Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Nordea Masters 2014

The Nordea Masters moves from Bro Hof to a fairly new course outside Malmo this week called the PGA Sweden Lakes Course which opened in 2010. Peter Hanson and Henrik Stenson may have some knowledge of the course but for most of the players this is very much a new course. However, the course was used for the Challenge Tour in 2011 where Ricardo Santos won by 3 shots on –16. The 7400 yard par-72 proved to be a birdie fest of sorts that week. Ireland’s, Colm Moriarty finished T9th. The 9th,17th & 18th holes are sourounded by a massive lake but the main features of the course appear to be it’s multiple bunkers and small greens. Emphasis may well lie on those with a good short game alongside efficient GIR stats.

The One to Beat

Henrik Stenson will go off strong favourite this week and he could very well be in a different league to the rest, so it might be prudent to wait and see if any bookmaker (skybet?) will offer a “without Stenson” market, which may become available Tuesday. Stenson is beginning to show his class this season and once he hits his stride he tends to keep form. Hard to see him getting beat this week but the favourites don’t always win and with the bookies making the European Number One favourite and most likely at 8/1 we can find the value down the field

From the Pack

Stenson’s compatriot, Jonas Blixt will be an interesting prospect here. Now a regular on the PGA Tour, Blixt has shown a level of consistency of late that should see him contend. Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson may be an interesting competitor here as well as another local, Peter Hanson.  Blixt may not represent much value at 22/1 though although he will have his supporters. Italian Francesco Molinari though, is arguably the in-form player without a win of late. In fact, just 3 wins to date on tour is a poor return for a player of his capability, and the last of those was back in 2012. Recent form suggests he’s about to click but an infrequent winner needs to be at a decent price before backing, and he most certainly isn't worth chancing at best price 16/1.

My Selections

He may have been selected last week at Wentworth but despite missing the cut, Felipe Aguilar will remain a betting prospect if price discates value. Aguilar excels off the tee and in GIR and can bounce back from last week’s disappointment.  Anything over 50/1 here is value and worth keeping the faith with as he may have just been a victim of the draw in Surrey where he had no worse than a bogey on any of his 36 holes. He’s kept onside especially as Betpack go 70/1

Bristol native, Chris Wood is returning to form and with 3 TOP10s in his previous 6 starts prior to the BMW PGA, he may be another to contend very shortly for another win. Has played in the Nordea Masters and previously named SAS Masters in Sweden in the past with results of 22nd & 18th.40/1 is just about on the mark for me.

Scotsman, Richie Ramsay has returned from injury recently and has just played 7 tournaments on tour this season having grabbed 2 TOP5s already as well as another Top15. The former Irish Amateur Stokeplay Champion can go low, really low on any given day and having won twice on the Challenge Tour and twice on the European Tour since 2010, the Aberdeen man could be one to keep an eye on over the next few weeks and hopefully this is the week he gets back into the winners enclosure and he too can be backed at 70/1 with Betpack

Finally, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal will always give you a run for your money and should a price around the 40/1 mark be available, he’s worth a dabble. He is with almost with 90% of the books but once again Betpack  go better with a price of 50/1 still available this morning. Tied 7th at Wentworth having missed the cut at his home Open the week before, was his 2nd TOP10 in his last 4 starts. Has already won on tour this season in Abu Dhabi and can contend here off the back of bringing home Rory McIlroy to the winners enclosure yesterday

Completing my interest this week is the inclusion of my "10 To Win Soon" stable for the Nordea Masters which consists of 8 players meeting the minimum price. Check out my take on players that over long term I am expecting to be in profit. (for the purposes of that page I'll keep those selections seperate from the main staking plan) here

Staking Plan

1 pt e/w   C.Wood @ 40/1
0.75 pts e/w F.Aguilar @ 70/1
0.75 pts e/w R.Ramsay @ 70/1
0.75 pts e/w P.Larrazabal @ 50/1

Monday, 19 May 2014

BMW PGA Championship Betting 2014

Picture: Coutesy of
The European Tour’s flagship event, The BMW PGA Championship heads to Wentworth GC this week where the cream of European Golf will tee it up hoping to land the 60th edition of the Championship. It’s a quality field this week and with so many of Europe’s finest in terrific form, it won’t be easy picking the winner here but its worth noting that this course is a favourite of quite a few. The tree lined course will put big emphasis on a good tee to green game and excellent ball strikers tend to do well as was the case for the defending champion, Matteo Manassero 12 months ago. At 7,300 yards it will be a mental test and the victor will need to be at the top of his game.

The One to Beat

There is a handful of players that could easily lay claim as to being the course specialist that they all have to beat, and none more so, than the oldest winner on the tour, Miguel Angel Jiminez who won this title back in 2008 keeping a fast finishing Luke Donald at bay. The Spaniard is in the form of his life at the moment and he can go well again this week on the wave of recent form. 5 TOP10s the past 10 years augurs well for his chances. Only one other player in the field can match those number of TOP5s in the past 10 years and that’ s Luke Donald, who will be bidding to win his 3rd title having won in 2012 & 2011. 3 TOP10s in his last 7 starts Stateside, suggests that the Englishman is in good shape to challenge again and could start out favourite around 14/1.

From the Pack

Justin Rose will have many supporters this week too with 3 TOP10s to his locker in his previopus 6 starts at Wentworth, including 2 runner-up placings. The US Open Champion is coming into Wentworth this week with slightly better form than Donald having bagged 3 TOP5s in his last 3 starts but he may be a bit short in the betting around the 16/1 mark, if not less. Rory was 5th back in 2009 but that’s about all he can shout about here, and he’s best left alone from a betting perspective. Stenson simply has no form here either, and along with Garcia they can be omitted from any staking plan. Ernie Els though could be interesting this week! Having put some re-design touches to the course 2 years ago, Els may have something to say yet about who wins this title and with his incredible Wentworth record he cannot be dismissed lightly. His past 10 years results include 5 TOP20s (6th & 7th the last 2 years) and whilst form in 2014 is not great, any price over 60/1 is a value bet and worth considering. Dane, Anders Hansen, has recently returned to action following injury and should have won in Singapore only to be pipped at the end by Felipe Aguilar. Hansen is twice a former winner of this event (2007 & 2002) and like Els, could be a value bet around the 66/1 quote. Others that should go well again this week include recent winner, Lee Westwood who has produced 3 TOP10s in his last 4 efforts. Another home player, Simon Khan doesn't get backed by many any given week but it seems this course was made for him. He won this back in 2010, lost in that play-off last year to Manassero and was also runner up in 2006. Through in another TOP 10 in 2008, the local lad is sure to feel at home but given form of late its ahrd to see it happening this week. 

Alex Noren, always a favourite of mine, surprised me in Catalunya on his return after a long layoff and should he take confidence from his first start back he may be worth considering at triple figures. Indeed, speaking of backing regular players, I'm now drawing up a list of players that I think can win before the end of the season at a decent price with a view to backing them each time they start. A decent price meaning 50/1 possibly 66/1 or better should that price become available.This list is currently at 5 players but I may have a couple more before I post them on here. At this stage though, Noren has to be played at such a decent price. I make no apology by including Ross Fisher in that list also. Ross won the Tshwane Open earlier this year and has 2 other TOP10s from his 10 other starts. He loves Wentworth too and is a real value bet for me this week. T 15th in Cataluyna in difficult scoring conditions augurs well coming into this week and at a nice 50/1 with Betfair Sportsbook (paying 6 places) he's a must bet for me again.

My Selections

Pending price (as always), this tournament can provide an opportunity to find some value should the market leaders fail to take it out come Sunday afternoon. Aforementioned Felipe Aguilar has shown already this season that his game is in firne shape and he may approach this week without too many objectives in terms of winning and I’m hoping he arrives nice and relaxed following a decent TOP10 in Spain. He may have missed the cut 4/6 visists to Wentworth but he has also posted 2 TOP20s. The Chilean could be a surprise packet this week and especially when he's available at 100/1, he’s well worth a dabble here in the each way market or indeed TOP10/20 considering he ranks high in driving accuracy and GIR.

Alvaro Quiros will be at a nice price this week and he won’t be too disappointed with his final round in Catalunya yesterday as his beloved Athletico Madrid won La Liga the night before. He’ll be in great spirits for this on the back of a Top10 and 2 TOP20s in his 5 previous visits. Ignoring the Open de Espana final round, Quiros was 3rd & 13th in previous 2 events. He’s in form, ranks currently in the Top20 for GIR, and could be about to go close.

We’ve seen many back to back winners of this event over the years and who’s to say Matteo Manassero can’t defend again this year. His 4 visits have yielded results of 1-43-7-17 so he clearly likes the course. He’s had a visit to the course in the past couple of weeks doing promotional work and therefore the added pressure of being defending champion may be lifted, could be more relaxed and indeed motivated to repeat again. Recent efforts on the PGA didn’t go according to plan but if off to a good start this week he could be in the mix again come Sunday evening. Should be available around the 50/1 mark.

Alex Noren at triple figures cannot be passed up on. In his 186 starts on the Tour, he's won 3 times with a further 37 TOP10s. Thats a 22% TOP10 strike rate so whilst he hasn't won as often as he should have perhaps following him for TOP10 could be the way for the time being. 

Argentine, Emiliano Grillo is on my list "Soon to Win". The 22yr old ranks high in GIR and is becoming very consistent on tour. He should have won the Africa Open but he's put that disappointment behind him and produced a TOP15 in Spain last week on what was a difficult course. Runner Up in Dubai  and currently 35th in the R2D standings, Grillo is sure to produce the goods soon and get that win. It may not be here, but I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss his chances. 

As mentioned, Ross Fisher @ 50/1 meets the "price" criteria and he completes my interest this week.

Staking Plan:

0.5 pts e/w F.Aguilar @  100/1 Betfair Sportsbook
0.75 pts e/w A.Quiros @ 80/1 Betpack
1 pt e/w M.Manassero @ 66/1 Betpack
0.5 pts e/w A.Noren @ 150/1 Betpack
0.5 pts e/w E.Grillo @ 150/1 BetVictor
1 pt e/w R.Fisher @ 50/1 Betfair Sportsbook

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Open de Espana 2014 - Catalunya Golf Resort

The European Tour heads back to mainland Europe this week as the summer season hots up with the Open de Espana where it returns to the PGA Catalunya Resort for the first time since 2009 where Thomas Levet prevailed. Located near Barcelona, this is a top course measuring just over 7300 yards and will prove to be real test this week. The tournament will see many of its home players compete and Sergio Garcia will no doubt tee off the hot favourite to win following an excellent effort at Sawgrass at the weekend. Indeed, Sergio has been involved quite extensively in a  junior golf academy at the resort so he’ll be very keen to emerge victorious this week as he always is when competing for his National Open. This week's event will be welcomed by many fans and players following last week's disappointing event at Madeira, which sadly ended in tragedy with the passing of Alastair Forysth's caddy whilst out on the course. The event never really got going last week with all the fog delays having reduced the event to 36 holes, so it was a shame that the opportunity wasn't taken to cancel it in respect of Iain MacGregor. From a betting perspective, it was a wise move not to get involved hence no preview on the site last week. Anyhow, the tour rolls on and we will have some live TV (hopefully) this week to keep us entertained.

The One to Beat

Sergio will undoubtedly be the one they all have to beat this week but the home contingent can compete quite strongly as well, where recently married Miguel Angel Jiminez and Pablo Larrazabal lead the charge. Sergio arrives on the back of a 3rd place at Sawgrass and will be bidding to add his second National Title, the last having come back in 2002. He’s in form and the one they have to beat but @ 5/1 he's too short to back with real conviction. Apart from his compatriots there are many others that can give us a shout at decent prices.

The Contenders

French and Scandanvian players have had an incredible amount of success at this event over the recent years and they have strong challengers to contend again this time round. French players are finding inspiration off each lately so don’t be surprised to see another win again soon. They’ve had three winners in the past 10 years and could have a good shout in the shape of Gregory Bourdy, Alex Levy and Julien Quesne again. Raphael Jacquelin defends this week too.Bourdy was 8th on this course back in 2009, although the course has undergone renovations since, he’ll have fond memories to back up consistent play of late where he has pocketed 4 TOP20s in his last 4 starts. I thought he'd be a decent price here but he's not @ 33/1 for me.  We’ve had five Scandanvian winners the last 16 years and Thomas Bjorn was one of those and he’ll be smarting following a missed cut in Florida the weekend. Thomas is a value bet this week @ 28/1 and returning to European action ignite his game and of the leading contenders this week it may pay to keep an eye on him over Francesco Molianri who has been simmering quite a bit of late. The Italian finished 6th at The Players to add to his TOP5 three weeks ago and whilst he was earmarked to do well here I'm not so sure he's worth backing @ 14/1

George Coetzee has got his maiden win on the European Tour under his belt, and he should be refreshed and ready to go again on European soil. He’s well rested and has the game for Catalunya where he finished 16th in 2009 and @ 40/1 or better is available, he’s worth a punt.

The event will also see a lot players hoping to re-establish some form, notably the return to action of Swede Alex Noren following wrist injury as well as Ryder Cup start Nicolas Colsaerts. Paul Lawrie also returns and Ireland’s Shane Lowry will be anxious to get going and Catalunya is a course that should suit, but its another home player at big odds that I can see putting a good tournament together and that’s Adrian Otaegui. The 21 year old has a solid amateur career behind him and has appeared on leaderboards a couple of times already this season and is worth a small each way punt or TOP10/20.

Andy Sullivan has been very consistent this season too and he has course form having played the Qualifying School here in recent years.  3 TOP10s in his last 7 starts, including 2 TOP5s augur well and the 80/1 is simply too good to pass up on.

Regular readers and followers of mine on twitter will know that there are three golfers that I've followed and backed quite regularly over the years. All three of those have won this year. Aiken, Fisher & last week's Players Champion, Martin Kaymer. I'm still smarting from not getting involved with 80/1 Kaymer last week and I simply cannot pass up on Ross Fisher @ 66/1 again this week. Ross comes into form around this time of year and back in Europe on a course where good tee to green game is required will suit and he's added to the staking plan. So too does Thomas Aiken (not on original shortlist) as price just too good to pass up on @ 70/1. Sometimes it simply pays to keep the faith with players that you know can win any given week at a decent price and I'd hate to miss out two weeks in a row.

Staking Plan (10 pts)

1 pt e/w T.Bjorn @ 28/1
1 pt e/w G.Coetzee @ 40/1
0.5 pts e/w A.Sullivan @ 80/1
0.50 pts e/w R.Fisher @ 66/1
0.5 pts e/w T.Aiken @ 70/1
0.25 pts e/w A.Otaegui @ 150/1
2.5 pts TOP 20 A.Otaegui @ 6/1

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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Players Championship, Sawgrass - 2014

The Players Championship will see one of the strongest fields on tour assembling at the famous Pete and Alice Dye designed, TPC Sawgrass this week. Tiger Woods, the defending champion will be missing of course, but there are plenty of leading contenders. This week once again, we have a very open tournament where emphasis over this tricky course will be on GIR and scrambling.  Given that it is an open affair and that there is so many players playing well of late, punters should be aware of prices on offer before getting involved. Rory McIlroy somehow produced another top10 at Quail Hollow the weekend without being in contention, and he may compete with Adam Scott for favouritism in the betting market despite producing three straight missed cuts in his three previous visits prior to last year's T8th finish. He simply has no form to warrant a financial interest,and on that count, he cannot be a bet for me this week. Same was said of Tiger last year though, Sawgrass being a course that he couldn’t get to grips with, but perhaps Sergio Garcia kept him focussed as he put previous average form to bed with a win. Maybe Rory can do as well but there are others with better chances.

The Ones to Beat

The leading two players this week are undoubtedly, Matt Kuchar and Henrik Stenson. Both are former winners here and the former arrives on the back of a win last time out and three TOP5s in the preceeding events to that Harbour Town victory. The World Number 3 and reigning FedEx Cup & Race to Dubai Champion, Stenson, won at Sawgrass in 2009 and has since followed up with a TOP5 (2013) and T15 in 2012. He also has a further two T10s in his locker. Slow to get going this season following equipment change, the Swede has returned to form with a T5 last time out in China and a somewhat surprising T15 at Augusta. He also finished T5 at Bay Hill. For me, he could be the one they all have to beat this week.

Value Selections

Local boy and recent runner up at the Wells Fargo Championship, Jim Furyk is a decent bet @ 33/1. Jim loves Sawgrass and has the scrambling & GIR stats to back up his course form over the years. Three T5s in the past 10 years, Jim approaches this instalment of the “5th Major” on the back of  some very consistent results over his last 7 events,where he has finished inside the T20 on 6 ocassions, including 4 T10s !

The Masters champion returns to action this week, but to date,  Sawgrass has not been a happy hunting ground although Bubba has two wins and a 2nd from his last 5 starts this season. He cannot be dismissed lightly and a decent price in and around 33/1 might just be worth a shout. I was interested in Luke Donald, however the 30/1 on offer on Sunday is gone and is now best price 22/1 and therefore becomes a non bet for me. He could contend though and I wouldn't be surprised if he prevails. Another to show signs recently that he is returning to form, the Englishman’s game is well suited to the stadium course. He’s produced 5 T20s in his last 9 visits including solid performances the last 3 years of 19-6-2. Recent form is encouraging, with 3 T10s in his last 6 starts. Its a bet instead on Henrik Stenson at slightly better odds of 25/1

Outside Chances

I’ve shortlisted four players that could give me a run for my hard earned cash this week on the back of course and recent form. Having equalled the course record at Quail Hollow in his 2nd round after a disastrous opening round, 80, Brendan De Jonge backed that round up with an eye catching weekend effort of 68-69 to finish T6th. The Zimbawean is a birdie machine when on song, and having finished 15th here the last two years, he’s bound to be on a high after those three great rounds in Charlotte. He's best price 110/1 with Bet365 (one of many paying 6 places this week)

I’ve always liked the chances of Kevin Streelman and although he’s been quiet so far this season, he did finish runner-up to Tiger last year and completed a T15 at Quail Hollow last week. Another to be chalked up at triple figures and one to consider for TOP10/20 markets. Well worth a punt @ 100/1 with BetVictor (paying 6 places also) and 8/1 for TOP10.

My third outsider is Harris English who excels in the GIR department and is beginning to settle down on tour with 4 T20s in his last 7 events. He’s been progressive in his results at Sawgrass in his two visits and he could be a surprise package this week @66/1 with Skybet

Lastly, Australian Geoff Ogilvy has shown glimpses of producing a good week of late and completed a T15 last week also. Decent enough form here at Sawgrass and the former US Open champion who finished 12th here 2 years ago may just be up for another bold showing this week. Available at 175/1 (paying 5 places) or 150/1 Skybet (6 places), he's worth a small interest and at 13/2 for TOP20 with Bet365

Staking Plan (9.5 units/points)

2 pts WIN H.Stenson @ 25/1
1pt    WIN Jim Furyk @ 33/1
0.5 pts WIN K.Streelman @ 100/1
0.5 pts WIN B. De Jonge @ 110/1
0.75 pts e/w H.English @ 66/1


1 pt K.Streelman @ 8/1
1 pt B.De Jonge @ 9/1


2 pts G.Ogilvy @ 13/2