Wednesday, May 16, 2012

byron nelson championship

and back toTexas this week we go... the BYRON NELSON Championship held at Las Collinas golf course in Irving

now this is a tricky course so should really benefit those who have great course management skills and know how to think their way around the course; calm, mature players should prosper although there have been some winners who have won on debut (Bradley last yr a prime example)

a par 70 so not too many 5s to gobble birdies up on - this should mean that the shorter, more accurate players do well indeed and those who have good records here back that up

this course has had changes made in 08 and in the last 2 years the greens have had their 'air sub system' re-done as per Augusta and thus the greens are now truer and more consistent apparently - this is also borne out by the fact that the putting stats in last couple of years have been more relevant whereas previously they weren't and it was a case of hitting greens in reg. > so, this points me towards the more relaxed,laid-back golfers and those who can hit their greens  and also are good putters (Pettersson springs to mind straight away)

it is often windy too here and this makes scoring tricky so always worth considering those who play well in the breeze as well as locals or those who often raise their game or get better results in the lone star state

picks >

adam SCOTT > fairly solid pick his week in this relatively weak field; went for him last week and he started brightly but fell away unfortunately - has won this before (3rd also in just 3 starts) so has plenty of ticks in the right boxes this week (ranked 1 in par 4 birdies).. seems to be warming up for an assault on the world top 10 and a win here would be a terrific step up (long overdue too) - only worry is him missing a few tiddlers but hopefully the man from adelaide will be the one this week > win bet at 14

carl PETTERSSON > caught my eye years ago as one of those players who plods along not doing much but then finds a win every now and again - has the knack of putting it together for all 4 rounds every now and again - has won once this yr so maybe that was it for 2012 but he is in excellent form and is a renowned putter - ranked 1 for par 4 birdies (as is scott above) and that is useful here on a par 70; putting well as ever and a good each way shout if he can hang on to his form for one more week > 30 betfair

ryan PALMER > local lad and that clinches it for me - back him a lot as he is another who plods along then picks a win from nowhere every now and again - has been in good form and results could be even better recently but for weak final rounds; 4th at the Zurich a couple of weeks back and more than capable of putting well and notching a 4th career win here - I'm sure he would love to and should be well supported.. and lost in a play-off here last year which confirms all the above! > 48 is good on betfair

jhonattan VEGAS > texas resident hitting form nicely it seems - played well last week at the Players and is hitting plenty of greens in the right numbers, and is sinking putts beautifully too - the right combo for this course although his stats aren't good this yr, needs to keep it a bit straighter and keep the putter hot or else he could blow out here - terrific rookie year with that win and finding it tougher this yr but signs are good after top 10 last week - risky bet but odds are good at 80 betfair

brian DAVIS > another in good form and seems to play well here managing a 2nd and 8th in recent yrs; has posted 4th, 4th, 13th 39th 9th and 25th in last 6 tour starts which is solid and consistent - stats arent fab but is in prime form and should go well - shot each round under 69 in 09 when 2nd here so good memories, 46 betfair just enough to tempt

the not quite picked group this week consists of Oosty (always a threat), Rollins, Huh, Gay, Wagner, Pampling... might look to get involved with those in running (could be the ideal sort of tournament for Wagner)


odds look attractive on  Harrison Frazar 110, Arjun Atwal 180, Patrick Reed 350, Will Claxton 340 so will look at those for quick starts as always

Top 10 market > 

Vegas 7.8, Atwal 13.0, Pampling 12.0 and Palmer 5.0 all attract me

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

players championship

off we go to sunny Florida this week and the PGA tour's own club at Ponte Vedra is our venue - the famous Sawgrass course is the host as usual for the Players Championship, a terrific event and one of the best on tour

hugely anticipated and with the world's top players all competing together for once - should be a great week of golf

this is a great course with the infamous 17th too which will no doubt provide some thrills and spills as always; scoring is actually quite good on this hole but obviously a misjudged club could mean a wet ball - overall, Sawgrass tends to favour accuracy off the tee, those who manage good GIR stats and you will need to scramble really well here or else you will get punished too - you can get away with some wayward shots but usually the triumphant golfers are those who have a straight hitting week and set up as many birdies as they can and don't pressure themselves in having to get it up and down too often

the way the players are scoring these days on tough courses however, it wouldn't surprise me to see 66s flying about and a winning score of at least -15 or so

my current world rankings with this week's event built in are as follows >

1 donald 12.00
2 westwood 15.00
3 mcilroy 15.17
4 mickelson 15.50
5 woods 17.00
6 stricker 24.33
7 oosthuizen 24.33
8 mahan 24.50
9 kaymer 25.50
10 scott 25.50
11 simpson 26.50
12 poulter 26.83
13 els 27.50
14 rose 29.00
15 haas 29.83
16 dufner 30.00
17 kuchar 30.00
18 hanson 30.67
19 bradley 31.17
20 watney 33.33
21 garcia 33.50
22 wilson 34.00
23 choi 34.50
24 fran molinari 35.17

the clear value if you think they will do well is on haas and wilson as they are big odds compared with their relative ranking although my value rating shows them to be nothing more than reasonable as their form has dipped a bit; my rankings show donald as the top-rated player here as his scrambling is the clincher - westy just above rory as his tee to green game is so good currently (both are fabulous in this respect) > this is where my rankings include a bias towards the current event amongst other factors

micko and woods don't attract me too much this week although woods just missed the cut last week and westy was 1 shot better at halfway and then ended top 5 after a good weekend's scoring - woods has missed just 8 career cuts although you wouldn't think it to see some of the analysis (digging!) and is still likely to find his game and make a lot of people look silly... too risky for me however as I thought it was just his putting to work on pre-masters but he seems to have lost his way with his swing again

the ones who interest me are good ball-strikers, good scramblers, hit plenty of greens and are in form... els, poulter, scott, molinari all tick some boxes and there are a few others at longer prices who do likewise such as moore, curtis, molder, etc

garcia has a good record here but I never back him and after his own admission at the masters he's even more of an 'avoid' for me especially at the price he is; mahan probably won't scramble well enough here although is two-time winner this yr and drives so well; bradley has gone off the boil and a few others have either had their good spell or aren't in good enough form to win  in a field like this

good cases for a lot of players however and the prices are superb with all these big names at the top pushing the odds out on decent players way down the list

picks >

luke DONALD > of the top 3 I really can't decide as I'm not sure about rory here, westy will be the pick from tee to green but can't sink them when it matters so I think donald will be my pick - this course can suit shorter hitters so no problem there, his superb short game may be the difference here and the odd shot saved over others could be the difference - I think he will also relish a chance to really make a statement as he faltered at the masters > his odds are higher than usual of course which helps and he managed T4 here last yr too... really expecting westy to go off all guns blazing and get the lead but then stutter and donald to sneak up and nick it, 15.5 betfair

adam SCOTT > could be another flatter to deceive week but he has a great record here and has won previously - is in really good consistent form and may relish being under the radar a bit currently.. 12 consecutive cuts on this tour, top 10 at augusta, stats are showing well for scoring, mid to long putting, GIR (8th) and so on > a lot more experienced these days obviously and seems to be ticking over nicely - I think he has the highest percentage of rounds under par here who have played a few times or more.. 40 betfair is attractive for a previous winner (2 top 10s also)

ian POULTER > odds out to 90 betfair now and that's good for poults who is confident, in good form again with recent good efforts (3rd at arnie palmer inv and 7th masters) and another who has played well here before (2nd in 09) - also loves the big tourneys and often impresses when up against it, not sure if he is likely to win but expect him to give a very good account and a confident shout for the top 10 for me

ernie ELS > another experienced player in great form, close to winning this year and playing well - might need a bit of luck but could be rolling back the years here if he can get the putter to work - usually plays well here and his accuracy should help him compete, 55 is tempting for the big easy who does like a pete dye course

ryan MOORE> hitting form nicely and big price at 120; often plays well for a few weeks so hoping to keep his current run going (ignoring a blowout 85 at houston in the 3rd round) - has been 4th 5th 8th in last 4 events.. usually makes the cut here so about time he made the frame

francesco MOLINARI > superb tee to green game, relaxed and in form with a great win last week (may have been favourite but still have to win) shooting 65 to win in style on a tough course - played here 2 yrs ago and managed a top 10 so why not... 75 is too high for a euro player who prospers over the pond it seems

going with 6 picks rather than dropping one, Crane and Kuchar are others who you could expect to do well.. add Mcilroy/Westy in and there's a top 10 for me although there may be a few from nowhere who do well this week - Oosty could easily have been in my picks and I may watch him and look to add during the tourney - Curtis also was close to being picked as backed him couple of times recently with success

there are plenty who came close to being picked > oosty and curtis as mentioned, styricker of course as well, watney showing a return to form, mcdowell who plays well here, kuchar who collects top 10s for fun but can't go that bit further oftne enough.. and so on...  going with the ones I feel are best primed however...

trading > some cracking prices for some not bad players > will be going with a few in the hope they drop rapidly after good starts..

COUCH @1000 like this price a lot for decent accurate driver who can putt... likes florida too so if he clicks he could be a decent trader, only won the one time on tour (06) and hasn't done much this year but worth a small dabble for me

MAYFAIR @ 950 quick swansong perhaps, decent scrambling will help

KIRK @ 850 too high price for decent player

MOLDER @ 310 stats tick a lot of boxes so another decent shout, game should really suit being accurate and good short scrambler

top 5 & 10 markets >

looking for some decent bets here as have started doing these markets recently with great success...

top 10 Moore at 9.2 for sure, Poulter 7.4 and Curtis 7.6, Els at 5.9 all look decent to me and could trade a lot lower (I like getting out of these when the market drops rapidly on them as they often go quite low)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

wells fargo championship

off to North Carolina this week for the excellent WELLS FARGO CHAMPIONSHIP which was more recently known as the Wachovia Championship; this is where young Rory shot 64/62 at the weekend to win and truly announce himself on the world stage a couple of years ago

we have a really good field this week and with Quail Hollow being a tough course, this promises to be an excellent few days of golf

great to see the boy wonder, micko, tiger, westwood all competing and shame donald isn't there too but still a mouth-watering event - previous winners indicate that the cream usually rises to the top in this championship

this course demands everything, good accuracy off the tee as you will struggle if you aren't top 30 or so here, GIR as always or else you have to be a top scrambler, and the greens really find you out so good putters will more than most weeks prosper here

so a good all-round effort basically and hence the consistent top players do well - course has got a bit easier perhaps in recent yrs although this week may have longer rough apparently - mcilroy and westwood should find the greens well but their flat stick will determine their results hence rory being a few pts lower

tiger is a conundrum as ever - if he has his swing back then can he read the putts? augusta was a strange one from him as he looked to be back

micko is hard to call but is starting to look value when checking his record here and his results this season

young players can do well here too however although they do have to be either already good (rory) or of top potential

I have updated my rankings so will have a look at them although I have a few in mind to pick and one or two locals who may well put in extra effort being on home turf

my rankings >

1 mcilroy 10.33
2 woods 12.00
3 mickelson 14.67
4 westwood 18.83
5 mahan 22.50
6 simpson 24.83
7 haas 26.50
8 bradley 29.50
9 z johnson 31.67
10 furyk 34.17
11 van pelt 35.50

* this is the top 11 of my top 25 world ranked currently... thus my rankings which include course / event form as well as current form and mental strength etc indicate that these would be the finishing positions > what I then do is look for the prices and what I think and pick my golfers from there...

* mickelson hasn't won here but has a great consistent record, tiger can obviously win if he has regained his swing which looked great pre-masters, rory should be fav and is, and so on

> looking at betfair, haas looks over-priced at 55 but he has lost a bit of form; simpson likewise is a bit generous at 36 as being a wake forest grad and a member here you would expect him to do better than his form dictates

> furyk is just 25 on betfair but that is explained by his terrific record here - he is definitely worth looking at as the rankings show him to be good value performance wise but his price already reflects that

> outside of these top 11 here, my rankings show good weeks for huh, byrd, villegas so all of these are worth watching; byrd may have the 'new dad' feelgood factor which often can inspire/relax players; huh looks to have great potential and villegas is hinting at a return to form and this course should suit him

* local players of interest should be simpson & haas mentioned already and de jonge too

* outsiders could be karlsson (250) who has no form but can click, a great scrambler too and capable of suddenly shooting 66s.. ken duke (150) has been peppering the leaderboard recently too as has mathis (430) and will claxton is quite a talented player so worth watching (470)

picks >

think I will swerve rory and unsure of tiger so micko gets the vote at the top...

MICKELSON > terrific record here but no W on his record - could be about to change as he may well sneak through and win here if he can keep the wild holes away and sink a few - record and form are so good so he gets the nod for me at 13 betfair

FURYK > 25 isn't high but can't ignore his record and the fact he will probably plod around without any fuss - seems to be bang on with his game again and sinking putts that matter... a boring but solid pick and he should continue his terrific record here

SIMPSON > perhaps a chance for the local lad to shine in a decent field and regain a bit of the glow he gained last year when playing so well so regularly; top 15 last wk and has been top 10 a few times already this year, 36 b/f

CURTIS > having won 2 weeks ago and made the top 15 last wk I will ride the crest with ben and as he has a 2nd place finish here previously (proving amongst others that shorter hitters can do well here) he could well nip into the frame again as he is currently playing well with great stats for accuracy GIR etc - 95 betfair

BYRD > often back this guy and he knows how to win - may be off the boil with a few wks off but that new dad factor really can help! 90 is attractive for last year's runner-up - couple of top 10s this yr and played well at augusta

trading > definitely going to see how we go with De JONGE (sign of form last week and decent here previously too, hoping for a fast start at 130

DUKE as in good touch and again good here previously, 150

VILLEGAS 180 as he may be picking up again and his tee to green game is solid

not sure about karlsson so HUH at 100 completes the traders, talented young player and in form

top10 bets > HAAS at about 5 is decent as I think he will be up there, can also get HUH CURTIS and BYRD at about 8.2 to 9 which all attract

top 5 markets > furyk 5.9 and simpson 8.4 are appealing although smaller stakes for me