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

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

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

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

2017 pts advised = 249pts

2017 pts returned = 170.22

ROI = -31.64%

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


St. Jude Classic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Lyoness Open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Summary of Bets

Fed-Ex St Jude

Harris English – 0.75pt ew @ 80/1

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

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

Lyoness Open

Gregory Bourdy – 1pt ew @ 22/1

Tom Lewis – 0.75 pts ew @ 66/1

Zander Lombard – 0.75pts ew @ 50/1

Chris Hanson – 1pt Top 20 @ 9/2

Ben Evans – 1pt Top 20 @ 9/2

 

Weekly pts advised = 12pts

Total 2017 pts advised = 261pts

@theGreek82

Dean and Deluca Invitational and BMW PGA Championship – Betting Preview

With both players well positioned after round one in Europe, De La Riva and Paisley managed to be just two of 9 players in the top 91 not to shoot under par on Friday and that pretty much summed things up. They lost all momentum and they couldn’t get close enough to figure over the weekend.

In the US my bets were more speculative but I expected more from Jason Dufner on a track that he loves. After a great round on Saturday to get into contention he played poorly on Sunday when even par would have gained him a place.

Total 2017 pts advised = 223pts

Total 2017 pts returned = 130.97pts

ROI = -41%

This week we have the flagship event on the European Tour at Wentworth and the PGA Tour heads to Colonial for what is now known as the Dean and Deluca Invitational.


Dean and Deluca Invitational

This week the PGA Tour stays in Texas for one more week at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. The course is a classic par 70 layout and plays just over 7200 yards. Mainly just the picks this week with a bit of course info included.

Wes Bryan won just three starts ago at Harbour Town, which has always correlated well with Colonial, yet he is available towards 80/1 this week and 100.0 on Betfair. This is his debut but he is a player full of promise. Apparently he told people earlier in the year that he was going to get his first win at Harbour Town and to deliver that shows he has a lot of confidence in his game. It is a course where historically a bit of course knowledge goes a long way but I can’t get away from him at that price and lets not forget that he was winning on his first look go at the RBC Heritage too. Harbour Town is tree-lined, windy and has small greens, three of the main features at Colonial so this should really suit him perfectly. The greens at Harbour Town are bermuda grass but all three of Bryan’s Web.com wins were on bentgrass so he won’t be troubled at all by the smoother surfaces at Colonial.

Bryan sits in 20th for proximity to the hole, 7th in one-putt percentage and 25th for scoring relative to par from approaches at 125-150 yards. All three of those combine to tell us that he gets the ball close to the pin with his wedge and makes a lot of  putts once on the green. That is why he thrived at Harbour Town and given that he flagged up that as a chance of his first win I’m convinced he will be seeing this as a great chance of following up quickly. He has missed his last two cuts but he has no doubt been enjoying his first PGA Tour win and he arrives off the back of a week off so he should arrive fresh and ready to push on.

Graeme McDowell is back to his best on the greens and he is continuing to hit his customary 70% of fairways so he really should take to the course on his first look. As a household European Tour member over recent years he has always played at Wentworth this week but his decision surely took into account how suitable this course is for him and he has only made the top 25 at Wentworth once in 13 attempts. McDowell is a former winner at Harbour Town and is always one to watch whenever there is wind forecast.

Currently ranking 10th in driving accuracy he will handle the tight fairways better than most and he also ranks 14th in scoring relative to par from 150-175 yards. With McDowell being one of the shorter hitters he will find himself in that sort of region on a lot of holes this week and we know he is making the most of those chances with his putter. Looks over priced for a player with 10 professional wins playing on a course that should play to his strengths.

Having picked two debutants so far, Ben Martin gets in on his strong course form and the fact he stopped a run of missed cuts with an 18th at Wells Fargo and then a 30th at the Players. Martin can be a force anywhere that involves plotting his way around the course off the tee and that explains his form figures of 29-10-21 the last three years here. With the last two winners on the PGA Tour arriving in far worse form it might just pay to take a punt again for the 3rd week in a row.

 


BMW PGA Championship

With £5 million of new modifications to the course at Wentworth I’m not going to write too much about it. I wrote more of a comprehensive course preview last year but suffice to say it is a tree-lined, difficult course with lots of water, links style bunkering and fairways and very fast greens. The wind is notoriously difficult to gauge as it whistles up and over the trees so distance control is always key on approach shots.

Tyrrell Hatton (a 50/1 tip for the blog) played in the final group with Scott Hend last year but both players had a day to forget. Hatton really went to school on that experience though and his upward curve could almost be attributed to that point in his career. He had a brilliant summer and then continued his rise this year on the PGA Tour, churning out top 20 after top 20 to reach a high of number 12 in the world.

He is half the price this year but he looks more than twice the player now as he is a winner on Tour with two major top 10s. To give a comparison to those around him in the market, Francesco Molinari also has two major top 10s but from 29 efforts whereas Hatton has only played 7 majors as a pro. Hatton is a player that is going places and but for one bad and slightly unlucky tee shot in Dubai, he would already have his 2nd win on Tour having driven into the water with an adrenaline fuelled tee-shot on the 72nd hole at the Tour Championship in November.

His immediate form hasn’t been fantastic but his 2017 stats are glowing and he is developing exactly the right sort of all-round game that is perfect for a test like Wentworth. For those who are thinking 25/1 is a little short we must remember that he is the 3rd highest ranked player in the field and he finished 7th last year. Again comparing his price to the 18/1 about Molinari, he begins to look like a value price.

Hatton lives a relatively short drive away and he has called this his favourite tournament of the year. I expect him to be fully prepared and ready to make up for last year’s disappointment.

I’ve long thought that Bernd Wiesberger should be perfectly suited to Wentworth and the fact that he is in great form this year makes him a must bet for me. He won just last month at another greens in regulation course with water in play (Genzon Golf Club) and the one weak part of his game probably won’t be that important at the tough Wentworth course. His putting has always been below average but not only will birdies be at a premium this week, the greens have also been largely relaid so most will be going in fairly blind. His short game in general used to let him down but he currently ranks 1st in scrambling on Tour which at least tells us that he is holing out with more assurance than in the past. Throw in 10th in GIR and 18th in total driving and it becomes clear why he is having such a good year.

Despite having four European Tour wins already he often finds a way of throwing in one bad round which costs him the win. At some point he is going to put four together and destroy a field with his ultra consistent iron play. Odds of 25/1 here for the world number 30 appealed to me even before considering his finishes of 15th and 12th at the course.

Annoyingly he has been cut today to 22/1 and while that is starting to feel skinny I had already made my mind up so he stays in at the restricted price. For those with a Betfair account hopefully his exchange price might push out again towards 26.0.

I also backed Lee Westwood here last year on the strength of his course form and again he looks a value play with a good recent showing in an elite field at the Masters. He finished here 15th last year after contending for the first three days and nobody hit more greens through the week. The year before he ranked 3rd for putting when finishing 38th and if he can combine those two facets of his game in any way then he is sure to go well again at a course where he has 6 top 5s to his name.

Gregory Bourdy should really like Wentworth and he does have a couple of decent finishes as he was 15th last year and 12th in 2013. But ultimately he just looks massively over priced to me at 125/1. Just two starts ago he was seen finishing 3rd behind Weisberger and Fleetwood in China at Genzon Golf Club where he ranked 10th in total accuracy and 5th in the all-round ranking. The accurate Frenchman is 10th in driving accuracy, 29th in GIR, and 7th in par 4 scoring for the year so he looks worth a go at a big price.


Summary of Bets

Dean and Deluca

Wes Bryan – 1pt ew @ 80/1

Graeme Mcdowell – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1

Ben Martin – 0.5pt ew @ 100/1

BMW PGA

Tyrrell Hatton – 1pt ew @ 25/1 (Skybet 7 places)

Bernd Wiesberger – 1pt ew @ 22/1 (Skybet 7 places)

Lee Westwood – 0.5pt ew @ 45/1

Gregory Bourdy – 0.5pte ew @ 125/1

Weekly pts advised – 10pts

Total 2017 pts = 233pts

@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

The Players Championship and Open De Portugal – Betting Preview

Yet again another disappointing Sunday as Scotland came up shy in their semi-finals against Australia and 200/1 shot Zac Blair had a nightmare front 9 after starting his final round T8th and 3 shots back.

Scotland played better golf than anyone en route to the semis but they were quite flat against the Aussies. Despite that they had more than enough chances to beat Scott Hend and Sam Brazel as they were playing even worse than the Scots. But ultimately a bit of rust about Warren’s game and Ramsay’s putter going cold meant they lost it at the 6th and final hole.

Blair would have had his work cut out to win the event but it’s a shame that he didn’t manage to contend at all on the Sunday even after an opening birdie. It is refreshing to see such a positive Twitter feed from Blair at a time when the likes of Grayson Murray are making all the social media headlines for the wrong reasons. The preparation Blair put into the week helped him to play well and if he continues in that vein then we may well see him on more leaderboards throughout the year.

Total 2017 pts advised = 197pts

Total 2017 pts returned = 130.97pts

ROI = -33.5%


The Players Championship

I’ve done a preview again for Matchbook this week so please see that below. I’m not going to bother repeating too much so just the picks and the staking plan.

https://insights.matchbook.com/players-championship-betting-guide/

I like Justin Thomas. Jon Rahm, Russell Henley, Kevin Chappell and Matt Kuchar this week each way.

Also going to include Matt Kuchar as a Top 10 bet as he really seems to enjoy playing well but only finishing 6th-10th!

David Lingmerth looks over priced for a top 20 here given his fondness for Pete Dye courses. He finished 2nd on his debut at TPC Sawgrass and he has a 6th and a 3rd on Dye’s Valley course at Sawgrass. Lingmerth was also beaten in a play-off last February by Dufner at the CareerBuilder Challenge which is played on two different Pete Dye designs. The tougher it plays the more he will enjoy the test and with recent finishes of 14th and 18th a 3rd top 20 in a row looks more likely than the 8/1 suggests.


Open De Portugal

This looks as poor a betting heat as The Players looks a good one. A new course and a co-sanctioned event with the Challenge Tour gives us a very poor field. The course is Morgado Golf Course in the Algarve and from the little I can find it is said to be a links style course in a parkland setting. A google search of images would back that up and it looks a lot like Gleneagles which I always think of as the archetypical inland links course. With little to go on I have found two speculative punts.

Mark Foster won the Alfred Dunhill Links way back in 2003 and he lost in a play-off at Gleaneagles in 2011. He hasn’t done a great deal recently but this is the sort of tournament that is usually won by someone with a historical piece of class or a hungry young maiden. At 50/1 he looks worth a small interest.

Jens Fahbring probably couldn’t be considered young any more but he is still just finding his feet on the main Tour. He arrives in Portugal following two 13th place finishes and also managed 12th in Portugal in October in a far better field than this. He is a proven winner on the Challenge Tour with two wins, both at courses that are  visually similar to Morgado. Also looks a fair price at 50/1.


Summary of Bets

The Players

Justin Thomas – 2pts ew @ 30/1

Jon Rahm – 2pts ew @ 22/1

Russell Henley – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1

Kevin Chappell – 0.5pt ew @ 50/1

Matt Kuchar – 0.5pt ew @ 60/1 & 2pts Top 10 @ 9/2

David Lingmerth – 1pt Top 20 @ 8/1

Open De Portugal

Mark Foster – 0.5pt ew @ 50/1

Jens Fahrbring – 0.5pt ew @ 50/1

Weekly pts advised = 16pts

@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

Zurich Classic and Volvo China Open – Betting Preview

Kevin Chappell finally got over the line in his 180th PGA Tour start but that really doesn’t tell the full story of his last 18 months as he has been threatening to win and did very little wrong in his 4 runner-up finishes in 2016. Despite playing brilliantly on the whole on Sunday it looked like he was going to find one too good again as Brooks Koepka surged through the field with an amazing round of 65 (there were only 7 rounds under 70 on Sunday!). But Chappell showed great courage to shrug off his sloppy par on the short 17th hole to set up an 8ft birdie putt on the par 5 18th. I must admit I feared the worst and if he had missed it then surely Koepka had the momentum for the play-off. But Chappell took his time and rolled it in to win the trophy and his celebration was brilliant to see. He screamed and shouted and ran about as you would expect most winners to do but too many times we see a muted response to winning. Ultimately though, winning on the PGA Tour is very hard so it should be celebrated as such and the reaction will only have helped make Chappell more popular with fans (and punters!) who could see just what it meant to him.

Personally it was good to finally get the first outright winner of 2017 after several near misses and it was a shame Ross Fisher 3-putted on the 18th to miss a play-off in China as it could have been two winners!

With regards to Chappell I think he is a player that really needs to be watched closely as he could take off much like Jimmy Walker did in 2013/14 after his first win. His tee-to-green game is as steady as you get and his love of tough courses make him perfect for the US Open, something which he showed on his debut when he finished T3rd behind McIlroy in 2011 and then T10th the following year. He is very much a live outsider for this year at Erin Hills and I’d advise people to get him onside now. Anything 100/1 and over looks very fair all things considered.

Total 2017 pts advised – 179

Total 2017 pts returned – 127.97

ROI = -28.51%


Zurich Classic

This week on the PGA Tour we have the first fully sactioned team event in 36 years and so far it seems to have split opinion. I’m not overly fussed either way but the way I see it there are 30+ regular tournaments in a season so I don’t think it can hurt to try something different, after all the Perth Super 6s on the European Tour turned out to be a huge success after a lot of criticism leading into the week.

The format sees 80 teams of 2 play the regular four rounds of golf from Thursday to Sunday. The first and third rounds are alternate shot and the second and fourth rounds are best ball. The course is TPC Louisiana which is as we were with it having hosted since 2007. It’s a ball-strikers course with long game exponents such as Justin Rose, Billy Horschell, Bubba Watson and Jason Dufner all having won there in recent years. Despite not being renowned for their putting however they did perform well with the flat-stick during their win and TPC Louisiana presents a good all-round test.

It’s quite long at just over 7400 yards and with it being another Pete Dye design it makes sense that approach shots are key on the course. The greens are relatively small and are made even harder to hit by the their speed. The bermuda surfaces also feature typical Dye run-offs and clever bunkering .

Given the new format I will be looking mainly at those that are familiar with playing with a team-mate as it isn’t for everyone and in addition I would like to see players that have had some success in foursomes/fourballs. The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup are the two main opportunities for PGA Tour pros to play team golf but we should also consider the amateur’s Walker Cup as many of the US players in the field cut their teeth in it.

There are two teams that stand out head and shoulders above the rest and to be honest I have no idea whether they represent any value with 80 teams here but I’m going to have a confident bet on both nevertheless.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson are two of the best ball-strikers in the game and not only that but they have an excellent record when playing together in the Ryder Cup. They won 3 out of 3 together at Gleneagles in 2014 after barely putting a foot wrong and playing some of the best team golf I have ever seen. They followed that up with only 1 win out of 3 at Hazeltine last year but can be forgiven as the two losses were to possibly the only pairing that are in the same league, Spieth and Reed.

So they already look to have a great chance before we consider that Justin Rose won around the course in 2014. The only negative is that Stenson’s form took a bit of a shock nosedive in March and April as he missed 3 cuts in a row. It’s possible that we might not see the ever consistent player of the last three years since his resurgence. But Rose is at the very top of his game, is fresh after a light schedule so far in 2017 and is more than capable of carrying Stenson for the first round by which time I’d expect the Swede to be back to normal in the most comfortable of settings alongside his good friend. If they are in contention by Sunday they will be very hard to beat so at the short price I’m going to go win only.

The other pairing is the 2015 Presidents Cup’s dream team that destroyed all before them in Korea. Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen won all four of their matches together in convincing style with only one of the matches making it beyond the 16th hole. That was quite a turnaround from both of their previous appearances where Grace lost all four matches in 2013 and Oostuizen only took 1.5pts from a possible 5pts that same year. They are clearly comfortable playing with each other and they are another two who excel tee to green. Just last week Grace led the field in Texas in strokes gained: tee to green and Oosthuizen was having a fine 2017 up until an unexpected poor showing at Augusta. Back alongside each other the fond memories of their partnership will have them very excited about the week ahead and with so much guesswork as to how 90% of these teams will perform together, they look like another solid bet.

I’m also going to have a small top 10 bet on Jason Bohn and Carl Pettersson at 16/1. Bohn is a former winner at the course and Pettersson loves playing on Pete Dye designs and finished 5th here just two years ago. He showed glimpses last week and with a 2 yr exemption on offer here they might just be taking things more serious than you would think. But they are good friends and there is a chance they can outplay those odds.


Volvo China Open

The China Open returns to the Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing for the second year with homegrown talent Hai Tong Li winning for the first time with a fair bit of ease last year.

One of the first things I had to do when looking at last year’s final leaderboard was to take a second look just to make sure I wasn’t actually looking at an Omega European Masters leaderboard given the names in the top 20!

Alex Noren, David Lipsky, Richie Ramsay have all won that title at Crans-Sur-Sierre and they were all inside the top 10 last year.  Bradley Dredge has also won there and he was 15th while Scott Hend lost a play-off to Noren there and was 6th in this last year. There seems to be a clear link between the two courses and interestingly there is also somewhat of a link with last week’s course which hosted the Shenzhen International. Last year’s Volvo China Open winner Hao-Tong Li had finished runner-up at the Shenzhen in 2015 so it was interesting to see so many Crans specialists go well last week to further compound the link.  Li’s other top 5 finish was at the Maybank Championship in February and alongside him were yet more Crans specialists so I’m basing a lot of my reasearch on the close connections of those four courses; Crans, Genzon Golf Course, Suajana GCC and this week’s host course at Topwin.

The downside is that the bookies have picked up on it and so they have slashed David Lipsky and Fabrizio Zanotti who both have solid form at the courses in question. This made me sceptical about including them but if we look through the field it isn’t really that strong and both have beaten better fields in the past.

Lipsky has been threatening to get his 2nd win recently after struggling for a while following his first win at Crans in 2014. But so far in 2017 he has played some good golf, he opened his year with a run of 39-41-42 in the Middle East Swing before finishing runner-up in the Maybank Championship. He then racked up some valuable top-class experience in the WGC Mexico before his T5th in the Shenzhen last week. He looks ready to win again and having gained his first professional win in Asia, he will be comfortable in the conditions that they will face this week. He finished in the top 10 last year when not in anything like the same form so another strong showing is expected.

Zanotti won just three starts ago so I suppose 33/1 isn’t really that short. His win was at the Maybank Championship in Malaysia where he finished one shot ahead of Lipsky. Zanotti fared better at the WGC Mexico however as he managed 12th place and he also finished 5th last week. On his way to 9th place last year he ranked 1st in fairways hit and 2nd in greens hit and another long game exhibition like that will see him go close. Both his wins have been at -19 so if we see the same birdie-fest as last year that shouldn’t present a problem.

Richie Ramsay is another winner of the European Masters and he also bounced back to form last week at the Shenzhen. The bookies haven’t clipped his price so much however, perhaps due to him having missed his two previous cuts. The 21st place finish was looking even better but he had a poor back 9 after getting himself right into contention early on. Looks a decent price at 70/1 given he was 6th in last year’s edition.

I’m not sure if Julien Quesne has shown enough lately to warrant an outright bet but his long game returned to form last week as he ranked 2nd in driving accuracy and 4th in GIR. Quesne is another with a good record around Crans (5th in 2016) and he also plays well in Asia. He missed the cut at the Maybank this year but was 4th there last year and with good results at all the relevant courses I think he is worth a Top 20 bet here.


Summary of Bets

Zurich Classic

Rose + Stenson – 3pts win @ 7.8

Grace + Oosthuizen – 1pt ew @ 16/1

Jason Bohn + Carl Pettersson – 1pt Top 10 @ 16/1

Volvo China Open

David Lipsky – 1pt ew @ 33/1

Fabrizio Zanotti – 1pt ew @ 28/1

Richie Ramsay – 0.5pt ew @ 70/1

Julien Quesne – 1pt Top 20 @ 5/1

Weekly pts advised = 12pts

Total 2017 pts advised = 191pts

@theGreek82

Valero Texas Open and Shenzhen International

A combination of not being too excited about either of these tournaments and last week’s brutal Sunday has left me with very little enthusiasm for this week’s golf.

Going into the weekend I had 6 players inside their respective top 30s and even on Sunday Campillo was 11th with Simpson and Kisner T3rd in the US. To come away with no returns pretty much summed up the run I’m on at the moment.

To make matters worse all 3 of those started their rounds very well on Sunday. Campillo came flying out of the blocks to reach a tie for 3rd but for the second day running he fell apart on the back 9. It was worse in the US as both Simpson and Kisner held the lead during the first 6 holes and looked quite assured. That didn’t last very long however and they joined the rest of the leaderboard in throwing away their chance.

I must admit I was starting to get excited about turning the 2017 results around but instead confidence took another hit and I’m keeping things very straight-froward this week.

Total 2017 pts advised = 172

Total 217 pts returned = 79.72

ROI = -53.65%


Valero Texas Open

I had a more thorough look at this last year so have a read of that if you wish as much of the same applies regarding the course and profile of player. In short, it is a long course with plenty of trees although they are located a little further back off the fairway than last week. They are especially penal however as anyone who remembers Kevin Na’s score of 16 on the Par 9th hole a few years will testify. The greens are bigger so we will see a lot more hit but they are undulating so only the best ball-strikers will manage to hold the correct portions of the green and set-up birdie putts. The greens are a bit of a hybrid with bermuda underseeded with bent and poa. That mix of grasses together with the usual Texas winds are perhaps two of the reasons why Open champions and good links players have a strong record around TPC San Antonio.

On the whole though it is a course that usually tests most parts of the game and that is evident with the all-round rankings of the winners. The last 5 have ranked 3rd, 1st, 2nd, 2nd and 4th in the all-round.

Kevin Chappell has a good course record ( 2nd in 2011 and 4th in 2016) and he looked back to something close to his best when finishing 7th at The Masters. That left many searching for his name in last week’s field given his solid record on Pete Dye courses. But he didn’t play and while that was a shame it means he will be fresh this week. Chappell has looked like a winner in waiting over the last 2 years and with an average start to 2017 it means we can get a fair price of 33/1 this week. Ranked 19th in the all-round at Augusta and enjoys a tough test of golf which we normally see here at TPC San Antonio with the winning score usually around -10.

Ian Poulter’s interview after his final round was very interesting on Sunday and makes me think he will play well again this week. He was downbeat but very, very self-aware of what had gone wrong and he was happy with his long game. It was his putting that let him down and he believed that tee-to-green he had been good enough to win. Despite his long wait since his win, I’m not convinced he is one of these players that gets in his way.

Needing a top 30 finish to secure his Tour card I think we will see a typically clutch performance from the Englishman. There is no doubt that this normally brilliant putter will have been working on the flat-stick non-stop this week so if he can hold his form there is no reason he can’t go well. Poulter at his best was always comfortable in the wind and he enjoys shaping his ball both ways and keeping the ball-flight down. He finished 2nd at the 2008 Open Championship in some of the highest winds we have seen on Tour in recent times. He doesn’t have the greatest course form but he is mentally tough and I expect another good showing. If he is comfortably inside the top 30 by Sunday then we might see him relax which could bode well down the stretch.


Shenzhen International

Last year I really fancied Ross Fisher for this long course and he finished inside the top 20 despite putting terribly. So far in 2017 we have seen a huge improvement in his putting and he used that to help him finish 3rd in the WGC Mexico and he also made the Quarter Finals of the WGC Matchplay. He has a great record in Asia and in particular at Nelson and Haworth designed courses such as this. He is a short price but that is perfectly fair for such a classy golfer dropping back to this grade. If the putting improvement is something long-term then he looks sure to play well having had a week off since a solid 41st at the Masters.

Renato Paratore had one of his best results on Tour last week as he finished 8th in Morocco for his 5th Top 10 on Tour. He seems to have been around for ages yet he is still only 20 years old. Unlike many of the field however he has played the course twice and while he didn’t exactly light it up, he made both cuts and finished 68th and 44th. He actually led the field in putting on his debut in 2015 so he obviously likes the greens. Last week he ranked 7th in the all-round ranking so his whole game is in better shape than when previously arriving in Shenzhen. The length of the course will be no problem as he is a big hitter and currently ranks 20th in driving distance. Hopefully he can push on from last week on a course he is familiar with and he looks an ok price to do so at 100/1.


Summary of results

Valero Texas Open

Kevin Chappell – 1pt ew @ 28/1

Ian Poulter – 1pt ew @ 66/1

Shenzhen International

Ross Fisher – 1pt ew @ 16/1

Renato Paratore – 0.5pt ew @ 100/1

Weekly pts advised = 7pts

Tootal 2017 pts advised = 179pts

@theGreek82