 (only played 1 in 2012) and even the poster boy for brilliant non-winning performances at majors, Sergio Garcia, only has 10. Justin Rose’s game is built for majors, there are few who are as solid tee-to-green and as adaptable to any course. Difficult championship courses take the pressure off his short to mid-range putting and allow his ball-striking to rack up the pars.

What makes him perfect for this week’s test is the unknown quantity of the course. With very mixed reports about the layout, ultimately people will guess as to how exactly Erin Hills will play. The great thing about Rose is that he is just as home on a bomber’s layout as he is a fiddly, narrow course like Merion where he won in 2013. The only negative for me is that he has been suffering from a slight back injury but having missed Memorial to rest up I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is fully fit for Erin Hills. Rose’s 2017 stats aren’t quite as sharp as always but he still sits prominently in many of the key ones for this week. Rose is 25th in driving distance, 14th in GIR, 13th in strokes gained: tee to green and 10th in scoring relative to par for approaches over 200 yards. Not always the best of chippers, Rose should enjoy being able to putt around the fringes as his lag putting is very strong.

But the clincher with Rose this week is how he has played on courses similar to Erin Hills. Rose was 4th at Whistling Straits, 12th at Pinehurst No.2 but the most interesting one is his Scottish Open win. That win was at Royal Aberdeen which I alluded to earlier.  Just how much Erin Hills will actually play like a links course we don’t know but Rose’s confidence in his long game means he will be comfortable committing to a line and yardage despite not being able to see where the ball finishes.

To me there are the least negatives about Rose this week. Given his major record, there is still some value in his price, his consistency means he is almost assured to play well and his adaptability means however Erin Hills plays across the four days he will be fully prepared to handle it.

I am convinced that Jon Rahm will love this course and he is actually a fair price at 22/1 but I can’t ignore just how poor his attitude was when he missed the cut at Memorial. I won’t be in the slightest bit surprised to see him contend here but at the same time I think I can just about leave him out. Again with Dustin Johnson I am happy to let him win at just 8/1 when he missed the cut last time out. At a similar price to Rahm I think Rickie Fowler looks to be the best back up to Rose  at the head of the market. He has already won this year and his stats are absolutely brilliant for this. He has missed his last two U.S. Open cuts but he was back to his major best when leading the Masters after 54 holes. He had a rotten final round alongside Spieth and while on paper it looked a good pairing for them, I think both would be better suited to playing alongside someone who they aren’t quite so friendly with in a final round at a major. Fowler will have learnt from that though and he is driving the ball better than he ever has, currently ranking 1st in total driving. He is also 20th in GIR, 6th for strokes gained: tee to green, 1st in birdie average, 13th in bogey avoidance and 21st in scrambling. I really like his chances for The Open this year at Birkdale but it would be very annoying to see him win this without any money on.  A saver bet is recommended.

Outsiders to go well

While it looks very likely that one of the top 10 or so players in the world will come out on top this week I think there are still some longer prices  around for golfers who are playing well and could at least contend, allowing us to either trade them or back them in the place markets.

Russell Henley, Kevin Chappell and Brendan Steele look like the perfect sort of low-profile, home-grown winner that we have seen over the years in U.S. majors, most recently Lucas Glover in 2009 and Webb Simpson in 2012. These left field winners are more likely to pop up at the U.S. PGA but Erin Hills has a little bit of a PGA type appearance.

Henley is having a great year and has a solid stats profile for the week. He ranks 22nd  in GIR, 18th in total driving, 13th in birdie average, 15th in bogey avoidance, 13th in strokes gained: tee to green and an impressive 4th in scoring relative to par from approaches over 200 yards. He has won already this year in Houston and he is also a fine wind player having won on exposed layouts in Hawaii and Florida. He doesn’t possess the best of U.S. Open records recently but he did finish 16th as an amateur at Pebble Beach. He also finished 12th at Whistling Straits in 2015 and arrives off the back of his best major finish to date at Augusta where he finished 11th. Henley first made his name on Tour as a brilliant putter so if he brings his best long game then he should be suited to the test.

Kevin Chappell will be on a few more radars having won in May and also finishing 4th last week. Chappell has long been my idea of a U.S. Open winner such is the consistency of his long game across 4 days on a tough course. His stats aren’t fantastic but in all honesty that isn’t really his game. He is all about making tough pars while others around him fall away. Despite this maybe not quite being the usual U.S. Open grind I think he is playing too well to leave out this week.

Brendan Steele looked a great top 20 bet at the Masters and only just fell short finishing 27th but he is slowly finding his feet at the majors. He was 15th at Oakmont last year confirming that he enjoys fast greens and his best major finish to date was at Whistling Straits where he also finished in a tie for 12th. The Texan is used to the wind and he is a two-time winner on Tour who I think has a contending major performance in him now as an experienced 34 year old. Given he is usually an unfashionable pick, he looks over priced in all the key markets.

If the links theme does play out then it might pay to have a proper links exponent on the team and for that reason I’m going to back Tyrrell Hatton and George Coetzee. Last year Hatton was 5th at Royal Troon, he won the Alfred Dunhill Links and he also showed he is comfortable on long U.S. championship courses with another top 10 at Baltusrol. He will come into his own around these greens this week and should enjoy the test.

Coetzee is an absolute short game genius but he has been working hard on his long game too and has been reaping the rewards in Europe of late. He was last seen shooting a final round 66 to finish 4th at the Nordea Masters and that was the latest in a run of results which read 4-MC-8-8-11-8. Coetzee finished 7th at Whistling Straits and now that he is feeling fitter and playing well he will fancy his chances of a good showing this week.

Lastly I want to have Thomas Pieters onside in some capacity so will have a Top 10 bet. This is his U.S. Open debut but we saw what he was capable of on his first look at Augusta and this course will suit his combination of power and touch around the greens perfectly. Probably has a better temperament than Jon Rahm so while he may throw in a big number or two I expect him to enjoy the week on the whole.

First Round Leader market

Jason Kokrak is an out and out bomber but he also puts up very good GIR numbers on courses that fit his eye. He will enjoy the wide fairways and he should be able to get close to the flags. Kokrak has a habit of getting a little streaky and with an early tee-time I’m hoping he can go low on day 1.

Stephan Jaeger has won twice already on the Web.com Tour this season and is 1 win away from automatic promotion to the PGA Tour this season. But he is virtually assured of a 2018 PGA card so he will have absolutely nothing to lose, certainly not on day one and he has a history of flying out of the blocks. Jaeger equalled the lowest professional round of 58 last summer in his first round of the Ellie May Classic which he would go on to win by 7 strokes. That tournament is played around TPC Stonebrae which doesn’t look dissimilar to Erin Hills with lots of rolling fairways and fescue grasses. Jaeger’s last four opening rounds were 68-65-64-69 too so he might just be a little over priced at 200/1.

I couldn’t settle on a third 1st round leader pick so I have decided to back them both given how much fun the first round market can be. Jason Day will be only too aware of how poorly he has started his majors since his breakthrough US PGA win. His five opening rounds since have been 74-68-73-76-72 but that hadn’t been the norm up till then in his career. The five before that read 68-66-68-67-69 and I have a feeling he could take to this course early on and give everyone a reminder of his talents.

David Lingmerth was lying 2nd after the first round at Whistling Straits when he opened with a 67 and again he shot that same score to sit 2nd just two weeks ago at Memorial. The Swede enjoys a tough test of golf and he has an early tee-time on Thursday. Worth a go at a general 100/1.


 

Summary of Bets

Justin Rose – 3pts ew @ 25/1 (Betfair Sportsbook – 1/5th odds, 8 places)

Rickie Fowler – 1pt ew @ 22/1 (Skybet – 1/5th odds, 8 places)

Russell Henley – 0.5pt win @ 200 on Exchange and 1.5pts Top 20 @ 5/1

Kevin Chappell – 0.5pt win @ 80 on Exchange and 1pt Top 10 @ 6/1

Brendan Steele – 0.5pt win @ 230 on Exchange and 1.5pts Top 20 @ 5/1

Tyrrell Hatton – 0.5pt win @ 180 on Exchange and 1pt Top 20 @ 5/1

George Coetzee – 0.5pt win @ 450 and 1pt Top 20 @ 8/1

Thomas Pieters – 2pts Top 10 @ 4/1

 

Jason Kokrak – 0.25pt ew @ 150/1 1st Round Leader

Stephan Jaeger – 0.25pt ew @ 200/1 1st Round Leader

Jason Day – 0.5pt ew @ 25/1 1st Round Leader

David Lingmerth – 0.25 pt ew @ 100/1 1st Round Leader

(All 1st Round Leader bets are with Betfair Sportsbook 7 places at 1/5 odds)

 

Weekly pts advised – 21pts

Total 2017 pts advised – 280pts

 

@theGreek

Fed-Ex St. Jude Classic and Lyoness Open – Betting Preview

Finally there were some positive performances from my golfers on a Sunday and the result was a profitable week although things were almost a lot better.

George Coetzee flew through the field on Sunday getting to -9 and he gave himself a 15ft look at birdie on the 18th for a -10 clubhouse total. It slipped past agonisingly and had he set -10 I think, from what we saw the previous week with Alex Noren, he would have probably got himself into a play-off. He got a full place though at 50/1 and so did Kuchar on the PGA Tour. Kuch was in a far better position going into his final round but as ever he got in his own way a little but again he held on for 4th to give us both the place bet and the top 10.

Marcel Siem also finished strongly in Sweden to easily land the top 20 bet and on the whole there were 39.25 pts returned on the week. It was very welcome with the US Open nearly upon us and hopefully I can keep things going again this week.

2017 pts advised = 249pts

2017 pts returned = 170.22

ROI = -31.64%

WIth the US Open next week most of the big names aren’t in action which means there are two fairly low-key events; the Fed-Ex St. Jude Classic in the U.S. and the Lyoness Open in Europe.


St. Jude Classic

The final stop before the U.S. Open is TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s a 7244 yard Par 70 and it usually plays quite tough so should be a fair test ahead of the U.S. Open for those in the field who are playing next week. There is a lot of water in play here but yet the fairways are still very wide and it mainly becomes a problem on approaches to the greens. They are small and slightly raised so the course is usually somewhat of a second shot course where high greens in regulation numbers are the order of the day together with good scrambling as inevitably the greens will be missed. There will be no complaints when on the putting surfaces though as Southwind’s bermuda greens are some of the smoothest bermuda greens the players will see all year.

Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka are the two market leaders this week and I think they will be very hard to beat given Fowler is in great form and Koepka loves the course here having finished 2nd and 3rd the last two years. But even in a poor field they are horribly short prices and despite their obvious talents, neither can be considered completely reliable and it would hard to back them at 8/1 and 12/1 respectively. Instead I’m going to keep stakes low and my powder reasonably dry for next week.

Harris English qualified for the US Open on Monday and there are two schools of thought as to how that can affect golfers playing just three days later. A long day of 36 holes can drain them and leave them tired and unprepared for the week ahead or, the conflicting argument, that the confidence and excitement about playing at Erin Hills will leave them freewheeling and they can continue to build on the good golf they played. I don’t think there is a hard and fast rule by any means but English really hasn’t had a lot to sing about lately without a top 10 since November. So having finished 29th on his last PGA Tour start it looked like he was maybe beginning to turn a corner and that looks even more likely after shooting 65-68 to comfortably qualify in T2nd. They were the lowest back-to-back rounds he had put together in over a year.

English also ranked 21st for GIR and 7th in scrambling at Colonial and that is exactly what is required when small, well protected greens come into play like we have this week at Southwind. English is a former winner around TPC Southwind and generally he performs well on courses with small greens. English plays with a towering fade which means his approach shots will generally land softly on smaller greens so it makes sense that he would have an advantage on such layouts. Both the courses that hosted his sectional qualifying have small, bermuda greens also so the preparation will have been ideal and they are also in the Memphis area so he won’t have had to travel far.

The wide fairways here won’t penalise the erratic driving we have seen from him this year and while the odds of 80/1 could be bigger, I’m willing to take a chance that this proven winner is rounding back into the form that saw him reach as high as No. 36 in the world.

I’m struggling to see any other interesting angles in this week so I’m going to go with another who qualified from the same courses as English and that is Chez Reavie. Reavie is a very accurate player who ranks 2nd in proximity to the hole and also scrambles with the best of them so this course should suit him on paper and his finishes here are fairly respectable. They are also trending in the right direction as he followed his missed cut in 2011 with a 27th in 2013 and then a 12th in 2015. If he keeps that two year progression going then he will contend this year!

Reavie is even more speculative than English as he really hasn’t done much at all for a few months but I’m hoping he can push on from Monday’s rounds of 67 and 66 which again are a huge improvement on what he has been doing lately. Luckily we are also getting a speculative price about Reavie though as he is a general 150/1 shot.

One other dart for me this week and that is Tom Hoge who is sitting 3rd in scrambling over the last 3 months. Hoge is actually in his 3rd year on Tour but so far things have been very low profile for him, seldom worrying too many leaderboards. But he does have some solid form at TPC Southwind (34th and 12th) and therefore I think there is a little bit of value in his odds of 250/1.


Lyoness Open

A miserable field became even more miserable with the withdrawal of Chris Wood but on the plus side we do have a solid bank of course form to look at with the Diamond Country Club having hosted since 2010.

A poor field would often be the chance for an up and coming maiden to get over the line but that hasn’t actually been the case at Diamond Country Club so far. All seven of the champions here had already tasted success on the European Tour before and the average time since their previous win was about 3 years.

The 7344 yard layout is one that immediately stands out against the other courses we see on European soil throughout the season. It has all the hallmarks of a PGA Tour course with lush green fairways and greens winding through lots of water hazards and white bunkers. This gives a suggestion of a typical target golf test and while that is maybe true to an extent, the course is quite exposed to the wind so links players have also thrived.

These have both been borne out in the results as most of the winners have been proven wind players that regularly hit a high number of greens. That will be my main plan of attack this week but given how well the course links worked out last week I will have a little look at that angle too. Bernd Wiesberger and Joost Luiten have both thrived on the layout in recent times and when on their game there aren’t many who hit more greens in Europe. They both tee it up again this year but Wiesberger does so as the very restrictive looking 9/2 favourite while Luiten hasn’t been having the best of seasons. Both can easily be left alone at the prices even if Wiesberger should really win comfortably if he plays anything close to his best.

Tom Lewis sits 3rd in GIR over the last 6 months and that immediately got me looking at him. He has struggled since his first win back in 2011 but it is important to remember he is still only 26. He isn’t the first Open Championship Leading Amateur to struggle a little as a pro and I’m sure he regularly takes inspiration from Justin Rose’s career. The 2013 US Open winner took 4 years to win after turning pro and struggled with missed cut after missed cut. Lewis managed to win on just his 3rd professional start but he has faced similar troubles since then.

However things have been slowly starting to look better for Lewis and he has made his last 5 cuts, also 8 out of his last 10. That is probably the most consistent period of his professional career and it is no coincidence that it has come along once he started hitting a high number of greens again. Lewis also fits in nicely to the profile of the previous winners at DCC as he is a European Tour winner with a bit of class who is rounding into some form and there isn’t too much to beat here. The price of 66/1 isn’t amazing for someone without a top 5 since Nov 2015 but he also has some strong course form of 26th-30th-10th and it feels like things have aligned nicely here for him this week.

As soon as I started my research this week I was keen to back Gregory Bourdy here but there wasn’t much to like about his opening price of 18/1. For a player of his talent he has often struggled to get over the line and really isn’t someone who makes a lot of appeal at such a low price, no matter how poor the opposition. But he is in great form and seems to play well at most courses where Wiesberger and Luiten also play well. Just 4 weeks ago at Genzon Club when Wiesberger was winning for the 4th time, Bourdy was 3rd and he is also a winner at Celtic Manor where Luiten has a win and a runner-up finish. But the main reason I can’t pass up the 18/1 is that he has finished 6th at this very course the last two years, confirming that it suits his accurate game. You certainly won’t ever get rich backing Bourdy at these prices but sometimes we have to move the goal posts a little to allow for field strength. Ultimately, in this field, only Joost Luiten and Jimenez have more European Tour titles to their name than Bourdy and he is in better form than both of them. I’m going to have a little 1pt ew interest. Bourdy has now been pushed out to 22/1 in places and that is a far more appealing price.

Zander Lombard finished 5th here last year and was seen losing in a play-off just three weeks ago in Sicily. There is nothing more complex to the pick than that and given how obvious he is I really thought he would be shorter than 50/1. I’m not complaining though as it gives us a nice bit of value for the up and coming South African on his 2nd look at the course.

With several very hard Par 3s that are tucked into the line of the water hazards, strong par 3 scoring will also be a huge advantage this week so I’m going to have a top 20 bet on Chris Hanson. He has a very accurate tee-to-green game and currently ranks 1st in Par 3 scoring over the last 6 months and 26th in total accuracy. Hanson was also 10th here last year.

Ben Evans also looks worthy of a top 20 bet this week as he is another accurate sort with form at a few key courses. Joost Luiten’s last win was the KLM Open around a new host course called The Dutch. Wiesberger was runner-up that week and just two places further back was Evans. He has made his last 5 cuts with the best finish in that period being a 6th place in Portugal. Evans has played the course twice before to little effect but there is no question he has improved a lot this year as he sits 14th in the all-round ranking over the last 3 months.


Summary of Bets

Fed-Ex St Jude

Harris English – 0.75pt ew @ 80/1

Chez Reavie – 0.5 pt ew @ 150/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 5/1

Tom Hoge – 0.25 pt ew @ 250/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 15/2

Lyoness Open

Gregory Bourdy – 1pt ew @ 22/1

Tom Lewis – 0.75 pts ew @ 66/1

Zander Lombard – 0.75pts ew @ 50/1

Chris Hanson – 1pt Top 20 @ 9/2

Ben Evans – 1pt Top 20 @ 9/2

 

Weekly pts advised = 12pts

Total 2017 pts advised = 261pts

@theGreek82