Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2013 - Kingsbarns, Carnoustie & St Andrews

Without doubt, the field assembling this week in Scotland again to contest the popular celebrity Pro-Am event that is the Dunhill Links is the best we’ve had all year aside from the Majors and the WGCs, and with the weather forecast expected to be good, it could be an action packed tournament. Two time winner, Padraig Harrington will one again team up with victorious partner, JP McManus seeking their third win. They have a good draw in that they play alongside Martin & Phillip Kaymer. But they open their campaigns on the Carnoustie course. For the draw details check here

The players and their amateur partners will play alternatively over the Kingsbarns, St Andrews and the much more difficult Carnoustie courses the first 3 days with Sunday's final round reverting to St Andrews. The cut comes after the third round. The key to winning here apart from having the patience is to score as well as you can on the easier of the 2 courses and put a decent effort in at Carnoustie. The courses will be setup easy enough with pin placement being generous to allow for the amateurs so the usual winning score around –22 will be required. Ideally for me, I’d like to see the draw before backing my man, as I like to have Kingsbarns up first.

Victor Dubuisson has impressed me a few times this season and his last outing yielded a T3rd at the Omega European Masters. The 23-year-old Frenchman should take inspiration from fellow countryman, Julian Quesne who won in Turin on Sunday and also take some confidence into the week knowing he has performed well in this event over the past two years finishing T5th last year and T27th in 2011. He shot a stunning 62 in his opening round which was actually bettered by 2 by the eventual winner Brandon Grace last year. He is worth backing this week at odds at around 50/1 or better. Out early on the St Andrews course on Thursday, I'm hoping he can put in a low one as the trend here the past few years shows its essential to get a fast start.The plan is to go low Thursday and put in that decent effort at Carnoustie before making a move on Saturday. 50/1 still available.

As of Wednsday evening it has come to my attention that Dubuisson has withdrawn. Thanks to John Rhodes of Skybet for tweeting the information . (Follow John @ rhodesygolf) As a result I am adding 2 players in to my staking plan - both @ 0.5 pts e/w. They are former winner here, Michael Hoey and his compatriot Simon Thornton who is playing very well of late. Simon plays with former Irish Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy and alongside Shane Lowry & Gerry McManus. It should be a nice fourball. Simon can be backed @ 250/1. 
    Hoey, well, he'll either be in the mix or he he'll be mixing the drinks in the bar for the rest of the lads. That said, he's played quite well this year, he's won on tour as has Thornton and they should be nice and relaxed playing on courses thay are well used to playing on and conditions very similar to back home.

The Irish Open champion, Paul Casey is well worth a look this week.
Having taken last week off he will be fresh and relaxed for an event that suits his demeanour. His results here over the years also shows he likes this format. He missed the cut last year, which is easily excused as he recovered from injury but compiled 3 TOP10s the previous 3 years. Casey will be keen to improve on his OWGR as much as he can as he sits just outside the TOP100 and build on that win back at Carton House. 25/1 with most bookies paying 6 places available.(Plays Carnoustie Thursday)

I'm adding a third selection in the shape of Shane Lowry who was not on my original shortlist. Having seen the draw I was disappointed to see many on that shortlist teeing it up Thursday at Carnoustie. Lowry, however will tee it with partner, Gerry McManus, brother of JP. They will be keen to beat the other Irish team! He plays in a group with compatriot Simon Thornton and has Kingsbarns up first followed by St Andrews and I like this draw. Only 40/1 available still for those seeking e/w. 

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

0.5 pts e/w M.Hoey @ 110/1 & 0.5 pts S.Thornton @ 250/1

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w P.Casey @ 25/1

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w S.Lowry @ 40/1

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Tour Championship 2013 - East Lake GC

The finale of the PGA Tour takes place this week when the TOP 30 players on the FedEx Cup rankings tee it up for the TOUR Championship played at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.On top of the winner's purse this week, one player who tops the FedEx Cup rankings on points wins the Fedex Cup and an additional $10M bonus

East Lake is a par 70- 7,100 yards. An interesting stat here over the past few years shows that the winner will rank in the TOP 10 for GIR stats. It won't be a birdiefest like last week, but expect the winning score to be around the -10 mark. Currently the TOP 5 in the rankings will guarantee the Cup if they win here, others can still win it if results go their way as explained here on the PGA Tour Site.

Its just the 30 players as already stated so expect an ever-changing leaderboard over the 4 days.There is no cut. I'm siding with 2 players who have form at East Lake, one, who became Major Champion this year when this blog tipped him to do so, and the other, who became a Dad when leading a tournament after 36 holes that he withdrew from and who may just get his victory for the season on a course that owes him one.

Justin Rose is one of those players that has improved year on year and is destined to win many more top quality golf tournaments. Excellent approach play all season will stand him well at East Lake and he can go one better than 12 months ago when runner-up to Brandt Snedeker. 18/1 is fair price and I'm happy to be on the Englishman whose game is ideal for here

Picture Hunter Mahan in all fairness has had a very consistent season without actually winning. He had that chance in Canada when leading after 36 holes but withdraw when his wife went into premature labour before giving birth to their daughter Zoe. Having settled into his new way of life, Mahan has put in some decent results lately in the playoffs finishing 4th on Monday at the BMW. He was beaten in a playoff here two years ago, and was T8th last year. 15 TOP 25s from his 24 starts this season shows the level of golf that he has been playing and with a bit more luck could have won a Major this year. 20/1 is decent price this week for me.

TIP 1 : 1 pt e/w Justin Rose @ 18/1 Betpack

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w Hunter Mahan @ 20/1 Betpack

Monday, 16 September 2013

Lindt Italian Open 2013 - Golf Club Torino

Francesco Molinari will be chomping at the bit this week as the Italian Open heads to his home club, Golf Club Torino, near Turin for the first time. With a new sponsor at the helm, there is a buzz in Italian golf again and along with Matteo Manessero, Lorenzo Gagli and Alessandro Tadini trying to win their home Open, Molinari will be well supported here. 

But speaking of Italians who will be proud to play under their tricolour this week, I am looking at a couple of players who also fly by tricolours, but those of red white and blue.

The course is a par 72, 7200-yard course. We have no course form to go on this week but looking at the layout, it does look like a traditional parkland course with tree-lined fairways as well as well-guarded greens. Accurate driving and good GIR stats could be the key for success this week

Gregory Bourdy won recently in Wales and is hitting form. 
He’s 14th ranked for DA this season and 27th in GIR. 
 Has played the Italian Open the past three years, on albeit different courses, but he clearly likes it there finishing 3-11-22.  With 4 TOP10s and a further 4 TOP 25s already this season, the Frenchman might be worth keeping an eye on this week. Bourdy is refreshed lately and gradually beiginng to get into some consistency and may have a big say in events over the next couple of months in the run up to Dubai.

Thomas Aiken has been awfully quiet of late, especially since he won his 2nd European Tour title in India back in March. 
But that’s what you get with the South African, he can just appear one week and challenge out of the blue, and if the price is right he may well be worth a dabble.He finished T16th in Holland with a 64 & 66 propelling him up the leaderboard. Very accurate off the tee with good GIR stats, if he gets the putter to behave, he’ll give us a run for our money and a decent price. Aiken hasn't delivered on the promise he was showing 5 or 6 years ago, but there's no denying he can mix it with the best, it's just knowing when to get on board and those 2 good rounds last week suggest he is not far away.

Staking plan : Total 6 pts

TIP 1: 1.5 pts e/w G.Bourdy @ 33/1 Ladbrokes

TIP 2: 1.5 pts e/w T.Aiken @ 66/1   Ladbrokes

Thursday, 12 September 2013

BMW Championship 2013 - Conway Farms GC, Illinois

The 3rd of the FedEx Cup Playoffs tees off later today at a new venue called Conway Farms, just outside Chicago, Illinois.
   Its new, very new with only Luke Donald out of the 70 players having played the course as he is a member. Compare that to Tiger Woods who got to see the course for the first time yesterday when playing the Pro-Am in shooting a bogey-free 68. Joe La Cava, his caddy, has been busy this week getting the info together for his boss,although it remains to be seen if Tiger can add another title in a state that has yielded many before.

Its the TOP 70 players only this week and for that reason alone I found this event on a new course with little to go, very hard to make a call on. The reason for this late post is that two of my four picks at the KLM Open have withdrawn (Noren & Aphibarnrat), leaving just Damien McGrane & Kristoffer Broberg along with Stacey Lewis at the Evian Championship as my only picks this week so far.

So, purely based on price value, I'm putting up 3 players for the BMW that could have a good week.

Dustin Johnson, could be keen on this course as it has a linksy feel to it. DJ has a good game and is one that is bound to hit form very soon and he could be spurred on by fiancee, Paulina, with pending wedding on the horizon. That said I'm sure all players are spurred on by the $10 M bonus up for grabs. 35/1 is a decent price and he could easily contend.

One of those seasons for the Northern Irishman and who's to say he cant have a good week here. Has an early start and if he gets a good start, no player feeds off the confidence better than GMAC !
80/1 is simply too big and I'm happy to be on board

Michael Thompson is just one of those players that tends to pop up on the more tougher courses, and despite the unknown element on this course, "Slick" likes to play well on this type of course. He needs a bloody good week to make it to next week's Tour Championship but @ 300/1 with Boylesports I'm on !

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w Dustin Johnson @ 35/1 Bet365

TIP 2: 0.75 pts e/w Graeme McDowell @ 80/1 Betpack

TIP 3: 0.25 pts e/w Michael Thompson @ 300/1 Boylesports

Monday, 9 September 2013

KLM Open 2013 - Kennemer Golf & Country Club

The KLM Open returns to Kennemer Golf & Country Club this year following 3 years at Hilversum. One of the oldest events on tour, a relatively decent field is in attendance where England's Simon Dyson is aiming for a 4th title. Having won on both Hilversum & Kennemer, Dyson has stated that he does prefer this course of the two but despite obvious improvement in recent weeks I find it hard to see him winning again this time. And he certainly doesn't appeal at 18/1 ! Neither, unfortunately does one of my favourites, Ross Fisher @ 16s!! Crazy price for Ross this week, perhaps an overaction to that super weekend he had  in Switzerland which resulted in a TOP5 but I just cannot back at that price this week.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Omega European Masters 2013 - Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland

The Wales Open in the end eventually provided some excitement down the stretch last week where Gregory Bourdy edged out Peter Uihlein with three birdies over his final three holes. Other than that, it was quite a damp squid but this week's fare from the Swiss Alps should provide a much more exciting four days of golf. If not the most picturesque golf course on Tour, its certainly a venue that the players and their "WAGS" look forward to and the field assembled is one of the best on the tour since July. 4 Major Winners lineup, Paul Larwie, Michael Campbell, Darren Clarke & Padraig Harrington. Indeed, its Cambo of the four that may look forward to a trip here the most of the four as he recorded his best results the previous two years at Crans when other results were less encouraging. (2 TOP25s)

The course is par 71, 6,800-yard course played at altitude, so I expect those with strong driving and GIR stats to perform well. It remains to be seen if the additional ponds and changes to the greens will make scoring more difficult than in previous years

Matteo Mannessero has decent form here the previous three years with results of T34th-T18th- 3. The Italian sits 5th in the R2D standings as a result of solid play the first 6 months in 2013 and he will be anxious to get back to the “bread n butter” following two Majors and a WGC in his last 3 events. Ideal ball striker for Crans, with decent course results, he can add to his PGA Championship victory in May with another this week. As I tweeted on Monday, Matteo was available @33/1 with Ladbrokes       .