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Wednesday, 19 February 2020

WGC Mexico 2020 - Chapultepec GC, Mexico

Adam Scott duly delivered last week at Riviera for the blog which puts the new found enthusiasm for the year ahead in a positive light, and I'll try and add to that this week as we start the countdown to Augusta.

The WGC heads back to Mexico for the 4th year,where past results suggest those at the top of their game, striking it well and finding greens will prevail. It has also shown that European Tour based players fare well at Chapultepec GC but the victories have gone the way of Dustin Johnson (2) and Phil Mickelson. The course is at altitude which is a factor to take into consideration and perhaps those that have been here the past 3 years will have a slight edge.

I wanted to back JT this week. His missed cut last can be ignored. He's been solid here on previous visits and is surely to contend on a course where he has the required form and experience. At 10/1(14.00 on the exchange) he is quite tempting, but I've backed just two this week. Matty Fitzpatrick was backed in Dubai last month to no avail, but I'm more than happy to side with him again here considering he's proven playing at altitude (Crans, Switzerland). This will be his 4th visit to Chapultepec, where his best finish to date is 16th on debut. He's been in fine form of late and was unlucky not to win in Abu Dhabi and he's definitely a player who raises to the challenge in these big events. I think he's great each way value here and it would not be a surprise should he be rewarded for so many near misses the past 12 months or so. 7 places @ 50/1 will do me !

My second selection is a speculative one in that he's been returning to form the past 6 months on the Asian Tour, rising the OWGR rankings to climb back inside the TOP-100. This week gives him a huge opportunity to capitalize further and spring a surprise. I'm keen to have a chance in the TOP-20 market and the tiniest of interests in the win market, where he could present a trading option should he start well. Step forward Ryo Ishikawa. The Japanese star has been solid the past 6 months having yielded a win at the end of 2019 in Japan before dusting off the 2020 cobwebs by finishing 24th at the Singapore Open last month.It's hard to believe he's still in his 20's (28 yrs old) and having now reached number 85 in the OWGR rankings, he will surely be motivated to improve further and make use of these events to accumulate as many points as he can. He may be an 18 time winner as a pro, but he is yet to perform on the stage outside of the Japan/Asian Tour and the bet here really is to make top-20 @ 8.50 which he's well capable of achieving if bringing his form of late to Mexico

Selections

1.00 pts e/w M.Fitzpatrick @ 51.00 (7 places)
2.00 pts TOP-20 R. Ishikawa @ 8.50
0.25 pts WIN R. Ishikawa @ 800.00


Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Genesis Invitational & Womens Australian Open 2020

I love Riviera GC ! The Genesis Invitational is for me, one of the best tournaments on the PGA Tour outside of the Majors and the sentiment has to be felt by players alike as yet again we have a very strong field teeing it up in California this week making the SOF ~ 645 pts with 70 OWGR points available to the winner.

The tournament is not without it's shock winners over recent years but I'm approaching this week with the view that the victor on Sunday will be a well established player given recent form of the field assembled. Brooks Koepka for me isn't fully fit, so he's the one exception. JT should have won here last year and he's sure to contend here this week but I'm keen on 2 players at value prices this week; Adam Scott & Marc Leishman. The two Aussies arrive having won last time out, Scott taking out the Australian PGA Championship the week before Christmas and his compatriot winning at Torrey Pines two weeks ago. Scott is available on Betfair @ 42.00, Leishman @ 55.00 with TOP-10 prices available @ 4.50 & 5.60 respectively.

As per my preview for this back in 2017, I backed Leishman @ 75.00 then and @ 67.00 in 2014 and he duly missed the cut both times despite an opening 67 in 2017 and a 69 in 2014. He was 5th the previous year in 2016 and produced a 4th place finish last year with 4 rounds in the 60's. I'm very keen on him this time round considering his form since returning to the Tour after spending time to support his very ill wife and his 9 TOP-10s in 24 starts in 2019 have led him to an early success in 2020, winning the Farmers last month. I'll opt for TOP-10 market to cover the places instead of the 11.00 on offer for TOP5 where dead heat rules always seem to get in the way of strong field tourneys

Adam Scott is mercurial to say the least but as he approaches 40 years of age, I can see Scott challenging strongly this year. (can't believe he's 40 having seen him play at the K Club for The European Open back in 2000). Riviera requires ball striking, and indeed Riviera and Torrey Pines are the only courses on the PGA Tour to feature Kikuyu grass on both fairways and in the rough. West Coast specialists as well as Australians and South Africans have a distinct advantage playing on this with Scott having posted 3 TOP-10s in his last 5 visits on top of a further 2 TOP-20 s within a 6 tournament spell, I'm keen to be with the Adelaide man at the prices.

Collin Morikawa was considered, particularly in the TOP-20 market but the 3.00 was deemed too short given Riviera usually rewards those who have course form

In the Women's Australian Open to be played at Royal Adelaide GC, a links type course requiring accuracy, I'm backing Ireland's Leona Maguire @ 120.00 outright and @ 8.50 for TOP-10. It may be a big step up for former World Amateur No.1 but last week's 4th place finish will exude confidence in the Cavan native and she has to be backed at these prices as she sets about making her mark on the LPGA. The prices will reduce over the months ahead!

Selections/Staking Plan

1.00 pts WIN. A. Scott @ 42.00
1.00 pts WIN M. Leishman @ 55.00

3.00 pts TOP-10 A. Scott @ 4.50
3.00 pts TOP-10 M. Leishman @ 5.60

(Women's Australian Open)
0.75 pts WIN . Leona Maguire @ 120.00
1.25 pts TOP-10 L.Maguire @ 8.50