Hero World Challenge, Mauritius Open and Australian PGA – Betting Preview

Aaron Rai brilliantly led from start to finish in Hong Kong to give us a much-needed 66/1 winner. I couldn’t quite believe how well he played particularly over the weekend with such a quality chasing pack. It was an impressive way to get his first win in such a famous event with Fitzpatrick, Fleetwood, Garcia and Cabrera-Bello all in behind and each one with no excuses.

Denmark nabbed a share of 4th place in the World Cup to give us a very small return and the blog is back in profit for 2018! But only just. It gives us some money to play with this week though as again we have multiple tournaments from around the world. Looking at how many of the fancied runners placed last week and how close the treble came to landing the each way money, I’ll be considering similar bets again this week.

2018 pts advised= 483.50

2018 pts returned = 495.73

ROI = 2.53%


Hero World Challenge

With the whole field of 18 men ranging in price from just 8/1 to 40/1 this has the feeling of being an absolute minefield where any of the players could legitimately win. Even the very head of the market is extremely tight with 8 golfers sitting between 8/1 and 12/1. The sensible outcome of a quick look at the event would be “no bet” but that’s not a whole lot of fun and probably not what anyone wants to hear! So we may as well have a deeper look and see if we can find anything of interest.

The Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas hosts for the 4th year in a row now so we have 3 years of event form to pour over. Unfortunately another negative is that there are no stats for any of those given it isn’t an official PGA Tour event. So all we can really go on is the type of player that has won here and what makes the course suitable, together with having a look to see if there is a trend with motivation for all the event winners. An end of season December jolly to the Bahamas doesn’t stand out as one of the most important events to be winning so plenty of the field will be enjoying it for exactly what it is. Several of the field however will be looking to lay down a marker for 2019 having had a poor year on Tour by their standards.

If we look at the 3 winners at Albany, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson, there appears to be some sort of link with TPC Scottsdale and the Phoenix Open. Matsuyama has won the Phoenix Open twice, Fowler lost in a play-off to Matsuyama and also finished runner-up in 2010 while Bubba finished runner-up in 2014 and 2015. The courses perhaps aren’t all that similar but on both courses the winner tends to have performed very well on the Par 5s. That makes sense at Albany with five of the longer holes but Scottsdale only has 3. Further similarities might be that both sets of greens have a tifeagle bermuda base and run rather fast for regular PGA Tour surfaces so they reward well struck approach shots, something that Fowler, Matsuyama and Bubba excel at when on their game. They are also both courses where driving distance is a big advantage.

This has thrown up my only bet in the event and that is this year’s Phoenix Open winner Gary Woodland. He is a big hitter having ranked 7th in driving distance last year and few play the Par 5s better on a regular basis. This year so far he ranks 14th in par 5 scoring average while his rankings the last 3 years read 9-24-7. Woodland also arrives in decent form with a run of 5-2-10 prior to a 41st at the Mayakoba last time out. He closed that with a 65 on Sunday however and he will be relishing his first start here in the Bahamas after a 2 week break. Woodland has already shown in his career that he is comfortable playing outside the US with a strong record in Malaysia’s CIMB Classic as well as a World Cup win in China alongside Matt Kuchar.  Both those events take place in the last quarter of the year too so he clearly still has motivation at this time of year. It won’t be easy to win in this field but at least we are getting a nice price about someone who should enjoy the test and can easily contend at this elite level.

While Fowler is a very short price and surely can’t be considered for singles, his record at the course makes him a very solid pick for accumulator bets this week.


Mauritius Open

This is the 4th edition of the Mauritius Open since it had European Tour status but with it moving every 2nd year it is just the 2nd at the Four Seasons Golf Club at Anahita. It is a long Ernie Els designed course that can play to some 7500 yards if required and the fairways are very wide. The challenge tends to be the greens as they are rather undulating with lots of run-offs, hillocks, bunkers and even stone dykes protecting them! Els always enjoyed the imagination required around links courses so it is to be expected that he would replicate that test around his greens. 2016 winner Wang and runner-up Rahman both got up and down brilliantly all week to rank 5th and 3rd in scrambling. The course is also right by the sea so if the wind blows as it did in 2016 there will be plenty greens being missed. Therefore solid approach play and a sharp short game look to be the route to success at the Four Season GC.

Last year’s winner Dylan Frittelli (Heritage GC) returns to defend as a 10/1 favourite and that tells you quite a lot about the calibre of the field. Frittelli is a very exciting prospect but he isn’t someone who deserves to be backed to win a golf tournament at those odds. To be honest the same could be said about most of those at the top of the market with Mattias Schwab the 3rd favourite at around 22/1. Not only has he not won on Tour but he hasn’t even really properly contended in an event despite his lofty reputation and a consistent season. Bernd Wiesberger returns after some 6 months out through injury so he can probably be left out on grounds of being a little rusty. George Coetzee would normally be included in the blog on a week like this especially at 25/1 but he hasn’t had the best of years and only finished 27th here in 2016 when in better form. Again this had me looking further down the market to find some each way interest where a place will pay more than a Frittelli win. That makes a lot of sense in an event like this and I have found three nice looking bets.

Jaco Van Zyl was one of the first names to jump out at me this week. Partly because he has hardly played this year due to a wrist injury but also due to his good record at both of the other courses which Wang has won at; the Trophee Hassan and the Qatar Masters. Van Zyl was 2nd in Qatar just this year while he also has a runner-up and a 3rd at the Trophee Hassan. At his best the South African journeyman is a supremely consistent ball-striker with an effortlessly smooth swing. But he seems to always get in the way of himself when it comes to winning, be it mentally or poor putting when it matters. However 2018 has very much been the year of both the overdue win and the comeback win. Van Zyl is a 14 time winner on the Sunshine Tour so he is definitely more comfortable in these parts and at exactly the same age as Charles Howell III and Richard McEvoy, he could well take inspiration from their success. He made his first start since wrist surgery in August but to limited success. However he stopped a run of missed cuts last time out when finished 10th on the Sunshine Tour. He has had another month off to rest his wrist further since then so I’m hoping he is ready to go this week. He was 12th here in 2016 and if he is anywhere close to full fitness then he looks a fantastic bet at 80/1.

Clement Sordet was another of the first names on the short list purely because he is listed on the European Tour website as being based at the other Mauritius host course the Heritage Club. So I figured he must spend a fair bit of time down on the island and has probably played this course quite a few times. But my confidence was boosted when I realised he finished 8th at Q-School to gain a full European Tour card last month. I figured he must be in decent form but then Ben Coley pointed out in his preview that Sordet and Langasque actually won a PR doubles event at this course over the weekend. So the Frenchman is clearly very comfortable down here and probably even has his own place. He isn’t a player I know a whole lot about just yet but he is a 4-time winner on the Challenge Tour and he came 16th at Walton Heath which was a very strong field on a tough layout.  Looking at his stats he is pretty capable in most departments but doesn’t always manage to put the whole game together on any given week. In a more relaxed environment without a Tour card to worry about this could be a big week for him.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano has been in the golfing wilderness for the last 4 or 5 years, losing his game at almost exactly the same time he left for the PGA Tour. It is what most golfers on the European Tour will dream of ultimately and it was a shame how things worked out for the likeable Spaniard. He had just begun to assert himself as a European Tour heavyweight when he upped sticks so having lost his playing rights in the US he will be keen to make a mark back on the European Tour. He has had mixed results so far in the 7 events since he returned but the pick of the bunch was his 5th at Valderrama last month. It is always a difficult course with a winning score in line with Wang’s -6 score here in 2016. Gonzo has always been a brilliant ball-striker and wind player but was sometimes let down by his short game. So it is particularly interesting that he leads the Tour in scrambling over the last 3 months. I’m expecting a decent week for a player who has never finished outside the top 26 on his four trips to Africa.


Australian PGA

We noticed last week just how much the cream rises to the top of the leaderboard in events at this time of the year and nobody needs me to tell them that Cameron Smith, Marc Leishman and Royal Pine course horse Harold Varner III are three solid favourites in Australia this week. I will probably look at including all 3 in some fun accumulators this week but they don’t really appeal as singles given it is quite hard to pick between them. Smith and Leishman both played brilliantly last week in Melbourne while Harold Varner III arrives in very solid form and boasts course figures of 2-1-6.

So it’s just the one each way bet and that is last year’s play-off loser Jordan Zunic. He is a young Aussie still based on the PGA of Australasia Tour but he showed what he is capable of in this company last year when he put his home Tour knowledge to good use. He led the field that week in putting so he obviously enjoys the greens here. Zunic also won along the road in Brisbane just three weeks ago so he looks a little bit over priced here at 66/1.

I wanted to have another go at an each way treble here and I’m liking Harold Varner III and Rickie Fowler given they both have rock solid course form and are both playing well. But there is no such pick at the top of the market in Mauritius. So instead I’m going to take a leap of faith that Bernd Wiesberger might just be fit enough to contend here. At his best he would probably be a 9/1 favourite in this field so I’m going take that potential value and cross my fingers.


Summary of bets

Hero World Challenge

Gary Woodland – 1pt ew @ 33/1 (1/5 odds 4 places)

Mauritius Open

Jaco Van Zyl – 0.75pt ew @ 80/1 (1/5 odds 6 places general)

Clement Sordet – 0.75pt ew @ 80/1 (1/5 odds 6 places Sky bet)

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – 0.75pt ew @ 66/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Australian PGA

Jordan Zunic – 0.75pt ew @ 66/1 (1/5 odds 6 places Sky bet)

Other bets

Rickie Fowler, Harold Varner III and Bernd Wiesberger – 0.5pts ew treble @ 2519/1

Weekly pts advised = 9pts

 

@theGreek82

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CareerBuilder Challenge and Abu Dhabi Championship 2018 – Betting Preview

I’m still so annoyed at not backing him that I’m not even going to talk about Chris Paisley’s win. Straight on to this week.

In the U.S we have the CareerBuilder Challenge while the European Tour starts its Middle East Swing with the Abu Dhabi Championship.

2018 pts advised = 9 pts

2018 pts returned = 0 pts


CareerBuilder Challenge

The PGA Tour heads north to California this week for the multi-course, pro-am format of the CareerBuilder Challenge. In its 3rd edition since the name change from the Humana, the current courses on rotation are also in place for the 3rd time. They are the PGA West Stadium Course, PGA West Nicklaus Course and La Quinta Country Club. With everyone making the cut playing a final round at the PGA West Stadium course it is perhaps the most relevant course although the characteristics of all three are similar.

The Stadium course is a Pete Dye design and so far form on his courses has been the best pointer for the event. It found me David Lingmerth in 2016, who was one of the most unlucky runner-ups you will see in golf, and Dufner who beat him had already won at TPC Louisiana while also owning a 6th at Sawgrass. Last year’s winner Hudson Swafford had limited experience of Dye courses but he had shot 66 on his very first round at Sawgrass and proximity to the hole is his main strength.

Courses of Dye’s that are currently on rotation are TPC Sawgrass (The Players Championship), Harbour Town (RBC Heritage), TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic), Crooked Stick (2012 & 2016 BMW Championship) and Whistling Straits (2010 & 2015 US PGA Championships).

All the greens are bermuda so those who putt well on the surface should be respected but ultimately any event that Dufner can win obviously can’t have the most difficult of greens. The short stuff at PGA West certainly doesn’t have the undulations we see at Dye’s Sawgrass so expect everyone to be holing putts. That is perhaps even more likely in the pro-am format where flags aren’t likely to be hidden away until perhaps Sunday. The greens are also on the larger side for a Dye course therefore this event is usually all about proximity to the hole and getting as many makeable birdie putts as possible.

The players at the front of the market all look to have a great chance of playing well but there isn’t a lot of value around with Reed and Harman looking short enough at sub 20/1. Chez Reavie has the game for the course and while he is a player that I like, you won’t see too many worse prices this season than his 40/1. Instead I’m happy to look a look a little further down the betting.

I’m probably going to continue to back David Lingmerth in this event every time he is 50/1+ providing he isn’t playing like an 18 handicapper at the time. His game is perfect for short Dye courses and when he is putting well he can be deadly from the all important 10ft-20ft range that we will see so much of this week. His scrambling skills are also impressive should the greens firm up and become less receptive over the weekend. He hasn’t been seen yet this season but he signed off 2017 in decent nick with a 17th at the RSM Classic where the test is similar. We know he likes the event having lost a play-off to Dufner two years ago and I’d expect him to arrive looking to make amends for that unlucky defeat where he did nothing wrong.

Scott Brown looks a little over priced here considering he was runner-up in the team event (Zurich Classic) at Dye’s TPC of Louisiana course in May last year. The rest of his season involved mixed results but that included a 5th and a 6th as well as his best ever Major result as he finished 13th at the US PGA in August. Brown missed the cut here two years ago but on that occasion he was making his first start of the season whereas this time he has already played in Hawaii. It wasn’t the best of performances but he did make the cut and I think he should be suited to this event as he thrives on shorter courses where accuracy is favoured over power. He isn’t a player that you can ever be too confident backing but I’d make him more of a 100/1 shot so I believe we are getting some value if nothing else.

Derek Fathauer is my stock outsider at Dye courses and while he will probably miss the cut I think his liking for the designer’s courses at least makes him a little bit of value at a huge 400/1. I’m not suggesting a big play by any means as he didn’t have the greatest of 2017s but there were two Top 10s in his last 8 events of the year. Fathauer won the Web.com Tour Championship around the Dye Valley course at Sawgrass in 2014 and also finished 9th the following year. He was also 17th on his only appearance at The Players Championship. Despite missing his last cut of the year at the RSM Classic he hit 72% of his greens which was a big improvement on his numbers before hand. Worth a small interest.


Abu Dhabi Championship

Link to Golf Family preview;

https://thegolffamily.com/abu-dhabi-hsbc-championsip-preview/

 


Summary of Bets

CareerBuilder

David Lingmerth – 1pt ew @ 66/1 (1-7 places 1/5 odds several places)

Scott Brown – 0.5pt ew @ 150/1 (1-7 places 1/5 odds Coral)

Derek Fathauer – 0.25pt ew @ 400/1 (1-7 places 1/5 odds Coral)

Abu Dhabi Championship

Matt Kuchar – 1.5pts ew @ 33/1 (1-7 places at 1/5 odds Coral)

Jordan Smith – 0.5pts ew @ 150/1 (1-6 places at 1/5 odds Skybet and William Hill)

Jordan Smith – 2pts Top 20 @ 9/2

Jamie Donaldson – 0.5pts ew @ 150/1 (1-7 places at 1/5 odds Coral)

Jamie Donaldson – 1pt Top 20 @ 5/1

 

Weekly pts advised = 11.5pts

Total 2018 pts advised = 20.5pts

@theGreek82

Memorial and Nordea Masters – Betting Preview

Another Sunday, another week of my picks tumbling down the leaderboard. Great fun.

What made matters worse was Kevin Kisner (tipped for Dean and Deluca last year and 11 times in total!) won in Texas in the evening albeit at the slightly restrictive price of 25/1. While his chance was obvious I still hadn’t forgiven him for his awful Sunday round at Harbour Town last month. But given that I had been waiting for his 2nd win it is annoying to miss out, especially as he is probably one of the few players who I’m still in profit on.

Total 2017 pts advised = 233 pts

Total 2017 pts returned = 130.97 pts

ROI =  -43.79pts

Two decent events this week and another chance to turn things around. The Memorial on the PGA and the Nordea Masters in Europe.


Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village was opened in 1976 and has hosted The Memorial Tournament ever since producing an impressive roll call of winners. The course itself is 7337 Yards long and the fairways are of average width. There isn’t too much immediate trouble barring some lush green rough and it is very much a typical Nicklaus course as it is all about the approach shots and then what you do on and around the greens.

It has been a little while since I tipped top 10 money machine Matt Kuchar to win a tournament but lately he has looked like he is ready to win again and where better than Muirfield where he won in 2013. Accurate long iron approach play, good scrambling, par 4 scoring and steady putting are all hallmarks of Kuchar’s ultra consistent golf game. Without a win since 2014, Kuchar’s form took a little blip but so far in 2017 he has looked a lot like the Matty of old. He ranks 9th in scrambling, 14th in par 4 scoring and 41st in GIR.

The trouble with Kuchar isn’t trying to pick where he will play well, it is more so that it can be hard to get him inside the top 5 rather than the top 10. On his last 3 appearances on Jack Nicklaus designed courses he has finished 9th, 4th and 7th. After a back door 12th last week where only three men played the weekend lower he looks primed for a contending performance on one of his favourite courses.

I’m going to split stakes though so we still see a return should he finish in the all too familiar 6th-10th zone. I’m going 1pt ew and 2pts Top 10.

Brian Harman doesn’t have the greatest of records around Memorial but it should suit him and he looks over priced after winning just four weeks ago on a similar course at Eagle Point Golf Club. He won that with a solid approach game backed up by a brilliant short game display and that is what is required on a Jack Nicklaus layout. His course record isn’t a worry as his game has never been better and he got back to business nicely last week when finishing 7th at Colonial.

Harman ranks 25th for scrambling, 9th in Par 4 scoring, 30th in bogey avoidance and 21st in scoring relative to par on approaches from over 200 yards. The slight worry is that he doesn’t hit the sort of high numbers of greens that is usually required around Muirfield Village but given his short game form I think he is over priced here.

There are three others that I quite like this week, Patrick Cantlay, Sung-Hoon Kang and Ricky Barnes. I’m going to back Cantlay to win and the two others for a top 20.

Cantlay ranks 11th in GIR, 3rd in par 4 scoring and 7th in the all-round ranking. He is making his debut but I think he looks very well suited to Muirfield Village. Cantlay has been very impressive so far in 2017 having not finished outside the top 48 in his 6 appearances and returning a runner-up and 3rd place finish. He appears to have turned the corner following a tragic 2016 in which he witnessed his caddie and friend being killed in a hit and run. With a full PGA Tour  card secured again he is expected to go from strength to strength this year and hopefully he can contend here. The price isn’t fantastic for a non-winner but only Jon Rahm has spent longer as world amateur no. 1 and he looks to be able to play a bit!

Kang is a very solid stats pick this week and while he is making his debut he is having a brilliant 2017 so far finishing 6th at the Texas Open and 2nd at the Houston Open. Both those were a result of solid GIR and scrambling numbers which is the perfect combo here. He ranks 38th in GIR, 20th in scrambling, 9th in par 4 scoring and 12th in the all-round ranking. Surely over priced a little at 9/2 for a top 20.

Ricky Barnes is a bit of a phenomenon in that he can appear from nowhere on a leaderboard, usually in a rather high profile event on a proper golf course. Barnes is a former runner-up here and he goes well on Nicklaus courses in general having finished 5th and 11th on his last two efforts around Glen Abbey in Cananda. Barnes shot an opening 75 last week before going onto play the last three rounds better than everyone bar Spieth and Stricker. Odds of 11/1 for a top 20 look massive.


Nordea Masters

The Nordea Masters returns to Barseback Golf Club for the first time since 2009. It was a regular stop from the 1990s up to that point so there is a fair bit of course form albeit rather dated.

It is a fairly long course and can play up to 7729 yards with a combination of links style  and woodland holes. Visually that suggests it has similarities with Gleneagles, Celtic Manor and even last week’s Wentworth. I have written before about how form at Crans ties in well with Gleneagles and Celtic Manor while the Doha Golf Club, home of the Qatar Masters is another that looks relevant this week. Indeed the last winner here, Ricardo Gonzalez is a former winner at Crans, he also lost a play-off at Gleneagles, finished 4th at Celtic Manor and 4th at the Qatar Masters.

Marc Warren won the previous running in 2006 and he was won at Gleneagles, finished runner-up in Qatar, runner-up at Wentworth, 4th at Celtic Manor and 4th at Crans.

Luke Donald was the winner here in 2004 and he is a double winner at Wentworth, he has won around Crans and finished 3rd at Celtic Manor (as well as scoring 3pts there at the Ryder Cup).

2003 winner Adam Scott has won twice in Qatar and once at Gleneagles. Even going further back 2001 winner Colin Montgomerie has won around Crans and Wentworth, 1997 winner Joakim Haeggmann has won in Qatar, 1993 winner Jesper Parnevik at Gleneagles and 1992 winner Nick Faldo at Wentworth and Crans.

They all putted and scrambled very well during their win and those appear to be the standout attributes this week at Barseback. On exposed layouts, greens are very often missed and we see great scramblers thrive year after year on links layouts. They also all ranked very high on the par 3s which suggests they are maybe a fairly easy set of par 3s to hit with big greens where the better putters will prosper. The greens are also some of the faster on the European Tour which again will disadvantage those poorer with the flat stick.

Driving accuracy hasn’t been overly important in the past and despite several of the holes being tree-lined, the fairways are wide enough and the rough hasn’t been too penal in the past. Although we don’t know how it will be set up this week it is fair to assume they won’t venture too far from the set-up that saw the course prove very popular with players in the past.

Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren both have a very good record at most of the key courses listed especially the latter who has won at Celtic Manor, Crans and now Wentworth. I think they are both rightly single figure prices here and I think they will be hard to beat. Noren has proven in the last year just what he is capable of when he is fit and while the price of 8/1 is probably fair and we know he can go back to back, I think the enormity of winning the Tour’s flagship event may prevent us from seeing him at his best. As brilliant as Stenson is he has proven a costly player to follow at single figure prices and despite this being his home course I think he can be left out given his mixed course form.

The trouble with opposing two world-class, proven winners is that as well as finding someone suited to the course, we need to know they are capable of winning in what is a relatively strong field for the European Tour these days.

At his best Bradley Dredge was a multiple winner on Tour and he has a very solid bank of form at all the relevant courses this week. Dredge is a former winner around Crans, he was runner-up at Gleneagles, 4th in Qatar and he has also been 2nd twice at the visually similar Himmerland Golf Course where Marc Warren has won.

He played well for three rounds last week at Wentworth before a disappointing 4th round. Dredge has plenty length off the tee to cope with Barseback and despite not having played fantastically here before, he has played the course 4 times and made three cuts. The course should really suit this brilliant putter and he proved on Monday when qualifying for the US Open that his first three rounds at Wentworth were no fluke. With confidence high I’m expecting a good showing from the experienced Welshman.

George Coetzee is a favourite of the blog and I have mentioned several times what a great scrambler and putter he is on fast, links type courses. He hasn’t contended too much so far this year but he has been putting well as is to be expected. His driving has actually been a lot more consistent so far this year and it appears that he is trying to cut out the big numbers that we associate with the South African. Again he has some solid form at a couple of the key courses, he lost a play-off at Gleneagles in 2011 and has also been runner-up in Qatar. He currently ranks 2nd in birdie average and also 15th in driving distance so the long course will suit. Coetzee knows how to get over the winning line with three European Tour wins and he looks ready to add a 4th. This is a strong field but that is reflected in the odds of 50/1.

There were a few more that I could have included in the outright but with results having been poor lately I’m keen to try to persist with Top 20s as an alternative.

Marcel Siem has some of the best course form on show in this field as he finished 4th in 2006 and 8th in 2004. That was a long time ago but there have been recent signs that this 4 time winner may be finding his game again. He finished 8th two weeks ago in Italy but was let down by his putter. I’m not sure that he can contend if he is putting poorly but his course experience can help him continue along the comeback trail with another top 20.

Joakim Lagergren and Alexander Bjork are two young Swedes who both have brilliant short games. They will be looking to impress on home soil and this could be a good course for them. Lagergren finished runner-up this year at the Qatar Masters but went a little off the boil after that. He still sits 22nd in birdie average though and he can be expected to play well on any course that favours putters. His best results on Tour have all been on links type layouts with a 4th in the Alfred Dunhill Links last year and a 5th at the Made In Denmark on the Himmerland Course.

Alexander Bjork ranked 3rd for scrambling at Wentworth and 9th for putting along the way to finishing 14th. Only Tanihara and winner Noren had a better combination of short game stats and more of the same this week will surely see him crack the top 20 again.


Summary of Bets

Memorial

Matt Kuchar – 1pt ew @ 33/1 and 2pts Top 10 @ 3/1

Brian Harman – 0.5pt ew @ 75/1

Sung-Hoon Kang – 2pts Top 20 @ 9/2

Ricky Barnes – 1pt Top 20 @ 11/1

Patrick Cantlay – 0.5pt ew @ 50/1

Nordea Masters

Bradley Dredge – 1pt ew @ 80/1

George Coetzee – 1pt ew @ 50/1

Marcel Siem – 1pt Top 20 @ 15/2

Joakim Lagergren – 1pt Top 20 @ 8/1

Alexander Bjork – 1pt Top 20 @ 4/1

Weekly pts advised – 16pts

Total 2017 pts advised – 249pts

@theGreek82

Byron Nelson and Rocce Forte Open – Betting Preview

Si-Woo Kim ran out a very deserving if very surprise winner at The Players Championsip. It was clear he had talent when he got his first win last summer at The Wyndham but his form this year had been nothing short of terrible. It transpired that he had been playing with an injury most of the year however which explains a lot. I guess in hindsight the 1000.0 that was matched on Betfair is far too high a price for such a talented young player but ultimately it throws the whole golf betting game into disarray if we start ignoring the fundamentals. For next year I think it is safe to look at it as a bit of an anomaly in terms of form and stats but as ever it probably pays to heed the often repeated line “beware the injured golfer!”.

Even in an awful tournament like the Open De Portugal I managed to find a way of picking 6th place and that was extremely annoying as he raced to his finishing score through just 6 holes. One shot better would have returned the place money.

Another tough week means the results aren’t looking any better.

Total 2017 pts advised – 213

Total 2017 pts returned – 130.97

ROI = -38.5%

I’m low on time and confidence this week so I’m not getting too involved with a long preview and I will keep stakes low.


Byron Nelson Championship

Last year I wrote about a suspected course link between the Atlanta Athletic Club, host of the 2011 US PGA, and the TPC Las Colinas course here in Irving, Texas. Four of the top 7 players on that PGA Leaderboard are winners of the Byron Nelson and last year’s winner Garcia was 12th at that same US PGA. I’m going to stick with that approach to have a few speculative punts on some outsiders.

The 2014 US Amateur Championship was also held at the Atlanta Athletic Club and I’m going with the two players who shot the joint lowest round of 68 in their qualifying round at the Highlands Course; C.T. Pan and Robby Shelton.

C.T. Pan finished 2nd around Torrey Pines on his debut which was somewhat overshadowed by Rahm winning on his debut. But that was some effort and while he has gone off the boil a little lately he actually hit a fan in the face with the ball at the Honda Classic. Incidents like that can affect a player and it may have taken a little time to get over it. He has missed his last few cuts but given such a strong course link he looks worth a little dabble at 250/1. After all he is ranked 150th in the world and he is priced up here with a group of players outside the top 300.

Robby Shelton is another young player finding his feet on Tour but he already has a 3rd place finish from when he was an amateur in 2015. But just last month he finished 16th in Texas and he looks a decent price at 175/1 given his lofty reputation.

D.A. Points returned to form when winning in Puerto Rico in March before missing a few cuts but he bounced back again two weeks ago with a 12th in the Wells Fargo. It’s easy to think of him as a bit of a journeyman but with 7 professional wins (3 PGA Tour) he knows how to get the job done. Points was 10th at the 2011 US PGA and at odds of 200/1 the bookmakers seem to have quickly forgotten about his win this year.

With three outsiders I’m also going to include a more favoured runner in Jason Dufner, who enjoys shorter Par 70 layouts and is a former winner here. He has been performing well on the par 4s all year and ranks 7th in Par 4 scoring. He actually somehow ranks 47th in strokes gained: putting too which suggests win number 5 might not be too far away.


Rocce Forte Open

The Sicilian Open returns in everything but name this week and it also sees the European Tour back at Verdura Golf Course in Sicily after it hosted the last running in 2012. Some changes have been made but it still looks a lot like it did 5 years ago when Thorbjorn Olesen claimed his maiden win. It is practically a links course which seems a little strange for Italy but some of the pictures show it running along the coast and most of the descriptions reference a links style layout. The designer was Kyle Phillips who is responsible for several of the modern links courses we see on Tour including Kingsbarns and PGA National in Sweden.

Chris Paisley doesn’t immediately strike me as a player favoured to Links golf but he looks a very good price here. His best finish of the season was a 13th in Qatar which is actually a course where Olesen has finished 2nd and Chris Wood, who chased Olesen home here in 2012, has won. Branden Grace is also a two-time winner there and he holds the course record at Kingsbarns which compounds the link. Paisley also has a 13th around PGA National in Sweden and while it may be a slightly tenuous link, Paisley hasn’t missed a cut since January and this isn’t the deepest of fields.

Eduardo De La Riva has some sneaky links form and he has been on my radar for links tests ever since his 15th around Muirfield in very tough conditions. Since then he has a 2nd around Kennemer Links in Holland and a 3rd at the windy Portugal Masters. He had been struggling this season until last time out in China when he finished 14th and he ranked 5th for driving accuracy and 9th for GIR. Very speculative but it looks like that sort of tournament.


Summary of Bets

Byron Nelson

Jason Dufner – 1pt ew @ 40/1

C.T. Pan – 0.5pt ew @ 250/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 9/1

Robby Shelton – 0.5pt ew @ 175/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 13/2

D.A. Points – 0.5pt ew @ 200/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 7/1

Rocco Forte Open

Chris Paisley – 0.5pt ew @ 100/1

Eduardo De La Riva – 0.5pt ew @ 125/1

Weekly points advised = 10pts

Total 2017 pts advised = 223pts

@theGreek82

Wells Fargo Championship and GolfSixes – Betting Preview

There was a fairly obvious winner in Alexander Levy last week who had been playing well without quite contending over the last month or so. Julien Quesne played well and while he didn’t manage to get a full top 20 his finish of T18th did provide some small returns on the week.

On the PGA Tour while Cameron Smith has been playing well of late his partner Jonas Blixt hasn’t been doing much so they were a bit more of a surprise winner in the new team format at the Zurich Classic. I didn’t see a great deal so I’m not sure how much of a success it was but the players all seemed to enjoy it even if golf fans and punters struggled to get onboard.

This week it is another difficult one with a course change for the Wells Fargo due to Quail Hollow hosting the US PGA later in the year and another kooky format on the European Tour with the “Golf Sixes”. Neither look like fantastic betting heats so I may not get too involved.

Total 2017 pts advised = 191

Total 2017 pts returned = 130.97

ROI = -31.43%

 


Wells Fargo Championship

The new course this week is Eagle Point in North Carolina and like the normal host course Quail Hollow, it is a Tom Fazio design. Nobody knows a great deal about it with it being new to the Tour but PGA Tour pro Zac Blair was tweeting photos from the course over the weekend so his twitter is worth a follow for pictures of the course.

With very little to go on I have focussed on form on other Tom Fazio designed courses. One of his trademarks is difficult green complexes so with wide enough looking fairways and perfect bentgrass greens I think the better putters may be at a slight advantage this week.

Daniel Berger has been threatening to get his second win lately and I think this course should suit him. The fairways appear wide and forgiving so approach shots and short game will be more key than driving this week and that will suit Berger. He is currently 19th in strokes gained:putting for the season but as high as 3rd in total putting over the last three months. He also sits 24th in scrambling and has a runner-up finish at another Fazio design at the Honda Classic.

Berger has shown in the past that he can adapt quickly to new courses as his 10th place at Augusta on his Masters debut and his 16th place finish in the WGC Mexico testify. You could argue that 33/1 was a little on the skinny side but when you look at the depth of the field you can see it isn’t fantastic and he is the world number 38 with a win under his belt already at 24.

Zac Blair looks worth a small interest given how excited he appears by the course. Not all pros care as much about the appearance and details of every course but before Blair took so many photos of his rounds at Eagle Point he is obviously a scholar of golf course design. With very little to go on I think it is fair to assume the advantage that he will get from being so prepared will help him out play his odds of 250/1. Blair has been putting very well lately, ranks 2nd on Tour for scrambling and has played well on windy courses before.

I wasn’t sure about including Zach Johnson as he hasn’t played that well so far in 2017 but he does have a history of performing on Tom Fazio courses. Johnson won the BMW Championship at Fazio’s Conway Farms in 2013 and he finished 8th at Oakmont in last year’s US Open. Fazio reworked Oakmont prior to the 2007 edition and it famously has some of the toughest greens in the world. Even if Johnson’s long game isn’t quite where he wants it to be, this short game wizard looks over priced at 80/1.


Golf Sixes

This is another new venture from The European Tour and much like the new event in Perth earlier in the year it has had a fair amount of criticism already. I think it could be quite a fun event again however as I enjoyed the Perth Super 6 event.

Having said that though it really doesn’t look like an event to get very involved in from a betting point of view. Just 16 teams all priced between 8/1 and 33/1 with match-play greensomes over just 6 holes suggests utter carnage and an argument could be made for just backing the four outsiders win only in an attempt to get some value. I did consider that but instead I have plumped for just one pick for an interest and that is the Scottish team of Richie Ramsay and Marc Warren. They both have plenty of experience playing in the UK and also lots of positive match-play experience. Ramsay won the 2006 US Amateur Championship and Marc Warren has won around Gleneagles and made the sem-finals of the Paul Lawrie Match Play in 2015. Warren has a very good record around nearby Wentworth and visually they are quite similar courses. Ramsay has some decent finishes in the UK also with 8 top 10s over the years.

While the greensomes format (both players hit a drive and then alternate shot from their best effort) is new to Tour competitively, it seems like hitting fairways will be key, especially over just 6 holes where one mistake could lose the match. Ramsay has always been a very accurate driver of the ball whereas Warren usually does his best work on and around the greens but he does boast one of the best swings on Tour. They may just make a solid team this week and at 16/1 they look a fair price considering they are both proven winners on Tour with 6 titles between them. (Only the Thai and French teams combine for more)


Summary of Bets

Wells Fargo

Daniel Berger – 1pt ew @ 33/1

Zach Johnson – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1

Zac Blair – 0.5pt ew @ 250/1

Golf Sixes

Scotland (Ramsay and Warren) – 1pt ew @ 16/1

Weekly pts advised = 6pts

2017 pts advised = 197pts

@theGreek82

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship – Betting Preview

Minnesota witnessed one of the most rowdy and high profile Ryder Cups we have seen for some time over the weekend and Patrick Reed stole the show on his way to landing our Top US Points Scorer bet. That was about the only thing to sing about though as US ran out comfortable 17-11 winners and while I enjoyed it immensely, I think the Reed/Mcilroy and Mickelson/Garcia contests masked a slightly uneventful Friday and Saturday. I may be in the minority but for me the opening two days just didn’t have the back and forth battles that we have seen in recent times and I think only four matches made it to the 18th in the first four sessions. That, together with a feeling that Europe were always facing an uphill task after losing the first session 4-0, resulted in a tournament that lacked any real excitement for me. Of course the atmosphere through-out and the two epic singles battles will probably mark Hazeltine down in history as one of the great editions but for me it wasn’t a patch on Medinah. Although that is probably just because Europe got so comprehensively beaten!

The Patrick Reed bet has helped keep the blog in profit but its only slight and an outright winner is required sooner rather than later. The results are now standing at;

Total points advised – 794.50

Total points returned – 801.39

ROI – 0.86%

This week we don’t have any action on the PGA Tour as they take a week’s break before returning with the 2017 season. That leaves us with just the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.


Alfred Dunhill Links Championship

With no fewer than six of the European team scheduled to tee it up in Fife and Angus on Thursday, the tournament may well prosper from a US Ryder Cup win. A couple of days’ worth of partying wouldn’t have been the ideal preparation for Clarke’s men and given the manner of their defeat we can probably expect most of them to arrive in Scotland keen to banish those memories and get back to their normal Tour schedule.

Unfortunately though it isn’t quite your normal stroke-play event this week as the Dunhill Links takes the form of a pro-am and each player plays a round at all three of the links courses along with their often “celebrity” amateur of choice. The cut then falls after three rounds with those who make it continuing on to a final round at St. Andrews on Sunday. The other two courses on rotation the first two days are Kingsbarns and Carnoustie. They all play to a Par 72 with Kingsbarns playing the easiest, Carnoustie always playing the toughest and St Andrews somewhere in between.

There will be numerous American amateurs taking part and that will no doubt involve a lot of ribbing directed at the Europeans so while in recent times players have played well after being involved (Kaymer won this the week after his Ryder Cup debut in 2010) I’m not convinced that we will see those six men in the right sort of head space to be winning this week. The only one that would appeal in any shape or form would be Thomas Pieters who played superbly last week to top score across both teams. His putting in particular was brilliant and I only recall seeing him miss about three putts inside 20ft from Fri evening onwards. Given this is always a birdie fest then he would normally be expected to go well but with a heightened profile his price is down to 16.0 and I think he can be left alone.

With the action taking part in autumn on Scottish links courses you would probably expect scoring to be tougher than in the summer but the courses are all set up quite short with easy pin locations and slow greens to allow the amateurs to enjoy themselves. That’s not to say that they don’t all play like links courses however and the tournament is always won by a proven links exponent. That will be even more crucial should the wind get up as forecast this week.

Looking at recent winners we can get an idea of the type of player that has won here. The last two winners, Thorbjorn Olesen and Oliver Wilson, both had runner-up finishes in the event previously and when David Howell won the year before that he was confirming the long standing opinion that he is a great links player. He also had finishes here of 3rd, 6th, 8th and 5th earlier in his career.

Historically the home players do well with 11 of the 15 winners hailing from Great Britain or Ireland so they would make a good starting point here.

What they do off the tee this week is of very little consequence as recent winners have ranked well down driving distance and driving accuracy. It is all about hitting as many greens as possible and then holing as many of the chances as you can. Normally a birdie fest would favour the stronger putters and while the list of winners does throw up some excellent putters, the slow, easy greens allow poorer putters to contend as long as their short stick gets a little hot.

The last 5 winners have averaged 24th for GIR and 27th for total putting. They also finished 1st, 12th, 4th, 1st and 2nd for total birdies during the week and for those looking at a stats approach I would suggest those three to be the main players. I’m also not going to look too far beyond the home-grown players with plenty of in –form options to choose from.

A very strong field is assembled and the market is dominated this week by the European Ryder Cup team along with class-acts Branden Grace, Louis Oostuizen, Bernd Wiesberger and Alexander Noren. I wouldn’t be in the least bit surprised to see any of them win but none of them appeal as a betting proposition. While I have touched on the fact that Kaymer won here the week after 2010’s Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, that was a short journey from Wales and he was also making it as a member of a winning team. A case could be made for Thomas Pieters and Cabrera-Bello this week but it is asking a lot for them to be ready to fly out of the blocks on Thursday and a good start is usually required here.

There are two players that I really like this week and I can’t separate them so I’m splitting stakes and taking two Englishmen against the field this week.

I’ve had Tommy Fleetwood marked down for this for a little while such has been the quality of his iron play over the last 2 months. It’s just a shame the bookmakers have taken all the juice out of his price given his strong event form. His results here read 13th -2nd -5th -55th -5th so you can see why they fear him this week. Fleetwood has long been touted as a future Open champion given his ability on links courses. He hails from Southport and was brought up around some of the best links in England. His only win so far has been down the road in Perthshire when he won the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles. That has always been a title that has gone to solid links players given the undulating and exposed course plays a lot like its neighbours on the coast.

Fleetwood’s last three tournaments yielded finishes of 10th, 7th and 13th and they were the result of some improved numbers as he now sits 3rd for GIR over the last 3 months. He also ranks 37th for birdie average and handles the wind very well indeed.

His 2nd win on Tour has been a long time coming but his recent upturn of form makes him a huge player this week and he might take some inspiration from seeing his peers playing at Hazeltine. His price is shorter than I would have liked but he still looks an excellent each way bet here at 30/1 with the best bank of course form on offer.

Ross Fisher turned his form around completely last time out in Germany as he finished 2nd to Alexander Levy. The Englishman fits the profile of previous Dunhill winners perfectly as he has a previous Top 5 in the event and he also used to be top-class reaching the World’s Top 10 if I remember correctly during his career year in 2009. Two years ago this was won the week after the Ryder Cup by an ex member of the European team in 2008, Oliver Wilson. He came from nowhere to win and it looked like he maybe got a bit of a kick up the rear end due to where his career had ended up relative to those who he played alongside in 2008.

It’s possible Fisher might have a similar reaction to last week’s tournament in Hazeltine but even if he doesn’t he looks a great bet coming off his recent play-off defeat. In that European Open he ranked 1st for total driving, 1st for total accuracy and 1st in the all-round ranking. It was only his ranking of 20th for total putting that prevented him winning but if it hadn’t been cut to 54 holes then I have no doubt his long game prowess would have got the better of Levy whose own game was beginning to unravel. That was still a putting improvement however for a player who has always been held back by his limitations on the greens. If he can keep that level of putting going this week then he will be very dangerous.

I expect him to play well again on a set of courses he knows and with question marks about a lot of the market leaders I think there is a fair bit of value in his odds of 40/1.

I’m a huge fan of George Coetzee and given his excellent putting ability on links greens I will probably continue to back him whenever he plays in Scotland. I will certainly continue to back him when the price is right and after some injuries and loss of form he is priced up like a nobody in Scotland this week. (He actually confirmed on Twitter today that is ankle is back to full strength) Let’s not forget that since he finally got his first European Tour win in February 2014, only Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett have more ET wins. He also shares the St. Andrews course record (62) from 2012 when he finished 5th in this event and he has finished 15th and 18th in the Open. Not to mention a play-off defeat in 2011 at Gleneagles so he is comfortable playing in the UK. Odds of 13/2 don’t accurately reflect his top 20 chances in my opinion and he looks well worth getting onside.

Joakim Lagergren finished 4th here last year and sits in 6th place in birdie average over the last 3 months. That alone was enough to interest me but the youngster’s only win actually came in Northern Ireland on the Challenge Tour. It wasn’t on a links course but it confirms that he is comfortable playing in the cooler, windier conditions in the UK. His recent finishes haven’t been great but that was the same last year so he has probably been waiting for conditions to suit. He also ranks 6th in Par 4 scoring average over the last 3 months so his game must be in decent shape.  Looks to have a good chance of another Top 20 and is probably over priced to get one on last year’s showing.

 


Summary of Bets

Dunhill Links

Tommy Fleetwood – 1.5pts ew @ 30/1

Ross Fisher – 1pt ew @ 40/1

George Coetzee – Top 20 – 2pts @ 13/2

Joakim Lagergren – Top 20 – 1pt @ 13/2

Weekly pts advised – 8pts

Total pts advised – 802.50pts

@theGreek82

Olympic Golf and John Deere Classic

Last week’s tournaments were rather interesting and threw up one very obvious winner and one that was anything but. Russell Knox has a very solid bank of form on Pete Dye courses and I wouldn’t have been alone in kicking myself on Sunday night when he triumphed for his 2nd PGA Tour win and his first on American soil. Even more annoying was that he went off at a fairly good price (50/1) and he is someone who should definitely be considered on Dye tracks regardless of current form as he consistently hits greens even when the rest of his game might not be at its sharpest.

In the Paul Lawrie Match Play Anthony Wall was also picking up his 2nd win but while Knox’s came some 9 months after his first, Wall had a 16 year wait in between his trophies. With very average form he was difficult to fancy before the off but his win further highlights how difficult a betting format knockout match play can be.

The one interesting aspect of Wall’s win however was him showing the importance of scrambling in links golf. When the wind blows then greens will be missed and those with a great touch around the bumps and run-offs usually fare well. Year after year Wall is one of the best scramblers on Tour, as is runner-up Alexander Noren and I don’t think it was a coincidence that they played out the final after a very windy weekend of links golf.

Another week of no returns is leaving the profits very bare now but August and September were good months last year so hopefully I can turn it around and start pushing the ROI up again.

Total pts advised – 748.50

Total pts returned – 793.79

ROI – 6.05%

This week we have no action in Europe as the Olympic Golf Tournament just about takes centre stage over the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. I’ve focussed on the Rio action but have also had a brief look at the US golf.


Olympic Golf

There has been enough written about the Olympic golf debacle to thoroughly bore everyone already so I’m not going to get drawn into that and instead I have focussed solely on the golf tournament in question.

We have a 60 man field assembled down in Rio and while not being as strong as it could be there is a very nice mix of top-level PGA Tour players and those that have been lighting up the other lesser known Tours. I think that in itself will give an Olympic feel to the tournament and while a team event may have been more fitting, everyone that is playing is doing so because they want to win that gold medal for both themselves and their country.

The Olympic course in the Barra region of Rio is where the action will happen and it is a standard 72-hole stroke-play format running from Thursday to Sunday as normal. Gil Hanse designed the course specifically for the Olympics after being chosen ahead of some of the most respected modern-day designers in the game.

While being a very active designer, Hanse doesn’t have too many original designs that are in play on either the PGA Tour or the European Tour but he has been quoted saying that he based a lot of the design on his links course at Castle Stuart. Looking at the pictures that seems very fair as there is definitely a sprawling links nature to the fairways and they appear to be very wide just like his Scottish design. He has also carried out a few high-profile renovations and perhaps his most notable two are at Doral’s Blue Monster Course (host of the WGC Cadillac Championship from 2007-2016) and TPC Boston (home of the Deutsche Bank Championship)

The other narrative this week has been that the course has a Melbourne Sandbelt feel to it with the course being built on very sandy soil. That doesn’t give us too much to go on here with just the two Aussies in the field but it does suggest that the course could play hard and fast as it dries out over the four days with no rain forecast.

It is a 7128 yard Par 71 but it is quite different in that it still has four Par 5s but also has five Par 3s. There is very little in the way of rough and instead the fairways are lined with waste areas like we have seen at recent US Opens at Pinehurst and Chambers Bay. The greens are sea paspalum this week which we don’t see in use on the PGA Tour too much but there are a few courses with the grass in use; El Cameleon (OHL Classic), Kuala Lumpur GC (CIMB Classic), Trump International GC (Puerto Rico Open) and Sea Island (RSM Classic).

I have been through the field several times and while there is no doubt some value there I keep coming back to the same player and it is the most obvious pick and favourite Henrik Stenson.

For a couple of years now I have been banging the Stenson drum and it was a bit annoying to miss out on his Open win although he wasn’t the greatest of prices. I believe him to be the best player in the world from tee-to green and while many will say Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson, Stenson’s consistency is unrivalled and he showed at Royal Troon just what he is capable of if he has a good week on the greens.

The main thing pulling me in his direction however is his excellent record around Castle Stuart. He has played there three times and finished 8th, 3rd and then 13th last month when preparing for his Open win the following week. On those last two appearances he ranked 1st in total driving and this year he hit a best in field 91% of them. If the Olympic course does in fact play anything like Castle Stuart then it is certainly going to fit his eye.

Nobody in the field has putted on these greens before and that could be a great equaliser which would surely help the likes of Stenson who isn’t one of the better putters in the field.

There are a couple of other links that interest me too. He has shown that he can play Doral with a T4th there last year and his win at the 2007 WGC Match Play came on a course that is visually quite like the Olympic course, The Gallery Golf Club in Arizona. It is full of sand being in the desert and it also has lots of waste areas just like in Rio. He also has a win and 2nd place at TPC Boston since Hanse carried out his renovations in 2007.

The ice-cool Swede is extremely patriotic and he has already won golf’s World Cup in 2008 alongside Robert Karlsson. Becoming Sweden’s first ever male major winner was a huge deal for him and Sweden, in the subsequent weeks after his Open win there were several other performances around the world from Swedish golfers who claimed to be inspired by Stenson’s win. He knows that he is perhaps Sweden’s biggest star in Rio and also one of their best medal hopes. He will thrive under that pressure and will be determined to add a gold medal to what is already a career year for him.

It is perhaps a boring pick but as long as he shows no signs of fatigue I think he will take all the stopping and even if he just has an above average week on the greens then he could find himself pulling away from the pack again and bagging himself the first golfing gold medal since 1904.

On first glance odds of 6/1 might appear short but we must remember that it is a reduced field of 60 and there are only another 5 major winners besides Stenson so we can’t really expect much better odds for the Champion Golfer of The Year.

With a lot of the bookmakers only paying the medalists it doesn’t  look like a great each way betting prospect so I’m going to play another win only and then two very small stakes on a couple of outsiders with firms that are paying slightly lower odds but the usual each way terms. I quite like Patrick Reed for this but his odds have shortened this week after being tipped up by some of the bigger players. Reed has had a fairly impressive 2016 even if he hasn’t managed a win and it’s his pair of 67s at Castle Stuart over the weekend that makes him a bet here. That was his first look at the course and after getting to grips with it on the first two days he played the weekend lower than everyone bar Nicolas Colsaerts. He followed that up at Troon by getting himself into contention early on at The Open before the draw bias left him with too much to do.

Reed showed us on his Ryder Cup debut just how much he enjoys representing his country and this will mean a lot him. His biggest win to date was at Doral in 2014 and with form on two of the key Hanse courses I think he should take to the course in Rio and he is definitely due a win.

Nicholas Colsaerts weekend score was two shots better with a couple of 66s and it’s that piece of form that gets him into the staking plan. He was playing some very consistent golf up to that point and he is another patriotic golfer who should be suited to the course. Looks a little over priced here.

My final pick is another fairly unoriginal one as many are keen on Alex Cejka‘s chances. To put things simply he is in very good form and he putts well on Sea Paspalum greens. Worth a small stakes play here.


John Deere Classic

This tournament has been somewhat of a benefit for Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson and Jordan Spieth lately. Since 2008 only Brian Harman has managed to stop their monopoly here and while Stricker and Spieth have been doing the bulk of the winning with 3 wins and 2 wins respectively, Johnson hasn’t been outside the top 3 since 2009.

Luckily the profile of those 3 is a fairly obvious one. They are all excellent wedge players but more importantly 3 of the best putters that we have seen on Tour over the last 15 years.

That tells me not to look into too much detail and pick someone who is scoring well from 150 yards and in. So with limited time I’m not going to go into too much detail about the course at Deere Run, suffice to say that what you do from the tee isn’t overly important, it’s all about the greens and getting it close so that enough birdies can be made to get well into double figures under par.

Unfortunately for most of the field, Johnson and Stricker both line up here again and they look very hard to oppose. The only real angle in seems to be taking some of the value that their short prices have created in the each way market.

Stuart Appleby is one of those that seems a little over priced in this weak a field. Over his career he is a proven winner and while he hasn’t been playing brilliantly he popped up in a couple of the key stats here this week. He sits in 7th place for one putt percentage and 13th in approach performance relative to par from 125-150 yards. Both those have been key indicators around Deere Run so I’m going to have a small speculative play on the 9-time winner.

I expect Kevin Na to play well but I still haven’t forgiven him for last year and he surely can’t be backed to win at just 22/1.

Prior to his missed cut last week Steve Wheatcroft was last seen finishing 5th in Canada when he thinned his sand wedge out of the bunker on the Par 5 18th hole at Glen Abbey. That was a cruel blow when he had played so well during the round but that piece of form looks well ahead of those in the same odds bracket this week. He also ranks 16th in one putt percentage and finished 8th here in 2015. Another who looks a very fair each way price at 80/1

 

Summary of Bets

Olympic Golf

Henrik Stenson 3 pts win @ 6.6 on Exchange

Patrick Reed 1pt win @ 19.0 on Exchange

Nicolas Colsaerts – 0.5pt ew @ 66/1 (1/4 odds 1st-5th)

Alex Cejka – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1 (1/4 odds 1st – 5th)

John Deere Classic

Stuart Appleby – 0.5pt ew @ 200/1

Steve Wheatcroft – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1

Weekly points advised – 8pts

Total points advised – 756.50

@theGreek82