WGC Bridgestone Invitational 2013 Preview

By Michael McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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This week the PGA Tour heads to Akron, Ohio for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational at the Firestone Country Club.

The South course is a Par 70, 7400 yards monster. It is the longest Par 70 course on the PGA Tour. It has 82 sand bunkers and 3 water hazards. The greens are pencross bentgrass, poa annua.

There are several intimidating long Par 4’s on the course however they take a back seat to the Par 5, 16th which is the longest hole on the Tour measuring at 667 yards. Watch out for the water in front of the green.

Before you play the 16th you need to contend with the Par 3, 15th at 221 yards. It is a challenging hole as there are hidden bunkers to the left of the green. Many players will come unstuck.

Players who play well at the US Open tend to do well here due to the narrow fairways and thick rough. Players also have the option of using the driver a lot more often as there are not as many doglegs on the South course that you would normally see each week.

Past winners have all ranked highly in GIR stats so keep this in mind when looking at the field.

This week the bookies Top 5 players in the market are: 9/2 Tiger Woods, 14/1 Phil Mickelson, 16/1 Adam Scott, 20/1 Brandt Snedeker and 22/1 Rory McIlroy.

The field also consists of 23 players who have already won on the PGA Tour this season. Names include Dustin Johnson, Kevin Streelman, Martin Laird, Billy Horschel, Boo Weekley and Bill Haas.

Joining them are several International players such as Angel Cabrera, Nicolas Colsaerts, Mikko Ilonen, Matteo Manassero and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

So who do we like this week?

Tiger Woods 9/2

I generally stay clear of the favourites however this week I am making an exception. Tiger loves Firestone. He has won this event a staggering seven times. (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009).  He will be looking for his eighth win this weekend to go alongside his eight wins at both Torrey Pines and Bay Hill.

It is hard to fault his game this season. Ten starts for no missed cuts. Six Top 10’s and 4 wins! He has won the Farmers Insurance, WGC Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship.

Tiger is coming off a T6th at The Open which has given him a few weeks rest between events.

Stats wise he is ranked 1st in scoring average, 1st in all round rankings, 4th in strokes gained putting and 17th in ball striking.

While he may be at rather short odds this week, it would not be smart to over look him. He stands out as the obvious choice this week.

Jason Day 33/1

If there is one player who deserves a win this season it is Jason Day. While he has not won just yet, he has put in some great results meaning a win is just around the corner.

Fifteen starts for no missed cuts resulting in five Top 10’s. Highlights have been 3rd at The Masters and T2nd in the US Open. Day’s last start was at The Open Championship were he finished T32nd.

This will be his fourth start in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. T22nd in 2010, T4th in 2011 and T29th last year.

His game is in great nick and at 33/1 Jason represents an excellent each way selection. Currently ranking 18th in driving distance, 21st in strokes gained putting and 13th in scoring average he is sure to be up there challenging over the weekend.

Good Luck and Good Punting.

 

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