Wyndham Championship and Paul Lawrie Match Play – Betting Preview

As Matsuyama shot up the leaderboard on Friday with a brilliant 64 to tie the lead I was starting to think maybe I knew what I was doing again and stupidly expected the Japanese star to push on and win comfortably. Unfortunately though his long game unravelled over the weekend and that allowed Thomas to catch up and win with an impressive, albeit a little lucky, back 9. I’m not sure how much of Matsuyama’s play could be attributed to nerves but considering he wasn’t playing well at all he actually did quite well to hang around and only play the weekend in +2. While he has many major top 10s already in his young career this was the first time where he found himself favourite heading into both the 3rd and final rounds. I’d expect him to be all the better for the experience in the same way that Thomas, and many others before him, said he had learned a lot from his U.S. Open final round 75 in June.

James Hahn managed to oblige with a Top 20 for us but annoyingly Tony Finau had a final round shocker after sitting in the Top 20 for the bulk of the tournament. It returned just 6.6 pts which leaves the results as follows.

Total 2017 pts advised = 374.5pts

Total 2017 pts returned = 300.96pts

ROI = – 19.6%

I was going to sit this week out again but then I noticed it was the Wyndham which is usually a good horses for courses type event with a lot of form to go on. The Paul Lawrie Match Play didn’t look that exciting but it takes place at Bad Griesbach in Germany which has hosted a few tournaments already so there may be an angle in. The preview will be relatively short but hopefully still some bets.


Wyndham Championship

The Wyndham Championship takes place at its usual host course, Sedgefield Country Club and there is very much an established type of player that goes well here which often makes it a very good betting heat. The out of sorts Henrik Stenson is here chasing his quota of PGA Tour starts and his presence has thrown up a lot of very fair prices across the board.

Sedgefield is a fairly average length Par 70 designed by Donald Ross and repeatedly the same sort of attributes are required to go well. It is a tree-lined course with wide enough fairways but the bermuda greens are small so the more accurate drivers who can find the appropriate parts of the fairway tend to enjoy the lay-out as they give themselves the best chance of hitting the green. The last 5 winners have averaged 16th for driving accuracy while they have averaged 32nd for driving distance. The small bermuda greens generally slope from back to front as per the Donald Ross template but they also have lots of undulations and can be difficult to hold. The test around Ross’s courses is very much accuracy and that is the main attribute to consider this week. The greens are bermuda grass as per last week and we saw how uncomfortable many of the players were on the surface. The ball tends to break heavily at the death on bermuda and this can make the combination of pace and line difficult to deal with. Any picks should have shown a liking for bermuda greens in the past.

Form on Donald Ross courses also tends to stack up very well with Sedgefield correlating nicely with East Lake (Tour Championship), Oak Hill (2013 US PGA), Aronomink (2010 & 2011 AT & T National) and Pinehurst No. 2 (2014 US Open). There are lots of players who enjoy the test his layouts present and therefore have strong banks of form on several of these courses.

I really like Keegan Bradley for this as he should be suited to Sedgefield but yet he only played it for the first time last year when he finished 46th. Bradley currently sits in 5th position for Par 4 scoring and that combined with this 4th place finish at Pinehurst in 2014 are the two main points of interest for me but he also won his US PGA on bermuda greens in 2011. Despite struggling the last few years it really is just his putting that is letting him down since the anchoring ban. He has made his last six cuts, returning two top 10s in that time and I’m confident he can take advantage of the lack of depth this week. Bradley ranked 12th for total accuracy last week in the PGA and with other snippets of Donald Ross and bermuda form I expect a strong showing.

Trey Mullinax was one of the many players to congratulate Justin Thomas on twitter after his US PGA win but he is probably closer to the man who lifted the Wanamaker Trophy than most. Mullinax went to the University of Alabama with Thomas and played on the golf team with him for two years. It’s perfectly plausible that Mullinax gives himself a kick up the arse this week when he thinks of how well his mate is doing. However I’m not going to put him up on that alone, more so that he is a very talented golfer!

Mullinax currently ranks 11th in par 4 scoring and he finished 9th at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, which was actually his first PGA Tour top 10. But it is some of his solid Web.com Tour form that interests me this week. His win came at the Rex Hospital Open last year some 80 miles to the east of Sedgefield at TPC Wakefield Plantation. Another of his best results in the second tier was when he was 4th behind Si Woo Kim at the Ellie Mae Classic in 2015. Kim would go on to win the Wyndham last year and with all these factors combined I think Mullinax is worth a play at a sporting 150/1. I’m also having a top 20 bet on him as I only have the 2 outright picks this week.

I wanted to back both Bill Haas and Jason Dufner here but neither of them have been quite at their best over the last 2 months so I’m reluctantly leaving them both out.

 


Paul Lawrie Match Play

Paul Lawrie takes his match play event outside the UK for the first time as the Bad Griesbach Resort in Germany hosts the 3rd edition of a tournament that has failed to capture the imagination of most golf fans so far. What it does do though is give the 2nd tier of European Tour players some valuable match play experience and while some criticise the need for it at all, it does at least stick to a simple knock-out draw which makes for a nice change from all the bracket nonsense we see at the WGC match play event. (I think, nobody really has a clue!!)

The Bad Griesbach course has hosted the 2015 and 2016 Porsche European Open as well as the Challenge Tour’s Aegean Airlines Open from 2013-2015 so while the format is different there is some course form to go on.

2016’s edition was a weather shorted one and Alex Levy powered his way to a win in three rounds on a soaking wet course. That is in direct contrast to 2015 Champion Thonghai Jaidee who has a more subtle approach to his game. Both players however have very accurate approach play when on their game and can be good putters if conditions are right, Levy thrives on slow greens whereas Jaidee is a proficient putter who excels on faster greens. This suggests that knowing the weather in advance could be important this week, at present it is a mix of rain and sun which doesn’t tell us too much.

With that said however if you can’t find fairways and greens in match play golf it can be very hard to apply any pressure so with relatively wide fairways I make accurate approach play the most important aspect here. Secondly I would say that a previous look at the course could be important as there is no chance to ease into the tournament as the straight knockout format means that all day 1 losers will be going home early. I’d also prefer to see at least some sort of match play pedigree in their careers to date.

I had a fairly big shortlist for this but annoyingly 5 of them have ended up in the same quarter of the draw. I thought Matthew Southgate, Max Kieffer, Johan Carlsson, Magnus Carlsson and Jamie Donaldson could go all go well but four of them are actually in the same 1/8th of the draw so I am leaving that minefield well alone!

Instead I have gone to the other half of the draw for my first pick and despite Robert Karlsson’s opening match against Edoardo Molinari, I think he looks a fair price at 50/1. That is a tough match but both those men have achieved more than pretty much anyone else in the field and despite Karlsson not having done much at all in recent years he makes some appeal. That was the same back in 2015 when he made the Semi-Final of the first edition of the tournament at the tricky Murcar Links course in Aberdeen. The match play format allowed him a nice change from his stroke-play struggles and I was thinking he might just have a good run again even before I saw his course form. Karlsson was 3rd at Bad Griesbach in 2016 and it’s a draw that could open up nicely for the winner of the first round match. With this format looking a bit of a lottery at this level I will just go small stakes and have 0.5pt ew @ 50/1.

I did like Richard Bland a lot for this but his price is short enough for someone yet to win on Tour and he also has a fairly tough draw that could see him face a couple of Ryder Cup players before even making the Quarter Finals. I also liked 2014 WGC Match Play finalist Victor Dubuisson but he is in the same quarter as Karlsson now and also has a tricky opener against Bradley Dredge. Marc Warren is a proven match play exponent and when fully fit he is a far better player than most of these so his odds certainly appeal. However he has missed most of the season through injury. I took a chance on him at the World Cup where he played quite well until the semi-finals when fatigue kicked in and his injury prevented him from swinging freely. Worth keeping an eye on should he appear fully fit.

In truth you could make a case for most of the 64-man field but I’ve decided to opt for a youngster in the hope that he takes to the format. Thomas Detry sits 20th on tour for total accuracy over the last three months and his best finish to date was runner-up in Germany earlier in the year at the BMW International Open. He ranked 2nd for putting that week and finished 2nd again in the flat stick ranks on his last outing. It seems like his whole game is in decent shape and he certainly has the talent to scare a few of these more exposed European Tour types. There are a few very good players in his quarter but on the whole it looks to be the weakest in terms of recent form. He looked like he was taking to the match play format in the Perth Super Sixes but eventually lost his first match at the 2nd play-off hole to eventual finalist Adam Bland. His odds of 33/1 aren’t fantastic but I’m hoping he will enjoy his return to the south-east of Germany and with the possibility of a relatively easy path should he win his first game, I think he looks worth the risk.

The draw looks a little bit too trappy to bother with a 3rd pick from the off but I will be paying close attention to who goes well in the competitive first quarter and I may add one more in play.

 

 


Summary of Bets

Wyndham Championship

Keegan Bradley – 1pt ew @ 45/1

Trey Mullinax – 0.5pt ew @ 150/1 and 1pt Top 20 @ 13/2

Paul Lawrie Match Play

Robert Karlsson – 0.5pt ew @ 50/1

Thomas Detry – 0.5pt ew @ 33/1

 

Weekly pts advised = 6pts

Total 2017 pts advised = 380.5pts

 

@theGreek82

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

After all the hype and nonsense regarding the Olympic Golf it turned out to be a complete success and it had a fitting winner in Justin Rose, one of the few elite players that had supported it right from the start. It was just a shame that it came at the expense of our pick Henrik Stenson! Although the Swede traded as low as 1.40 I believe so hopefully those that were on managed to at least trade their stakes back.

It was another frustrating week as Stenson was too short to back each way so there were no returns for the blog. That leaves the results as follows;

Total points advised – 756.50

Total points returned – 793.79

ROI -4.9%

Not pretty reading as the ROI falls ever closer to a negative number but August – October was a very good period last year so hopefully my fortunes will change again soon.

This week we return to the PGA Tour and also have the Czech Masters on the European Tour.


Wyndham Championship

After the buzz of the Olympics its back to the norm again and the final tournament before the Fed Ex Series. That usually makes it quite an exciting week as players jostle in and out of the Top 125 as the weekend takes shape. Ever since the first Fed Ex Play-offs in 2007, The Wyndham Championship has been the final regular tournament and not only that but since 2008 it has been held at Sedgefield CC in North Carolina.

Sedgefield is a Donald Ross design and was opened in 1926. It plays as a 7130 yard long Par 70 course with tree-lined, average width fairways and, typically of a Ross design, relatively small greens. They were bent grass until 2012 when it was decided that scoring was too low so they were replaced with bermuda grass. Subsequently it might be best to focus on the last 4 editions rather than 2008-2011.

The winner is usually an accurate sort that hits plenty of fairways and greens and that certainly helps at Sedgefield. Patrick Reed maybe doesn’t quite fall into that category but he scrambles brilliantly and that is another key attribute at Sedgefield where, despite the low scoring, the small greens will be missed.

Further to the accuracy though there a couple of other key elements at Sedgefield. Most of those that have played well since the 2012 renovation of the greens have got form on bermuda greens with all of the four winners now having multiple PGA Tour wins on the surface.

They also have strong form on Donald Ross courses which include East Lake (Tour Championship), Aronimink GC (AT and T National 2010, 2011), Pinehurst No. 2 ( 2012 US Open), Oak Hill Country Club (2013 US PGA) and Oakland Hills (2008 US PGA Championship).

I backed Bill Haas in this last year and he played very well and finished just out of the places in 6th. It is a perfect course for the North Carolina native and he has been playing quite well again lately. The 6-time winner on Tour has always shown his best golf when the field strength is a little bit below top-class so it was very interesting to see him get his first ever major top 10 last month at Royal Troon. That will have given him a lot of confidence as he arrives at a course where his recent form figures read 6-2-20-7 since the renovations in 2012.

Three of his wins have come on bermuda greens and he has also won on Donald Ross’ East Lake course, when he announced himself properly on Tour scooping the Fed Ex bonus in 2011. Everything is in his favour this week and prior to his 56th at the US PGA his form has been decent this year with 6 Top 10s and he has given the impression that he is building towards his 7th win.

While he isn’t setting the world alight with his stats this year he is normally a good fit around Sedgefield where a solid all-round game is required. Indeed the last 5 winners have ranked 2nd, 1st, 10th, 1st and 1st in the all-round during the week of their win. Haas himself has ranked 4th, 6th, 15th and 7th so it is definitely a course that brings out his best golf.

He also sits in 21st position for strokes gained:tee to green which I think probably gives a better idea of where his game is at than some of the other more specific stats. The price isn’t fantastic but given his strong course form I think he looks the most likely to play well from those at the head of the market.

Webb Simpson is another North Carolinan that loves it around Sedgefield. So much so in fact that he called his daughter Wyndham! His form figures may have something to do with that as they read 6th-5th-11th-22nd-1st-8th-MC. That win in 2011 was his first on Tour so you can see why he has such a fondness for the event but it also suits his game perfectly.

Simpson hasn’t been at his best the last couple of years and at the start of 2016 he struggled with the anchoring ban. He has putted ok in spells though and a return to the bermuda greens that he knows well should see him prosper. He has also been threatening to win again this season and although the bookies are also aware of that, this looks to be his best chance of winning this year.For the last 3 months he ranks joint 1st in Par 4 scoring and that is always crucial around this Par 70 layout.

A couple of obvious picks this week but I like their each way chances a lot and there isn’t much more that stands out at the longer prices.


D+D Real Czech Masters

I’m a little too short on time to look into this in great detail but I have found a couple of small bets. This is the 3rd edition of this so we have two others to look back on.

I really wanted to back Sebastian Gros for this but for some reason he isn’t teeing it up this week. It looked perfect for him but I guess he may be injured.

I tipped Eddie Pepperell last year at just 18/1 on the strength of his 6th place finish in 2014. He did ok but finished down the field a little in 22nd. He hadn’t been in the best of form over the summer and a couple of weeks ago he had his back 9 collapse that saw him throw a 3 or 4 shot lead away in Asia at The King’s Cup. He then wrote quite an open blog entry about his troubles over the closing holes and he stated that he found it hard to keep his ball in play off the tee. That isn’t overly important at Albatross Golf Club and that could be why he has gone well at the course before.

He got a bit of a hard time on twitter for his blog comments but ultimately I think being so aware of himself will help him and I’d expect that he will have been working very hard on his swing in the two weeks since. The rest of his game is still in fine shape so the fact we can get 50/1 about him this week looks to be a nice piece of value.

I’m not sure that Calum Shinkwin is necessarily ready to win on the European Tour but he ranks highly in the relevant stats this week. He is 2nd in ball-striking, 28th in the all-round ranking, 43rd in Par 5 scoring and 44th in birdie average over the last three months.

Prior to his understandable missed cut at Royal Troon he was in very good form with a couple of top 10s in very strong fields in Scotland and France. That was his 1st ever major championship so it can probably be ignored and that was followed by his first professional match play tournament so I’m not too concerned by his 1st round exit there either.

I think both those have pushed his price out nicely and this course should suit him perfectly despite missing the cut on his only appearance last year. Shinkwin has improved massively in the 12 months since and he looks a good each way bet this week.

The Women’s Olympics takes place on the same Gil Hanse designed course that the men played on last week and while it could well be another shoot-out between Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn I think the fact that Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson pulled away from the field can tell us something about the course. Neither of those are the greatest of putters and while both putted quite well during the week, the Olympic course looks very much like a ball-strikers course. That makes me think that Lexi Thompson looks to be a reasonable piece of value given her recent 8th at the Women’s Open and a good 2016 on the whole. She sits 4th in ball striking and I don’t think the greens can be the toughest so it might help Thompson close the gap with Ko and AJ. The presence of Thomas Pieters and Bubba Watson on the leaderboard also suggested that length off the tee was quite crucial and Lexi sits in 2nd for driving distance.


Summary of Bets

Wyndham Championship

Bill Haas – 1pt ew @ 28/1

Webb Simpson – 1pt ew @ 25/1

D+D Real Czech Masters

Eddie Pepperell – 1pt ew @ 50/1

Calum Shinkwin – 1pt ew @ 45/1

Women’s Olympic Event

Lexi Thompson – 1pt ew @ 14/1 (1/4 1st-5th with Betfair Sportsbook)

Weekly pts advised – 10pts

Total pts advised – 766.50pts

Wyndham Championship and Made in Denmark – Betting Preview

Day is congratulated on the 18th green by wife Ellie and son Dash

Day is congratulated on the 18th green by wife Ellie and son Dash

USPGA Review – Jason finally has his Day (…..sorry!)

After two previews with zero returns, had the third also been fruitless then it may well have proved to be the last. However my feeling that Jason Day was going to win was similar to that which I had at this years Masters regarding Jordan Spieth, very strong. So upping the stakes and going with one solid pick turned out to be a great success and the site is now in overall profit for the 3 weeks. (73pts advised, 105.8pts returned for a ROI of 45%)

In reality Day looked like the winner all weekend and barely faltered whatsoever. But that’s not to say it wasn’t still a nervy experience for his backers on Sunday, never more so than straight after his chunked wedge when sitting in A1 position on the 9th fairway. The panic was short-lived though as he saved par and then played a near flawless back 9, oozing the perfect concoction of power, accuracy and touch. Despite the murmurs of it being too easy a major with its record breaking score, I found the US PGA to be one of the more enjoyable Majors of recent years with an immaculate golf course allowing the world’s best golfers to play some truly breath-taking golf. To cap it off we got perhaps the most deserving major winner of the last 5 years and a hugely popular one at that.

The usual post major lull will hit both the PGA Tour and European Tour this week although there is still a decent enough field assembled on both sides of the Atlantic and I’m going to run through my thoughts for both quickly followed by 3 outright picks in each followed by any other bets that I might like. If it’s a succesful format then I might keep it going during these lower profile weeks.


Made in Denmark

Held at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort in Farso near Aalborg, this tournament had its inaugural running last year and was a massive success with some of the highest crowds seen for a regular European Tour event. It hasn’t attracted too many of the biggest names so a fairly average looking field arrives in Denmark to tackle the relatively short, exposed 7,033 yard Par 71 course. With only one running so far there isn’t a lot of course form to go on so instead I have decided to look quite closely at last year’s winner, Scotland’s Marc Warren for more information. Warren at his best is a great ball striker served by one of the best swings on the European Tour. He is a deadly putter and thrives on windy, links courses. He has won 3 European Tour titles ; The Scandanavian Masters in 2006 at Barseback Golf and Country Club, Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2007 and then the 1st Made in Denmark last season.

Whenever I think of Gleneagles I immediately think of a few courses that correlate nicely with Gleneagles. Crans in Switzerland (Omega European Masters), Doha Golf Club (Qatar Masters) and Barseback. As already mentioned Warren has won at two of these and only this year he finished 2nd in Qatar. Thomas Bjorn has won at Crans, Qatar, Gleneagles and came 4th at this course last year. Paul Lawrie has won at Qatar and Gleneagles. Robert Karlsson has won at Crans, Qatar and lost in a playoff to Warren at Barseback. Even Joakim Haeggman had 2 of his 3 career wins at Barseback and Qatar. The list goes on with countless players cropping up on the leaderboards at these same courses over the years.

Some may think “so what?” but it’s a method that can often throw up a winner. Many golfers just feel more comfortable on certain types of courses and it’s no coincidence that most of the courses above have undulating, exposed fairways (bar Crans which is tree-lined) and require a very sharp short game. So I’m looking for players that have performed well in the last couple of years at Qatar Masters and Omega European Masters, are in decent form and preferably better than average putters.

Marc Warren is favourite this week and rightly so. He arrives here off the back of a T48th at Whistling Straits and a T25th at Firestone. Not amazing but playing in fields that make this look like a Sunday Medal. Prior to that he looked set to win the Paul Lawrie Matchplay until a slight back injury prevented him from playing his best towards the end of a long week, losing in the Semi Finals to eventual winner Aphibarnrat. Warren is simply in great form, is suited to the course and on his day is one of the best in this field. His odds look poor but it must be noted that the opposition does too so I think he is worth a win only play at 11.5 on Betfair.

Johan Carlsson is also in good recent form with a T9th at the Matchplay and a T16th at Crans with no over par rounds and 68% of greens hit and 12th in Putts Per Round. This isn’t one of his strongest attributes usually so to me that was worth noting. Carlsson finished 13th and 16th the last two years in Qatar hitting a 65 on both occasions so we know he can go low when conditions suit.  Carlsson isn’t the most accurate off the tee but last year’s winner Warren only hit 50% of fairways so it clearly isn’t the most crucial of factors at Himmerland. The clincher for me with Johan was another course link. He has only won once as a professional on The Challenge Tour. This win was at the Kazakhstan Open and the previous winner at that same course was Tommy Fleetwood who has won at Gleneagles. Another tedious link to some no doubt but enough for me to think that he can go well at  a big price.

As I have mentioned Robert Karlsson has already won at both Qatar and Crans with the lost playoff at Barseback. So he is a great fit for the course but he also arrives in impressive form, having made the final of the Paul Lawrie Matchplay at Murchar Links. While he hasn’t won for a few years that performance will have given him confidence and looks overpriced if anywhere near his best.


Wyndham Championship

Like most Donald Ross designed courses, Sedgefield favours those that arrive with their whole game in good shape. This event has been held here since 2008 so there is plenty course form to study along with form at numerous other Donald Ross (DR) designs which the PGA Tour visits (East Lake, Aronimink, Oak Hill, Oakland Hills)

I’m not going to overthink this too much as there is a decent field with 7/8 top class players lining up so I’ve found three proven winners that arrive playing well with a solid bank of form around DR courses. They also rank highly on Par 4 Scoring and Scrambling which are possibly two of the more important attributes at Sedgefield.

Brandt Snedeker is vying for favouritism and on first look he appears a bit short at 16/1. However he closed impressively last week at the USPGA and has had a good enough 2015 considering he has been hampered by a hip injury. A Top 20 last week suggests he is over that and Brandt has performed well on a number of DR courses, finishing 9th at the US Open in 2014 at Pinehurst and winning the Tour Championship at East Lake in 2012. He ranks 10th in Par 4 Scoring and 5th in Scrambling. Add to that a win in the Wyndham at a different course with 2 further Top 5s at Sedgefield and Snedeker looks primed to get his 2015 going again.

Bill Haas is a player I have had some joy backing over the last few years. When playing well Haas has the all-round game to challenge the best but we normally see him coming to the fore in the tier below Majors/WGCs. He has a couple of Top 10s here and usually plays nicely around DR courses. Bill finished down the field last week but prior to that had a 25th at Firestone and a T4th at the Quicken Loans. Ranks 32nd in Scrambling and 46th in Par 4 Scoring.

Carl Pettersson won the first staging of this and has had several Top 10 finishes since 2008. He can be a little patchy with his form and missed the cut last week but prior to that he was T4th at the Quicken Loans and is never without a chance around his favourite courses. Looks a decent price and I’d expect him to play well again.


  cropped-golfbetting.jpeg                                     SUMMARY OF BETS

Made in Denmark

Marc Warren – 2pts win @ 11.5

Robert Karlsson – 1pt ew @ 40/1

Johan Carlsson – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1 and 1pt Top 10 @ 7.4

Wyndham Championship

Brandt Snedeker – 2pts ew @ 16/1

Bill Haas – 1pt ew @ 28/1

Carl Pettersson – 0.5pt ew @ 66/1

In addition to these main bets I’m going to do each way cross doubles with the selections above at 0.25pt ew. The cross doubles just means that I will combine each of the European Tour selections with each of the PGA Tour selections to give 9 each way bets. This is a good way to have a betting interest in the golf each week for lower stakes but still with the potential for decent returns. Obviously for a return you need to get one player from each tournament in the Top 5 while the dream is to get both winners!

9 ew cross doubles (Warren, Karlsson, Carlsson) x (Snedeker, Haas, Pettersson)- 0.25pt ew @ odds ranging from 209/1 to 5426/1

Johan Carlsson + Carl Pettersson Top 20 All Swedish Double – 0.5pt @ 15/1

This weeks outlay = 18pts

Total outlay = 91pts

Total returns to date = 105.8