BMW Championship and D+D Real Czech Masters – Betting Preview

A poor week last week with nobody even looking like contending. I must admit with the change in schedule everything has felt a little bit different this summer and I’ve struggled to get a handle on things the last month or so. Thankfully the European Tour returns after a break but with lots of rusty swings it looks like a small stakes week in the Czech Republic.

2019 pts advised = 408

2019 pts returned = 492.73

ROI = 20.77%

BMW Championship

Medinah is of course long etched in the memory of European golfers and fans alike after the Miracle in 2012. But you have to go back to 2006 to find the last time it was used for a professional stroke-play event. At some 7650 yards there has been a lot said about power off the tee this week but I think it is equally going to be about the long approach shots. So while the bombers could well be hitting more like 175-200 yard approaches into lots of holes, the shorter hitters can still contend if they are excellent long iron and hybrid players from 200 yards plus. With very small greens there will be plenty missed and I’d make accuracy with the mid to long irons the most important factor this week. As always with small greens though good scrambling skills will also be required. These appear to hold strong if we look at that 2006 leaderboard and also the players who fared well at the 2012 Ryder Cup. Tiger won here in 2006 and he was arguably one the best long iron player ever while Donald finished 3rd and at his peak he was a brilliant iron player and also one of the best scramblers on Tour. Garcia and Scott also tied for 3rd and you would struggle to name too many more consistent iron players over the last 20 years. Bradley and Mickelson won all 3 of their matches together at the 2012 Ryder Cup and Bradley is one of the best long iron players in the game while Mickelson is one of the most impressive scramblers we have ever seen. You can see why they were such a perfect team at Medinah.

Rickie Fowler stood out massively on Monday at 48.0 on Betfair although the 28/1 with the bookmakers isn’t quite so exciting. I’m still willing to give it a go though as Fowler tends to come alive around this time of the year in the Fed Ex events played in the North East. His last two results in Illinois in particular have been 2nd and 4th while before last week’s missed cut his previous start was 6th at The Open. Last week in New York will surely have been more about shaking the rust off ahead of the last two big stroke-play events of the year. With Fowler very happy in his personal life now I look at his all-round game and keep seeing absolutely no reason for him not to move to the next level. The only thing holding him back now seems to be mental and we have all been stung backing him sub 20/1 in a major when everything looked in his favour. But there is a huge difference between that and backing him at 28/1 in a 70-runner event without the Major pressure. His game is simply too good to give up on and he is particularly suited to long, classic courses like Medinah. Fowler ranks 12th in proximity to the hole from approaches over 200 yards and this has always been a strong part of his game ranking 20th, 11th, 79th, 16th, 95th, 80th, 88th, 1st, 13th since he turned professional. There is a feeling that he has had a poor year yet he sits 17th in the Fed Ex Cup, has a win to his name and ranks 7th in the all-round ranking so his game is clearly in great order. In truth it’s hard to say why he hasn’t had a better summer but I expect to see a big Fed Ex finish from Fowler and I’m happy to play him at at a decent each way price of 28/1 with 7 places. I’m also adding another 1pt win only on the Exchange at 46.0

I did look at backing him up with an outsider but it’s amazing how these play-off event shave been dominated by the best players in recent times. I’d be confident the winner comes from the front 12-16 in the market and I’m not sure I want to be backing two from that bracket this week so will just play Fowler from the start and look at maybe another in play. Of the other classy each way options Ian Poulter probably makes most appeal and I’ll be keeping an eye on him.

Czech Masters

The Albatross Golf Club near Prague is a bit of a brute by European Tour standards at 7467 yards and while a hot putter is required to get to a winning score usually well into double figures, the five winners all tend to be quite effective off the tee too. Pavan last year only ranked 43rd in total driving but Porteous was 3rd, Peterson 9th, Pieters 5th and Jamie Donaldson 18th in that department. They also ranked 1st, 14th, 9th, 1st and 18th respectively in total putting. While I’d suggest those two attributes are the most important I should also mention that they averaged 7th in GIR during the week of their win. Unfortunately suggesting they need to be effective off the tee, hit lots of greens and putt well typically just suggests you want to find a good golfer! But I’d definitely make sure anyone you are backing this week has been performing strongly in one of these areas throughout the season.

Calum Shinkwin leads the European Tour in strokes gained: off the tee and that looks a good enough reason to back him here. The worry with Shinkwin is often the short game and particularly the putter so you can never be sure that he will make enough birdies to contend. But he will arrive here in confident mood having made his first ever major cut on his last start at the Open and he went on to finish 41st. He has also putted well on these greens before ranking 3rd in total putting when he finished 9th two years ago. This feels like a course he can contend on again and an average putting week is normally enough for Shinkwin to go well in this level of field such is the strength of his long game. So he looks well worth a bet at 80/1 with Boylesports 7 places.

I must admit to barely noticing Espen Kofstad’s return to Tour this year but after looking at some of the other events that Czech Masters champions had won, I noticed he popped up having won the Challenge Tour Grand Final at the same course as Andrea Pavan won his. Jamie Donaldson was also a runner-up there and the course doesn’t look dissimilar with exposed, undulating terrain, water in play and big greens. This was enough to get me looking at Kofstad and he was actually having a decent run of form before the regular ET break. His results read 12th-19th-26th-64th while he ranked inside the top 32 for total driving and total putting on all four of those starts. Kofstad has also won already in Eastern Europe as his last Challenge Tour win came in Slovakia in July 2016 so he is comfortable in the conditions. It’s fairly hunchy but these exposed, coastal courses are very much the sort that Scandinavians tend to go well on and at 200/1 he looks worth a small play in a difficult betting heat.

Summary of Bets

BMW Championship

Rickie Fowler – 1pt ew @ 28/1 (1/5 odds 7 places) and 1pt win @ 44.0 on Betfair

Czech Masters

Calum Shinkwin – 0.75pts ew @ 80/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Boylesports)

Espen Kofstad – 0.75pts ew @ 200/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfred)


Weekly pts advised = 6pts




WGC Fed Ex St. Jude Invitational – Betting Preview

A hugely disappointing week from a betting point of view. I was so close to putting Lowry up but there was some nagging doubt preventing me from pulling the trigger. To make matters worse all 4 live bets on Sunday morning fell away in the dire Portrush weather in the final round. Stenson, Kuchar, Langasque and Benny An all had days to forget as they slid down the leaderboard.

That being said it was still a great final round to watch and Lowry was immense all week answering every single question that was asked.

2019 pts advised = 385.5

2019 pts returned = 473.28

ROI = 22.8%

WGC Fed Ex. St. Jude Classic

After 19 years at the rather boring Firestone Country Club this particular WGC is on the move south to Memphis, Tennessee. I’m not sure why but it’s possibly because of the fact it was a fairly boring course with plenty of identical holes but TPC Southwind has been signed up for this year and we look set for a good event, providing everyone gets over their jetlag after travelling over from Northern Ireland!

Much like Firestone it is also a ball striker’s course where position off the tee and approach shots are crucial however there is more shape to these tree-lined fairways, unlike the famously straight fairways of Firestone. The nature of those tee-shots didn’t appeal to everyone and at TPC Southwind while accuracy is equally important there is more allowance for shaping the ball off the tee. It is a technical, tree-lined par 70 with slightly narrower than average fairways and some thick rough awaiting those that do stray a little too far off the tee. Being a par 70 there are only 2 par 5s so for those not finding the fairway it can be a long round. There are several long par 4s and trying to find these small greens from the rough won’t be easy. Therefore it is often a course that rewards steady, accurate play from tee-to-green. With small bermuda greens usually running quick enough plenty of greens will be missed and scrambling skills will also be tested.

The course has held the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic since 1989 so there is plenty of course form to pour over. Dustin Johnson is the most recent winner while Daniel Berger won two in a row prior to that. In all three of those events the winner led the field in strokes gained: tee to green so that looks like the best angle in to the event.

The course was designed by Ron Pritchard who is somewhat of a Donald Ross disciple. He doesn’t have too many other courses in use on Tour but he has been tasked with restoring lots of Donald Ross courses to his original plans, most notably Aronimink GC which has hosted two recent play-off events.

The TPC Southwind course record of 61 was set twice, firstly in 1993 then again in 2001, yet the winning score has generally been around the -10 to -13 mark for most of the recent renewals. This suggests they made things a little more difficult during the 2004 restoration and I’d expect that to be even more of the case now it hosts a WGC event. The modern power players keep ripping up the rule book but with hot temperatures and a steady breeze forecast, I’d still be surprised if the winner made it much beyond -12 in Memphis.

This test looks right up Webb Simpson’s street. All 5 of his wins have come on short to medium length courses between 7100 and 7300 yards so TPC Southwind will be ideal at 7244. His form at the course is mixed but there was a standout 3rd place from 2014 proving he does like the course. Simpson was a popular pick last week but I couldn’t quite have him on a proper links course myself. He played quite nicely though in Portrush before wobbling on Sunday along with most of his fellow Americans in the grim weather.

Simpson is a Donald Ross lover and his first win on Tour came at Ross’ Sedgefield layout which prompted the naming of his first child Wyndham after the event. He has also very nearly won around East Lake with three top 5s and he has a brilliant record at Aronimink (6th-8th) which was redesigned by Ron Pritchard himself.

Simpson currently ranks 20th on Tour for strokes gained tee-to-green and leads the Tour in scrambling. While some might smirk at the 40/1 at least we are backing a player that is twice proven when it comes to beating elite fields, most recently of course winning The Players last year when he led the strongest field of the year a merry dance. He has become a different beast since finally finding a new legal putting stroke and he looks like the best bet in the field for me this week.

Although fading all the players at the top of the market will no doubt come back to haunt me, there seems no easy way of separating them to find a bet this week. So instead I’ll have a couple more outsiders.

Corey Conners should enjoy the layout given how little putting has mattered recently. The Canadian winner of the Texas Open is all about the tee-to-green and that TPC San Antonio layout is one of the courses where poor putters prosper the most on the PGA Tour. Conners ranks 10th in strokes gained tee to green while he is a lowly 197th in putting. He should be a little bit more refreshed than some of these having missed the cut in the Open so he will have had 2 more days to travel and recover. His results since his win have been quite average but he led the field in GIR on his last US start so clearly the long game is still in fine order. Looks a big price at 250/1 for someone who won just 3 months ago.

Nate Lashley also looks a huge price given he won just 4 weeks ago. This is a massive step up for him but he will be far more suited to TPC Southwind than he was to his 2nd Major last week in Portrush. Lashley has played the course before, finishing 37th last year and he sits T2nd in par 4 scoring this season on Tour. Throw in 19th in strokes gained: approaches, 11th in proximity to hole and 35th in scrambling and it looks like he could go very well indeed. Most recent WGC’s have featured a random name or two popping up on the leaderboard and Lashley might just be this week’s wildcard in Memphis.

I might be back tomorrow if I get a chance to have a look at some of the other events this week but for now I’ll leave it at those 3, with Simpson the only really strong fancy.

Summary of bets

WGC Fed Ex. St Jude

Webb Simpson – 1.5pts ew @ 40/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfair)

Corey Conners – 0.5pts ew @ 250/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfred) and 1pt Top 20 @ 6/1

Nate Lashley – 0.5pts ew @ 200/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfair) and 1pt Top 20 @ 6/1


Weekly points advised = 7pts




The 148th Open Championship – Betting Preview

No returns last week although George Coetzee came up just one shot shy. On to arguably the best golfing week of the year with The Open Championship from Northern Ireland.

2019 pts advised = 362

2019 pts returned = 473.28

ROI = 30.7%

The Open Championship

The Open crosses the Irish Sea for only the second time ever and the first in 68 years and it’s safe to say the locals are rather happy about it. You don’t have to look too far on Twitter to find pictures of the pro’s practicing or detailed course previews from locals and we might be set for one of the best atmospheres ever at the Open. That’s before we even consider the ridiculously strong field and a course that by all accounts is in absolutely pristine condition. Royal Portrush hosted that 1951 Open Championship won by Max Faulkner but since then it has only seen a handful of Amateur Championships and the 2012 Irish Open won by Jamie Donaldson. The main problem holding the course back was a lack of space for the infrastructure required to host an event of that stature. So a few holes were changed and others were moved to create a large space at the old 17th and 18th holes. The result is a Championship course that will play to a par 71 this week and some 7337 yards. The original was a Harry Colt design way back in 1888 and the most recent changes were carried out by Martin Ebert.

There isn’t too much point me going in to great detail about the course as I would only be stealing material from others given I don’t know a great deal about the course beyond it being a classic Irish links course winding through lots of dunes. So instead I’ve just pasted the links to two excellent hole by hole guides created by @neverupneveron and @MattCooperGolf

With this info we can at least try to think about who might be suited to this test, one which I’m treating as a proper links test in the hope that we see at least some sun and wind to make things tricky for some of the 4 days. A proper links test usually requires one of two things and that is hitting greens relentlessly for 4 days when others are missing or scrambling brilliantly while others make bogeys. From looking at Portrush these appear to be the two challenges. The course is firm enough that there is some rollout on the the fairways but apparently most players will be looking to find the same landing areas resulting in approaches being paramount. The difficult green complexes will further highlight the importance of well struck approach shots as there are run-offs and hillocks a plenty around every green that will swallow up any shot that misses its target even slightly. The same undulations will require imagination around the greens if they are missed and you seldom ever see an Open winner that can’t scramble well under pressure. How important putting will be might depend on what the weather does, if we see a low scoring week like the two previous links events then the winner will need to have made plenty of birdies. If we get a proper test with some wind and the course firming up, I’d expect the flat-stick to be less important the more that par becomes a good score. I’m looking largely at players who excel with their approach play or scrambling and if you can find players who do both well then all the better.

Trends wise The Open throws up perhaps more than it should given the change of course every year. Some of these need to be given more attention than others however but I’ve highlighted 3 that can be useful this week;

  • 13 of the 19 winners this century had won a tournament already that calendar year, essentially all this tells us is that they are having a good year and in form. If they haven’t won for 6 years then ok it might be a stretch for them to win an Open but if they have lots of top 5 finishes, are playing well and won last season then you shouldn’t dicsount them. But definitely concentrate on players who are in good form.
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had previously recorded an Open top 10. Very important! There’s no point being too strict with this but you want your player to have played well in an Open before and contended in some capacity. Experience is crucial at The Open.
  • You have to go back to Louis Oosthuizen in 2010 to find a winner who had missed the cut in either of the Majors in the season of their Open win. Again not one to be too strict with but it basically tells us that they need to have been playing well in elite fields so far this season. It’s worth noting a couple of these withdrew or didn’t make the field for whatever reason but not a single major MC in that season for the last 9 winners tells us a lot about the state of their games.

Henrik 1

Having followed Henrik Stenson around The Renaissance Club on Friday afternoon I decided he would be my main bet this week despite the lack of the all important recent win. Basically all a recent win says is that they are in excellent form and there are other ways of proving that without lifting a trophy. Stenson absolutely flushed his tee shots and his approaches all week and it was extremely enjoyable to see him and hear him up close. Stenson’s putting let him down as he missed quite a lot inside 10ft but from what I saw his lag putting was absolutely spot on and if Portrush plays at all difficult then that will be every bit as important as the 8ft birdie putts. His nearly peerless tee-to-green game was right back to it’s best as he ranked 2nd in fairways hits (75%) and 1st for GIR (91.7%). While the immediate rough was basically non existent, some of the fairways were narrow enough and he really did have the ball on a string. Stenson plays a very light schedule these days at 43 years old and that probably contributes to his lack of a win as he tends to just play the big events with elite fields. His results have been decent enough recently as he is on a run of 8-9-4 while he holds his almost customary position at the top of the strokes gained: approaches category on the PGA Tour and 8th on the European Tour.

Stenson’s recent Open record is superb with his career achievement coming at Troon in 2016 when he beat Mickelson head to head and posted the all-time low Open score of 264 (-20). On top of that he has another three top 3 finishes and hasn’t missed the cut since 2007. His warm up last week looks absolutely ideal and a birdie fest never fully suits Stenson unless he is putting well but the fact he got to within 3 shots putting so poorly has to be a positive. I expect him to carry that form over and he will be suited to the more difficult test where any improvement with the putter has to see him go close. His odds have contracted a little but 25/1 for such a talented player close to his best still makes plenty of appeal for me.

Matt Kuchar’s odds to win golf tournaments these days never cease to amaze me. How he was 60/1 to win the Open two weeks ago I have no idea. He has rightly been cut but I still think the 33/1 on offer is too big for the man who currently leads the Fed Ex Cup rankings having won twice this year and has seldom been outside the top 20 wherever he has played. Kuch fits the veteran profile that so often wins the Open due to the required links experience and patience required if the weather turns. He lost out to Spieth in 2017 but in all honesty did very little wrong as he was three strokes ahead of 3rd place and Spieth rode his luck at times.

Kuchar sits 5th on Tour for GIR and 8th in scrambling and that is exactly the sort of combination that we want at Portrush. Playing in his 15th Open he is now a seasoned links player and only a poor round on Friday stopped him from properly contending last week in Scotland. His 2019 major season has been very strong indeed as he has gone 12-8-16 and another contending week seems on the cards therefore the 10 places look a gift for a top 10 machine like Kuchar. He just simply seems too big a price even having been cut and really should be backed on value grounds alone.

Kevin Kisner also make the team on price alone as it is hard to believe how he is 125/1 despite a poor performance last week. He is a far better player than those odds suggest and also having a far better year than those around him in the market as he won the WGC Match Play and also posted a 21st at the Masters as well as 6 other top 25s. Kisner contended all the way last year before finishing T2nd and this will be his 5th Open appearance, improving each year. He is one of the grittiest players around when it comes to saving par and he seems to thrive on the pressure of getting up and down when it matters. He is a proven winner with 5 professional wins and we have seen lots of players win a WGC on their path to a major and Kisner could join that list this week. Kisner was a little bit wild off the tee last week but that was quite out of character and he was perhaps trying to hit it harder knowing how easy the rough was. I’d expect him to get back to hitting fairways this week as normal and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he popped up as the latest in a long list of lesser known US winners of the Claret Jug.

I’ve been back and forth on Patrick Cantlay but I’m willing to forgive his relative lack of links experience due to the fact his price looks relatively fair at 25/1. Cantlay finished 12th last year at Carnoustie on his debut and that was a heck of an effort. But despite that being his debut he did have some very solid links form at Royal Aberdeen where he took 2.5pts out of 4 at the 2011 Walker Cup. He has been superb this year and his win at Memorial capped off an excellent run of golf. His tee-to-green game is almost as good as anyone already but his putting has improved this year while he leads the PGA Tour in scrambling. He really fits the profile of the type of player that wins their first major in a fairly obvious fashion leaving everyone wondering how they missed out. So I’m going to have to back him but maybe more as a saver.

I feel like I’ve got to include Romain Langasque after his performance last week and the fact he is an Amateur Chamionship winner back in 2015 at Carnoustie. He has struggled to get over the line on the European Tour since becoming a pro but he looks likely to play well again this week and while he maybe isn’t over priced at 200/1, I do very much like the place part of the bet with 10 places at Skybet. If he can keep the ball in play off the tee then he should take to Portrush as the rest of his game has been superb this year, ranking 12th in GIR, 10th in scrambling and 21st in strokes gained: putting. That looks like an excellent combination for Portrush however it plays. I’m going to advise a small each way bet and I’ve already had a few pounds on the Exchange at 610, which I couldn’t putt anyone off of. I’m also going to have a top 30 bet as he could realistically have a really good week but still find himself down in 23rd due to such a strong field.

Zander Lombard has been in awful form missing 7 of his last 8 cuts but the one blip was a 9th place at the Irish Open two weeks ago at Lahinch. Lombard’s scrambling game for links golf is superb and he clearly likes playing in Ireland as he was 6th in the Irish Open last year. He then went on to contend for the first three rounds at Carnoustie before falling away on the final day. But the main reason for me backing him is that he played in the 2014 Amateur Championship here and shot a 69 in the strokeplay before going on to make the final where he lost to Bradley Neil. That experience of the course together with his record in the Irish Open makes the 500/1 look huge despite current form. If he can keep the ball on the fairway, a big if with Lombard, then he should out play his odds. I’ll also include a Top 40 bet at 5/1.

Tyrell Hatton and Shane Lowry both came very close as their cases for links golf are very strong. They are even both decent prices I just couldn’t bring myself to back them though a they have both flattered to deceive lately with my money on. I think Lowry will have put a lot of pressure on himself while Hatton hadn’t been playing great until Scotland and he might struggle to sustain that form. I’ll be watching both very closely in-play though.

I’m going to continue yet again with my regular major bet of Hao Tong Li to make the Top 20. It hasn’t gone to plan yet in any of this 3 year’s majors but he has always given the bet a run only to fall short on Sunday. He missed the cut last week but was 15th prior to that at Lahinch and he showed us his links prowess when storming through the field at Birkdale on the Sunday in 2017. I’m probably going to keep going with this bet until it wins so it’s maybe best ignored!

Benny An’s last win was around Colt’s famous Wentworth design and while he hasn’t showed too much on links designs to date he has a 5th at the Qatar Masters, a 4th and 6th at the Dubai Desert Classic and most importantly a 5th at the Abu Dhabi Championship where Jamie Donaldson has won. All three desert courses have been dominated by links lovers over the years and I just think An is a little over priced in most markets given what an assured long game he has. He will most likely infuriate on the greens if he gets anywhere near the top 20 but he looks worth a go given how key approach shots will be this week.

Andrea Pavan looks massively over priced given he has won twice in the last year and also finished 4th on a links course on Sunday. His most recent win was at Golf Club Eichenried where several Open champions have won this century (Daly, Stenson, Els) and plenty other links lovers too (Kaymer, Karlsson, Bjorn, Jimenez, Fasth, Romero). I couldn’t put anyone off an each way bet at 250/1 but instead I’ll advise a top 30 bet at 5/1.

I wanted to have a really chunky place bet on someone steady but after two good bets on Scott the bookies finally have his prices a little tighter this time around. I can’t really find anyone else that I’m particularly confident about but I might add something more tomorrow yet.
1st Round Leader bets

It just so happens two of my outright bets have very nice looking early tee-times and while I hate doubling up on this market I’ve done so to very small stakes. Romain Langasque tees off in the 5th group at 07:19 and Zander Lombard is in the group in front at 07:08. Both are very low-key groups and there is every reason to think that their best round of the week could be their first round. Langasque has shot 8 of his last 15 opening rounds in the 60s and opened with a 65 last week in Scotland. More of the same could be on the cards as he will be full of confidence and will be freed up having secured his European Tour card with last week’s 3rd place. Lombard shot a 67 to tie for 2nd place after the first round at Carnoustie last year and I’m hoping lightning can strike twice. Opened with a 64 two weeks ago in Ireland and even shot a Thursday 69 last week before missing the cut.

I’ll also add three more so that I don’t have too many eggs in one basket. I’m sticking with the early starters as rain is currently forecast all day Wednesday but it is supposed to be clear first thing on Thursday before raining again most of the day.

Andy Sullivan opened with a 64 last week and looked for a while like he was going to grab the first round lead. Eventually a few came in with 63s though to overtake him but I think he can do the same again here. In Ireland he opened with a 68 where he would go on to finish 2nd and he was 6th the year before at Portstewart so clearly enjoys this coast line.

Padraig Harrington could roll the years back from an early tee-time and if there is rain and win few handle it better than the 2-time Open Champion. He shot a Thursday 67 last week before adding a 72 on Friday to miss the cut but that is easily done when it falls at -4! He knows Portrush well and had the course record there before McIlroy shot his 61. Looks a decent price at 125/1 given the likelihood of some very average weather.

Finally I’m going to take a huge leap of faith and side with perennial Open disappointment Bubba Watson. Given how wet the course could play he might get something resembling the target golf that he loves on Thursday morning. He isn’t in great form but was still 12th at the Masters this year so can still perform when conditions suit. A very soft and receptive course will certainly have Bubba’s attention should it transpire and he is more than capable of shooting one good round even if he falls away after that. Probably too big a price at 125/1 even if when he shoots a moody 78.

Summary of bets

The Open

Henrik Stenson – 2.5pts ew @ 25/1

Matt Kuchar – 1.5pts ew @ 33/1

Kevin Kisner – 1pt ew @ 125/1

Patrick Cantlay – 1.25pts ew @ 25/1

Romain Langasque – 0.5pts ew @ 200/1 and 2pts Top 30 @ 5/1 (Betfair)

Zander Lomard – 0.25pts ew @ 500/1 and 1pt Top 40 @ 5/1 (Betfair)

(all outrights Betfair or Skybet with 1/5 odds 10 places)

Hao Tong Li – 1.5pts Top 20 @ 5/1

Benny An – 1.5pts Top 20 @ 13/2

Andrea Pavan – 1pt Top 30 @ 5/1 (Betfair)
1st Round Leader

Romain Langasque – 0.25pts ew @ 175/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfred)

Zander Lombard – 0.25pts ew @ 200/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfred)

Andy Sullivan – 0.25pts ew @ 100/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Unibet)

Padraig Harrington – 0.25pts ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfred)

Bubba Watson – 0.25pts ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Unibet)

Weekly pts advised so far = 23.5pts


John Deere Classic and Scottish Open – A few bets

Paul Waring delivered 6th place for another profitable week, but only just. I’m short on time this week so I’ve pretty much just listed the bets

2019 pts advised = 356

2019 pts returned = 473.28pts

ROI = 32.9%

John Deere Classic

Dominic Bozzelli hasn’t been in great form at all but his skillset is very much one that is required this week. He is an excellent putter, ranking 23rd this year in strokes gained: putting while last year he was 42nd. But he is also 3rd in approach proximity from 125-150 yards and 1st from scoring relative to par from that range. With the course being very short it often turns into a wedge off with the players who can give themselves the most good birdie looks usually finding a place on the leaderboard. He has played here twice already with encouraging results of 25th-23rd. A very fair price at 200/1 with Coral’s 7 places but I’m taking the extra place with Betfair’s 175/1.

Scottish Open

This is another links course but not quite as classic a test as last week or indeed next week at Portrush. I think it should be a bit of a challenge for them though.

I’m not really wanting to get too involved as there is a very strong head of market here with Rory, Rickie, JT and Kuch all playing.

I’d earmarked Richie Ramsay for this a few weeks ago and while his poor form should have tempered my enthusiasm I think he should be able to turn things around at Renaissance Club given its his home course now. It might not count for much but enough to make him look a big price at 125/1, especially with a solid links pedigree and a decent record in Scotland.

Grant Forrest was 2nd in Final Open Qualifying at Renaissance Club last year, shooting rounds of 67 and 69. He lives in North Berwick and plays out of Craigielaw on the same coast. Few in the field will be as comfortable playing in this and his knowledge of the course can only be a positive. Forrest has shown some good signs so far on his rookie year on Tour but his 34th at Valderrama followed by 14th in Ireland is particularly encouraging.

There is no way I can leave my guy George Coetzee out at 150/1 this week. He missed 4 cuts in a row on his return in May but he has stopped the rot in recent weeks with a 26th at Valderrama and 34th in Ireland. He shot 67-66 on Friday and Saturday at Lahinch and with his putting touch on links courses he has to be backed on price alone for me this week.

Summary of bets

John Deere

Dominic Bozzelli – 0.75pts ew @ 175/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Betfair)

Scottish Open

Richie Ramsay – 0.75pts ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Betfair/Skybet)

Grant Forrest – 0.75pts ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

George Coetzee – 0.75pts ew @ 150/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

Weekly pts advised = 6pts


Rocket Mortgage Classic and Andalucia Masters – Betting Preview

A shocker of a week where nobody really ever looked like contending after Wilson’s opening 67 on Thursday. The first week in the last seven with no returns so hopefully it’s just a blip. Limited time this week so a shorter write-up than normal. (At least that was the plan….)

2019 pts advised = 332.50

2019 pts returned = 460.28

ROI = 38.43%

Rocket Mortgage Classic

The Rocket Mortgage Classic is a brand new event to the schedule so there will be lots of guess-work going in to the host course, Detroit Golf Club. It is another short, tree-lined layout with the test appearing to come from finding a good position off the tee and the heavily undulating greens which will make both approaches and putting a test. It was designed by Donald Ross and the appearance is very much in keeping with his ethos, a narrow, tactical course with well protected bunkers and greens that slope largely from back to front. Given we have very little else to go on I’m going to use other Ross designs as my main guide and also the stats that I would normally use at those courses. Ross layouts currently on PGA schedule include East Lake (Tour Championship) and Sedgefield GC (Wyndham) while we have also seen majors or play-off events at Oak Hill, Oakland Hills, Aronimink, Plainfield and Pinehurst No. 2 in recent years. While not always the case, his courses tend to remove the advantage that bombers have or certainly manage it better than most courses from the golden age. Hamilton GC in Canada was recently won by Rory McIlroy but that leaderboard was a good example of a an event where everyone was able to contend regardless of driving distance.

Backing players at short prices on new courses isn’t always the best of ideas but I feel like a shortish Donald Ross design with a weak field might present a good opportunity for a few multiple Tour winners that sit at the second from top table when playing their best. So I’ve sided with three fairly obvious and proven Ross lovers, a longer shot and one rank outsider who I’m chancing again.

Jason Dufner played so well at Memorial that I was absolutely gutted he pulled out of the Canadian Open. I thought Hamilton GC would have been perfect for him but I can see why he missed it having qualified for the US Open. He played ok at Pebble Beach but this looks absolutely ideal for Duf-man. He won his only major around the Ross designed Oak Hill in 2013 and while Detroit GC doesn’t look quite as fiddly and narrow there are still similarities. There were also plenty of bombers on that leaderboard which may well be the case this week. I like how adaptable Dufner is though as he can still compete with the more powerful players as he always used to hit his long irons and fairway woods so well.

Dufner has two top 10s at East Lake, two top 15s at Sedgefield and while his numbers aren’t too good for the season they have been better lately. Just 5 starts ago he led the field for strokes gained: tee to green at the Wells Fargo and was 6th at Memorial. His 35th at the US Open wasn’t spectacular but he did rank 3rd for fairways, 10th in GIR and 13th in scrambling. It was just a stone cold putter that prevented him from finishing considerably higher but the switch to predominantly bent grass greens should be to his liking. His odds have been cut a little but I feel like he is somewhere back to his best and his best on a suitable course like this would have him nearer the 25/1 mark than the 50/1 available.

Next up is Ryan Moore who again has been playing a lot better of late and should relish the more technical test of a Donald Ross course. Moore is a former winner at Sedgefield and lost a play-off at East Lake to McIlroy in 2016. With such a consistent tee-to-green game he is always more than capable of making hay where length isn’t the be-all and end-all. He ranks 36th this season in strokes gained: tee to green and for such a short hitter that is very impressive (192nd in DD from 203 players). His form is very much trending and last week he ranked 1st in fairways hit and 4th in GIR on very similar fairways and rough that he will face this week. Backing Moore at these sort of prices hasn’t always served me well but I think there is too much in his favour to leave him out.

Billy Horschel showed his affinity for Ross designs when he landed the Tour Championship in 2014. That followed a 7th place the year before and on his return last September he finished 2nd again. He has also been 5th at Sedgefield, 3rd at Aronimink and 23rd at Pinehurst No. 2’s U.S. Open. He wasn’t at his best at this year’s U.S. Open but on his previous two starts he ranked 8th and 7th in strokes gained: tee to green. Despite his excellent long game he has never really excelled on tougher championship layouts so a return to a regular stop should bring about that same form that was simmering prior to Pebble Beach. He also has a rather rotten California record where he has just 5 Top 20s from 31 events. I’m hoping if he returns to his form prior to that he can contend on a very suitable course.

Danny Lee is a player who does everything fairly well but not very often does he do any one thing brilliantly. That means when something clicks in any part of his game we can often see him pop up on the leaderboard. That generally happens on more classical courses where there is a proper ball-striking test. Away from his maiden win at the 2015 Greenbrier arguably his best ever result came at East Lake that same year when he finished 2nd at the Tour Championship. I have had him pegged as a Ross lover ever since then and unfortunately it has only cost me money to date. But even this season his three top 10s have come at courses where there is a proper tee-to-green test. Obviously we don’t know for sure that Detroit will present that in any way but that’s the angle I’ve taken. Lee maybe isn’t the best of prices but at 125/1 he is still a big enough price to allow a hunch bet. I think it will be the last time I back him on a Ross course if it goes badly wrong though!

Curtis Luck was my wildcard pick at Hamilton GC given how much it looked like a Donald Ross design. That was due to his US Amateur win around Ross’ Oakland Hills course in 2016. Not only is Oakland Hills a Ross course but it is also in Michigan, in fact it is just 13 miles away from Detroit GC. It’s also a fairly similar yardage measuring in at 7439 yards vs Detroit’s 7330 yards. It’s clutching at straws but he is 300/1 and he should at least putt the tricky greens well even if it turns out to be too difficult a test for him.

Andalucia Masters

The Tour heads back to Valderrama again this week having been back on rotation for the last couple of years. Players and fans alike absolutely love this place and you’ll struggle to find a golf course anywhere in the world that gives such a consistent test year after year. There is no bluffing your way around Valderrama as it’s course that punishes bad shots and will only reward the best. It’s a gem of a layout and the last two editions have been won by Spain’s main man Sergio Garcia on a winning score a little lower than you would normally associate with the course. They were both held in October though and with the move to June we can expect things to be even tougher with the course playing firm and fast with thicker summer rough.

It was designed by Robert Trent Jones back in 1974 and form at his courses can be a sound angle in, certainly his tougher layouts. The last one seen on Tour was back in April at the Trophee Hassan II while he is also responsible for the old WGC Bridgestone host course at Firestone. He has several more layouts used around the world but not too many that this European Tour field will have seen. Those that came up through the Challenge Tour will have no doubt played on Golf Club De Geneve though which hosts the Rolex Trophy. For those that like to go very deep on course links he also designed Adare GC which hosted the Irish Open in 2007 and 2008 and Royal Park i Roveri which hoseted the Italian Open from 2009 to 2012.

Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm take up plenty of the market this week as the two local favourites. It’s with good reason too as Garcia is looking for his 3rd win here in a row and Rahm is easily the 2nd best player on show. But at 6/1 and 7/1 I’m not in a rush to back either. Garcia has shown plenty of poor mentality this season, namely his tantrum in Saudi and a potentially firmer Valderrama might be enough to test his patience further. While Rahm’s antics on the course are actually improving he missed his only cut here in 2017. His current form is brilliant but I can pass at 7/1. Instead I’ll play the each way market where a place is more valuable than any potential win bet on the two Spaniards.

Marcus Kinhult got his maiden win 4 weeks ago at the British Masters and I think he can push on and double up quickly. It’s normally short game magic that I associate with Kinhult which always helps him on hard and fast links style courses where lots of greens get missed. But when his long game is in decent order he can be a serious threat much like he was at the British Masters. He was 7th in fairways hit and 14th in GIR while he ranked 1st in putting here at Valderrama last year. That was good enough for 22nd and that was an improvement on his debut where he was 42nd. Throw in the confidence of grabbing his first win and a first state-side major finish of 32nd at Pebble Beach and he should be more competitive than quotes of 50/1. There is a danger that he comes unstuck on such a ball-strikers course but the time of year should mean his short game excels on the firm course. Take Betfred’s offer of 7 places.

Ross Fisher looks a big price on a course he loves as he has Valderrama form figures of 6-23-14-11-14. With his long game you would expect him to thrive here but he has always scrambled well here too, which isn’t the case at every course as his short game can often let him down. He missed the cut in Germany last week but that was his first start since Bethpage Black where he finished 60th, ranking 6th for ball-striking in esteemed company. In theory all we should really need from Ross is a half-decent week with the putter to see him somewhere on the leaderboard. He was also 19th around the Robert Trent Jones designed Hazeltine at the 2009 US PGA and owns a good record around his Firestone layout that hosted the WGC Bridgestone up until this year.

It’s not been his best season so far but he still ranks 18th in strokes gained: tee to green and he looks to me like the best piece of value in the field with Betfred’s 45/1 and 7 places.

I could have backed about another six but it was hard to narrow it down and also find any more players that haven’t been found in the market. But in Kim Koivu I think I might have found one. In truth I’m not sure his long game is tight enough for a test such as Valderrama but I can’t quite believe his price given he was 16th last week in Germany. He has shown plenty of promise on his short time on Tour but has often struggled to put it together for 4 rounds. His best finish of the season was actually a 9th place at the fiddly Fanling course in the Hong Kong Open. That suggests he may be one of those wilder players who enjoys being forced to rein it in somewhat. However it was actually the location of his win on the Challenge Tour in August that got him in the team this week. That win in the Rolex Trophy was around Golf Club De Geneve which is another Robert Trent Jones design coming in at sub 7000 yards. The scoring has usually been lower but the course is very similar on the eye and again at 250/1 there isn’t much to lose taking a bit of a course link chance. He missed the cut there last year but he had been playing a lot of golf and with two recent wins he was probably a little bit drained mentally. He had two weeks off before Germany last week so he will be gearing up for a big summer in order to regain his card.

Summary of bets

Rocket Mortgage Classic

Jason Dufner –  1pt ew @ 50/1

Ryan Moore – 1pt ew @ 30/1

Billy Horschel – 1pt ew @ 30/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Betfair)

Danny Lee – 0.5pts ew @ 125/1

Curtis Luck – 0.25pts ew @ 300/1 (all 1/5 odds 8 places Skybet unless stated)

Andalucia Masters

Marcus Kinhult – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Coral /Betfred )

Ross Fisher – 1pt ew @ 45/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfred)

Kim Koivu – 0.5pts ew @ 250/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfred)


Weekly points = 12.5




Travelers Championship and BMW International Open – Betting Preview

Gary Woodland was a popular and deserving winner as he hung tough to see off Koepka and Rose on Sunday. Having put him up in the first round leader market it was a little annoying as I gave him a lot of consideration in the outright market but must admit I really didn’t think he was capable of holding off two of the best around in Koepka and Rose. Hopefully some readers maybe stuck a few quid on after seeing the bit about his Sunday 65 at Pebble in 2017.

Most of the picks performed quite well and while it was a losing week in the end even on Sunday it could have been so different with DJ and Molinari still in the hunt for a place and Hatton, Li, Scott and Kaymer also on the periphery of their required places. I have no idea what happened to Molinari as he got to -6 early and then we never saw another shot as he seemed to just collapse. DJ never got going on Sunday which was pretty much the story of his week as his putter was stone cold. Hatton missed from 3ft 9 inches for birdie on 18 to lose out on the top 20 but luckily Scott and Kaymer picked up their top 20 and top 40 respectively to return around about half the week’s stakes.

A lot was written about Pebble and how easy the scoring was this week and I’d probably have to agree that the greens were a little too receptive for a 7070 yard US Open course. It was a still a hugely enjoyable event but for me it didn’t have that U.S. Open feel. I saw a tweet from someone who summed it up best of all ( I forget who) which suggested that if every single player in the field loved the conditions then that means it was definitely too easy!

2019 pts advised = 320

2019 pts returned = 460.28

ROI = 43.84%

Travelers Championship

With no wind and a fairly soft course, last week ended up being all about powerful players attacking a relatively defenseless, short course and this week to mix things up we will see powerful players attacking a relatively defenseless, short course. Although scoring should be even lower this week with TPC River Highlands having been the site of the PGA Tour’s first ever 58 in 2016.

That’s not really the full story to be fair as TPC River Highlands is a classical, tree-lined Pete Dye redesigned course and it’s not always straight-forward. However anywhere that Bubba Watson can win three times clearly isn’t the most strategic of tests. While the fairways are tree-lined they are wide enough and the punishment is never too severe for missing them as the trees are laid back a little and the rough isn’t too thick. Additionally they have plenty of subtle dog-legs which means Bubba has been able to move the ball off the tee. That relaxes him a little as he’s never been a fan of having to find a straight fairway. But even then if we look at this 3 wins he ranked 70th, 58th and 70th for driving accuracy while he has averaged 315 yards driving over all his Travelers appearances. Despite being a fairly poor putter Bubba putted well in all three wins which together with the low scoring suggests the greens are pretty flat and easy to read. Again those three wins involved different styles of win for Bubba, last year he was 7th in GIR while in 2015 he led the field in scrambling. The only constant is his driving distance rankings at TPC River Highlands; 7th-2nd-1st-1st-1st-1st-2nd-1st-1st-2nd.

TPC River Highlands is essentially about making as many birdies as possible by getting the ball closer to the hole than everyone else for your birdie putt as everyone will be making their share from inside 20ft. Put Bubba on a course where he can hit driver and he will normally be using a wedge where others are using 8 iron. That gets him closer to the flag and that gets him birdies.

I’ve chosen to look mainly at Bubba’s wins here because he is such a horses for courses type of golfer. Shorter hitters like Spieth have also won here but even then Spieth ranked 1st in strokes gained: tee to green so it wasn’t his putter that won it for him. Knox was 16th in strokes gained: off the tee in 2016 and that’s as far back as the strokes gained stats go on Tour Tips.

A player doesn’t have to hit it far here but it is certainly an advantage when trying to  make the number of birdies required to contend this week. Ultimately though the course is all about proximity to the hole from whatever range your player will be hitting from regularly and if they can get it close with a 6 iron then they can still go well. Therefore as well as driving distance, approach proximity stats from the 100-175 range are all worth a look.

However I’ve not leaned on the season stats this week as much as I normally would as I already had three players in mind for this, one for a couple of weeks and the other two straight after the U.S. Open. Although it just so happens they come out favourably in lots of the appropriate stats categories too which is never a bad thing.

Other Pete Dye courses are always worthy of look at recent leaderboards and so far this year we have alreeady seen TPC Sawgrass, Harbour Town, TPC Louisiana and Austin Country Club. Sawgrass Valley is also a Dye/Weed combo much like River Highlands and it played host to the the Tour Championship from 2013 to 2015. Bobby Weed designed TPC Summerlin himself and it hosts the Shriners Hospital Open later in the year.

Kevin Streelman has shot 7 of his last 8 rounds at TPC River Highlands in the 60s as well as winning here back in 2014. His last appearance on a Dye track yielded a 6th place at Harbour Town while on his last start he ranked 2nd in strokes gained: approaches and 13th in strokes gained: putting. That put him firmly to the top of my short list for this and quotes of 66/1 have done little to temper my enthusiasm. Streelman is also performing well with driver this year ranking 24th in strokes gained: off the tee while his approach proximity is also good ranking 29th. He has plenty historical form on Dye courses too having finished runner-up at Sawgrass in 2013 and two other top 10s at Harbour Town. His record at TPC Summerlin also bodes well as he has made all 9 cuts there with the pick being a 2014 runner-up finish.

Rounding in to form but also well rested on one of his favourite courses he looks a great each way bet this week. I’m advising the 50/1 with 8 places though as it’s more generally available and in this field the extra place looks worthwhile. Betfred are still going 66/1 with 7 places if anyone can get on before that goes.

There was a little while where Emiliano Grillo was my go to bet on Dye courses and there have been enough signs recently to suggest it might be worth siding with him again. He hasn’t missed a cut since early March and his last start before the US Open was 9th at Memorial. He won his Tour Championship around the Dye/Weed designed Sawgrass Valley course and also has a solid record at TPC Sawgrass too.

He was briefly on the leaderboard at Pebble Beach last week before falling away over the weekend. A birdie fest isn’t usually what Grillo is looking for although his two professional wins have been on -14 and -15. Rather he needs somewhere that has simple enough greens to read where his accurate tee-to-green play can help him achieve a score. While Grillo is a strong driver of the ball his approach play is generally better as the iron in his hand becomes shorter. Particularly the sort of range that excels on most Dye courses, 125-175. This season he ranks 37th in proximity to the hole and 6th in strokes gained: approaches. Skybet’s 50/1 with 8 places looks good.

Chesson Hadley dropped what was comfortably his best ever major finish (9th) at the weekend so it’s very timely that we head to another short course where approach proximity is key. Hadley ranks 4th in proximity to the hole this season and he has always excelled in that area, often struggling to hole the putts required. He putted brilliantly last week though ranking 13th. That will have given him a huge confidence boost and his form on short, classical courses, particularly Dye designs is excellent, even if he has missed his 3 cuts at River Highlands. He has finished 11th at Sawgrass, has a Harbour Town top 10 and he has also won the Tour Championship around the Sawgrass Valley course. Hadley also has three top 10s at Weed’s TPC Summerlin. He looks a solid enough each way play at 125/1 with 8 places.

BMW International Open

This event rotates between two excellent courses in Germany and this week it’s the turn of Munich and Eichenried GC again. Eichenried is a tree-lined course with water in play and slick, undulating greens. It reminds me a lot of Wentworth and on the whole it throws up classy winners much like the Surrey venue. They are often sublime ball-strikers like Stenson, Kaymer and Els as finding the correct spot on the greens can be difficult. But the greens are also some of the fastest and most difficult that we see on the European Tour therefore good putters fare well here too and several have won over the years like David Horsey, Nick Dougherty and David Howell.

That’s pretty much what is required, relentless hitting of greens or a brilliant display of putting. If we can find someone doing both at the minute they will take a lot of beating.

Oliver Wilson ranks 14th in strokes gained: putting and 21st in strokes gained: approaches for the season. That’s as good a combo as there is in the field and that’s pretty much good enough for me this week. His recent form is very good having gone 4th and 8th on his last two stroke-play starts and as a former Ryder Cup player he ticks the classy box too. Wilson has played here several times without ripping it up but he does have an 18th place finish and he was also runner-up at Wentworth in 2008. A decent each way price at 50/1 with 7 places.

I really like Detry’s chances but he has stung me twice already this year at a short enough price when things looked to be in his favour. Instead I’ll take three more stabs with two more excellent putters and another who is historically a poor putter but has impressed recently on the greens.

Chris Paisley delivered several times for the blog over the last few years but he has slowed down a bit over the last year or so. He was 3rd here in 2015 though and there have been enough recent signs to suggest he is maybe set for a good summer. His last proper strokeplay event he finished 4th in Denmark while he followed that up with a 17th in the Belgian Knockout after “winning” the 2 round stroke-play segment. Paisley is an excellent putter and will handle these greens better than most having ranked 1st in total putting in 2015. This season he is 30th in strokes gained: putting and 24th in 3-putt avoidance. With some of the bigger names in the field we still get a decent price despite his strong recent form. I’m taking the 50/1 with 7 places at Betfair.

Paul Dunne showed us what he was all about on fast greens in 2015 when he led the Open after three rounds. Since then he has managed a win on Tour and several high finishes. He generally plays better on a week where the short game is key and again I expect him to get to grips with these greens better than most. Given he shared 4th place in Denmark last time out you could argue that he is a shade too big at 50/1. His best finish prior that was his 3rd place at the Perth Super Sixes where again the greens were heavily undulating and very slick. If he can hit enough greens he should go well.

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano made a name for himself years ago on the European Tour and I’m almost surprised that he is only 38. He won 7 times on his first 8 years on Tour, usually on windy, ball- strikers courses and at times his putting was so bad that plenty twitter jokes were fired at him. So I was surprised to see he is currently 1st in total putting on the ET over the last 3 months. A small enough sample size for sure but that only falls to 8th when looking at the current calendar year. His strokes gained number isn’t so good down in 102 but he is 18th in putts per GIR and 31st in 3-putt avoidance. Gonzo has also posted three consecutive top 25 finishes and despite some poor course form, he hasn’t played here since 2010 and it’s a course that should suit. Worth a small go at 150/1 with 7 places.

I was also going to advise Bourdy on the Exchange this week as I noticed he opened at 690 which seemed far too high. However he is back down to 410 which is more reasonable but if he drifts above 500 again there may be some trading potential. His recent course form isn’t great but his silky touch used to shine on faster greens.

Summary of bets

Travelers Championship

Kevin Streelman – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 odds 8 places)

Emiliano Grillo – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

Chesson Hadley – 0.75pts ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

BMW International Open

Oliver Wilson – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 oddds 7 places Betfair)

Chris Paisley – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 oddds 7 places Betfair)

Paul Dunne – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Coral/Betfred)

Gonzo Fernandez-Castano – 0.5pts ew @ 150/1 (1/5 oddds 7 places Betfair)


Weekly pts advised = 12.5pts





RBC Canadian Open and Golf Sixes- Betting Preview

Patrick Cantlay obliged to give us consecutive winners for possibly the first time and it was also the 7th profitable week from the last 8. Southgate just managed to land the place money in Belgium too and this leaves the year to date results looking very healthy indeed.

Cantlay was brilliant on Sunday as he shot a nearly faultless 64 to over take Scott and Kaymer who ultimately didn’t have an answer for his relentless ball-striking. He even poured in a few putts just to really consolidate things. It was good to see him land his 2nd win after a very sustained period of impressive golf. While I wouldn’t suggest that Pebble Beach or Royal Portrush are ideal for him he is playing so well he has to be respected wherever he tees it up and his odds will be interesting next week.

2019 pts advised = 277.50

2019 pts returned = 431.31

ROI = 55.43%

Canadian Open

After a few years at Glen Abbey GC the Canadian Open returns to Hamilton G&CC to let it celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canada’s first National Open. It last hosted in 2012 with previous recent editions in 2006 and 2003. Glen Abbey had begun to give us a clear picture of what was needed so this is a new challenge but i’ve hopefully found some good angles to look at.

Hamilton is one of the few courses under 7000 yards on Tour and it looks to be a course that can be got at. Any course that lists Bob Tway and Jim Furyk as recent winners doesn’t immediately suggest bombs away but Scott Piercy won the most recent event and the game has changed a lot since Furyk lifted the trophy in 2006. Of course measuring just 6966 yards the less powerful players should be able to contend too.

The course was designed by the legendary Harry Colt and it does appear quite like some of his most famous parkland designs, Wentworth and Sunningdale. Colt was perhaps most famous for his work on his Open courses but this doesn’t play anything like a links course.

The main striking characteristic is the number of raised tee shots down to fairways that are in turn below a raised green. Several of these are framed by trees but looking at the views from some of the tees the trees are scattered and quite open so the bombers will feel like there is very little trouble ahead for driver. The bunkers are considerably laid back from the fairways and will only punish the properly errant drives. The approach shots look to be the most testing aspect and given the lack of length I’d imagine that the short irons will be very important this week. The last two winners putted very well during their win and it might turn out to be a battle from 150 yards and in where those who repeatedly give themselves birdie chances will contend.

The course has a slight Donald Ross appearance and given he has far more courses in rotation on the PGA Tour than Colt I think looking at some of his shorter courses could pay dividends. Hamilton feels a little more open but certainly shares some attributes with the likes of East Lake, Oak Hill and Sedgefield as they all feature well protected, rasied greens. If we look at these recent leaderboards we see a good mix of power and accuracy. Looking at the 2013 US PGA in particular, the last two Hamilton G&CC winners were in the top 5 that week in Furyk and Piercy. But also inside the top 10 were bombers Day, DJ and McIlroy. The only other major top 10 that Piercy has was at Oakmont in 2016 where a certain Jim Furyk was runner up and both courses feature plenty of elevation changes. Piercy was also runner-up at the 2016 WGC Bridgestone at Firestone while Furyk has a great record there for a course that should be too long for him. (If we want to get really silly with tenuous course links we can also look at 1930 Hamilton winner Tommy Armour who won his US Open at……Oakmont).  Overall though I think we’re going to get an event where anyone playing well should have a chance and that makes for a very exciting week but also a more open one than we sometimes see on 7500+ yard layouts.

While we know the likes of DJ and Bubba have taken this event seriously the week before the US PGA, I’m not entirely convinced that their focus won’t be on sharpening up for a potentially career-defining Pebble Beach US Open next week. I think the same will apply to Koepka and McIlroy and while they could essentially win this with their B game, I’m happy to look further down the market this week.

Jason Dufner (HAS NOW WITHDRAWN) has shown enough in recent weeks to make me think that he is close to winning again and given the angle I’m using for Hamilton, this could be the perfect stop. Dufner was on a decent run of form going 4-MC-40 ahead of his 7th place at Memorial last week. The great thing about Duf at his peak was that he could compete on almost any course given his tee-to-green game but he struggled to win anywhere overly long. Put him on a short course however and his scoring iron’s proximity would give him so many chances that he simply had to hole some of the 5-15 footers. This was never more prevalent than when winning his US PGA at Oak Hill as he peppered elevated flag after elevated flag. With the potential similarities and elevated greens his distance control from 175 yards and in should hold him in good stead this week. While he still isn’t ranking too highly in these areas he has taken a big jump in approach proximity numbers this week having performed well in this area at Muirfield Village as he ranked 6th in strokes gained: approaches and 4th in GIR. Dufner also finished 8th at Oakmont and has two top 10s at Firestone. The general 50/1 isn’t fantastic but he has so much class that if he is somewhere near his best he can still make a Colin Mochrie of the price.

Shane Lowry should really have won that US Open at Oakmont and he often crops up on the same leaderboards as Piercy and Furyk, winning the 2015 WGC at Firestone. He was in the doldrums for a while after that 2016 US Open but we have seen him back to his best at times in 2019 and his best is firmly good enough to contend in elite fields like this. Lowry is another who thrives on any course where short iron proximity helps with the scoring as he isn’t always the best of putters despite his excellent touch around the greens. His last two PGA TOur finishes have been 3rd at RBC Heritage and 8th at Bethpage Black. On those pieces of form and his historical form on some potentially key courses the 50/1 looks very fair.

I’m probably banging the Oak Hill drum a little too loudly and while it’s never too wise putting too many eggs in one basket, it’s easier to take risks when in form so I’m adding 4th place from that 2013 leaderboard too, Jonas Blixt. He has been playing some decent golf lately and was 5th on his last start at Colonial where he was 6th in strokes gained: approaches. He should enjoy this test and can look to continue that form at a big price. (100/1).

I really quite liked Webb Simpson’s chances this week but was expecting at least 30/1 so his general 22/1 that he opened isn’t great. I’ll be watching his Exchange price though and if it goes north of 30 then he might be worth following on a course that should suit him.

Late addition after Dufner withdrawal

Oakland Hills isn’t to be confused with Oak Hill even if they are both Donald Ross designed parkland courses in the north east US. Oakland Hills is considerably longer and the elevation changes aren’t as obvious. However the same sort of thinly tree-lined fairways exist with typical elevated tees and uphill approaches. As I’ve mentioned Hamilton has a lot of those characteristics so I’m taking a huge leap with 2016 US Amateur winner around Oakland Hills, Curtis Luck. The young Aussie isn’t in the best of form but he was 5th three starts ago in the team event at the Zurich with Hank Leboida. There is plenty cross over form with Hamilton and TPC Louisiana with Piercy having won at both and Dufner who I really liked for this also a winner there. Even as I write this I fear I’m clutching at straws but sometimes players just like these classic sorts of layouts and there isn’t much to lose at 250/1. At least he is putting as well normal as he ranks 21st in strokes gained: putting.

Roberto Castro and Colt Knost were also close to getting added but you can’t really advise more than one completely out of form no-hoper! Castro contended at Dufner’s US PGA and Knost won his US Amateur around the similar Olympic Club. Both are probably just about worth £2 on the Exchange though….

Golf Sixes

This event was a lot of fun last year but maybe not the best event to be betting on. With matches taking place over just 6 holes there is certainly a real lottery feel to the event although a round robin nature should at least allow for the best teams to advance from the group. From there it’s Quarter Finals onwards as the top 2 from each of the 4 groups of 4 advance. The teams are very random indeed but there is also a change of course and that’s what I’m focussing on.

They have moved to Oitavos Dunes in Portugal and it’s a course we have seen several times on Tour albeit not since 2009. It held 4 Portugal Opens over a period of 5 years back then and it was dominated by short game experts and links lovers. Paul Broadhurst Michael Hoey and Pablo Martin Benavides were two of the winners while the likes of Paul Lawrie, Alastair Forsyth and David Howell regularly appeared on leaderboards. The course is right by the coast so a wind pedigree is needed and every winner performed on and around the greens.

Given most of these players haven’t seen the course I thought Jamie Donaldson and Stuart Manley (Wales) looked over priced as the 13th rated team (Portugal have an amateur playing and the 2 Ladies teams look a lot weaker than last year). They have played here 7 times between them with Donaldson posting two top 10s. While neither are setting the Tour on fire this year Manley does still rank 54th in strokes gained: putting and that has always been his strength. Donaldson is 7th in strokes gained: around the green and their short game talent together with knowledge of the course might see them go better than expected, especially if the wind blows.

I also very much like George Coetzee in any event that might turn into a putting contest and the fact he is playing with friend and fellow ET winner Brandon Stone only strengthens that case. This season Coetzee is 15th in strokes gained: putting while Stone is 57th around the green. Given they both enjoy links golf and know how to win at this level I was suprised to see 4 teams shorter than South Africa. Some firms are paying 4 places but I’m not sure I want to part with two times the stakes to be honest so I’ll just play them both win only and hope we can get at least one of them out of the group stages.

Summary of bets

Canadian Open

Jason Dufner – 1.5pts ew @ 50/1   WITHDRAWN – VOID BET

Shane Lowry – 1pt ew @ 50/1

Jonas Blixt – 0.75pts ew @ 100/1 (all 1/5 odds 8 places Betfair/Skybet/PP)

Curtis Luck – 0.75pts ew @ 250/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

Golf Sixes

South Africa (Coetzee and Stone) – 2pts win @ 12/1

Wales (Donaldson and Manley) – 1.5pts win @ 18/1


Weekly pts advised = 8.5pts