UA-33754892-1 Archives for 15 July 2012 | Jason Kelly Golf

Jason Kelly Golf

Golf Betting Tips

The Open

All in our runners last week did us proud. Ben Crane shot three great rounds in the John Deere but his third round 73 was a killer. You can’t be shooting over par rounds in events where the scoring goes deep. He finished 13th. Phil Mickelson was also in great form, but again, only for two of the four rounds. He looked to be nailed on for a place entering the final round and, especially after his second and third round performances, had a legitimate chance of winning. However, he struggled in the wind on day four and finished well down. Alex Noren made it a profitable week for us. It was torture to see him miss from 3ft at the last to get in the playoff but as a friend of mine said, “If you got a bit of yip in you it will come up when you have to make one!” And he did look surprisingly nervous for someone who appears so determined and confident with the rest of his game. Anyway, we posted a 10.5 point profit on the week elevating us to +157.23 for the year or £1572.30 to a £10 stake.

So, the small matter of The Open this week. One’s initial thought is picking a winner here is like entering a four day lottery draw. How can you factor in all the elements to be confident enough to part with your money? The British weather, the brutal rough, the links bounces, the luck of the draw etc. But I think an Open at Lytham looks fair game. The draw is going to have more of an influence on a players chances this week than most other weeks. If the wind picks up one afternoon or a storm rolls in it could be the end of a players chances. But the weather looks poor for the whole week. It is forecast to be windy with showers all the way through with the possible exception of Sunday when the wind changes direction. The most reassuring thing for me is the quality of past Champions at Lytham. Bobby Jones, Bobby Locke, Peter Thompson, Bob Charles, Tony Jacklin, Gary Player, Seve, Tom Lehman and David Duval. Seve, Lehman and Duval where world number ones, the others, with the exception of Bob Charles would have been the best players in the world for a time in their careers.

I appreciate the conditions won’t be the barmy, warm, bouncy, dusty, dry conditions that we associate with previous Lytham Opens. It is wetter, it is greener, the rough is higher and thicker, the fairways narrower, the greens are smaller, the course is longer and the par is one less than any previous Open at Lytham. Still I think class will out and I oppose the view that it is set up for an unknown to come through and steal the Claret Jug.

I think ball striking, course management, experience and patience are, as always, the key to winning The Open. It is going to be a tough test and the winner will have to drive the ball extremely well not only to avoid the brutal rough and 206 bunkers but also to milk the par 5’s, which is where you score here. The 6th has changed to a par 4 this year but will still play like a par 5. Duval was -10 for the twelve par 5’s in 2001 and posted a -10 total. Also the scoring will come mainly on the front nine so be cautious in backing someone in running just because they have made a good start.

Ok, the players I like are Keegan Bradley (125/1), Bo Van Pelt (100/1), Jason Dufner (50/1), Bubba Watson (70/1), John Senden (150/1), Lee Westwood (16/1), Justin Rose (33/1), Zach Johnson (80/1), Tiger Woods (9/1) and Matt Kuchar (66/1).

Lets eliminate
Keegan Bradley first. He drives the ball great and appears fearless under the gun. He has a strong understanding and knowledge of The Open which will help compensate for his lack of experience and that’s what I like about him. The downside for me is he has been making some big numbers on relatively easy courses of late which does not bode well on a course which will reward a steady plodder.

Bo Van Pelt, a great player playing well. Very consistent this year. I think he is good enough to win but I am not sure he is canny enough. I am just not sure how well he will manufacturer shots in the conditions and is therefore dismissed.

Jason Dufner is my first pick. I know he has a poor Open record, two missed cuts in two starts. Ok, yeap, he has a bad Open record! But he is a different player now. In his last five starts he has two wins, a second and a fourth (in the US Open). That is some serious form. The fact he ranks 16th in fairways hit, 6th in greens in reg, 2nd in birdie average and 4th in scoring is further reassurance. 50/1 seems fair to me on that evidence.

Bubba Watson is interesting runner. Physically he can definitely win but I am not sure he has the fighting attitude and patience required. 70/1 looks big but best left alone.

John Senden is pick number two. He finished outright 4th last week in the John Deere, his first start since finishing 10th in the US Open. He ranks 5th in ball striking, 5th in greens in regulation and 19th in total driving. He has an awful Open record as well but this has to be built into the price. He has experience, patience and knows how to plot is way around tough courses. If he putts well 150/1 could look big.

Lee Westwood will be popular this week and rightly so. The best current player never to win a Major said his Tuesday practice round was the best of his life and his recent Major record, despite not winning, is incredible. He has 8 top 10’s in his last 11 Major starts with 6 of these top 3’s! He is due and it would be great to see. If the wind does not blow too much he must have a stand out chance. The worry is that it does blow and his short game is tested, then I can’t see him winning. For Westwood to win he would need to build a lead that he can go out and defend, he is too conservative and scared of making short game mistakes to truly attack a back 9 on Sunday. It would be great to see him win, he deserves to, but it will be tough and I will not be backing him.

I really like
Justin Rose’s chances this week. For me his playing as well as nearly all the players rated 16-20/1 chances yet Rose is backable at 33/1. This may again be a result of a rather mediocre Open record. His only top 10 finish came in ’98 at Birkdale as an amateur. However, like Dufner, he has really stepped up this year. He has 8 top 10’s world wide and a WGC win to his name this season and, to me, appears to have an ideal Open game. He is drawn with Woods and Garcia which I think is another positive for his chances. He has become a big time player and he should go close this week.

Zach Johnson is maybe the hottest golfer on the planet right now. He has two wins and two seconds in his last 8 starts. Sure he may be mentally tired after winning last week and travelling late but his confidence can overcome these obstacles. He leads the tour in putting, is 19th in driving accuracy, 7th in scoring and birdie average. His low bullet draw and solid short game can go along way this week. 80/1 looks very big to me.

Really the tournament revolves around
Tiger Woods as always. If he plays his best he wins. He is talking a lot about shaping shots to avoid fairway bunkers and things but that may be him bantering the rest. I think if Woods goes out and hits that trap fade with his driver and remains fairly conservative from the tee he should have a great chance. If he tries to be overly aggressive, trying to hit a lot of draws he could drive his way out of contention. He ranks 5th in total driving, 11th in greens, 22nd in putting and 1st in scoring. 9/1 is a little short for me in a tough Open and he has never done particularly well in windy Opens. The most likely winner? Obviously. Am I going to back him? No.

Matt Kuchar proved in The Players Championship at Sawgrass that he enjoys tough courses and at The Masters we saw his shot making ability and steely nerve. 66/1 is also a pretty good price. 13th in greens in regulation and 2nd in scoring average also bode well. My concern is we really have not seen anything inspiring from him since The Players. 15th in Byron Nelson, 26th in the Crowne Plaza, 27th in the US Open and 8th in the Travellers Championship. I fully expect a similar week here. A good, solid tournament without really contending. He is passed over this week.

Other players I had good look at were Els, Mcilroy, Garcia, Donald, Harrington, Mahan, F. Molinari, Fisher and Mcdowell.

I looked at
Ernie Els as his Open record is phenomenal, especially at Lytham where he has finished 2nd in ’96 and 3rd in ’01. Overall he has played 21 and posted no fewer than 12 top 10’s. He also has 5 top 10’s in his last 11 starts. But he is 45/1 and he looked poor last week, his stats are not up to much and he struggles to get over the line.

Rory Mcilroy at 20/1 was certainly worth a look. 2 top 10’s in his last 6 starts but has never really shown ability to deal with bad weather and is talking about playing more conservatively which is against his instinct. Never really worked for Phil Mickelson when he tried it.

Sergio Garcia is another with a great Open record. 7 top 10’s in 15 starts including a top 10 at Lytham in ’01. If he is to win a Major The Open is the most likely and will like it tough but 40/1 is very skinny.

Luke Donald is the worlds number one golfer so has to be considered as tough conditions will give his unreal short game a chance to shine. However, his Open record is not up to much, only 2 top 10’s in 11 starts. The course is tough if you rank 183rd in driving distance, 119th in greens in reg and 115th in total driving. 20/1 is short enough and if he does win expect to see him jump up from 6th in putting!

Padraig Harrington stopped tinkering with his swing he has posted 5 straight top 20’s which is his best form for a long time. Hard to dismiss a two time winner but I will with 3 stats. 1) 132nd in driving accuracy, 2) 151st in greens in reg, 3) 101st in putting. The fact he is 5th in scoring average truly is a testament to his ability to grind. Still I think 20/1 is laughable. He should be 50/1.

Hunter Mahan is the best ball striker on the US Tour. 50/1 is a good price but he ranks 142nd in par 5 scoring and 120th in sand saves so was dismissed. If he minimises his mistakes this week he can go close.

Francesco Molinari has finished runner up the last two weeks and has played some unbelievably good golf. 40/1 is skinny despite being 21st in fairways and 2nd in greens. Also 6 top 10’s in last 10 starts show some serious form but I simply don’t fancy him this week.

Ross Fisher was nearly an ante post pick for The Open. He was 125/1 a few weeks ago but a few shrewdies gobbled it up and was cut to 80/1. He remains at 80/1 mainly due to his final round 78 last week. He has the perfect game for this and is in good form. One to look for in the match bets which, if anything catches the eye, will be on the email this week.

Graeme Mcdowell would have received a pick if he was 50/1+ but 33/1 is short for someone who has not won for a couple of years. He is 2nd in fairways hit and will thrive the tougher it gets. Again, one for the match bets.



The Open Championship

2 pts each way Justin Rose @ 33/1
1.5 pts each way Jason Dufner @ 50/1
1.5 pts each way Zach Johnson @ 80/1
0.5 pts each way John Senden @ 150/1

2012 running total +157.23 points. This weeks investment 11 points

2011 total +370.78 points
2010 total +189.33 points

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My advice comes with a point system to rate the strength of a tip. A 1 point bet means placing your usual stake, so if you would consider your normal bet being £10 then a point signifies £10.

Twitter: @jasonkellygolf