Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Alfred Dunhill Championship 2020 - Leopard Creek, South Africa

 Apologies once again, but have run out of time for a preview this week. That said having re-read last week's, perhaps its better that I don't rush them going forward as even I struggled to enjoy reading it, it was that badly written! Anyway, I have had a look at a number of potential players for this week's event at Leopard Creek, which is such a stunning course, and I'm not altogether convinced the outright market leader should be the price he is so hopefully someone further down the list can take this one out and we can get onboard. I like Brandon Stone for sure, but he's too short for me this week, indeed I had him nearer the 18-20/1 price range.

I think the following players have a chance of winning this week and have backed them accordingly. I had considered Richard Bland here also in both the outright & TOP20 markets but wanted to leave it at a maximum of 10u risk for the event


1 pt e/w M. Schwab @ 33/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w L. Canter @ 33/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w G. Higgo @ 33/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w J. Campillo @ 40/1 - 7 places
1 pt e/w W. Besseling @ 59/1 - 7 places

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

RSM Classic 2020 - Sea Island Resort, Goergia

 A very good field tees it up at Sea Island Resort in Georgia following a successful Masters last week at Augusta. Two courses as usual for the RSM Classic will be in play this week; The Seaside & The Plantation, with the former to be used for the weekend. making it in play for three of the four rounds. We have 150 players, with former winner, Bill Haas now withdrawn having tested positive for Covid-19.

Whether those that played last week have the focus and strength to comedown from the emotions of The Masters remains to be seen, but things are indeed different this year and the players may just pick up where they left off here and go into the week as per normal. Yes, in the past, the RBC Heritage usually follows the week after, but this year it's later (The Masters) and we have the RSM Classic at Sea Island instead. At the RBC Heritage , the trend showed that those that were playing the weekend at Augusta fared poorly the week after with perhaps one exception when Matt Kuchar finished T-5. It may in some small part be due to the exertions and high emotions in playing both the iconic Major and the course and all that it entails. I'm not quite convinced that this will follow the same trend this week. Schedules for all have been changed throughout 2020 and I genuinely believe a lot of the players are very grateful to be able to continue plying their trade and this seems to be reflected in the quality of the fields each week and in particular here, a week after the Masters to see such a strong one and which was emphasized by OWGR exponent, @Nosferatu on twitter the other day when he revealed that the OWGR SOF for this week is estimated to be 52 pts compared to a best of 42 previously. I also believe the tour is as strong now in quality than ever before and that players realize they do need to compete to their best to make their way...the days of the old "journeyman" making cuts may not change significantly but you need to make more cuts than ever to keep that all important tour card. Whilst you can argue than any player on tour tees it up every week hoping to play his best to win, some do give up and resign themselves to the "there's always next week" mentality when the cut-line looks to be out of reach or indeed the TOP-10 etc. There is certainly a lot of value in the up and coming players this week but the question is just how many do we get onside with? 

Do we oppose Webb Simpson, the market leader purely because he's 1. too short or 2. played well at Augusta last week ? Does Webb represent any value at all @ 9/1? Perhaps not or indeed the price might actually be fair based on his course and tournament form not to mention the consistency he has shown the past 18 months or more. Between the McGladrey Classic as previously known and the RSM when they stepped in, there has been 10 editions, with Simpson having teed it up in 8 of them. 12th on debut back in 2010, he has since been beaten twice in playoffs (2011 & 2019), not to mention a 3rd place finish in 2018 with a weekend 63-65 to fall just one shot short. The 2018 run followed his withdrawal after 2 rounds in 2017 when lying 12th so that he could attend to his father who's health had deteriorated before passing away the week after. This tournament is close to Webb Simpson and having gone so close in the past, he would like to win this to mark his father's anniversary. As a punter, I feel he cannot be ignored this week even @ 9/1. I haven't looked at the Joburg Open in too much detail this week but have backed Webb and Garrick Higgo in a double, thinking that was best how to get onside with Webb. But I'm now pulling the trigger on him to win for the blog. 

Joacquin Niemann is added to the staking plan firstly on the back of my theme to stick with players who I have tipped and backed previously this year. The Chilean has provided decent returns for the blog already this year and I think he can go well here this week given his iron play is ideal for the shots required to score well. He had a run for 65th here two years ago on his only visit but recent form in the new 2021 shows he's in great nick with 3 TOP-20s from his 4 starts (incl. a T-10 @ The CJ Cup). No debut at Augusta last week but he's surely heading for April invitation and he will be fresh having not played since 17th @ the ZOZO Championship. 35/1 does give us a bit of value in my opinion as I had him 25 - 28/1 for this one.

Former winner, Kevin Kisner surely goes well again this week at a decent 40/1 ? Winner in 2015, Kis also finished 4th in 2014 & 2017 to complement a 7th (2018) and 20th (2013). Missing the cut last week is nothing of concern....he'll be better suited for Sea Island.

Chris Kirk and Talor Gooch complete my staking plan here at loner odds. The former has been backed by this blog already this year and along with Niemann, he is kept onside here as form this year is encouraging and he returns to a track that he too has won before(2013). Kirk went to college in Georgia and has a strong affinity in this area having been raised near Atlanta. As written in previous post, Kirk is recovering from personal issues and returned to the Korn Ferry Tour this year where he took out the King & Bear Classic in Florida with a -26 winning score. Since that unexpectant victory, Kirk has played consistently without really threatening leaderboards but the hope this week that for a "home game" he can raise his game a bit more @ 150/1! Gooch is borderline priced for me @ 55/1 with 8 places having priced him @ 50s. I wanted to leave him out for Zach Johnson instead but am drawn to his chances here this week. He may only be 1/3 visits here (23rd last year) but his recent form is eye catching with returns of  4-35-5 in his last 3 starts and he may be ready to continue this form having had the week off last week following the strong 4th placing at a tough Houston Open.


2 pts WIN W. Simpson @ 10.50
1 pt e/w J. Niemann @ 33/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w K. Kisner @ 40/1 - 8 places
0.50 pts e/w C. Kirk @ 150/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w T. Gooch @ 55/1 - 8 places


Monday, 9 November 2020

The Masters 2020 - November @ Augusta National

 We usually grow impatient around the end of January, early February counting down the weeks and tournaments to the first Major of the year, but for The Masters 2020, we've had to wait forever it seems! Augusta National should look completely different this week to what we are used to seeing unless the groundsmen have imported bucket loads of azaleas and produced some magnolias on the drive up to the clubhouse! Indeed we wont have any spectators, sorry, patrons to roar the players on making Augusta National a very cold and strange arena for the players this week. Not only will spectators be missing but the players will have limited backroom team members available to them for the week at the course; just player and caddy and their coach plus one other can attend. It will be a Masters like no other...except we do expect the likely contenders to be on top of the leaderboard come Sunday. 

Augusta is long any time of the year but it should play very long this week in the midst of autumn and will, as always, favour the big hitters. That of course lends weight to the Bryson DeChambeau show and his chances to go back to back in Majors. He heads the market but I'm not sure he should. Augusta though has proven over the years though that its not just being big off the tee; a good approach game is a definite prerequisite to donning the green jacket as is the nuance to putt well on these slick, super fast greens. Whether the greens run as fast this week as they normally would in April remains to be seen, but I wouldn't be surprised if the course is ready to go and presented as close to what it can be should it have been an April date. 

For me, Dustin Johnson showed in Texas last week on his first appearance following recovery from COVID-19 that his game is there and in great nick and he holds the form he showed in the FedEX Cup playoff series. DJ has the power too for Augusta and he managed to eagle three holes in his 3rd round here back in 2015. As Justin Ray of the 15th Club has pointed out, DJ is a combined -29 for his past 5 appearances here with only a 2020 out of form, Jordan Spieth scoring better. The more I look at the field the more open it appears but it certainly looks like the winner will emerge from the leading contenders and of those DJ & Rory McIlroy interest me the most. As a big Justin Thomas fan, I'm reeling that I can't get onside with him as well, but having considered the potential winner from the three as well as Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau , its the World Number One & the Grand Slam-chasing McIlroy who I think are the best options. DJ has served his time and has been unlucky in some Majors, but he'll arrive this week in as good a nick as he has ever been for The Masters and if he keeps his putter hot he'll be the man to beat.

Rory McIlroy has had a "poor-ish" season by his own standards, but the Major winning Irishman didn't win an awful lot of tournaments back in 2011 when he started his Major haul, much like Brooks Koepka, saving his best for the big ones. Recent fatherhood may explain some dip in form throughout this year and with COVID-19 very dominant also, the season's results will not have bothered him as much as he prepares for the one and only goal he set from the outset and that was to complete the Major Grand Slam and become just the 5th golf in history to achieve the feat. Rory's tee to green game, his controlled draw off the tee and his sharp approach play are all ideal for Augusta and if he eliminates the mistakes he can focus on the mission at hand and enter the history books....

I've been backing Shane Lowry (100.00 - 120.00) and Bubba Watson (55.00 - 80.00)  for a couple of months now so I've got plenty of value onside already but as the week looms, Bubba @ >30/1 is still worth considering. (I had written Shano's chances off until he played well at Houston but he needs to control that driver if he's to produce a decent Augusta result).Gunning for his 3rd jacket here, Bubba brings recent form into the week on a course he simply loves. 4th last time out at the ZOZO Championship and 7th the week before at the CJ Cup, Bubba is in great form and his approach play is very strong of late...he simply loves Augusta where his results prove such ; 12th last year and 5th the year before having won in 2014 & 2012.

 Jason Day could be a factor but its very difficult to back this guy not knowing whether he will suffer from man-flu or something else and withdraw on you. Rickie Fowler has been too quiet this season to really consider but could give you a run for your money in the TOP-10/20 markets @ 6/1 & 2/1 respectively. Justin Rose is a player I've backed a few times here just like I did with Lee Westwood and whilst both have contended very well, it's hard to see either of them winning it now but there is some value in their prices with 8 to 10 places abegging with most bookies this week @ 67.00 & 111.00.

Adam Scott won at Riviera earlier this season and for me could very well be the dark horse...if you consider a former Masters Champion a dark horse. Another, like DJ & Tony Finau and unfortunately, Sergio Garcia, who will miss the tournament this week,  tesed positive for COVID-19 last month before returning last week in Houston.  However, 40/1 although fair isn't enough for a bet although some 45s are still available.


3 pts e/w D. Johnson @ 10/1 - 10 places
2 pts e/w R. McIlroy @ 14/1 - 9 places
1.5 pts e/w B. Watson @ 30/1 - 8 places
0.50 pts e/w J. Rose @ 66/1 - 8 places
0.25 pts e/w L. Westwood @ 110/1 - 8 places


Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Houston Open 2020 - Memorial Park, Houston Texas

 Not used since 1963 and since undergone renovations, Memorial Park, Houston is essentially a new course for us this week on the PGA Tour. It looks like it will be low scoring with the greatest challenge likely to come on the bermuda, sloping greens. Once week before the Masters, the field sees Dustin Johnson return to action following COVID-19 as well as Phil Mickelson who does tend to like playing and winning the week before a Major.

I've opted for three very good value selections this week as per below. ( I will now focus on a preview ahead of the Masters so no real preview and insight to the three selections other than Chappell has already shown some form since his return to the tour lately, whilst McCarthy & Redman have been shown solid form the past few months and could have their eyes on winning soon at decent prices if not contend strongly to bag a TOP-10/20)


1 pt e/w Doc Redman @ 40/1 - 7 places
1 pt e/w Denny McCarthy @ 60/1 - 8 places
0.25 pts e/w Kevin Chappell @ 250/1 - 8 places

1.5 pts TOP-20 Kevin Chappell @ 10/1