Tuesday, 3 March 2015

WGC - Cadillac Championship 2015 - Doral, Florida

The first of the WGC's tees off this Thursday at the Donald Trump Doral Resort in Florida where Patrick Reed will defend his title. The newly revamped course seemed to have reduced the scoring twelve months ago but in fairness the weather too may have had an effect. One thing to note I suppose is, that some players returning to the event this year will have had the experience of the new layout and some won't. General consensus though is that the course suits those with good driving-distance stats and those with good Major pedigree, as the course has always thrown up a winner from the cream of world of world golf. Understandable of course given that the TOP50 in the world normally play this, but it is those who normally win Majors or at least win the big events that do best here. Course experience should be key, but Reed won here on his debut last year ! Jamie Donaldson was runner up to Reed in only his 2nd visit so perhaps we don't need to read too much into the course experience but I never discount experience when it comes to a tournament of this stature, where patience is key. Last years winning score was 284 (-4), a whole 15 shots more than Tiger's in 2013.Over the preceeding 5 years the winning score ranged from 269-272 so despite the weather conditions, it seems the course has indeed toughened up. Apart from Reed, only Nick Watney is the only other non-Major winner of this event at Doral with Tiger, Phil, Ernie, Justin Rose & Geoff Ogilvy also taking the honours.Time will tell if Pat Reed adds a Major (I believe he will, and soon)

When the scoring is high, I expect those with fine US Open pedigree to come to the fore and one player in particular always comes to my attention here and that's Graeme McDowell. The 2010 US Open Champion has excellent form at Doral having finished T9th last year to complement his previous form of 3-13-42-6. Both he and Luke Donald will take a lot of inspiration from Harrington's win at the Honda Classic. Donald tweeted his praise of Harrington's hard work to get back to the winner's enclosure and he too could find something this week on a course that he has had decent success on. But for his 2nd round, 82 last year (average 76 for the day) he could have grabbed another T10 but he's shown signs of a return to form of late and could go well. That said, its the Irishman that I really fancy the chances of this week. The new Dad, (aren't they all at the minute on Tour?) seems well settled of late and having missed the cut last week , he will be nice and fresh and raring to go. Missing the cut one week hasn't prevent Gmac from the winning the week after in the past anyway. He's one for the big events and he'll be all out to add to his Major tally this year on courses that will suit at Chambers Bay & Whistling Straits. His first test comes this week and if he shows the level of sharpness as he did in Dubai at the end of January just gone, he could be challenging at a nice price of 75.00

Whilst the Africa Open takes place this week also, South African Charl Schwartzel looks to continue his good affinity with Doral having tied alongside Graeme McDowell last year here on the back of previous results of 16-4-24-2. Its been awhile since the former Masters Champion went in on the PGA Tour but so too was the wait for last week's winner, Harrington. He did have a strong Open & PGA Championship last year when finishing 7th & 15th respectively. He topped the par 4 scoring average on tour last season and if he can keep up his approach play of this season and start making one or two more putts he could find that long overdue win, just like Padraig did, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Oliver Wilson did in recent times. He's worth a play @ 120.00 on the exchange.

Staking Plan (7.5 pts)

1 pt WIN. G.McDowell @ 75.00
0.5 pts WIN C.Schwartzel @ 120.00

3 pts TOP10 G.McDowell @ 5.00
2.5 Pts TOP10 C.Schwartzel @ 8.00

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