Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Deutsche Bank Championship 2013 - TPC Boston

The second of the FedEx Cup Playoffs starts on Friday at TPC Boston with a Monday finished to link in with Labor Day in the States. This blog is hoping for a better outcome this weekend, when things were looking very positive after 54 holes in Jersey last week before Matt Kuchar's incredible collapse meant no returns again. Webb Simpson continued in much the same vein as in previous weeks, threatening to challenge before throwing in a round to leave him out of contention. He did manage a TOP15 though and this augurs well for this week on a course where he won two years ago. Yet to win on tour this season, Simpson cannot be abandoned this week and the 28/1 on offer has to be taken.  As mentioned in recent posts, I believe its just a matter of when Webby clicks for ALL 4 rounds and goes in and wins! I'm hoping its this week.

Jason Day
I do like Adam Scott's chances obviously this week on a course that he won on back in 2003 and has in the last 4 years finished no worse than 8th. Winner last week (somehow!) he is bidding to become the first since Vijay Singh to win this along with The Barclays in consecutive weeks. 12/1 is a tad short but is still decent enough in the reduced field of 100 players. Whilst very tempted to side with the Adelaide native, I am instead going to take the each way about another Aussie who also likes TPC Boston and a player, like Simpson who is seeking his first win of the season, and that's Jason Day @ 33/1. It will be a birdie fest of sorts this week where the par 71, 7300 yd course will see scoring on the par 5s as being crucial for the eventual champion to succeed. Day fits this requirement to a tee and recent Sunday charges indicates that he's bursting to get that "W". He's a big event player and Monday next could well be his "Day".

Monday, 26 August 2013

Wales Open 2013 - Celtic Manor

   The European Ryder Cup 2014 team will be anxious to retain the trophy at    Gleneagles next year, scene of last weeks Johnnie Walker Championship which was won by Tommy Fleetwood. The starting gun fires for European players to start collecting Ryder Cup Team points at Celtic Manor this week, on a course where Captain, Paul McGinley has tasted European Title success in the past. On last week's event,this blog had followed Tommy in a couple of tournaments already this year ...except last week,of course....but it was refreshing to see a win come his way after a solid season. I'm just hoping now that for the rest of the season, the blog can end on a high and find a couple of winners to reward all the "near misses". I've lost count the number of times that a backed player or two has been in prime position throughout the first 54 holes, only to see him/they fade away on Sunday. I missed the action from The Barclays the weekend, perhaps just as well, as I cannot believe that both Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson failed to return any money from our bets having being in such a good position, Kooch especially...quite unbelieveable !
       Anyway...onto this week and I am happy to have a punt on the Wales Open this week. Its not the strongest of fields but nonetheless, its quite a competitive one and one player that sticks out for me this week is a player that I invariably back at some point throughout the season (if not a handful of times I hear you say..) and that's England's Ross Fisher. Having tried his luck on the PGA Tour this year and having missed out on the Playoffs, Ross will be aiming to get a result over the next couple of months and grab himself some Ryder Cup points. He's playing well, without the rewards to show for it. Even in the States, he threw in some good rounds, suggesting his game is not at all in bad shape.

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I like his chances here this week against this field and if he gets a good first round under his belt, I do think he could get a bit of steam up and win here. There is 25/1 in general on offer but I've grabbed some 28/1 with Titanbet

My second pick this week is another player that I have backed a couple of times this season without a collect and thats Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson. He is rested and comes here fresh and like Tommy Fleetwood last Sunday, is a player that I firmly believe will win soon and I don't want to miss out when he does. Anything less than 50/1 and I would pass though despite his last two outings producing TOP20s at French & Scottish Opens. His length off the tee will be a great asset on the par 71, 7300 yd Celtic Manor course. Currently ranked 52nd on the R2D, he will be keen to improve on that before the inaugural playoffs begin.

TIP 1 : 1.5 pts e/w R.Fisher @ 28/1 Titanbet

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w V.Dubuisson @ 50/1 Paddypower

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Johnnie Walker Championship 2013 - Glenaeagles

The 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship tees it up tomorrow at the Gleaneagles Hotel, venue for next years Ryder Cup. It must be a tad disappointing for Paul McGinley that many of the European Team players wont be here this week but there is a lot of golf to be played between now and then. However, The EuropeanTour themselves must be very concerned about the quality of the field this week where Paul Lawrie defends.

I am putting up just two players this week in a tournament that I see as being wide open.

Pablo Larrazabal may have gone off the boil lately but that doesn't faze me as he is that type of player. He is joined on the bag this week with David Horsey's former caddy, Chris Rice, so hopefully thats a partnership that can kick start Pablos season again.He has missed his last 3 cuts but challenged at Carton House at the end of June but for many of the players here this week, a rested and fresh player can forget those last few events and the Spaniard can get amongst the leaders here. At 45/1, he represents some value for a player that is having a fine season, currently lying 38th in the Race to Dubai standings.

My final selection this week is Scott Jamieson who along with Larrazabal has gone off the boil lately. However his last outing was at Oak Hill where he finished a creditable 29th. He'll take heart from that and being back home will be keen to put in a good performance.He sits just outside the TOP 100 in the OGWR and lies 22nd in the R2D. He is overpriced at 125/1 for me this week.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w P.Larrazabal @ 45/1

TIP 2: 0.5 pts e/w S Jamieson @ 125/1

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Barclays 2013 - Liberty National GC, Jersey

The TOP 125 have made it through to the FedEx Cup playoffs from the PGA Tour season and the first of the the 4 playoffs sees a return to Liberty National GC in Jersey for the first time since 2009 for The Barclays. One of the most expensive courses to build, Liberty received a lot of criticism from the players last time as fairways were hard to find (very narrow) so it will be interesting to see what the reaction is this time round. One thing for sure though is that the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline makes this a special golf course.
   Two players are missing this week in the shape of Brandt Snedeker and Zach Johnson who have both withdrawn for family reasons so we have 123 players. We will lose 25 players between now and next week. Incentive so for those at the end of the rankings whilst the $10M bonus is the incentive for those towards the top.(its still there for all 125 but some need to shoot the lights out over the next 5 weeks) The points allocation does change from the regular season as 5 times more points are awarded meaning Tigers lead of just 766 over Matt Kuchar now seems small. Perhaps one reason we see Tiger in attendance this week ?

My first selection is a player that may have an added incentive as he aims to make the Presidents Cup team. He is also looking for his first win this season and a player I have been following closely. Webb Simpson had a TOP 10 here at Liberty back in 2009 having led after 36 holes.
If fairways need to be found at Liberty, Webb is one of the best at doing so and a fast finish at Sedgefield last Sunday to give him a T11th finish can be the catalyst for a good week. Recent results are showing 2 or 3 good rounds are being compiled but one round is letting him down. He led after day one at Firestone, fell way back and returned a super score Sunday to climb the leaderboard again. He is one of my "simmering" players and I just have to get involved here @30/1 with Paddypower  (paying 6 places !). Simpson can also be backed @ 33/1 with who are paying the normal 5 places.

Matt Kuchar is that man chasing down Tiger and with 2 wins under his belt already this year, who's to say he can't win again before the season is out?
Kuchar's weakness is his accuracy off the tee, but excellent scoring and scrambling stats along with being ranked 4th in par 5 and 12th in par 4 scoring should help him compile a score to challenge here.

Hasn't missed a cut from his 19 starts, 12 TOP 25s including the 2 WINS, Kuchar is in fine form and is worth a bet this week at the same price as Simpson.

Hunter Mahan should arrive here this week rejuvenated after some quality family time despite an appearance at the PGA Championship. He withdrew from the Canadian Open after holding the 36 hole lead so perhaps he has some unfinished business on the Tour. He's 18/21 with 12 TOP25s this season but is a player for the big events. Was TOP 20 at Liberty back in 2009 but is more experienced and patient nowadays, one feels that Mahan wont go the season without a win when a Major came so close during the summer. I like his threeball for the first two rounds as he accompanies last weeks winner, Patrick Reed,as well as Jim Furyk.

I'm not abandoning Martin Kaymer just yet either. I'm a fan and whilst I have backed him a couple of times lately to no avail I have been encouraged by his progress. He returned a superb 63 last Sunday at Sedgefield to grab a TOP 20 and although he has not threatened to win his recent form readsT20-T33-T9-T32-T59-T5. He sits 103rd in the FedEx Cup so needs a good week to make it to The Deutsche. He has 474 points and will be keen to get as many as he can here to progress as far as he can and finish the season with a flourish. He is available @ 66/1 (5 places) or 50/1 (6 places)

TIP 1 : 1 pt e/w W.Simpson @ 30/1

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w M.Kuchar @ 30/1

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w H.Mahan @ 35/1

TIP 4: 0.5 pts e/w M.Kaymer @ 60/1

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Wyndham Championship 2013 - Sedgefield CC, Greensboro

Following on from the PGA Championship at Rochester, the PGA Tour turns its attention to the Wyndham Championship on another Donald Ross design course at Sedgefield GC, Greensboro where Sergio Garcia defends and others try and make the final 125 for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

This course is of similar length to that at Oak Hill, par 70- 7100 yards with small greens. We can however expect low scoring where anything around the –18 mark to possibly the –20 mark will be the number for the winning score. Carl Pettersson holds the course record of 61 (on the way to his win in 2008), as too does Arjun Atwal who won in 2010. Kevin Na and Tim Herron have also shot 61s. But its defending champion, Sergio Garcia that really has an affinity with Sedgefield having won in 2012, Ryan Moore also pipped him in ’09. As an amateur, Garcia finished T3rd at the Greensboro Open in 1998 here. The bookies may reflect that in the prices though this week.

Being the last event before the final TOP125 move onto the play-offs and The Barclays, its last chance saloon for those hovering around the cut-off mark.

Martin Kaymer sits just above it at 116th and is my first pick this week following a good showing at Oak Hill. The German is slowly but surely getting back to his best and was making a good charge at Oak Hill before the course bit back on Saturday where he shot a 78. He was heading for another poor round on Sunday before producing birdie-eagle-birdie over 3 holes on the back nine to finish in T33.He was one of only 5 players to shoot 3 sub par rounds at Oak Hill. Kaymer will be keen to move up the rankings and stay involved as long as possible in the playoffs and this course and tournament gives him a good chance to get some valuable points.

My second pick is Boo Weekley following the withdrawal of Nicolas Colsaerts. Boo has found some form this season. He won at Colonial, was 2nd at Tampa Bay, made the cut at Muifield, finished T33rd at Firestone and was T12th last week at the PGA. He's 18/22 cuts made,with 4 TOP 10s. He is currently ranked 6th in total driving, 3rd it total eagles & 11th in total birdies! If he comes here in good form and gets a decent start he may make the 55/1 on offer with Bet Victor look massive and with 6 places available he cannot be ignored here

**********Adding a third selection, Wednesday 14th August*********

Having mulled over it last night and having reviewed my shortlist, I cannot leave out Jordan Spieth @ 40/1 with Paddypower . He has already won on tour this year and at 20 years of age is one of the up and coming players on the PGA Tour. Has 6 TOP 10s in his rookie year and looks set to beat Russell Henley for that rookie of the year title. He can make it a certainty with a win here on a course that he has some excellent form on in his amateur days. He is 12th in Total Driving and 5th in All Round Ranking. He currently lies 16th in the FedEx Cup. I just couldn't leave him out this week.

Staking Plan 6 units (pts)

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w M.Kaymer @ 25/1 Betpack * (Paddypower now offering 33/1)

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w B.Weekley @ 55/1 Bet Victor

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w J.Spieth @ 40/1 Paddypower

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

PGA Championship 2013 - Oak Hill CC, Rochester, New York

Oak Hill CC hosts a major for the first time in ten years, where Shaun Micheel burst through to surprise everyone and win in 2003. Rory McIlroy will defend this week. The final major, known as “glory’s last shot”, may well be an appropriate term for Mssrs Woods and McIlroy as they try to win a major in 2013.

The East course is a par 70, 7100 yds, which requires straight long driving and excellent short game. Scoring will be very difficult as the stats show in the previous five majors played here; only 10 players have finished under par! Those that played well at Firestone will be well suited to Oak Hill. The PGA has often produced a first time Major winner and there are plenty knocking on the door this time round too. Since 2006 when the WGC Bridgestone was held the week before the PGA, the winner played in and finished inside the TOP25 at Firestone.

The surprising statistic is that in the last 11 PGA Championships since Micheel’s victory, the winner had already won that year. Shaun Micheel hadn’t.

I’ve looked long and hard at who might win this week. I don’t think Tiger will. He played awful here in 2003, a year that he had already won 5 times. He complained that the greens were too slow last week when practicing but acknowledged they would be a lot quicker this week, suggesting that he hasn’t been comfortable in his preparation. I won’t mention you know who, but also considered Rose and Westwood again. The latter is sure to go well again and whilst I’d love to see him finally win a Major I can’t back him. Stenson is the in-form player at the moment but cannot get the WIN. He was backable a couple of weeks ago but at 28s, he’s not for me. I really really wanted to back Martin Kaymer this week! He's almost back to his best...but not quite. Oak Hill apparently will suit someone who likes to fade it off the tee, someone like Martin Kaymer. I liked Kaymer's play at The French Open but he pushed too hard. He had a TOP10 at Firestone and that result suggests his game is in fine shape but I'd rather he had more consistency lately before diving in. He's definitely one to watch out for an in-play investment. Brandt Snedeker I just couldn't pull the trigger on due to his lack off length and Zach Johnson and decent odds was considered but was happy to settle on my shortlist of ten.