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. 


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.

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 

 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


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.


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.


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)


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 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


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


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