The PGA Tour moves onto Memphis this week as we enter the final few hurdles before the US Open makes its big mark on the season. Do check out our 1st preview when it’s published in a few days!
Basically, the players are now just gearing up for Chambers Bay, using the next couple of weeks as a warm up and for some this will be their last outing before that next major.
The field isn’t particularly mouth-watering, but there’s still enough big names to get the juices flowing – Dustin Johnson (who considering what the course is like, miraculously won here in 2012!), Phil Mickelson (again, decent form considering his wayward tee game), Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka, Harris English et al are some of the ‘bigger names’ at the event.
TPC Southwind is an unusual track in some ways, because it can certainly cause players difficulty with it’s abundance of lakes, ponds and hazards in general. However, on the surface it doesn’t look like a place that should be too challenging.
The Par 70 stands at 7,239 yards and requires the ball to be kept in play. Looking at the players who have won here in recent history, you can see that they’ve had their iron game in absolute control, as well as being hot with the putter.
Ben Crane, English and DJ all struck the ball beautifully during their wins, whilst found the knack of holing putts. When we look at last years stats, there are correlations with accuracy and putting – barring Matt Every who finished in a tie for 3rd, everyone inside the top 6 were consistent across the board for driving accuracy, GIR and putting.
Interestingly. Only Brian Harman finished outside the top 30 for putting stats from the guys who were inside the top 11…
It’s also worth keeping in mind that scrambling could play a part from around the difficult greens, because obviously you aren’t going to hit the dance floor 100% of the time!
Webb Simpson (18/1 various)
Webb Simpson is obviously one of the favourites and understandably so considering his recent outing and finish here last year. For those of you that follow us regularly, you will know that we rarely go for the top end of the market, but this time it’s too appealing.
When it comes to requirements for this track, Webb fits the majority of them. He is 11th in total driving and 19th for GIR, which is simply the perfect tee to green combination for Southwind.
We all know how impressive he can be with his irons. Last time out at the Wells Fargo he finished top of the driving accuracy stats for the week and 38th for GIR.
But the big mark against him at the moment is his putting, however this is the main reason we have decided we want to go with him… He finished 11th for total putting at Quail Hollow ending the tournament in a tie for 2nd.
That is much better form and shows he actually started holing some putts. If he can bring that here, he’ll be in a fantastic position to challenge – plus he finished T3 on this track last year…
Luke Donald (40/1 Coral)
Now, considering the 40/1 price, this is a risky bet. However, Luke Donald just has that duel feeling of ‘what if’ and ‘close but no cigar.’
The Englishman has been pretty average for quite a while now and without his absolutely ridiculous short game, he would have missed cuts galore.
And that is the main reason we fancy him this week. At the BMW he was simply awful at time off the tee – but his scrambling, touch and putting saved him on several occasions.
Moving on one week, he looked a bit better tee to green and that got us thinking he might have a say come the end of the tournament.
He finished in a tie for 18th and on the Sunday he was 11th for driving accuracy, 26th GIR and 10th putts per round, whilst on the Saturday he was 18th driving accuracy, 15th GIR and 19th putts per round.
If that doesn’t make you want to go there, nothing ever will.
Scott Pinckney (90/1 Coral)
Scott Pinckney seems like a very interesting outsider this week. He is only 26 years old and spent some time over in Europe with not a great deal of success, but he is still a promising talent.
He’s supposedly mates with the world number one – not hugely sure how that helps – but we have seen 4 top 12’s since March which is decent form for anyone.
But last time out he shot 2 64’s at the Byron Nelson to finish in a tie for 2nd which is very exciting.
He’s 97th for driving accuracy, 54th for GIR and 42nd strokes gained putting and simply seems like a decent pick considering the field and odds!
Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly. It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters! We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.
It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets. Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.
Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows –
£3.50 e/w on Webb Simpson at 18/1 (PaddyPower 6 Places)
£1.00 e/w on Luke Donald at 40/1 (StanJames)
£0.50 e/w on Scott Pinckney at 90/1 (Coral)
Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.
Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)
Current Standings after 19 weeks
DownThe18th Golf Monthly
European Tour: £-71.95 European Tour: £-50.62
PGA Tour: £-25.94 PGA Tour: £23.75
Total: £-97.89 Total: £-26.87
Golf Monthly leads by: £70.02