Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Portugal Masters 2017 - Oceanico Victoria Clube de Golfe

Villamoura, Algarve is the setting for this weeks European Tour event where Pádraig Harrington will defend the Portugal Masters title. A resort course where birdies are the order of the week, the list of winners here suggest big hitting, wind liking players will prevail come Sunday.

I put up George Coetzee on the shortlist for last week in Spijk but didn't include him the staking plan, but his T-3rd result emphasized his return to form this season and he now has 6 TOP-10s and a further 2 TOP20s from his 19 starts. Through in this recent form with solid course form here, the South African is a bet @ 34.00

Thorbjorn Olesen represents a bit of value too @ 22.00. The Dane has no course form to boast of but I cant ignore his form this season. 16/17 with 4 TOP10s (5 TOP20s), Olesen hasn't missed a cut since May at Wentworth, and tees it up having had the last three weeks off. Class player who has the ability to see off this field will be anxious to get some Ryder Cup points in the bag here.

Richard Sterne is another I cannot ignore this week @ 50.00 He may not have won since 2013, but the 36 year old can boast decent results of late to climb to 67 in the R2D and 108 in the OWGR. Those numbers should be an incentive to improve on before the season concludes. Three TOP20s in his last 5 starts came out last week's KLM Open (9th), European Open (19th) and Scottish Open (19th). He was 28th at the PGA Championship.

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Selections:

3.00 pts G. Coetzee @ 34.00
4.50 pts T. Olesen @ 22.00
1.25 pts e/w R.Sterne @ 50.00

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

KLM Open 2017 - The Dutch GC, Spijk, Holland

Local hero, Joost Luiten looks to defend his National title again at The Dutch GC this week and he showed in his recent outing that he's coming into form at the right time to do so. He won the first of his two National Opens in 2013 and followed up with a TOP-5 twelve months later  at Kennemer GC. He'll be joined in the field this week by players looking to save their card and playing privileges for next season as well as market leaders, Bernd Wiesberger , Ross Fisher, Lee Westwood, Julian Suri, Andy Sullivan to name but a few. Fisher & Westwood are both former winners of the title. Another former winner, Peter Hanson, also showing a return to form of late, joins twice winner Simon Dyson, who looks to find something to re-ignite his career after a difficult time on tour the past 4 years following that incident in Abu Dhabi. The Englishman has arguably the best Dutch form in this week's field having won twice (at two different courses) as well as a runner up in 2014 to Paul Casey and a 3rd place finish in 2013, where he tied alongside Ross Fisher. The event has seen a number of multiple winners, and also a number of high profile winners over the years.

It's been a decent season, so far, for Ross Fisher who is 10/15 with 6 TOP-20s, 5 of which were TOP-10s and 2 of those were TOP-5. 3rd at the WGC in Mexico being the highlight of the season so far but Ross can boast solid performances in much better company when finishing 7th at Golf National in France, and 9th at Wentworth last May. Form has dipped a bit of late having missed the cut last week in Crans and at Quail Hollow last month but the former KLM Open winner as mentioned already should be liking The Dutch this week. He was 45th here last year and can boast solid form in The Netherlands to complement that win in 2007 with a further 4 TOP-20s in his 8 visits since. Currently inside the TOP-10 in The Race to Dubai, Fisher will look to kick on towards the Series Finale as well as gather some Ryder Cup points. Hes well worth a bet here @ 34.00

Nacho Elvira can point to a decent season of golf having produced 5 TOP-20s from his 20 starts. 6th & 11th in the Middle East indicates he can play in the wind but it's his last 3 starts that provide the confidence that he could be in for a good week where he has finished 12-19-20 at European Open, Made in Denmark and last week's European Masters. He tied alongside Ross Fisher in 45th place last year at The Dutch, so has the course experience under his belt. He had 6 TOP10s last season so is finding his way on Tour and could be ready to strike for a win that is becoming an inevitably. The Spaniard is worth a bet here @ 51.00 especially with 6 places on offer with Paddypower.

Jens Fahrbring has similar 2017 form to Elvira in that he's also 12/20 with 5 TOP-20s. 5th in Hamburg last month and 18th in Prague two weeks ago suggest he's in decent form despite a missed cut in between in Denmark. Given hes 5/20 in TOP-20s this season (25%)  the price of 8.00 to grab another here is appealing as he makes a push to improve on his R2D position of 110.

Selections
1.00 pts e/w R. Fisher @ 34.00
0.75 pts e/w N.Elvira @ 51.00
6.50 pts TOP-20 J. Fahrbring @ 8.00

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

European Masters 2017 - Crans sur Sierre, Switzerland

One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the tour, The Omega European Masters takes place in the Swiss Alps this week where Alex Noren returns to action hoping to complete a hattrick of wins having taken the title in 2009 & 2016.

My Shortlist
Best Odds
Exchange
My Odds
My % Book
Value (Y/N)
TOP10
TOP20
Tyrrell Hatton
41
42
34
2.94%
YES
4.6
2.8
Benjamin Hebert
81
81
67
1.49%
YES
8
4.33
Mike Lorenzo Vera
81
81
71
1.41%
YES
8
4.2
Pablo Larrazabal
81
81
67
1.49%
YES
8
4.5
Victor Dubuisson
81
81
71
1.41%
YES
9
4.5
Dylan Frittelli
81
90
81
1.23%
YES
10
5.5
David Lipsky
81
105
81
1.23%
YES
8
5
George Coetzee
101
114
61
1.64%
YES
11
5.5
James Morrison
111
105
101
0.99%
YES
10
6
Alexander Bjork
111
114
101
0.99%
YES
12
5.6
Julien Quesne
151
152
201
0.5
NO
15
7
Bernd Wiesberger
26
27
23
4.35%
YES
3.4
2.2
Ross Fisher
36
30
31
3.23%
NO
4.33
2.5

It's a very short preview again this week I'm afraid due to time constraints but I did release my 13-man shortlist(above) earlier today with the highlighted players very much my focus for the week ahead. Frenchman, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, may have been better known for his mustache to date but we can't ignore his consistent form of late either. 9th last week in Prague and 3rd in Paris in July, he's 10/13 with 6 of those resulting in T-20s for the season so far. He makes his 5th appearance here this week and clearly likes the course. He had to retire in 2015 but in his three other visits he has posted 12-19-14. Same again this week please Mike and hopefully a charge at the title come Sunday @ 81.00, 4.20 (TOP20)

Despite arriving "very fresh" I think its time to get onside with Bernd Wiesberger @ 26.00. The Austrian is 16/17 with a win in Shenzhen and 6 TOP-20s for the season.  I like his price here and on review would probably see him more a 18/1-20/1 shot in this field given his form this season and he can go in here for win number two of the season.

Lastly, I'll take Alexander Bjork for a TOP20 this week despite making his debut at the course. He's 18/22 for the season, from which he's posted 7 TOP-20s (35%) - the odds of 5.60 imply 18% so I'm keen to get on board here. Tempted also by Coetzee, Quesne & Morrison but I'll stick with the Swede and hope it's the right pick !

Staking Plan

1.50 pts e/w B. Wiesberger @ 26.0
0.50 pts win M. Lorenzo-Vera @ 81.00
3.00 pts TOP20 M. Lorenzo-Vera @ 4.20
3.50 pts TOP20 A. Bjork @ 5.60




Thursday, 17 August 2017

Wyndham Championship 2017 - Sedgefield GC

As European Tour action is poor this week, I've turned to the PGA Tour and the Wyndham Championship to be played once again at Sedgefield GC in North Carolina.


From my shortlist published on Tuesday, I've backed Nick Watney @ 110.00 in the win market and at 7.00 for the TOP20. The 36 year old has 4 TOP20s from 20 starts this season and ranks inside the top 20 for SG:APG which is the key requirement this week. Finding greens and getting in close is what Watney has been doing of late.

Jason Dufner completes my staking plan this week - Dufner has been in decent form of late and his striking it very well. He's overpriced here @ 29.00 Winner of The Memorial in June, Dufner has a further 6 T-20s from his other 15 starts this season and having had a T-10 here in the past I can see him going well again this week in a field of this quality.

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Selections

0.50 pts WIN N. Watney @ 110.00
1.50 pts WIN J.Dufner @ 29.00

5.00 pts TOP20 N.Watney @ 7.00

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

PGA Championship 2017 - Quail Hollow GC

Its a very short betting preview for this week's and the year's final Major, the PGA Championship, to be hosted by Quail Hollow GC in Charlotte,North Carolina. With my shortlist published early Wednesday morning, my view is that the market leaders will contend the 99th PGA Championship.

Those market leaders have very solid claims on a course that will play very long. Rory McIlroy is a twice winner here and could easily have won a third when beaten in a playoff by Rickie Fowler in 2012.  Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka and of course last week's winner, Hideki Matsuyama all have strong claims and with Rory looking to bring previous course form into the week, albeit on a course where the greens have a grass type change and some holes have been "re-engineered", it will be fascinating to watch as Jordan Spieth aims to beat him to the "Grand Slam". I made Matsuyama a 12/1 shot this week so anything above this price between now and tee time represents some value. The young Japanese player showed this time last year that he can hold form when winning 4 times in 6 outings and Quail Hollow will suit. I may have been hard on Rickie Fowler in last weeks preview in terms of his driving,but having more or less played himself out of contention in Rd-1 at Firestone, it's worth noting his comeback to finish TOP-10. He clinched his first PGA title in that playoff against Rory McIlroy and DA Points here and he's certainly comfortable here. I wanted 18/1 and may get involved on the exchange before he tees it up on Thursday afternoon alongside Rory and Jon Rahm. I think Rory can win, but it may be Rickie's time !

Betting wise, I've sided with Daniel Berger @ 65.00 though who plays the course for the third time having posted 28-17 the past two years. But it's his form throughout 2017 that brings me in; 19 events - 1 WIN, 6 TOP-10s and 9 TOP-20s. He was 12th last week having finished 27th at Birkdale and 5th and 2nd at the John Deere & Travelers. Not without a chance here and hes worth taking in the T-20 market @ 3.5 also.

Seán O'Hair is a former winner here and is enjoying a reasonable season, sitting 50th in the FedEx Cup rankings.This season he's 13/19, with 5 TOP-10s and 7 TOP-20s. He's a solid TOP-20 bet for the week @ 9.00

Kyle Stanley is in similar form to the two above in that he's 16/20 with 5 TOP-10s and 7 TOP-20s. Ranking number one on tour for GIR, 8th in SG:TTG. He won the Quicken Loans last month and should be in confident form - He's undervalued this week @ 150/1 but he can also be taken on the exchange @ 180.00 and the TOP-20 @ 7.00


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Selections:

1.00 pts D.Berger @ 65.00
0.25 pts S. O'Hair @ 350.00
0.50 pts K. Stanley @ 180.00

3.00 pts TOP-20 D.Berger @ 3.50
2.00 pts TOP-20 S.O'Hair @ 9.00
2.50 pts TOP-20 K.Stanley @ 7.00

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

WGC Bridgestone 2017 - Firestone GC, Akron, Ohio

This week the International Federation of Golf Tours host the WGC Bridgestone once again at Firestone GC in Akron Ohio, a course that saw Tiger Woods an incredible 8 times. It's a week so to reflect on the exploits on one of the games greatest ever and wonder if we have indeed seen the last of Tiger competing at his best on Tour. With the event back in the schedule a week before the final Major of the year next week, this years tournament has thrown up a lot of what ifs and a fairly open book for the title. Open Champion, Jordan Spieth goes in search of a hat trick this week and I noted that I backed Justin Rose here in 2014 as he too went in search of a hat trick on the PGA Tour.

Apart from Tiger though, multiple winners are not the norm here but the honours list boasts a who's-who of world golf prevailing over the years. The WGC Championship came into being in 1999 when Tiger captured his first title but prior to this, the PGA staged the NEC World Series of Golf here from 1975 through to 1998. The honours list boasts Major Champion after Major Champion, from Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Craig Stadler, Nick Price, Curtis Strange, Jose Maria Olazabal, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson & David Duval winning the NEC to Darren Clarke, Vijay Singh, Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson winning the WGC. Indeed, only Shane Lowry, Hunter Mahan and Craig Parry are the only non-Major winners here at the WGC. The list above may also suggest those with Augusta form should go well here on "The Monster" course.

Initially I had Rickie Fowler earmarked for this one. I backed Fowler for Birkdale but he didn't challenge at all but was in great form prior to then having won the Honda Classic earlier in the season. 4 TOP-10s at Firestone from his 7 visits suggests he's comfortable with this course, and if ignoring his 22nd finish at Birkdale, had posted 9-3-5-mc-2 in his previous 5 starts. He has the win already this season which is encouraging but a recent article by the 15th Club suggests perhaps that in his quest to find more fairways, he is losing strokes to the field this season off the tee and for this week that could be detrimental, unless of course he puts a longer driver back in the bag and goes for it! At 18/1 this week he's omitted from the final shakeup although I expect Rickie to be up there.

Last weeks staking plan in Hamburg was based on big hitters and whilst the winner is no slouch off the tee he does rank lowly in that category. The point being, we shouldn't get too caught up in the various stats but at Firestone we've seen it many times coming good in that strong DD and GIR games are needed to win. Zach Johnson has n't won here but he can boast 4 TOP10s in his 12 starts indeed make that 6 TOP-15s. The shorter but accurate hitters with a decent approach/short game can contend.

Justin Thomas arrives on the back of 3 successive missed cuts so will be anxious to get things going again and he may be motivated to do that as good mate, Jordan Spieth arrives on the back to back wins and indeed another Major in his locker to boot. Thomas was T-10 at Erin Hills and T-5 at The Memorial prior to the successive missed cuts so the 50/1 on offer is more a reaction to his last 3 events than his real chances here this week. 33rd on debut last year is nothing to shout about but strong driving stats are encouraging. The price has me interested.

The US Open Champ is also of interest here @ 20/1. Winner at Erin Hills and 6th at Birkdale, he's in form in the big events. With the season moving towards the big events over the next few weeks including next week's PGA Championship and the FedEx Cup Finals, there will be no letting up and he'll be hoping to keep recent form going. He was 6th here on debut 2 years ago before withdrawing last year with a niggling ankle injury. There's a bit of value in backing Brooks Koepka @ 20s for me.

Lastly, Jason Dufner may not have a great Augusta formline if the honours list here suggest a liking for The Masters course is essential but he's in fine form this season and of late,and is driving particularly well. He was 7th on debut in 2011 before finishing 4th twelve months later so has course form of note. Finished strongly at Birkdale with an eye catching weekend for a T-15. Won The Memorial in June to complement his 11 TOP-25 finishes for the season's 17 starts.

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Selections

2.50 pts        B. Koepka @ 21.00
1.50 pts e/w J. Thomas @  50.00
1.00 pts e/w J. Dufner @ 67.00


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

European Open 2017 - Green Eagle GC, Hamburg

Having recharged my batteries following a family holiday in Lake Garda, Italy, I'm looking forward to seeing some golf action again having missed out on the Irish, Scottish and British Open the past three weeks. I must plan my holidays better next year ! The "links swing" is complete and we move back to Germany for a rescheduled European Open to be held at Green Eagle Golf Club in Hamburg.The course did host the 2010 ECCO Challenge Championship where Andreas Harto prevailed with a winning -8 total. A number of this week's entrants did play that tournament, notably Thorbjorn Olesen,Matteo Mannasero, Lucas Bjerregaard, Bernd Ritthammer,and Ben Evans to name just a few. Whether it's down to a reschedule straight after The Open or not, the field assembled for a European Open is quite weak where Charl Schwartzel heads the betting as a frail 12/1 shot from Patrick Reed (14/1).

From my research of Green Eagle GC, it seems like it's best suited to the bombers and indeed those that are considered ball-strikers. Measuring in around 7600 yards this week the course looks to play very long as suggested by Eddie Pepperell's comment on Wednesday morning that course is damp and hence a reduced Pro-Am would be in place. On this account I've looked at players who have some form and can get it down there off the tee. Despite the obvious chances of the South African and Texan at the head of the market, the tournament is quite open and we could see a surprise winner here.

From my shortlist published Tuesday, I decided upon 12 players who I thought might go well at Green Eagle. Of these, 8 represented some value. On reflection, I may have overpriced Jordan Smith at my tissue of 60/1 but I was quite keen on Romain Langasque at first. The Frenchman is 8/14 starts this year but he only snapped the run of 6 MCs last time out in Paris with a lowly 50th place finish. Currently ranked inside the TOP-20 on the European Tour for Driving Distance, perhaps this week's venue will suit and reignite his season. Marc Warren made the list but like Langasque, he arrives here in poor form having missed his last 6 cuts. The "links swing" should have brought about an upturn in form but it didn't and he can be dismissed on recent form.Same could be said of Ben Evans, as he too tees it up here on the back of missed cuts in Austria and Germany(BMW International) but if the course plays very long this week it might just be a track that he can contend on. He played in that 2010 Challenge Tour event here but missed the cut but should have the course experience to call upon.He's a small bet in the TOP-20 market at a nice 11/1 (12.00) for me.


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Tom Lewis is my only other pick this week ( I was keen on Thorbjorn Olesen in the outright market but he's a tad too low for me). The Englishman is slowly but surely putting some consistent results back into his season. He's 9/11, with 4 TOP-20s including a T-10 (Australian PGA) this season.He missed only his 2nd cut (excluding Perth Super 6) of the season two starts ago in Austria but that came after a solid spell in Portugal, Italy and Sweden where he finished 18-11-41. He bounced back from Austrian disappointment with a 44th finish at the BMW International, has rested since and should be ready to go this week. He averages over 300 yds off the tee which will suit him at Green Eagle as well as being 26th for GIR. It's the putter that holds him back so if he can have a good week on the greens he should be up there. He was top ranked for driving distance in Sicily last month where he averaged 320 yds in finishing 11th. Hoping for the same sort of performance this week and with form of late being decent Lewis is well worth a bet in the TOP-20 market here at 9/2 (5.50)

Selections:

0.25 pts WIN T. Lewis @ 150.00
4.75 pts TOP20 T. Lewis @ 5.50
1.00 pts TOP20 B. Evans @ 12.00