Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Byron Nelson 2021 - TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas

 We have another new course for the PGA Tour this week, one week ahead of the PGA Championship to be played at Kiawah Island. Last week we were in Charlotte, North Carolina some 3 hours north of Kiawah but this week we have headed out west towards Dallas to play at TPC Craig Ranch. Those that tee it up next week will make the trip back ! That in itself, suggests the market leaders may be using this week as a pure warm up and dont be surprised to see some of those miss the cut as they focus on the second Major instead. Well....try tell Jordan Spieth that as he won in Texas the week before the Masters and he may find being back home this week to his liking. None of the market leaders are for me though here.


Camilo Villegas is of interest @ 150/1. The Colombian has shown solid form of late as he has slowly resumed life on tour following personal tragedy for he and his wife last July. 

PlayerAge
OWGREventsNo of Cuts madeNo of TOP10sNo of TOP20sHonda ClassicCorales (2021)Texas OpenMastersRBC HeritageValspar ChampionshipWells Fargo
Camilo Villegas39213178248mc17-2511-

A TOP-10 to add to two T-20s & T-25 shows he's playing well.


I put up Marc Leishman at Riviera where he finished a low 32nd but I'm willing to chance him again here at an event he has done very well over the years. From his last 10 starts at the Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest GC and TPC Four Seasons, the Aussie has banked a lot of top results....and cash to boot!

213mcmc3123mc128

A runners up finish last time out in 2018 behind Aaron Wise followed some serious results in between three missed cuts and he's taken to repeat again @ 33/1 - 8 places


Selections

1 pt e/w C. Villegas @ 1501 - 8 places
2 pts e/w M. Leishman @ 33/1 - 8 places


British Masters 2021 - The Belfry

It's a Wednesday start on the European Tour this week to accommodate travel arrangements for next week's second Major at Kiawah Island.

This year's event is hosted by Danny Willet at The Belfry,scene of some great Irish golfing occasions during Ryder Cup,most notably Christy O'Connor Junior on 18 that day. A tree lined, immaculate course that will suit accurate, but aggressive players awaits.

I couldn't find much value in all honesty this week except for the players below who could have a good week at a course that will suit.

Selections

1 pt e/w A. Bjork @ 90/1 - 8 places
0.5 pts e/w S. Hend @ 150/1- 8 places

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Wells Fargo Opening Round Threeballs - 2 selections

 I'm interested in two threeball bets tomorrow @ Quail Hollow and have added to the 2021 Threeball Tracker


Chesson Hadley to bt C. Schwartzel & P. RodgersBetfair3.251.00
Shane Lowry to bt K. Mitchell & J. DufnerBetfair2.301.00

Simmons Bank Open 2021, Korn Ferry Tour - The Grove, Nashville

 Carl Yuan went close for the blog last week having held the first round lead before parring the rest of the tournament to finish T-16th. He's definitely one to watch again this week even at 55/1.

I do however, want to get onside with the namesake again here although only @ 40/1, the price having moved out following a missed cut last week. That's probably a good thing as Max can easily shake-off that result and go close again here. McGreevy posted his first missed cut since the Lecom Classic but in the meantime has been beaten in a playoff and posted a further 3 TOP-20s. From his 2021 starts on the KFT the Oklahoma native has posted 2 T-10s and another 2 T-20s from those 7 starts as per my tracker below.

Max has a win under his belt from last July, has gone close again when losing that playoff five starts ago and is proven to date that he relishes the heat of the battle having had such a successful season on the China PGA tour. He's preferred over Chad Ramey here despite Ramey looking likely to win soon. With McGreevy 4 pts bigger in the betting I'm side with the man just two places below in The25 rankings. 

Season StatsRecent Tournament Results- Korn Ferry
Season StartsSeason WINSSeason T-10sSeason T-20sHuntsvilleVeritexMGM ChampEmerald ClassicClub Car ChampLouisianaLecom
7024mc281710212mc


I'll also include Andrew Novak into the staking plan @ 28/1. The North Carolina native has been in great form of late posting 4 T-10s in his last 4 starts as per tracker below. Indeed in those last 4 events he's posted 12 sub-70 rounds. 4 more here should see go very close.

Season StatsRecent Tournament Results- Korn Ferry
Season StartsSeason WINSSeason T-10sSeason T-20sHuntsvilleVeritexMGM ChampEmerald ClassicClub Car ChampLouisianaLecom
704475933436mc

Selections:

1 pt e/w A. Novak @ 28/1 - 6 places
1 pt e/w M. McGreevy@ 40/1 - 6 places
1 pt e/w C. Yuan @ 55/1 - 6 places


Wells Fargo Championship 2021 - Quail Hollow, Charlotte North Carolina

We have a decent field assembling this week for the Wells Fargo Championship, just two weeks out from the PGA Championship. Quail Hollow will again host this year, the venue having hosted the 2017 PGA Championship when JT captured his first and to date his only Major. Rory McIlroy also tees it up for the first time since Augusta and it's interesting to see not only his OWGR ranking slip out but also his odds to win (18/1) 

The market is headed by JT and Bryson DeChambeau who are then joined by John Rahm, Victor Hovland, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Tony Finau, Patricks Reed and Cantlay,...... and the list goes on.....

Given the market leaders' competitiveness we have here, I'm chancing a couple of players at bigger prices who I think can put in a solid week. Joel Dahmen and Talor Gooch have course form. The former recently won at the Corales Championship whilst Gooch was 5th at Sawgrass before missing the cut last week.Gooch has posted for top 20s from his 16 starts this season whilst Dahmen has posted three top twenties to go alongside his win from his 16 starts. Indeed it's Dahmen who finished runner up here last time in 2019 and 16th in 2018 that looks to be of some value to me this week. 

Selections
1pt e/w J. Dahmen @ 70.00 - 10 places
1pt e/w T. Gooch @ 90.00 - 10 places 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Canary Islands Championship 2021 - Golf Costa Adeje, Tenerife, Spain

 Dean Burmester really motored to victory on this course last week and following his compatriot's win the week before on Gran Canaria, whilst the party might have been good, I expect the South Africans are aiming for a clean sweep in the Canaries Swing this week.

In short, I'm happy to back Burmy to go back to back and complement the staking plan with another compatriot, Justin Harding.

Of the rest, I did consider Laurie Canter and Sebastian Heisele  but both were too short for me.

Wells Fargo & possibly the Simmons Bank Open on the Korn Ferry Tour this week may give better opportunities!

Selections

2 pts e/w D. Burmester @ 16/1 - 7 places
2 pts e/w J. Harding @ 18/1 - 7 places

 






Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Huntsville Championship 2021 - Korn Ferry Tour, Alabama

Having been close with my namesake at the Club Car Championship last month( playoff defeat), I've been keeping my eye on the Korn Ferry Tour and The 25 throughout this year and this week I have to pull the trigger on the 24 year old Chinese player,Carl Yuan following his solid form of late. 

Having turned professional only 3 years ago, the Florida based man is closing in on The25 with 3 good results of late in between a couple of missed cuts.(5-mc-mc-7-12) Ranking in the TOP-15 for both driving distance and GIR,  he's trending for another good week for this inaugural event and the price of 70/1 - 6 places is of value. 

Selection
1 pt e/w C. Yuan @ 70/1 - 6 places 

Valspar Championship 2021 - Innsbrook, Palm Harbour, Florida

 A tough examination awaits the players this week at the Valspar Championship where Copperhead has proved over the years to be one of the toughest courses on the PGA Tour. Accuracy off the tee and ball striking from the fairway are the order of the week and its nice to see the top two in world golf, Dustin Johnson & Justin Thomas tee it up, with both looking to improve on recent form. Thomas, despite winning at Sawgrass won't contend here this week if he drives the way he has been doing the past 6 weeks or so. The tightness should refocus him in this department but both he and DJ are no-bets this week at the prices.

I enjoy watching this event more from a golfing perspective than a betting one but I am having an interest in the shape of, yet again, Adam Hadwin along with Kevin Kisner. The latter has refocused his approach to tournaments on the tour in that he feels he can only compete at certain courses but does admit he will play at longer courses as ".....because they give a lot of money for 20th". He hasn't contended here much in his 3 visits (a best of 24th on last visit in 2019) and he has failed to make the cut in his last 3 events so he's not altogether a confident selection but his price accounts for this @ 70/1 - 8 places. Its just a tentative play here for me this week in the outright with a TOP-20 also a play @ 5.00

Hadwin though is of interest - having backed him a couple of time already this year, the conclusion is that he tends to fare better on these high-scoring events and the hope is that he does the same again this week. The winner here in 2017 and T12th when defending was followed up by a mc in 2019, so he is comfortable here and can improve on his T-25 in Texas last month and T-10 at The Honda previously @ 80/1 - 8 places.


Selections

0.5 pts e/w A. Hadwin @ 80/1 - 8 places
0.5 pts e/w K. Kisner @ 70/1 - 8 places
2 pts TOP-20 K. Kisner @ 5.00

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Tenerife Open 2021 - Golf Costa Adeje, Tenerife

 The second of the 3-event Canaries Swing sees yet another short course in operation this week when the European returns to Golf Costa Adeje for the first time since 2003 when the Open de Espana was held here. Market leader, Antoine Rozner joins the swing this week but unfortunately, Wil Besseling has had to withdraw having positive for covid-19. A windy birdie-fest seems to be on the cards again this week so the approach is to stick with players in form that are hitting greens and sinking putts...i.e. players that are scoring well. The difference this week is that we have 6no. Par-3s and 5no. Par-5s so those who are striking irons well and playing par-3s well must be considered.

I put up Alejandro Canizares last week based on recent form and was surprised his price stood up. He was never winning after a tame opening round but he did play well thereafter eventually finishing 38th albeit a long way back from Higgo. That means his price is still value this week and I'm happy to go again based on same reasoning as last week @ 100/1 - 7 places. Whilst par-3 scoring rankings show little gains being achieved to the field, the Spaniard has been scoring well on par-5s and if he starts better this week we should see a decent run from him.

Having put up Thorbjorn Olesen twice already this year only to see him withdrawn on both occasions due to covid-19, it was a little frustrating to see him place last week on his seasonal debut. His compatriot though, Joachim B Hansen has shown a level of consistency this and last year on the Challenge Tour to suggest he can put in another good result this week having finished 7th last week following a 9th place finish in Qatar. 28/1 - 6 places is probably the lowest I'd take him at but the consistency suggests he is worth chancing this week.

Guido Migliozzi was 15th last week to post his 3rd T-20 in his 7 starts this year on the European Tour. his 2nd place finish in Qatar the highlight losing out to Antoine Rozner despite a closing 65 at a windy Doha. At 33/1 he too is on the limit but feel this is a good week for him and he's included on the staking plan for me.

Two players who did present some value to me this week are players I've backed recently in the forms of Dean Burmester and Marcus Armitage. The latter is playing solid enough of late with a 4th in Austria and 10th in Kenya and @ 50/1 - 7 places for this field strength he does have a chance. The South African is hot n cold but the course this week should be to his liking where his aggressive play could be to an advantage. He's as good as anyone in this field and probably is a little overpriced @ 50/1 - 6 places too.

Not an awful lot of value I think this week, so reduced stakes for me with 5 players unusually for me on the staking plan taking 7 places where I can and 6 in others.


Selections

0.50 pts e/w A. Canizares @ 100/1 - 7 places
0.75 pts e/w J. B Hansen @ 28/1 - 6 places
0.75 pts e/w G. Migliozzi @ 33/1 - 7 places
0.75 pts D. Burmester @ 50/1 - 6 places
0.75 pts e/w M. Armitage @ 50/1 - 7 places





Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Gran Canaria Open 2021 - Las Palmas, Canary Islands

Rafael Cabrera Bello hosts the inaugural Gran Canaria Open this week in his hometown of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. It's a massive week for him to bring the European Tour back here for the first time since 1995, when the island last hosted the Turespana Open de Canaria won by Jarmo Sandelin,the Swede keeping Seve at Bay in second place. 

Given that Rafa is hosting,we could expect the added pressure and attention that usually entails such a role, to impact on his chances of a victory this week,but with lack of spectators, journalists, corporates etc.,  the home boy could be relishing the challenge instead! He's certainly the man to beat here. Never a prolific winner, it is difficult to get onboard though, so I'm taking Andy Sullivan from the top of the market @ 22/1 - 6 places who knows how to win when the opportunity presents itself. The Englishman has been playing well this year having posted 5 decent results in the Desert Swing and the WGC-Workday . His last outing was at the WGC Matchplay, where he played well despite not advancing to the knockouts, and he'll be itching to improve on his OWGR ranking of 66 now that the schedule resumes to make the more lucrative fields later on this year. The course this week is short, it's bound to be subjected to wind, and should suit Andy Sullivan to attack it with plenty of motivation to do well. 

On courses like this one in the past, Alejandro Canizares would be licking his lips in anticipation,and maybe he is again this week given his 7th place finish last week in Vienna following a T-20 in Kenya prior to that. Not that far from Morocco, where he last won on tour at the Trophee Hassan in 2014, The Canaries should be to his liking. The Madrid native has posted a lot of great results in Spanish events on the European Tour over the years and the hope is a visit to this part of the world will inspire him to keep the recent form going and capitalize @ 100/1 - 7 places.

Selections
2 pts e/w A. Sullivan @ 22/1 - 6 places
1 pt e/w A. Canizares @  200/1 - 7 places

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

RBC Heritage 2021 - Hilton Head GC, South Carolina

 Back to its slot after the Masters, The RBC Heritage once again takes place at Hilton Head GC, South Carolina, a course that does not favour big hitters but as shown over the years, steady accurate type players. I like this course and the event, if only the scoring could be tightened up someway.

Just two players for me here - unlike the Austrian Open, I found  quite a number of players represented some value and it proved difficult to decide on a final shortlist. Ideal tournament to get involved in on the exchange if you have the free time to enjoy all 4 days. Carlos Ortiz is of interest to me @80/1 - 8 places here. 33rd on his debut last year isn't overly exciting but the warm up is complete and he'll be glad to get back to bread and butter stuff this week following missed cuts last time out at both Augusta & Sawgrass. Prior to those events, the Mexican was playing well, and from his 15 starts this season he's got a WIN and a further 2 T-10s and 2T-20s to lie 21st in the FedEx Cup rankings. He's gaining shots on the field this season in a few categories and referencing the excellent data-golf trend database, he is +1.36 on recent form. I made him ~66s for this track and am happy to have a punt over some of the others that were shortlisted.

Stewart Cink is enjoying a great 12 twelve months of golf having won last year and continued decent form into 202. The former Open Champion has posted 6 T-20s from his 14 starts this season including a 12th place finish at Augusta last week and 19th at the Honda last time out previously. 125/1 is a good price for this (I would have taken 90s) and if we see some wind then I like his chances even more.


Selections

1 pt e/w C. Ortiz @ 80/1 - 8 places
.75 pts e/w S. Cink @ 125/1 - 8 places

Austrian Open 2021 - Diamond GC, Austria

 Main Europeantour action returns to mainland Europe this week where we are once again back at the Diamond Country Club , just an hour northwest of Vienna.

I've tried to find some decent value here this week but have struggled really to focus on who is more likely to outplay their odds given 1/ the long layoffs in between events and 2/ decipher if the April slot for Diamond CC will show a different trend than in the past when played later in the season. Joost Luiten is the course "specialist" here having returned the following results below (most recent to the left/ I did not count Shot Clock Masters in 2019 as a guide for course form....should I have?)

1876-31-3-17

Clearly, the Dutchman is at ease here but even @ 22/1 behind market leaders Schwab, Harding, Detry, Kaymer and Sam Horsfield I couldn't pull the trigger. Schwab & Kaymer I like here but I can't dive in @ 16s & 22s respectively. I'll watch for an inplay bet if the opportunity arises.

So, its just one for before the off in the shape of Jacques Kruyswijk @ 55/1 - 7 places. The South African had a decent spell in Kenya when last seen finishing 5th in BOTH events following a T-10 on the Sunshine Tour the week before and T-11th the week previous to that. He's playing well, albeit the field here this week may be slightly stronger than in recent events, but its not that a strong a field that he cant compete against, and I think he's 10-15 points bigger @ 55s than what I reckon his chances are.

Selection

1 pt e/w J. Kruyswijk @ 55/1 - 7 places

Monday, 5 April 2021

Masters 2021

It's a quick turnaround at Augusta National. Having hosted the 2020 Masters just 5 months ago,the 2021 version slots back into it's usual calendar this week as DJ defends but without a Champions Dinner to host, due to covid-19. And it's the defending champion that I usually have at the top of my shortlist for Augusta and despite little value in the betting market this week he's not instilling much confidence for me to pull the trigger when I can't get away from Justin Thomas to win his second major. At 13/1 he's my main bet for the week, whilst I mull over adding Rory McIlroy @ 18s as the Ulsterman does represent about the only value around between the title contenders. Whatever Rory does for the rest of his golf career or indeed his personal life, winning the green jacket this week or twelve months time or even later, will forever be marked in history as he would join a very elite but small group of players to complete golf's slam. If he's been working on his short game the past two weeks and he brings an upturn in that department over the 4 days ahead he will be challenging and he's worth punting at the price.

I was kind of interested in Patrick Cantlay,then Collin Morikawa and I then looked at Patrick Reed, but this year's Masters conundrum looks a tough one to crack so I went a bit lower down the pegging order trying to find a player or two who could place. Paul Casey if bigger than 40s would have been a bet so I took the plunge on Adam Scott @ 66/1 and Justin Rose @ 80/1 (Matt Kuchar pushing Rose close for the nod)

Whilst Scott has unusually played a bit more lately than the Englishman, a return to Augusta for Rose could see him produce a good week out of the blue as seen at last year's PGA Championship where he finished 9th before posting another solid result in Saudi this year when runner up to DJ. A back injury saw him withdraw at Bay Hill and again at Sawgrass, but he's prepared for this week and hopefully is pain free. The price probably accounts for the doubt but if he's fit to play and starts well Thursday I'm sure he'll hang about to late Sunday.

Adam Scott posted a top-10 at Torrey Pines at the end of January and posted T-13th at the PGA National last time out proving his tee to green game is in good nick,and as always with Scottie, we need to be aware of his putting woes but I'm happy to have a dabble at this price.

Selections
3 pts WIN J. Thomas @ 13/1
1.75 pts e/w R. McIlroy @ 18/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w J. Rose @ 80/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w A. Scott @ 66/1 - 8 places 

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Ana Inspiration 2021 - Dinah Shore, Mission Hills, California

The first Major of the year sees the ladies head for Mission Hills, California. It's not usually an event I get involved in but there's three players I'm keen on backing and yet I also wanted to include Leona Maguire as well, but have let her be this week despite a solid start to 2021 from the Cavan girl. She'll be on the podium very soon regardless. 

Lexi Thompson has proven course form here having won this back in 2014. Lexi posted a 7th finish in '15, 5th in '16, and lost a playoff in 2017 amid huge controversy following a referee decision reminiscent to DJs at Oakmont during the final round, having held the lead after 36 & 54 holes. A TOP20 was posted in 2018 before finishing 3rd in 2019 and again in 2020. How she's available @ 12/1 - 6 places with 4 players ahead of her in the betting, I'm not sure, as she's clearly at ease with Mission Hills. Two runner-up postings in her 3 events this month augur well for another assault on this Major that owes her another title! The course specialist this week and the favourite in my book.

Sophia Popov is a little overpriced for me this week @ 80/1. Having posted 10-8-48-21 in her 4 LPGA starts this year,the German has the ability to grind out results as proven when winning the Women's Open last August. 

Lastly, Stacy Lewis is added @ 66/1. Stacy won this back in 2011 and lost in a playoff to Brittany Lincicome in 2015 at the 3rd extra hole. She won as recent as last August in Scotland so the 36 year old cannot be taken lightly as she has proven in recent weeks posting TOP-10s at The Gainbridge and Kia Classic. 

Selections

2 pts e/w L. Thompson @ 12/1 - 6 places
1 pt e/w S. Lewis @ 66/1 - 6 places
1 pt e/w S. Popov @ 80/1 - 6 places 

Texas Open 2021 - The Oaks,TPC San Antonio

Jordan Spieth heads the betting market this week following the withdrawal of late entry Dustin Johnson. The local boy has shown a return to some form in recent weeks and is sure to play well here with The Masters looming next week. Whilst I wouldn't be surprised if he does prevail here,there's a number of others I thought were of decent value to challenge.

I do think Charley Hoffman will contend following steady improvement the past month and with his course form so strong he is hard to ignore. Perhaps I'm greedy but I wanted a bit more towards the 50s before pulling the trigger on a player that has never won as often as he should have done when at his peak. Instead I'll turn my attention to a player I've put up twice already this year in the hope his tee to green game can steer him towards a good tourney. Adam Hadwin tends to play better at harder courses where par is good. Form has been up and down but the Canadian contingent are playing well of late and he could be either inspired or motivated to get his season into gear. 8th last time out at The Honda following a TOP30 at Sawgrass leaves Hadwin simmering nicely for a good week and with the field assembled here he should fancy his chances. I certainly do @ 66/1 - 8 places!

Bernd Wiesberger hasn't shown much form of late but in his 6 PGA showings to date this season, he's made 5 cheques with a best placed 4th at the RSM Classic. The Oaks should suit the Austrian and I thought there was plenty of value @ 125/1 - 8 places for him to prove he should be comfortable on this course amongst this strength of field.

I did want to have an interest in Ryan Palmer and Cameron Tringale but the latter continues to be priced rightly by the layers whilst perhaps, again, I'm too greedy in expecting bigger for the former @ 28s. ( I wanted 33s min). I'll complete my staking plan with a stab at Akshay Bhatia @ 200/1 - 8 places. The 19 year old Californian was last seen at Pebble Beach posting a TOP30 but he did post a TOP-10 at the Safeway Open back in September. ( an event that has shown to collate with this one in the past) He's a decent price here where he could find the Oaks to his liking.

Selections
1.5 pts e/w A. Hadwin @ 66/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w B. Wiesberger @ 125/1 - 8 places
1 pt e/w A. Bhatia @ 200/1 - 8 places 

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Club Car Championship 2021 - The Landings GC, Savannah,GA

My namesake tees it up in Georgia this week on the Korn Ferry tour and following his T-12th last week in Louisiana where he fired a final round 64, Max McGreevy can boost his "25" ranking again this week in his quest to capture a PGA Tour card. 

Max won the PGA Tour of China Order of Merit in 2019,where he made all 13 cuts,winning the Guanghzhou Open and notching up a further 8 T-10s. In his first season on the Korn Ferry Tour, he won the Cutter Price last July @ 200/1 ( it made my staycation in Co. Clare that week all that more bearable)

I backed Max last week again @ 200s and am still surprised to see triple figures about a player who knows how to win. He did post a good few missed cuts last year, as he did at The Lecom Classic last month, but the motivation to cement his position in "the 25" should see a good effort here this week. 

15th here last October, Max is way overpriced @ 125/1 

Selection
 2 pts e/w M. McGreevy @ 125/1 

Monday, 22 March 2021

Savannah Classic 2021 - Karen GC, Nairobi, Kenya

 Commencing Tuesday,23rd, it's as you were for this week's Europeantour Event where the field stays put at Karen GC.


I'll play Aaron Rai one last time this week @25/1, a price I thought would contract following his decent weekend effort just gone. Hence I think there is some value in taking him again. He will be my only bet here though


Selection:

2.5 pts e/w Aaron Rai @ 25/1 - 7 places

Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Honda Classic 2021 - National PGA, Florida

 PGA Tour action moves onto the PGA National in Palm Beach Florida, a course that typically ranks high as one of the tour's most difficult courses within the season. Given the case, the quality of field is a little disappointing to us golf fans but understandable as the schedule was shaken up for "Super-Season", where we were treated to quality events the past two weeks at Bay Hill and Sawgrass and can look forward to a WGC matchplay and Masters within the next four weeks. They can't play every week...unless of course you are Sungjae Im ! 

Players who excel at ball striking normally do well here and is proven by the roll of honour over the years; an abundance of Major winners go in here.......but....... we've also had a quite a number of shock results! Perhaps this years affair will produce another big priced winner and its certainly a tournament that I will chance some decent prices in.

Wyndham Clark let me down at Bay Hill when missing the cut but he has got course form at PGA National and I'm willing to chance him again @ 55/1 - 8 places. As per my Bay Hill preview, Clark showed solid form at Riviera, another tight course requiring strong tee to green game so his game is not too far away and he could relish the week ahead where he has finished 11th & 7th the past two seasons.

Talor Gooch was of interest but as I write up the selections he has come in in the market and he's not a value bet for me @40s. Cameron Tringale was also on my shortlist but at the same price I will pass also.

In the quest to find a big priced return this week, I settled on Nate Lashley @ 150/1 - 8 places and Jason Dufner @ 176/1 - 8 places ! The former has shown some good form lately. He's 9/14 this season with 2 TOP-10s to boast, with the latest coming at Pebble Beach a week after finishing TOP-20 at Scottsdale. He makes his first appearance since debut in 2018 where a second round 82 ended his participation following an opening 69. Given his form I thought there was a bit of value at the price.

The former PGA Champion, Jason Dufner posted 3 TOP20s in his last 6 starts here and has stated in the past that the course was to his liking and so were the conditions having grown up in the region since his early teens. He may not be the player of old but it was only 4 years ago since he last won at Colonial and with Lee Westwood showing his prowess being in his 40s the past 2 weeks, and it being a home game, I'm happy to throw the dice with "Duf" at a course he knows well.


Selections

1 pt e/w W. Clark @ 55/1 - 8 places
0.5 pt e/w N. Lashley @ 150/1 - 8 places
0.5 pts e/w J.Dufner @ 175/1 - 8 places
1 pt TOP-20 J. Dufner @ 15/2




Magical Kenya Open 2021 - Karen GC, Nairobi

 The first of back to back events in Kenya this week takes place at Karen GC, Nairobi. 


Despite backing Aaron Rai to no avail in the Middle East, I have to go back again given his close links to Kenya. I'm a little surprised with his price too, holding a bit this week too so he's an auto bet here for me @ 25/1 - 7 places

I was tempted to include Romain Langasque also at the same price but instead I'll opt for Scott Vincent @ 66/1 - 7 places. The Zimbabwean is still in decent form having finished 17th & 6th at The Alfred Dunhill and the South African Open last January; the rust is a concern but he should outplay his odds this week.


Selections

2.5 pts e/w A. Rai @ 25/1 - 7 places
1 pt e/w S. Vincent @ 66/1 - 7 places

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

The Players Championship 2021 - Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra, Florida

 "The 5th Major" they say, but in fairness the Players Championship has become one of those events that all players do want to win at an iconic golf course that is Sawgrass Stadium Course. We have seen over the years though, that the winner is usually a player in form and that no particular style or form golfer prevails as we've seen sluggers, bombers, outsiders, debutants etc win here.....but nearly all have done so on the back of solid results either last time out or the previous outing before. However, this event did switch to a March date in 2019, when Rory McIlroy won on a soft course. It was here twelve months ago that a new way of living kicked in, the event was cancelled during round one and the world went into lockdown. Rory defends from that win in '19.


JT is overpriced here. It is due mainly to recent form in fairness having dropped that form following his verbal outburst in January, and then following the passing of his grandfather. I backed him at The Concession but he was clearly not at his game in round-1 following Tiger's accident but I feel JT could bounce back this week at this appealing price. I've backed JT @ 20/1 here each way and a little more @ 23.00 on Betfair.

Patrick Cantlay was of big interest at the time of drafting this, but he's come in a few points from 25/1 to 20/1. I wouldn't be taking any less but will keep him onside given his recent form has been excellent.  As aforementioned, recent form holds weight at Sawgrass. Cantlay finished 15th LTO at Riviera, 3rd at the AT&T , 2nd at The Amex despite a closing 61 having started 2021 with a 13th place finish at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. Up to the TOP-10 in OWGR rankings, Cantlay has the temperament for Sawgrass' nuances. Two T-25s in 2018 & 2017 were posted before a mc in 2019 but we have a different player in 2020/2021

Chris Kirk did great for my TOP-10 bet last week and he continues to hold decent form so much so, I'm happy to stick with him again this week and bigger odds, noting that this tournament has produced its share of triple figure priced winners over the years. Kirk has decent course form too, not having missed the cut here since 2011 accumulating 3no. T-15s in his last 6 visits.

Corey Conners impressed last week with his tee to green game and he'll find bringing that game here will help him greatly. Despite not getting the W last week, he showed a lot of composure and I had to get onboard the 80/1 with the 10 places abegging with Betfair, but even with 7 places available now, think he has plenty of value about him.

Billy Horschel could go well this week. "Billy Ho" has mixed form at Sawgrass without really challenging but his recent form is excellent (he did miss the cut last week which can be ignored). Billy has form at other Pete Dye designed courses as is the case here and at the price I thought he was worth chancing @ 70/1 - 10 places.

Kevin Kisner disappointed for me last week but I'm willing to side with again this @ 125/1 - 8 places. "Kis" rallied at Bay Hill last weekend to climb to 36th and I'm hoping he can build on that here where he has finished 2nd back in 2015 after a playoff loss to Rickie Fowler (Sergio also in the playoff). It wasn't just meant to be as Fowler finished -5 for the last 4 holes (-6 for the last 6) to get into the playoff. (Fowler actually played the 17th 6 times that year, birdied it 5 times and parred the other)


Selections

2 pts e/w J. Thomas @ 20/1 - 10 places
2 pts e/w P. Cantlay @ 20/1 - 10 places
0.75 pts e/w C. Kirk @ 125/1 - 8 places
0.75 pts e/w C. Conners @ 80/1 - 7 places
0.75 pts e/w B. Horschel @ 70/1 - 10 places
0.75 pts e/w K. Kisner @ 125/1 - 8 places

Qatar Masters 2021 - Education City GC, Doha, Qatar

 The European Tour resumes this week in Qatar, where the majority of the field (~99%) will be shaking off a lot of rust since having last played in Saudi Arabia last month. 

Given the layoff and said rustiness, added with the quality of the field in attendance, I found this event quite hard to price up and therefore deduce value and deciding on a bet. With The Players on the PGA Tour grabbing most of our attention this week, that's where I have main focus but one player in particular takes my fancy here and thats a player I backed a couple of times recently, Aaron Rai. The Englishman is readily available @ 33/1 - 7 places with a lot of bookmakers which I couldn't believe as I did initially price him a 22/1 shot...giving a 25% buffer on that and having checked his form, I think he's well worth getting into the staking plan this week, so much so, I have included him a few each doubles with my Players selections! Rai was 18th last time out at the WGC Workday Championship at The Concession so he does arrive with a recent outing under his belt and form to boot.

Given how tough I found pricing this one, Marcus Armitage doesn't look right either @ 66/1 - 7 places. Marcus showed some solid form at the end of last season finishing 6th at The Alfred Dunhill, 12th & 14th at the two Cypriot events, 10th at The Italian Open and 7th at The Scottish Championship. His last missed cut was at Valderrama ! The Englishman is decent value here and I'm happy to go back in again


Selections

2 pts A. Rai @ 33/1 - 7 places
1 pt e/w M. Armitage @ 66/1 - 7 places


Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Arnold Palmer Invitational 2021 - Bay Hill GC, Windermere,Florida

 Jhonattan Vegas came up just a shot short for us last week when Branden Grace decided he'd join Jon Rahm, Charley Hoffman & Ted Potter Jr by playing the last 2 holes in 3-under in Puerto Rico as highlighted by Justin Ray. Grace's eagle-birdie snatched the win from under us. With Kevin Kisner losing a play-off to Robert Streb at the RSM Classic and Joaquin Niemann losing in similar fashion to Harris English in Hawaii this season, one would think the rub of the green would be coming our way but alas, its "nearly man" again and the P&L suffers despite hitting crossbars continuously.

We move on though and look for some value at Bay Hill. It may be an ideal week for Rory McIlroy to get back to the winners enclosure and Victor Hovland must be due to go in again soon but I think their prices are too short and therefore give us some value further down the pegging. Similar to last year, I'm going to try keep faith with players I have focused on in previous weeks, especially here this week where course form is very important. First off the page for me then is Marc Leishman who disappointed for me at Riviera last month but he's in OK form coming here this week and having won this 3 years ago and posted a further 2 TOP-10s in the last 4 years, the Aussie can be backed @ 45/1 - 8 places but I'm opting for 70.00 on Betfair in the Winner market and the 6.80 for the TOP-10 market. 

I was impressed with Wyndham Clark at Riviera when finishing 8th and his game could be well suited for here. I also liked his post first round interview that was broadcast and was impressed upon his maturity and approach to his game and where he sits on the PGA Tour at present. He's well worth following over the next few events for sure. I'm hoping with lack of spectators that the rough plays tough this week and makes the tournament another strong test for the players and if it does develop into a tough event then I do see the 27 year old doing quite well. The 100/1 - 8 places is certainly of interest to me.

Kevin Kisner had a great chance to win this back in 2017 when he finished runner-up to Marc Leishman. "Kis" is showing solid form this season despite a slow start to 2021 itself but I'm happy to get him back onside here @ 110.00 / 8.40  TOP-10

I backed Chris Kirk 3 times in 2020 and I'm happy to have a punt on him again this week. Chris has posted 4 TOP-20s in his last 7 visits here and following his 2nd placing at the Sony Open in January he has now climbed to number 111 in the OWGR rankings climbing over 100 places in doing so. He will have reset his goals for 2021 that will motivate him to break into the TOP-100 initially and target more TOP-10s. I've backed Chris this week @ 180.00 /12.50 TOP-10


Selections

1.00 pts M. Leishman @ 70.00
1.50 pts M. Leishman @ 6.80 / TOP-10
1.00 pts W. Clark e/w @ 100/1 - 8 places
0.75 pts K. Kisner @ 110.00
1.25 pts K. Kisner @ 8.40 / TOP-10
0.50 pts C. Kirk @ 180.00
1.00 pts C. Kirk @ 12.50 / TOP-10



Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Puerto Rico Open 2021, GRAND RESERVE COUNTRY CLUB , Puerto Rico

 As with the WGC Workday Championship this week, no time available for me to do a proper betting preview but I've backed the following three based on price and relative form, hoping they seize an opportunity that presents itself here this week


1 pt e/w Jhonattan Vegas @ 33/1 - 7 places
1 pt e/w Scott Brown @ 45/1 - 7 places
0.5 pts e/w Paul Barjon @ 125/1 - 7 places


WGC - Workday Championship 2021, The Concession GC, Bradenton, Florida

I have no time for a preview this week but have backed the following 3 players. Hoping they aren't adversely affected by the Tiger Woods accident.

1.5 pts e/w Bryson Dechambeau @ 20/1 - 7 places
1.5 pts e/w Justin Thomas @ 20/1 - 7 places
1.5 pts e/w Patrick Reed @ 30/1 - 7 places

Monday, 15 February 2021

Genesis Invitational 2021 - Riviera GC, LA

 As per my preview twelve months ago, this is one if not my favourite tournaments on the PGA Tour. Made ever sweeter by backing Adam Scott last year, viewing of this from a spectators point of view is a must as the course is a good old fashioned traditional, tree-lined track that rewards accurate and long players, especially those of high calibre and experience. Riviera and Torrey Pines are the only courses on Tour to feature Kikuyu grass fairways and rough and the course typically ranks as one of the toughest on tour. The 10th hole is a "marmite" hole; you either love it or hate it, a fantastic risk /reward hole and will be of interest to a certain Bryson DeChambeau. For BDC and the 10th holes, it would be good to see some books price his over/under scoring for the week

Whilst Adam Scott was a confident pick last year, I'm not sure this year and we do seem to have a lot of lively contenders. With Jordan Spieth looking to come back into solid form, we could be treated to a Major-esq tourney this week. DJ quite rightly goes off a strong favourite and it does look difficult to back against him here. That said, JT, Rhambo, Cantlay and DeChambeau will have plenty of support as too will Xander Schauffele and Rory McIlroy. Aside from John Merrick's (who??)  shock win back in 2013 and perhaps also in 2015 when James Hahn defeated Paul Casey & Dustin Johnson in a playoff, the roll of honour shows that the quality does tend to prevail at Riviera and also indicates that the formline tends to align itself to that of Augusta National. 

Just a couple of picks for me this week. Marc Leishman was on the staking plan last year (43rd) and I'm willing to go in again this year based on his course form where he finished 4th in 2019 and 5th in 2016. The missed cuts in between I will excuse or should say ignore in that he had other things to tend to in his life at the time. The Aussie has posted 3no. TOP-20s from his 8 starts this season, having finished T-20 at Torrey Pines last time out and 4th in Hawaii at the Sony Open. With great similarities in grass type (kikuyu) between Torrey & Riviera, this is encouraging and @ 66/1 - 8 places I'm happy to chance big Marc again this week.


Adam Hadwin tends to play his better golf on harder courses, but I'm not convinced its due to his liking for such conditions or whether its because he doesn't score enough birdies at the birdie-fests but he has shown he can play Riviera well in the past. 26th last year followed a poor weekend in 2019 having started well. In 2018, he finished the weekend well with a pair of 66s to climb to 6th so he can produce the score required. He started well in 2017 before slipping on Friday but all in all, Riviera is a course for the Canadian to perform well at and I'll get onside this week @ 150/1 - 8 places following a decent TOP-20 at Torrey Pines.


Selections


1.5 pt e/w M. Leishman @ 66/1 - 8 places
1.0 pt e/w A. Hadwin @ 150/1 - 8 places



Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Saudi International 2021 - Royal Greens, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

 The 2021 Europeantour has treated us to two top quality events so far in the United Arab Emirates, with Tyrell Hatton prevailing in Abu Dhabi with a Rolex Series title and Paul Casey cruising to victory at last week's Dubai Desert Classic in Dubai. The Middle East swing switches controversially to Saudi Arabia this week where the power of money is at hand with the appearance of World Number 1, Dustin Johnson being joined by a number of his compatriots from the PGA Tour as they descend on King Abdullah Economic City just 1.5 hours north of Jeddah where the course will overlook the Red Sea. Last weeks winner at Torrey Pines, Patrick Reed returns and the American contingent is completed with Phil Mickelson, Bryson Dechambeau, Tony Finau, Kevin Na, Jason Kokrak and Jhonatton Vegas, not to mention regular Europeantour players such as John Catlin, Lipsky, Katayama and co. The PGA charter flight also includes Abraham Ancer. DJ makes it 3/3 for the event this week hoping to add to his title in 2019, and runner up finish to Graeme McDowell twelve months ago. 

DJ opened his 2021 account with a 11th place finish at The Tournament of Champions in Hawaii following his win at Augusta in November and should he bring his A-game may be a runaway winner and the question for punters is; is there any value in his price @ 5/1 ? Behind him in the betting is US Open champion, Bryson Dechambeau @ 8/1who finished 6th here at the inaugural event in 2019, Tyrell Hatton @ 14s alongside Reed, the Finau & Hovland both @ 16s. On paper we are deciding if the go-to bet is amongst those 6 players or indeed if there is bigger value in hitting a place elsewhere. With just two years of course form to hand, and with that a GMac win putting the cat amongst the pigeons on the bombers theory, Royal Greens does look like a course that will suit a big hitter AND a player with good scrambling skills. With that in mind, I'm siding with just two players pre-event this week, both can get it down there and have shown signs of a decent result is not too far away; Abu Dhabi tip, Thomas Pieters and Laurie Canter.

Pieters is a player that is hard to trust when things don't go his way and perhaps he showed that again two weeks ago when throwing in a 75 in round 4 once out of contention for a decent result following a double at the 9th and then proceeded to play the final 9 in +3, slipping down to a finishing place of 41st. I'll go in again here though where he finished 3rd last year and 22nd the previous year. As alluded to in the Abu Dhabi preview, Pieters has the ability to make the Ryder Cup team following some personal changes in his life and to achieve that he needs to produce the results early and as soon as possible. Royal Greens where he has form gives him an opportunity to target a strong result. At 50/1 - 8 places he is abet for me this week.

Canter has showed huge progress over the past twelve months and his length off the tee and recent confidence could see him go well also and he's taken on those as well as his price @ 70/1 - 8 places


Selections

1.5 pts e/w T. Pieters @ 50/1 - 8 places
1.0 pts e/w L. Canter @ 70/1 - 8 places


Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Dubai Desert Classic 2021 - Emirates GC, Dubai

 

Having had the opportunity to walk this course during the tournament in 2019, it has naturally become one of my favourite events both from spectator point of view and a betting one. It's good to have an interest! Whilst still labelled as "desert golf", the Emirates GC has matured a lot since the inaugural event back in 1989 when Mark James tasted victory, and I'd suggest any reference to it being a links-type for certain players changes to a parkland, par-72 averaging 7300 yds. Yes, the sand off the fairways and rough areas requires the desert type play, but the maturity of the course these days promotes a more accurate game and if you are spraying it here, you simply wont score. The Course although set within the Jumeriah Beach Resort, can be exposed to winds, so those that good in those conditions can go well here.

 The Roll of Honour shows that the cream rises to the top here with a who's who of world class golfers, Ryder Cup stars and Major winners coming to the fore. Seve, Ernie, Monty, Tiger, Freddie Couples, Bjorn, O'Meara, Stenson, Rory, Jimenez, Cabrera-Bello, Willet, Garcia and DeChambeau have all tasted success at the Dubai Desert Classic, whilst Stephen Gallacher (twice) continually shows us that this is his favourite course, Eamon D'arcy, Mark James & David Howell have weighed in when at the top of their games and making Ryder Cup teams.


Collin Morikawa tees it up this week as the star PGA Tour player handing over the baton from last week's, Justin Rose and the PGA Champion will be hoping to do better than JT and first make the cut. Somewhat surprising that he skips the Farmers at Torrey Pines to play here (we assume the lure of $$ enticed him here instead) as Torrey Pines will host the US Open later this summer. How he goes remains to be seen but represents no value in the market whatsoever and he's passed off without too much deliberation. Tyrell Hatton quite rightly goes off favourite here and he demands closer attention having won 4 times on different tours in the past 15 months. As Stevie-G proved here many times, scoring on the par-5s can make a huge difference and if "the angry golfer" scores as well on them here as he did last week, he will be hard to beat for sure. Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Matt Wallace stay in the UAE for this and of the three perhaps Wallace would be the preference. He'll be happy with last weeks on course performance as well as the "angry golfer" video that was well received and he can call on his course form to approach the week with great confidence.

I am still checking to see what the status is with last week's selection, Thorbjorn Olesen who did not travel last week due to covid-19 test and subsequent isolation requirement but he's on the entry list still today (Tuesday) suggesting he has travelled. I take a chance that his symptoms are mild on that presumption and therefore is 100% fit to go. I did like his price for Abu Dhabi but here at slightly shorter I like his chances more as he has shown very good course form. 4 TOP-10s in his 7 visits is encouraging and whilst his court case is postponed until December this year, putting his personal troubles to one side and focusing on producing a solid 2021 will be his goal and the 100/1 for 8 places is worth taking, despite some risk around his health status following positive covid-19 test.

I will also stick with Aaron Rai again this week. He wasn't too far off putting a good result together last week and he could and should be happy with a T-25th at Abu Dhabi. He makes his 4th appearance at the Majlis Course this week and will hope to improve on a best to date, 29th but he's much more a player the past 12 months than before. The course should suit him and @ 80/1 - 8 places (100/1 - 5 places) I'm happy to stick with him here and possibly again in Saudi Arabia next week.

Christian Bezuidenhout @ 20/1 - 8 places though has to be taken. The South African was runner-up last year and enters the week in very fine form having won back to back in South Africa in December, winning his National Open after winning the Alfred Dunhill. 12th place last week followed a solid 14th in Dubai at the DP Tour Championship. His putting let him down last week but he can certainly bounce back here. I made Bez 18/1 here for the outright and possibly 16s with the additional places and with the exchange @ 27.00 I want to have him onside.

Sergio Garcia was a certain shortlist entry having won here in 2017 and has he's warmed up in Hawaii already this year, posting 11th & 47th he's sure to go well and @ 22/1 he may be worth chancing also. Like many, he's got his eyes on making the Ryder Cup team this year and should be at ease on this course to put a good result together. Sergio has posted a further TOP-5 just 2 years ago when finishing 3rd behind Dechambeau & Wallace, and with 3 other T-25s to his name, the Spaniard is a real runner here having won recently as last October when winning the Sandersons Farm on the PGA Tour. Just inside the OWGR TOP-50, Sergio will look to consolidate his ranking each week to ensure he's in the big tournaments. The Dubai Desert Classic gives him a great opportunity to grab much Ryder/Ranking points. 

Lastly, I'll look to last week's distance runner-up, Aussie Jason Scrivener to capitalize on past course form as well as the current form. To boot, the Western Australian has shown solid form at correlated courses, Dom Pedro in Portugal and Sun City where the Nedbank Challenge is hosted, by finishing 8th & 3rd respectively last year. 6th & 7th here in 2018/2019 complemented with a T10 at the DP Tour Championship in 2019, Scrivener can end his maiden tag in Dubai @ 66/1 - 7 places 


Selections

0.75 pts e/w T. Olesen @ 100/1 - 8 places
0.75 pts e/w A. Rai @ 80/1 - 8 places
2.50 pts e/w C. Bezuidenhout @ 20/1 - 8 places
1.50 pts e/w S. Garcia @  22/1 - 7 places
1.00 pts e/w J. Scrivener @ 66/1 - 7 places