Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Irish Open 2012

As an Irishman I delighted that this years Open is being held at Portrush GC in Northern Ireland as a tribute to outstanding achievement of its 3 Major winners in recent years, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke. Its very ironic that after these successes of the 3 Northern Irishman that the Irish Open is without a "major" sponsor following the withdrawal of 3 (Telecom Operator) who preferred to sponsor the Republic of Ireland soccer team instead. I.m sure the marketing team are well pleased! Despite the lack of sponsorship, the field assembled for the week is very strong and its now being touted as SOLD OUT !. It will be a real Irish Open this year too, inclement weather on a links course....none of this tree lined parkland, "whack it and birdie 'em" shootout we are dished up on Sky Sports nearly every week. Real golf ! So, with that analysis, who should be best suited to the links conditions and weather to prevail come Sunday? There are  a few that jump out, ut over the years the Irish Open has produced a number of surprise winners but down through the years the winners list includes some of the games greats.....Seve, Faldo, Langer, Monty,Woosie,Olazabal, Crenshaw. There has been mixed home success. Padraig Harrington broke a 25 year wait since John O'Leary won in 1982 at Portmarnock GC. Shane Lowry last won for Ireland at Baltray in 2009(another links). Obviously the betting market is headed by the home boys, McIlroy, GMac & Padraig. Of the three it will come to no surprise of regular readers of this blog that I would pick the Dubliner to fare the best. Tied 8th at Augusta and tied 4th at Olympic this year and another solid showing last week at the Travelers, means he is gaining momentum and is bound to end his winless streak soon. He treats this one as the 5th Major and will be keen to win it again and bring solid form into the British Open in a few weeks time. He is only 12/1 this week but is a must on my staking plan.

Chris Wood in his short career has shown a liking for links. Strong showings in the British Open back this up. He finished just 1 shot outside a playoff in Cologne last Sunday and recent results clearly indicate solid form and he will quietly fancy his chances this week. Seeing Danny Willett win last week could inspire him to believe his turn his coming and he has the skills and temperament to contend up North this week. At 33/1 he is real each way value with 6 places on offer.

My third pick this week is Joost Luiten. The Dutchman has also shown a penchant for links golf. Not in great form this season although finished runner up at Celtic manor a few weeks back and but for a poor weekend last week could have finished much higher than 38th. He will like the setup here and could come under the radar which many have done in the past at this event but is well worth taking e/w at 50/1.

TIP 1 2pts WIN .P. Harrington @ 12/1 Paddypower.
TIP 2 1 pt e/w C.Wood @ 33/1 Paddypower.

TIP 3 1 pt e/w J.Luiten @ 50/1 Paddypower.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

BMW Open 2012

After a pulsating US Open last week, action returns to mainland Europe for the BMW Open Championship to be played at the Gut Larchenhof GC outside Cologne, Germany. Home favourite, Martin Kaymer won’t have far to travel. The Dusseldorf native and Mettmann GC member can sleep in his own bed this week, an added bonus after the grueling 4 days in San Francisco. It’s been awhile since he won but he definitely has shown signs of a return to winning ways and he will be happy with his tied 15th at The Olympic Club last week. At 8/1 he may be a bit short but further study of the lineup suggests that this may not be too bad a price. A class standout player returning to form has to be considered. I’m a big fan, think he has the right attitude and the overall game to dominate on the European Tour and contend regularly at Majors. I like Ross Fisher, as regular readers well know, but just cannot believe he is as low in the betting as he is this week. In fact the odds on Ross are so low (16/1) it makes the 8/1 on Kaymer more appealing with Paddypower.
  Paul Casey returns to action this week too following his injury worries. He made a return a couple of months ago and had some decent scores before further injury problems sidelined him again. I would like to think he is teeing it up this week believing he can compete over the 4 days, having been practicing the past couple of weeks or so. I can’t see how he is making the trip to simply “make up numbers” and test his competitiveness and at 60/1 I find it very tempting. If at 90% fitness he could go well here on a track that suits his game.
 Raphael Jacquelin had an impressive US Open last week. Comes here so in great form and is one of those players that tends to feed off new found form for a period and at 50/1 he is great value this week also. Thomas Aiken can be backed at 80s, very tempting, but I have to confess I’m not sure what state the South African’s game is in at present as he hasn’t played much this season. Shane Lowry is hot & cold, has the potential to be a multiple winner on tour and I am waiting for him to settle down and start being more consistent. 100/1 this week is not to be sneezed at but the 50s about Jacquelin seems to be the wiser selection.
Henrik Stenson (22/1), Sergio Garcia (11/1) and even Retief Goosen (25/1) could challenge for the title but the odds don’t excite me and in my opinion are not great value, so the chance is taken on Casey and the decision to back Jacquelin over Lowry is made. Good luck if you follow me on these.

 TIP 1: 4 pts WIN Martin Kaymer @ 8/1 Paddypower

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w Paul Casey @ 60/1 Paddypower

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w Raphael Jacquelin @ 50/1 Paddypower

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

US Open, Olympic Club San Fransico 2012

Olympic Club, San Francisco hosts the 2012 US Open this week where Ireland’s, Rory McIlroy defends the title he won on the opposite side of the country at Congressional in 2011. Maybe up to 4/5 weeks ago, smart money was going down on “Rors” but 3 successive cuts have put doubt in a few punters mind. He rescheduled his plans to ensure he got competitive practice in by playing last week in Memphis and almost came away with a win. That showing suggests his game is alright, despite some errand tee shots and again some crucial missed putts. But those two ingredients are a must for what always proves to be the most difficult of the 4 Majors to win.

I do however, expect the Co. Down player to be challenging the weekend.

I’m putting up 5 players this week (normally do 3 each week with a 4th for a Major). The 5th is a good triple price e/w chance which I just couldn’t leave off my staking plan.
I keep putting him up, he keeps challenging but is yet to win a Major. He has good record in the US open in recent years and should have won when Tiger beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff. He has the temperament to stay patient which is paramount this week, tee to green is excellent and if he can make his fair share of putts this may very well be his week. I firmly believe he is playing his best golf the past 9 months so step forward Lee Westwood. At 12/1 with Paddypower he is my firm favourite to prevail.

The most consistent player on tour this year is Jason Dufner. He comes into this having just narrowly failed to win 3/3 when Zach Johnson edged him out last time. He almost won the PGA Championship last August too (Keegan Bradley got there in the end) so Major experience is fresh and he has a superb iron game that will stand him in good stead here on this course. Generous 28/1 also with Paddypower
My third selection is another ultra consistent player in Matt Kuchar. Probably has underachieved so far this season but his game does look like its about to ignite. Has the coolness to stay patient also and at 30/1 is slightly preferred over Jim Furyk (will love this course) and Hunter Mahan ( who is only average lately, but one I hate to ignore). I’ll be backing “Kooch” with Bet365
My 4th pick this week is of course Padraig Harrington. Played well again last week albeit not challenging for the title and he would have enjoyed those first two days with Rory & Gmac. He put in a great performance at Augusta and was right in contention on Sunday. Has done well in past Opens, loves the harder tracks and has the short game to carve out a score. He is saving it all up for this week I hope. Great value for me at 80/1 with Betpack
That 5th selection is another American who has been playing very well this season and could surprise a few at very big odds and that’s Bill Haas. Looks one to watch over the next few seasons and I am having a wee interest in him this week. He is quite capable of producing the goods despite big time experience. 100/1 with Betpack

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w L.Westwood @ 12/1 Paddypower

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w J.Dufner @ 28/1 Paddypower

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w M.Kuchar @ 30/1 Bet365

TIP 4: 1 pt e/w P.Harrington @ 80/1 Betpack

TIP 5: 1 pt e/w B.Haas @ 100/1 Betpack