Wednesday, 15 July 2015

The Open British open ...or the best Major - 2015

It's The Open this week, or as some people call it , The British Open. Somewhere along the line though it has become more known as The Open but whatever its title, it sure is one of the top golfing tournaments, steeped in history and tradition. One of those traditions is to call the winner this week, "Champion Golfer of 2015", a flattering title indeed. Should Jordan Spieth succeed, we'll have no doubts as to who the real champion golfer is but should he come up short I'm sure we'll still be referring to the young Texan as the champion golfer at present. We are at St. Andrews for the first time since 2010, where Louis Oosthuizen took advantage of the draw the first two days and skipped away from Rory McIlroy and co to win by seven ! Following his great effort at Chambers Bay last month, "Shrek" is being tipped by many to go well again here this week and "defend". We won't of course have the defending Open Champion, Rory McIlroy, due to his ankle injury, which is a great pity. Spieth will attempt to become the first to win the Open having won on US soil the week previously and is a worthy favourite to do so. At double the price though, I'm inclined to stick with my US Open tip, Dustin Johnson @ 14.00. He makes his first appearance since three putting the 72nd hole in Seattle but he has shown in the past that he can win very quickly after Major setbacks. He's a different person these days, he's spent a lot of family time recently and St. Andrews gives him a great opportunity to break his Major duck. The home of golf has always suited the bigger hitters and DJ has the power to reach par 4s this week even taking the wind into account; he also has a superb short-game and his putting stats will surprise many. Of course, can he putt when the pressure is on ? He loves links, has won at Pebble Beach and has gone close at Chambers Bay and Whistling Straits. Speaking of the Straits, next months PGA Championship returns there and we could be more excited for that than this should DJ prevail this week ! We had the "Big 3" of years before when Jack, Arnie & Gary Player took golf onto the world stage and we could quite possibly be entering a another "Big3" era with Rory, Jordan & DJ. Imagine if DJ won this and the PGA next month !

Can DJ win though ? Yes I think he is the man to beat this week. His driving will make scoring a lot easier where fairways are wide and greens are big, DJ has the short game to take advantage and he seldoms three putts (er....his last bit action was exactly that which cost him the US Open I hear you say). He was down the field in 2010 here following his efforts at Pebble Beach the month before when GMac prevailed but we have a more polished player these days and he's older and wiser. He's proven before he can bounce back from disappointment quickly and he looks better prepared for St Andrew's than Jordan Spieth. He's a win bet @ 14.00

St Andrews, links courses, and Majors are just the sort of challenges that Martin Kaymer thrives on. He may not be having the best of seasons so far but there have been significant signs of late that a return to the winners enclosure is not far away. He played well in his second round at Royal County Down in May despite having no chance of making the cut and showed up on the leaderboard at Le Golf National a couple of weeks ago. Kaymer can produce the goods any given week and on links he is a player to contend with. 44.00 cannot be ignored. (40/1 for 7 places )

My old favourite Ross Fisher has played well in The Open before, has solid links form and showed last week at Gullane that his game is in fine nick for this one. Progressive form over recent weeks augurs well and he is also lucky to have an early tee time Thursday which according to ever changing weather forecasts suggests he may have the luck of the draw. Let's hope it pans out that way for him should he get a good start. One thing to note over previous St Andrews Open's, is that just 1 player, Jack Nicklaus, has managed to overcome a deficit of more than 2 shots after round one and win- all other winners were within those two shots. Ross is my outside bet this week @ 230.00 for the win and 7.00 for a TOP20.

I've also added Marc Warren & Joost Luiten into my staking plan. Both have shown many times that they excel on links courses and both are in form with Warren almost snatching the Scottish Open with a final round 66 last Sunday and Luiten also placing. Neither will be affected by the wind and bad weather and represent decent value @ 170.00 and 150.00 respectively. The TOP20 offers of 6.00 & 6.50 are also decent value.

Staking Plan

3.5 pts WIN D.Johnson @ 14.00
1 pt e/w M.Kaymer @ 40/1 (7 places)
.25 pts e/w R.Fisher @ 150/1 (8 places)
.25 pts e/w M.Warren @ 150/1 (6 places)
.25 pts e/w J.Luiten @ 125/1 (8 Places)

2 pts TOP20 M.Warren @ 6.00
2 pts TOP20 J.Luiten @ 6.50
4 pts TOP20 R.Fisher @ 7.00

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Scottish Open 2015 - Gullane Golf Club

We've been treated to some wonderful golf tournaments the past month featuring Europe's finest and following a very competitive Irish Open at Royal County Down, this week's Europeantour event heads to Gullane Golf Club for the first time for the Scottish Open for another instalment of links golf. Rickie Fowler is back following a decent effort in Ireland and he is joined by fellow Americans in, ever-present Phil Mickelson, Ryan Palmer, Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein, Brooks Koepka, Brendan Steele, Ben Martin, Dan Berger, Cameron Tringale as well as former Open Champion, David Duval. They have competition though as defending champion Justin Rose heads the betting.

It looks as if we will have a stern test this week with the weather expected to throw in some wind and it should mean that our focus should concentrate on those that have links experience. There are many in the field that do and perhaps Ireland's Shane Lowry is the pick of the bunch along with South African, Branden Grace. The Irishman does offer me some value @ 33/1 this week and was one of the first down on the shortlist for this to follow on from his strong showing at Chambers Bay where he produced a TOP10. He finished down the field at RCD but hung in there despite putting for most of the second round with his wedge, (although Robert Streb seemed to fare much better last week than Shano). Lowry, of course, won the Irish Open at Baltray and is a well experienced links player and will always relish these events in pretty much the same vein as compatriots, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke, both former Open Champions. Shano will be rested following his TOP30 in Munich last time out and he can take confidence from his results the past three years at Royal Aberdeen and Castle Staurt where he finished 4-31-11. He'll be out for a bold showing the next two weeks before he takes up his temporary PGA Tour membership and he is bound to figure this week to keep recent form tipping along.

Pablo Larrazabal won in Munich, took last week off and returns to Scotland where he finished 11th last year and 16th in 2012.  He's 9/13 this season with 5 TOP20s which also included a TOP3 in Morocco.Pablo has a further two T10s in Morocco as well as  a handful of T10s in Holland at the Kennemer, not to mention solid efforts when winning at the Open de France and Abu Dhabi against quality fields. Those courses and Pablo's form indicate the Spaniard's fondness for links golf. We know what we get with Pablo, mercurial to say the least but he's a winner and if he gets into contention he'll fight it out to the end. He's also streaky, and he will be buoyed by his latest win following early season frustration. Perhaps he handed out too many shirts last season (promised to donate his playing shirts every time he missed the cut) or else it served as motivation, but Pablo cannot be ignored this week @ 76.00 or indeed 4.00 for TOP20.

Marc Warren @ 67.00 for the Scottish Open is another decent price for me.  He's been third in his home open twice the past three years! He was a decent TOP30 at Chambers Bay too yet he missed the cut at RCD. He's a three time winner on tour with those wins coming at the Scandanavian Masters at Barseback GC, the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles and the Made in Denmark at Himmerland. Warren thrives on links and seems to play well on home soil. From his ten starts this season he's posted five TOP20's and the 3.75 for another here is worth taking. He commented on twitter this week that Gullane was "flawless", so let's hope he puts in performance to match the description.

Lastly, I tried to talk myself out of having an interest in Padraig Harrington here. Yes he missed the BMW PGA at Wentworth due to shoulder injury but he did show up on day one at RCD to lead. He again showed up on day one at the recent Travelers Championship with a 66 before missing the cut, but the signs are there that he can still go low and can add to his European Tour win tally of 14 soon. Double Open Champion, Harrington used to play the Irish PGA prior to the Open to fine tune his game so he'll be approaching this week in very much the same way as Phil Mickelson will.  125/1 e/w is tempting as is the 6.00 for TOP20. I'm also interested in the 100/1 e/w First Round Leader (FRL).

Staking Plan (11.25 pts)
1.0 pts e/w S. Lowry @ 33/1
.50 pts win P. Larrazabal @ 76.00
.50 pts win M.Warren @ 67.00
.25 pts win P.Harrington @ 126.00
.50 pts e/w FRL P.Harrington @ 100/1

3 pts TOP20 P. Larrazabal @ 4.00
2 pts TOP20 M.Warren @ 3.75
2 pts TOP20 P.Harrington @ 6.00

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Open de France 2015

Another short preview this week for the Open de France to be staged once again at Le Golf National outside Paris. Graeme  McDowell goes for three in a row but arrives lacking in confidence and his chances look slim despite obvious liking for the 2018 Ryder Cup venue. Martin Kaymer made my shortlist especially @28/1 but he is just not making cuts at the moment to warrant a bet so I've had to side with in form Tongchai Jaidee and American,Brendan Steele as well as Korean, Bjeung Hun An also @ 33/1. 

In the top 20 markets I've gone with the following as per my tweets yesterday ;

2 pts D. Fichardt @ 7.50
2.5 pts A. Canizares @ 5.50
2.5 pts A. Lahiri @ 6.5

E/w selections: (1 Pt e/w)

B. An @33/1
T. Jaidee @ 33/1
B. Steele @ 33/1