Monday, 14 September 2015

Open d'Italia 2015 - Milano GC

The Europeantour heads to Milan this week and a revisit to Milano GC for the first time since 1990, where Sky Sports golf commentator, Richard Boxall saw off a class field to win his one and only tour title with a -22 score, helped by opening rounds of 65 & 64. Its a fairly decent field too this week where players are fighting for cards, R2D rankings and Ryder Cup points. Martin Kaymer, who disappointed hugely in Holland last week will no doubt head the betting but based on last week's effort it may pay to look elsewhere. Francesco Molinari will also be towards the head of the market here and carries the hopes for a home win. Kaymer, despite a poor showing last week should NOT be behind Danny Willett in the market though, but all three are far too short here.The tourney may not come quick enough for some though, especially the likes of Eddie Pepperell, Soren Kjeldsen, Tyrell Hatton and Kristoffer Broberg to mention a handful in fine form. With this and five other events left before the Final Series kicks off in Turkey at the end of October, those in form will be all out to grab as much R2D points and cash as possible and see where it leaves them in the Ryder Cup standings. Matt Fitzpatrick, Eddie Pepperell, Tyrell Hatton are just three players that I fancy to make a challenge for a place and who's to say that Thomas Pieters won't win more between now and Hazeltine next year. With Lee Westwood, martin Kaymer and indeed Padraig Harrington looking like they will be playing more on the European Tour next season, the race for those elusive points could be quite interesting and whatever the outcome, skipper, Darren Clarke should at least have an in-form team to defend the trophy. So, that's my reference to the Ryder Cup qualification out of the way on here but be prepared to hear it every week on the TV commentaries !

Thomas Pieters grabbed his second win on tour to make it back to back wins last week, emphasizing how current form and confidence are key to succeeding more so than over previous course form. Lee Slattery backed that up last week when he chased home the Belgian having won the previous week in Moscow! 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Deutsche Bank Championship 2015

The second of the FedEx Cup play-offs tees off at TPC Boston on Friday this week, where Jason Day hopes the extra day's rest will help him keep his amazing run going as he seeks his fourth win in five starts. The field is now reduced to 100 players and Rory McIlroy returns to the action having returned from injury at the PGA Championship to finish in the TOP20. He also returns with the World Number One tag back on his shoulders following Jordan Spieth's missed cut at Plainfield Country Club last week. He's a tempting 9/1 shot in fairness, he'll be fresh (some will say not competitively fit), and he's a former TPC Boston winner back in 2012. The problem though this week is that TPC Boston will be a birdie-fest as it is every year and those that are in form right now should be contending again this week. Jason Day rightly leads the betting market but he's far too short to win again here when the field are so much capable of winning. Golf is in a good shape at the moment and I've often thought to myself if I leave the betting alone for awhile would I enjoy the coverage more? Well, the coverage needs to improve first, far too many brilliant golfers out there on the tour now that we seldom get to see, the powers that be seem more interested in showing the stars on the practice range or indeed signing autographs rather than showing some golf action. The FedEx Cup playoffs were set up to be exciting and they are I suppose but with so many players that can realistically win any of these events, I'd like to see some more action ! So, who can win it this week ? Just about any of them can ! Bubba Watson is probably the most in-form player at present without a win of late, and will be on many staking plans for this week at 22/1. The price seems very fair considering his last win was only seven starts back at The Travelers! His returns since read 13-mc-2-2-21-3. His third place finish last week may have been a distance from Jason Day but his game is in very good shape and when it comes to birdie-fests, Bubba usually makes the shortlist. Course form at TPC Boston though is not great and for this reason, I've decided to leave him be.

A hot putter will be required this week to complement a good tee to green game ! I should therefore be on board with Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Russell Henley and perhaps Henrik Stenson. The latter two have good chances here this week, The Swede is best price 16/1, which is short for a player that doesn't win often enough, but is a player that seems to excel at this time of the year and has very good form in the FedEx Cup playoffs, having won it two years ago by winning here and at East Lake. But one player who is also playing extremely well but is falling short due in part to some poor putting of late is Justin Rose (20/1). Since his win in New Orleans, the Englishman has recorded five TOP10s in eight events. His GIR performance is worth noting, along with Stenson's, they are encouraging for this week's event. If Rose has worked on his putting this week and he can rev it up for the four days he will be in the mix come Monday. He's playing too well not to be contending.

I backed Robert Streb last week and after an encouraging start, he fell down the leaderboard the weekend. I won't abandon him just yet though; the 28 year old from Oklahoma has been in fine form this season, sits ninth in the rankings with  no missed cuts in his last eleven starts. Four of those resulted in TOP10s and of those, three were TOP5! He appeared a little agitated during coverage last week, I like to see a bit of that as it can often emphasize how a player is approaching the tournament; this man wants to compete! Winner of the McGladrey Classic almost twelve months ago, Streb is looking to close out a successful campaign with a big win. He was T-9th here last year and @ 60/1, I'm happy to keep him on side.

Webb Simpson is simmering of late as he tries to come to grips with the new putting technique. But it's improving as his results have shown. His first win on tour came at the Wyndham Championship, named his daughter Wyndham as a result, and has often expressed his fondness for the course and backed that up with a 6th placing two weeks ago. He seems to be very relaxed of late, and is focused on making it to East Lake (currently sits outside the TOP30).  He won this event back in 2011 and has posted a TOP20 and TOP10 (last year) since. Like Rose, a marked improvement in putting performance should see the former US Open Champion in contention.

2 pts e/w J.Rose @ 20/1
1 pt e/w R.Streb @ 60/1
1 pt e/w W.Simpson @ 66/1