UA-33754892-1 Archives for 13 July 2014 | Jason Kelly Golf

Jason Kelly Golf

Golf Betting Tips

The Open Championship

This years Open Championship comes from Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England. It was last played here in 2006 when Tiger dominated in dry, fast conditions shooting 270, 18 under par, to claim his third Open and his first away from St. Andrews. Hoylake and St Andrews are the only two par 72s on the Open rota. Tiger played the 16 par 5s that week in 14 under despite never hitting driver on any of them. This year it is set to be a tougher test. It has been a wet spring and the course will be greener, softer and with thicker rough. It will still be relatively fast though and won’t play the 7312 yards on the card, up 54 yards from 2006.

The prevailing wind is westerly, coming in off the Irish Sea. This makes 9 holes play in a crosswind which will put an emphasis ball striking and controlling shot shapes. Otherwise Hoylake offers an even mix of draw and fade holes. If the wind does come up off the sea it will be heavy and really effects the ball, so creativity and imagination becomes paramount. Landing shots 50 yards short of the green and running them in is something that, for many, only happens once a year and can be tricky to get used to. However, winds are forecast to be light. Thursday and Friday are set to be hot with a mild breeze, perfect for golf. The weekend could see showers with the wind picking up to 12mph on Sunday and occasionally gusting stronger, not a big deal but forecasts don’t mean too much on the British coasts. They have been wrong before, as have I!

Another thing the players don’t get tested with week in week out is tight, firm lies. It is pretty much unique to links courses these days with overwatering and American style, lush courses more the trend. The greens tend to be slower too, so don’t underestimate the importance of being able to hit putts solid.

So that’s the sort of profile we need to look for to find a good links player. Perhaps we have left out driving. You have to drive it good. Thick rough, gorse bushes and pot bunkers loom. The punishment can be severe and life is a lot less stressful on the fairway. Hence, if it gets fast then a lot of irons will be hit from the tee. But what about more specific to Hoylake?

Well, we have touched upon the importance of the par 5s already, that’s where the player has to make his score. They played to an average of 4.52 in 2006. Tiger’s 7 bogies all came on par 4s, he was -3 for the par 3s. Players averaged 66% of greens, a pretty generous clip but conditions were perfect. Scrambling was the tough stat. Players saving par just 43.53% of the time.

My 10 most likely to win, in order, are Adam Scott (16/1), Bubba Watson (50/1), Sergio Garcia (25/1), Dustin Johnson (40/1), Zach Johnson (50/1), Kevin Na (150/1), Matt Kuchar (40/1), John Senden (150/1), Justin Rose (14/1) and Keegan Bradley (100/1).

Lets get rid of Justin Rose to start with. 14/1 is no price to be backing him at. Of course his back to back wins at Congressional and Royal Aberdeen are very impressive. Winning back to back is something he has never done before. Three in a row is a huge ask and his Open record is surprisingly poor. Three missed cuts and a 44th in his last four. He is putting a lot better than he has for a long time, obviously, and the line on the back of the ball is helping him strike his putts better but I really don’t like the way he is driving it. He ranks 132rd in driving accuracy and he will need to be better here and more irons from the tee will help. For me he should not be favourite, I would have him nearer 25/1 in this line up. The two wins and being a Brit liable to a patriotic punt have contracted the price in way too far, in my view.

Garcia I really like for this, his game sets up so well and he is playing great. Nobody could begrudge Sergio a Claret Jug, he deserves one at least one. The only reason I can’t back Sergio is because this market offers so much value. It really is a delight and a rarity to see so many quality players at great value prices. Garcia has a big chance but 25/1 about a guy I rate as a 25/1 chance isn’t great when there’s better so many value plays to be had.

Matt Kuchar is another like Garcia. 9 top 10s this year, all his stats are great and he looks a perfect fit. He certainly has the temperament and patience to deal with the bad breaks, poor weather and other tests The Open tends to throw at players. One has to remember, good fortune plays a huge role at The Open. Kuch only made one cut in his first seven Opens but has finished 9th and 15th the last two years. I would have him at 33/1 and you can back him at 40/1. Not bad, but not good enough.

Adam Scott is the most likely winner for me. He has no weakness and has finished 2nd and 3rd the last two years. He is a big game player and finished 9th last time out at the US Open. He surely has to be in the mix come Sunday afternoon but again, the price is not fancy. I got the world number 1 at 18/1, which he was on Monday, but is now best price 16/1.

I am keen to back Dustin Johnson. He ranks 2nd in par 5 scoring and his stats are beautiful, no real negatives apart from 152nd in driving accuracy which may get negated buy the firm and fast conditions. He is a player that won’t be scared of going out there and having a go. He plays with little fear which is great when things are going well, but dangerous if he isn’t quite on. His Open record is strong too 14-2-9-32. He should have won Clarke’s Open, I refer back to the earlier sentence “One has to remember, good fortune plays a huge role at The Open.” I would have him at 25/1 so 40/1 has a fair bit of appeal.

There is so much value everywhere. I would have Keegan Bradley at 50/1, you can back him at 100/1. He is great value but he just hasn’t got any part of his game really firing. He is solid throughout but something needs to shine if he is going to contend. He has two 4th place finishes in his last four starts, including the US Open, and finished 15th in last year’s Open. Tempting, but there are too many above him in my rankings to back.

John Senden is going to be my big value play. I would have him at 50/1 and 150/1 is available, 175/1 with Boylesports. He has cooled down a little since a real hot spell a couple of months ago but I can’t get away from the fact he ranks 14th in greens in regulation and 12th in putting. This is backed up with very solid stats throughout and although he hasn’t got the best of Open records he is a great wind player, likes firm and fast conditions and is a massively improved putter on recent years.

Zach Johnson missed his last cut in an Open at Hoylake in 2006.... Not a good start, but since then he has two top 10s and another two top 20s. These results are progressive too. 16-9-6 the last 3 years. He has been going through a little bit of quiet spell of late as his normally lethal putter was cold, but it was back to near it’s best last week when finishing 2nd in his beloved John Deere Classic. He plays well in spurts and this looks to be at he start of another. 50/1 available, 30/1 in my book. A question of which Johnson to back, Zach or Dustin. Dustin finished 4th at Pinehurst which shares a lot of characteristics with links. He also ranks marginally higher in my ratings. Zach is a bigger price and represents a smidgen more value, has the recent form and is perhaps more reliable He also has a Major which has to count for something. I would like to back them both. Let’s come back to this.

Bubba Watson for me is the best bet of this years Open. 50/1 is huge. I would have him at 22/1 or 25/1. Links golf is not a perfect fit for him by any means and this is backed up by finishes of mc-mc-30-23-32 in his last 5. What he does have is two wins, two seconds and a third in 2014 including a second green jacket. Formidable. His stats are equally impressive and are a sign of how he has matured as a player. He ranks 3rd in birdie average which is no shock, but what is a shock is he leads bogey avoidance. People see Bubba and they see a quirky long hitter who shapes the ball around. The thing they underestimate is he ranks in the top two of greens in regulation every year. He is solid. He is one of only six players to play a 72 hole event on the PGA Tour bogey free, at Tuscon a number of years ago. He may not have the patience or acceptance to win The Open and that will be the real test but with the forecast weather and a great draw alongside Ernie and Mickelson I expect him to go very well. He is a much improved scrambler and putter this season and can rip up the par 5s. He has the best form on offer and the price is very, very attractive.

Kevin Na is also underestimated and that makes him a bet at 150/1, he would be 60/1 for me. He has made huge leaps up the all around ranking stat the last couple of weeks showing his game is in very good order. He ranks 9th in scoring on the PGA Tour and 2nd in bogey avoidance. The stat I love for this week is his 2nd in scrambling. When courses get tricky, especially in Majors, especially she the heat is on, huge emphasis is placed on scrambling and he ranks 2nd in this stat. Mickelson lead scrambling at last years Open and won, Dufner at last years USPGA and won. Na in his last four starts has finished 2-12-52-13, closing with 65 last week in the final round, bogeying the last, he almost got us paid then! The 12th was in the US Open at Pinehurst where he was 3rd after 36 holes and, like we have already said is an inland links. He has had a taste there and when leading The Players a couple of years going into the final round. Perhaps now he is ready. Well, lets hope he is! He plays with Senden so hopefully they can bounce off each other.

Let’s go back to the battle of which Johnson. I am going to go with Dustin. His 4th at Pinehurst and great stats on a tougher schedule than Zach was the decider. Zach has a ridiculous record at the John Deere and I am relying too much on that to be the start of a run. Dustin plays with Walker and Poulter which is a good draw for him where Zach plays with Kaymer and Day and may get swallowed up. Dustin also has the ability to eat up the par 5s.

The Open Championship

0.5 points each way John Senden @ 150/1 (175/1 with Boylesports) (-1 point)
0.75 points each way Kevin Na @ 150/1 (-1.5 points)

2 points each way Bubba Watson @ 50/1 (-4 points)
1 point each way Dustin Johnson @ 40/1 (-2 points)

Special Bets

2 point double Graeme McDowell to beat Phil Mickelson @ Evs and Sergio Garcia to beat Martin Kaymer @ 10/11. 72 Hole Matchbets (Skybet. Other bookies should lay on request) (+5.64)

is in great form, is so gutsy and ranks number one in putting on the PGA Tour. Won French Open last time out and Mickelson is without a top 10 since last years Open and has played terribly when paired with Bubba in the past. Garcia is a great fit and is well drawn with Fowler and Donald. Kaymer has two big wins this year but his putting is streaky and I think he has the heebee jeeebees with his chipping.

2014 running total =  -15.18 points. This week’s investment 10.5 points. This weeks P&L = -2.86

2013 total - 24.22 points
2012 total +150.36 points
2011 total +370.78 points
2010 total +189.33 points