Category Archives: Golf

RBC Heritage Tips and Preview 2014

By Michael McGill

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While Bubba Watson  heads home with his second Green Jacket to celebrate his amazing Masters Tournament victory the rest of the players on tour head 200 kilometres south to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

This week’s tournament is the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links where the players will fight it out for a different colour jacket. This one is Plaid and is presented to the winner of the tournament. Harbour Town Golf Links is a Par 71, 6,973 yard course with 145 bunkers and water coming into play on nine of the holes. There are also three Par 5’s.

The course was designed by renowned golf course architect Peter Dye with the help of Jack Nicklaus in 1969. Peter has designed other famous courses like Whistling Straits and Sawgrass which is famous for its island green 17th hole. The RBC Heritage is one of only 5 tournaments on the PGA Tour that is given invitational status. The field will consist of 132 players unlike other events, which has the standard 156.

The tournament has been played one week after the Masters since 1983 and the record of -20 was set in 2009 by Brian Gay. Many great players have had success here such as Arnold Palmer who won the inaugural event back in 1969. Hale Irwin won his first ever PGA Tour event here in 1971 then in 1994 he had his third victory in this tournament which was also his twentieth over all and also his last ever PGA Tour win. Another player to record his first ever tour victory here was Nick Faldo in 1984.

The bookies Top 5 in betting this week are:- 16/1 Jordan Spieth, 18/1 Luke Donald, 18/1 Matt Kuchar, 20/1 Jim Furyk and 22/1 Zach Johnson. Spieth is coming off a 2nd at The Masters last week while Kuchar was 5th.

Last years Champion Graeme McDowell (25/1) is back to defend his title along with other past winners such as Brian Gay 100/1, Boo Weekley 80/1, Aaron Baddeley 100/1, Stewart Cink 80/1 and Justin Leonard 150/1. Other notable players teeing it up include Harris English, Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker and Bill Haas.

The course has tight fairways and some of the smallest greens on the tour. Ball placement is one of the crucial elements required for victory here. It is not a course for hitting it far and hard. Precision players always fair better than those that go for length. Shot shaping will take you a long way at Harbour Town. Putting and hitting greens is also paramount along with scrambling. All past winners have rated highly in scrambling for the week.

Looking at the field this week there are two players who rate well in the above mentioned stats and should be in contention over the weekend.

Billy Horschel 50/1 

Last year was Billy’s break through season the PGA Tour where he won the Zurich Classic of New Orleans as well as recording seven Top 10 finishes. This year Horschel is flying under the radar with seven made cuts from ten starts which have produced four Top 25 finishes.

This week he is back to a course that saw him finish 9th last year when on debut. Harbour Town is a course that should see Billy back to his best as it suits his game down to the ground and this could be the week he shows the form we know he has.

Entering this week he is coming off a 37th place finish at The Masters where he was -10 on the Par 5’s. This week he has three of them to enjoy. He also hit 72% of greens in regulation last week.

In this tournament last year he played the Par 5’s at 7 under par. His stats this year have him ranked 16th in driving accuracy, 16th in greens in regulation, 8th in total driving and 3rd in ball striking,

At 50/1 this could be the week we strike a winner at great each way value.

Kevin Na 33/1 

Kevin last won on tour in 2011 at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. A back injury saw him out of the game for 20 weeks last year and he only managed to contest 13 tournaments.

This year he is back big and better than ever with 7 made cuts from 8 starts which has produced 6 top 20 finishes!

His last three tournaments read as 2nd, 14th and 11th. this will be his tenth start at the RBC Heritage where he has already had five Top 20’s. His two most recent results were 9th and 8th.

Stats wise he is ranked 15th in strokes gained putting, 20th in birdie average, 7th in scoring average, 2nd in scrambling and 7th in Par 4 birdie or better average.

Now that his back is well and truly fixed we can expect to see the real Kevin Na stand up this week and continue his impressive recent results here.

Good luck and good punting.

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The Masters Tournament. Tips and Preview 2014.

By Michael McGill

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Every golf fan around the World loves April as it is the time when we all get to sit back and enjoy the first Major of the year.

The Masters!

The who’s who in Golf will descend upon Augusta National this week to take part in the 78th edition of this time honoured event.

Many great legends of the game have played their part in the history of this great tournament. Names like Horton Smith who was the first Masters Champion back in 1934. He also won in 1936. Ben Hogan has 2 victories along with Tom Watson, Byron Nelson, Seve Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ben Crenshaw and Bernhard Langer.

The Great Sam Snead has won three times. So to have Gary Player, Jimmy Demaret, Nick Faldo and Phil Mickelson. Arnold Palmer has won four Masters (1958,60,62.64) as well as Tiger Woods (1997,2001,02,05). Then there is the ‘The Golden Bear’ Jack Nicklaus who has won a remarkable six Masters Tournaments! (1963,65,66,72,75,86).

Many believe this year is especially difficult to pick the winner. Look at the season so far and you will see the number of first time PGA Tour winners like Kevin Stadler, John Senden, Matt Every, Steven Bowditch and Matt Jones. Then you can add the young guns that have been tearing it apart like Harris English, Jimmy Walker, Russell Henley and Patrick Reed. You then have to worry about a few of the big names who have been dealing with niggling injuries like Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

That is before you get to look at players like Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley who all have the talent to win and then you realize just how hard it is going to be to win the Green Jacket in 2014. With this much talent on display we can expect to see plenty of fantastic nail biting golf over the four days.

The Bookies Top 5 in betting are- 9/1 Adam Scott, 10/1 Rory McIlroy, 14/1 Jason Day, 14/1 Phil Mickelson and 22/1 Sergio Garcia.

Augusta National is considered a national treasure and is always listed in the Top 5 of everyone’s list of top courses in the world. They are always making changes to the course to keep up with technology. In 2001 the course was 6,925 yards and then lengthened to 7,270 yards. In 2006 it was lengthened again to 7,445 yards. The greens were originally Bermuda however they were also changed to Bentgrass in 1981, which resulted in a faster putting surface.

So what does it take to win at Augusta National?

Precise ball striking is a must. Greens in Regulation are what it is all about too. With the steeply contoured greens it is imperative that you hit the ball to the right area of the green to allow for an easier putt. If you fail to do this you can expect to have difficulty in getting it up and down. In fact 3 putts will not be out of the question. Being able to avoid the 3 putts is very important, as poor putters do not win Green Jackets.

Length off the tee is important. The last six winners were all ranked inside the Top 60 in driving distance on the PGA Tour when they won. It is also worth noting that the fairways are mown away from the hole, resulting in less roll from the drive.

Putting, putting and more putting. To play well at Augusta you need to tame the greens. They are some of the fastest in the world. The greens are undulating and are sure to cause issues for many players.

Experience and Wisdom will also take you a long way at Augusta National. Not only experience on the course, but experience on the big stage, under pressure when it is all on the line. Winning a Major is not for the faint hearted. Just look at all the melt downs in Major history!

I have selected three players who will give you a good run for your money, some at longer odds than others.

Jason Dufner 40/1 win, 4/1 Top 10.

Dufner is the perfect selection for those wanting to follow the Masters trends. You need a player who has plenty of Top 20 finishes in his lead up to the tournament. They usually have no missed cuts and have been solid and consistent. Plenty of analysts also point to the WGC Cadillac Championship as a good form guide as past Masters Champions have playing well at Doral. Jason falls into all these trends which are why he is our first man selected.

His form this year reads as 5th, 29th, 65th, 9th, 9th and 14th so plenty of Top 20 finishes in there and no missed cuts. The WGC Cadillac Championship has given him results of 18th, 29th, 12th and 9th at his four starts. This will be his fourth start at The Masters where he has improved at each appearance being 30th in 2010, 24th in 2012 and 20th last year. That is some pretty impressive trending.

Stats wise Dufner is ranked 17th in birdie average, 24th in all round rankings, 12th in Par 4 birdie or better average and 13th in Par 5 birdie or better average. In 20 starts in Majors he has won the 2013 PGA Championship and been placed in the Top 5 at four starts and in the Top 30 on another five occasions.

Could it be time for Major number two? Come Sunday afternoon I expect to see him challenging for the title heading down the back nine.

Patrick Reed 55/1 win, 5/1 Top 10, 13/2 Top Debutant.

Patrick started the 2013 PGA Tour ranked No.584 in the World and missed eight cuts in his first 13 events. Then in August of that year he won the Wyndham Championship and finished the year with three Top 10’s. The 2014 season started with a bang as he finished the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in a tie for 16th and followed that up with a win at the Humana Challenge. Patrick Reed the All-American from Augusta State University was on the map and making a name for himself. He was now ranked No.41 in the World.

Reed continued on his upward trajectory with more great displays of golf. 19th Phoenix Open, 13th AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, 17th WGC Accenture Match Play, 24th The Honda Classic and then it was a Win at the WGC Cadillac Championship. (A great Augusta trend). He was now No.20 in the World and telling everyone who would listen just how good he was. This kid is brash, outspoken, confident, self assured and has a huge opinion of himself. Tiger Woods is his idol and he loves to wear a red shirt on a Sunday just like him.

According to reports on the internet he is coming off a 10 day minicamp with is coach, Kevin Kirk, where he has been shaping the ball from right-to-left off the tee and controlling the trajectory and spin on his approach shots. When asked about his chances this week at the press conference he replied, ‘I’m very confident’.

It is easy to see why he has a huge ego and believes he is a Top 5 player in the World. In his short career to date he has already claimed a few firsts. He is the youngest winner of a WGC event and made PGA Tour history as the first player to start a tournament with three rounds with a score a 63 or better which he did when winning the Humana Challenge. Reed also became only the fifth golfer to win three PGA Tour events before they turned 24. The other four were Tiger Woods, Phil Mickleson, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia.

This will be Patrick’s first Masters Tournament. No one has won it at their first attempt since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. I am sure Patrick Reed knows this and will be out to prove he is the man to do it again. After all history was meant to be broken.

Looking at his stats this week his game is ready for Augusta. 38th in driving distance, 40th in greens in regulation, 22nd in strokes gained putting, 7th in sand saves, 8th in all round ranking, 15th in Par 4 birdie or better average, 22nd in Par 5 birdie or better average and 2nd in FedEx Cup ranking.

One thing is for certain when it comes to Patrick, he has the belief that he can win and sometimes that is what is required to get you over the line.

Francesco Molinari 125/1 win, 8/1 Top 10.

Francesco finds himself trending in the right Masters characteristics just like Jason Dufner. Five starts this year have resulted in 13th, 40th, 33rd, 25th and 5th. No missed cuts, plenty of Top 20’s and good consistence. He has had five starts at the WGC Cadillac Championship for 14th, 3rd, 13th, 28th and 25th. Again this is very positive.

This will be his fifth start at the Masters. His past results have been 30th in 2010, Cut in 2011, 19th in 2012 and Cut last year. Two Top 30 finishes from four starts is nothing to be ashamed of at all.

Molinari’s stats also put him in a good position this week. Just look at his last two starts to get the idea. Two starts ago he was 25th at the WGC Cadillac Championship where he was ranked 4th in greens in regulation, 37th in strokes gained putting and 13th in driving accuracy. Last start saw him finish 5th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational where he was 3rd in driving accuracy, 19th in greens in regulation, 36th in strokes gained putting and 23rd in putts per GIR.

Good Luck and Good Punting.

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Shell Houston Golf Open Tips & Preview

By Michael McGill

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The Shell Houston Open is the last stop saloon for players wanting to make The Masters field for next week. The tournament is played at the Redstone Golf Club in Humble.

This event was established in 1946 and has been played in and around the Houston area at several venues. It made its home at Redstone in 2003 where it was played on the Members course until it moved across the road to the Tournament course in 2006, where it has been played ever since.

The inaugural event was won by Byron Nelson who defeated Ben Hogan by 2 shots. The winner received US$2,000. Other famous names to win have been Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Bob Charles, Raymond Floyd and Payne Stewart. And more recently by Vijay Singh, Fred Couples, Adam Scott and Paul Casey.

This week the event has a Purse of US$6.4 million with the winner taking home US$1,116,000.

The Course is a Par 72, measuring 7,457 yards with 60 sand bunkers and 13 water hazards. Over the last 7 years the course has played at an average of -16 so expect much the same this week.

Much like early events on the Tour this year look out for the Par 4, 488 yard 18th hole to cause a few problems for anyone that tries to go for glory. The whole left hand side of the hole runs along the side of a lake and players will try to carry that as much as possible. There is a lot of risk involved however the reward can be good. The second shot to the green is also a tricky one with water on the left side of the green and a bunker on the right.

With the Masters being played next week several big name players have stayed at home to practise, however many others like to use Redstone as a good lead in to the event to fine tune their game. This week we will get to watch players of the calibre of Louis Oosthuizen, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Hunter Mahan, Charl Schwartzel, Jimmy Walker and Luke Donald.

The bookies Top 5 in betting are: 9/1 Rory McIlroy, 14/1 Dustin Johnson, 16/1 Henrik Stenson, 25/1 Keegan Bradley and 25/1 Sergio Garcia.

Looking at past winners of this event we need to pay close attention to guys who hit a lot of greens. This stat stands out above the rest as one of the most important. We also need to look at good scramblers as they have always done well here. With four Par 5’s on the course look at players with good Par 5 records as well. Accuracy off the tee is not as important as Distance off the tee this week as a good scrambler can negate the rough.

Taking these stats into consideration we have two players who should fair very well this week at Redstone. 

Matt Kuchar 25/1

‘Kuch’ has been one of our favourite golfers for some time now. We tipped him twice last year and he won both events. The WGC Accenture at 35/1 and Memorial Tournament at 20/1. It is great to see him this week at 25/1 as his game is in the right place to excel  this week.

Matt has had a great start to 2014 with four Top 10’s from seven starts. T6th Hyundai Tournament of Champions, T8th Sony Open, T9th WGC Accenture Match Play and T4th Valero Texas Open last week.

This will be his fifth start at the Houston Open. In 2005 and 2007 he missed the Cut however he came back in 2010 and 2011 and finished 8th on both occasions. With excellent course form and current form it is brilliant to see Matt at 25/1 this week. That represents a confident each way selection.

His stats also hold up well being ranked 17th in scoring average, 47th in driving accuracy and 15th in scrambling. Lets sit back and watch Matt win his third tournament for us!

Charley Hoffman 66/1

The man with the worlds worst haircut is luckily a very good golfer! While he may need help finding a decent hairdresser he certainly knows his way around the golf course.

This year he has been putting together some great results. Seven starts has brought four Top 12 finishes. He is coming off a T11th at the Valero Texas Open and his stats of 16 in Driving Distance, 20th in Greens in Regulation, 18th in Birdie average, 27th in Scoring average and 18th in Ball Striking put him in a good position heading into the tournament.

This will be Charley’s eighth start here and he has not missed a cut yet. Four of those were Top 25 finishes.

Good luck and good punting.

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Arnold Palmer Invitational Preview

By Mick McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

This week is the final leg of the Florida Swing on the PGA Tour and we finish with the ‘Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

The event was founded in 1979 and before that it had several different name changes since it began in 1966 when it was known as the ‘Florida Citrus Open Invitational’ and was played at the Rio Pinar Golf Club which is also situated in Florida. Arnold Palmer has owned Bay Hill since 1974 however the tournament was first played under his name in 2007. In the 1966 Inaugural event Lionel Herbert beat the Legend Jack Nicklaus by 2 shots. Arnold Palmer has also won this event and that was in 1971, eight years before he became the host.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational is one of only 5 tournaments given Invitational status by the PGA Tour. The other 4 are The Heritage, Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Memorial Tournament and AT&T National. Invitational events have smaller fields which are usually between 120-132 players.

The field this week is of a very high standard with players such as Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley, Harris English, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler teeing it up.

The bookies top five in betting are  8/1 Tiger Woods, 14/1 Justin Rose, 14/1 Justin Rose, 14/1 Bubba Watson and 22/1 Hunter Mahan.

Tiger Woods is the Defending Champion this week and will be looking for his ninth win at Bay Hill. While he is not in the best of form this season he is a proven winner on the course.

The course is Par 72, 7419 yard with 103 bunkers and water coming into play on 9 of the 18 holes. The Purse is $US6.2M with the winner taking home $US1,116,000. The Pros rank Bay Hill as one of the most challenging and enjoyable courses on the tour. Unlike a lot of the courses on tour where it becomes a birdie-fest, Bay Hill is one of those courses that will require patience and plotting to make your way around all 18 holes. Just ask John Daly who in 1998 hit 6 balls into the water on the 6th hole during his last round to score an 18!!

This week it is all about ball striking and hitting those greens. Looking back at the past winners you will notice that they all ranked highly in Greens in Regulation stats. If you get lost in the Bermuda rough it makes it almost impossible to shoot for the green.

Patience is paramount this week. As mentioned earlier it is vital to play your shots well and maintain those Pars as they are just as important as the birdies this week. It will require a steady head and poise.

Not many rookies or first times fair well at Bay Hill so look for players who have had good experience on the course and know how to plot their way around here. Experience will get you a long way at Bay Hill. Just look at the list of past winners and you will see what I mean.

Taking all this into consideration I have managed to find three players who should fit the bill this week.

Zach Johnson 25/1

When it comes to a cool head and mapping your way around a course then you can not look past Zach Johnson. He is a proven winner on the Tour with 11 PGA Tour victories to his name.

He started 2014 off with victory at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and has not missed a cut this year. He backed the win up with a T8th at the Sony Open and continued the form with a T3rd at the Humana Challenge.

Next up were a pair of T33rd’s in both WGC Accenture Match Play and The Honda Classic. His last outing was in the WGC Cadillac Championship where he finished T16th.

This will be Zach’s eleventh trip to Bay Hill and in that time he has only missed the one cut! His record from 2004 till 2013 reads as 6th, 8th, 43rd, 42nd, 54th, 3rd, MC, 47th, 11th and 34th. He certainly knows the course inside out.

If you look at Zach’s stats for the season you will see that his game is perfect for Bay Hill. 4th in driving accuracy, 8th in Greens in Regulation, 24th Strokes Gained Putting, 4th in Birdie average, 5th in Scoring average, 2nd in All Round rankings, 3rd in Par 4 Birdie or better, 14th in Ball Striking and 17th in Scrambling.

With Johnson this week you have a play who ticks all the boxes. He has plenty course knowledge and experience, great current form and his stats set up well for what is required. At 25/1 is a fantastic each way bet.

Henrik Stenson 25/1  

The World Number 3 had an amazing season last year which saw him win the Deutsche Bank Championship, TOUR Championship and DP World Tour Championship. He also became the first golfer to win both the FedEx Cup and Race To Dubai.

After such a ground breaking season Henrik has eased his way back into this year. He started off with three events on the European Tour with results of a Missed Cut at the Abu Dhabi HSBC, T28th at the Qatar Masters and a T29th in the Dubai Desert Classic.

It was then over to the PGA Championship where he has played three tournaments resulting in two Top 20 finishes. They were T17th WGC Accenture Match Play, Missed Cut in The Honda Classic and T16th at the WGC Cadillac Championship.

Stenson gets the nod this week as we all know how well he hits the ball and finds the green. Last season he was ranked 1st in Greens in Regulation and 1st in Ball Striking. Two stats that are required at Bay Hill. With his game in great shape since joining the Tour this season we can expect to see the Stenson we all know and love play well.

Henrik first played at Bay Hill in 2007 and finished T22nd on debut. He did not return until 2010 where his results have improved each year. 52nd in 2010, 47th in 2011, 15th in 2012 and 8th last year. Let’s hope that form continues on the upward curve this year.

Gary Woodland 50/1 

Woodland gets the final position this week as his form is continuing to improve over the last four tournaments as well as having the required stats that set up well for Bay Hill. From seven starts this year he has had no missed cuts and had four Top 20 finishes.

His season to date reads as T13th Hyundai Tournament of Champions, T38th Humana Challenge, T10th Farmers Insurance Open, T37th Phoenix Open, T33rd WGC Match Play, T16th WGC Cadillac Championship and T8th Valspar Championship. It is those last four events that stand out- 37th, 33rd, 16th, 8th. He is on the upside each week. This could be the week to strike while the iron is hot.

Gary’s course form reads as a missed cut in 2011, 48th in 2012 and 27th last year. Again, it’s another upside in results. Stats wide he is 24th in Greens in Regulation, 7th in ball striking, and 4th in Scrambling from the Rough. All positive stats.

Good Luck and Good Punting.

Valspar Golf Championship Preview

By Mick McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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The PGA Tour stays in Florida this week as we head to the Copperhead course at the Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbour for the Valspar Championship.

This is a Par 71, 7340 yard course. The tournament was founded in 2000 and has always been played at the Copperhead course. There are five Par 3′s and four Par 5′s to contest and the closing three holes (16,17,18) are rated amongst the most challenging closing stretch on the Tour.

The fairways and Greens are Bermudagrass with the fairways being tighter than most courses on the tour and the greens smaller than average. The Par 4, 460 yard, 16th hole is the most difficult on the course with water along the whole right hand side. This can create havoc if the wind is coming in from the left.

This event has gone through a few names changes in its short history. It was originally known as the Tampa Bay Classic from 2000-2001, however there was no tournament in 2001 due to September 11 terrorist attacks. In 2002 it became the Tampa Bay Classic Presented by Buick. After one year of sponsorship from Buick it became the Chrysler Championship from 2003-2006. Pods then sponsored it in 2007-2008 as the PODS Championship until it became the Transitions Championship from 2009-2012. Last year it was known as the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank. (Bit of a mouth full). In September last year the Valspar Corporation signed a four year deal to become the title sponsors of the event, giving us yet another name change!

After two stellar fields at the WGC Cadillac Championship and Honda Classic in the past two weeks we still have a good turnout of top players for this tournament with players such as Jason Dufner, Graham DeLaet, KJ Choi, Paul Casey, Brandt Snedeker and Marc Leishman taking part.

The Top Five in betting this week are: 16/1 Harris English, 18/1 Jordan Spieth , 20/1 Matt Kuchar, 20/1 Luke Donald and 25/1 Justin Rose.

Looking at the Copperhead course this week we can expect to so some real challenging golf as it can play difficult at times, especially if the wind decides to make things exciting which always plays a part in Florida. This can cause a lot of problems for many players especially those with little experience on the Copperhead course. The Par 5′s will also play a major part this week as they are all reachable for most players, so Par 5 stats should be closely monitored.

When looking at the past winners of this tournament they have all ranked highly in Greens in Regulation stats and have been good ball strikers, so again keep this in mind when looking for the winner as most of the greens are smaller than the tour average. It will also pay to look at good Par 3 performers as there are 5 of them to contend with this week. Taking all this into consideration I have two players who fit the bill.

Harris English 16/1 

There is a good crop of young talented golfers hitting their stride on the PGA Tour in the last 12 months and one such player is Harris English. After turning Pro in 2011 he found his way onto the PGA Tour in 2012 and has not looked back since.

Last year he won the FedEx St Jude Classic in June then followed it up with his second title in November at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba. His World ranking jumped from 136th at the start of last season to be 38th at present. If he keeps going like this Harris could be inside the Top 20 real soon.

He has started 2014 with a lot of confidence. Seven starts have resulted in six finishes inside the Top 20! First up was a T11th at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, then a 4th at the Sony Open, T33rd Humana Challenge, 9th Phoenix Open, T10th Northern Trust Open, T9th WGC Accenture Match Play and finally a T16th WGC Cadillac Championship.

With form like that English’s third tour victory is just around the corner.

If you look at his stats leading into this week we can expect to see him contending on Sunday as the course should set up well for his game. 13th in Driving Distance, 6th in Greens in Regulation, 4th in Birdie average, 4th in Scoring average, 5th in Par 3 birdie or better, 11th in Par 4 birdie or better, 10th in Par 5 birdie or better, 3rd in Ball Striking, 28th in Scrambling and 2nd in All Round rankings. Not to mention 5th in the FedEx Cup standings.

I usually stay clear of the favourites when it comes to the golf, however this week it is impossible not to jump on board the Harris English bandwagon. He represents an excellent Each Way bet and I expect a collect this week.

Stuart Appleby 150/1 

While I am very keen on Harris English winning this week I have decided to look further afield for a good longshot selection this week. Appleby last won on the PGA Tour in 2010 when he won two tournaments. During 2011, 2012 and 2013 he contested a total of 96 tournaments and managed a woeful three Top 10 finishes. One in each year to be exact.

Roll forward to 2014 and we have a new rejuvenated Stuart who has already had two Top 10′s from his six starts to date. The encouraging part is that he has not missed a cut in any of those six starts.

Last week at the Honda Classic Appleby finished T8th with rounds of 69-69-65-72 to finish just three shots behind the Winner Russell Henley. Perhaps this is the year that sees Stuart get back into the form that saw him reach as high as World No13 in 2004. There is still plenty of life left in the 42 year old and he could surprise at big odds! Well worth a look at in Top 10 markets too.

Good Luck and Good Punting.

 

CIMB CLASSIC 2013/14 PREVIEW

 

By Michael McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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The action this week heads to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the fourth edition of the CIMB Classic. This years tournament is being played on the West Course at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

This is the first time the course has hosted the event as the last three years it has been played at The Mines Resort and Golf Club.

Nestled amongst a wonderful hilltop setting of lush greenery and gently undulating hills the course is a Par 72, measuring 6,951 yards. The Purse this week is US$7 million with the winner taking home US$1.3 million.

There is a field of 78 players teeing it up this week with no cut this week which will allow you to watch your favourite golfer for the full 4 days. Expect to see low scoring with players enjoying the surroundings. Putting on the greens should not cause to many issues as they will be nice and moist due to the constant humidity that can be expected in Malaysia. This will allow for aggressive play when going for the green.

The Top 5 in betting this week are: 9/1 Phil Mickelson, 12/1 Sergio Garcia, 16/1 Keegan Bradley, 16/1 Hideki Matsuyama and 22/1 Nick Watney.

Also in the field this week are Americans Jimmy Walker, Ryan Moore, Bill Haas and Bo Van Pelt. The internationals are well represented this week with players such as Matt Jones, David Lynn, Shiv Kapur, Martin Laird and Tim Clark teeing it up.

The two players to follow this week are:

Brendon De Jonge 40/1

The big man is ready show the goods this week. He had a very encouraging 2013 season on the PGA Tour making 25 cuts from 30 starts.

Brendon managed thirteen Top 25’s and four Top 10’s. What I like about him is the way he finished the season off. In his last four tournaments he posted results of T19th The Barclays, T9th Deutsche Bank Championship, T18th BMW Championship and T18th Tour Championship.

It is also worth noting that he finished T4th at the CIMB Classic last year on -19, just 3 shots from the winner Nick Watney, so we knock he likes playing in Malaysia.

There is another stat to look at thanks to Rob Bolton from pgatour.com pointing out that the greens at Kuala Lumpur Golf Course are seashore paspalum. These are the same greens as the Puerto Rico Open. When you look at De Jonge’s results there he was T14th in 2013 and T5th in 2012.

Stats wise on the PGA Tour in 2013 Brendon was ranked 29th in driving accuracy, 10th in greens in regulation, 26th in scoring average. 11th in ball striking and 16th in scrambling.

Expect to see him enjoying the conditions this week.

Matt Jones 66/1

This will be Matt’s first start at the CIMB Classic. The Aussie had a good 2013 season the PGA Tour. 24 starts for 18 made cuts. He managed nine Top 25’s and five Top 10’s.

Like De Jonge he had a great finish to the season. Two starts in July saw T2nd Greenbrier Classic and T7th John Deere Classic. Three starts in August had a best result of T5th Wyndham Championship and two starts in September saw a T8th BMW Championship.

At the Puerto Rico Open Jones was T14th in 2013 and T5th in 2012.

The World No.96 finished 2013 ranked 45th in driving accuracy, 47th in birdie average, 29th in scoring average, 30th in ball striking and 8th n scrambling.

Good luck and good punting.

 

BMW Championship Preview 2013

By Michael McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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The third FedExCup playoff event is upon us this week after a short break on the PGA Tour. We are off to the Conway Farm Golf Course in Lake Forest, Illinois for the 2013 BMW Championship.

The course is a Par 71 measuring 7,149 yards. There are three Par 5’s to contend with and the greens are on the small side. They will be running at 12 on the stimpmeter.

This week will be about driving accuracy and greens in regulation. The course was designed around the traditions of Scottish Links Golf. With only 70 players teeing it up this week and no cut mark we can expect to see some very competitive golf.

The Bookies Top 5 in betting are- 6/1 Tiger Woods, 12/1 Adam Scott, 14/1 Henrik Stenson, 16/1 Phil Mickelson and 18/1 Justin Rose.

The two players who stand out this week are-

Steve Stricker 20/1

What else can you say about the World No.10 that has not already been said? He is playing a limited schedule this season and still chalks up the big results. How many players on tour can say that their worst result this season was a T38th? Not to many!

Check out his form this season. Eleven starts for no missed cuts. Nine Top 25’s and six Top 10’s which includes three times as a runner up. Two of those results were early in the season at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and WGC Cadillac Championship. The other was at his last start in the Deutsche Bank Championship.

The University of Illinios Alumni resides in Wisconsin so he will feel right at home this week.

Stats wise his game is perfect for this course. 7th in driving accuracy, 2nd in greens in regulation, 9th in strokes gained putting, 4th in birdie average, 2nd in scoring average, 5th in ball striking and 8th in scrambling.

I would be very surprised if Steve is not up there on the leader board heading into Sunday. At 20/1 he represents an excellent each way proposition.

Graham DeLaet 40/1 

Graham started the season ranked No.182 in the World. He is now 34th and looking at improving that number this week.

24 starts, 19 made cuts, 12 Top 25’s and 7 Top 10’s. Those are great numbers.

Check out his form so far in the FedExCup play offs. T2nd The Barclays and 3rd Deutsche Bank Championship. Who else can show those type of numbers for the last two events? In his last eight rounds of golf he has posted rounds in the 60’s in seven of those!

With stats like 3rd in greens in regulation and 28th in driving accuracy you can expect to see DeLaet enjoying himself this week. Then you can add in 20th in driving distance, 1st in ball striking, 14th in birdie average and 20th in scoring average and you have yourself a golfer in tip shape who is over the odds at 40/1.

Good Luck and Good Punting.