UA-33754892-1 Archives for 31 May 2015 | Jason Kelly Golf

Jason Kelly Golf

Golf Betting Tips

Nordea Masters, The Memorial Tournament and Greater Dallas Open

Last week showed further encouragement. It was very close to being a nice pay day. Wiesberger went very close in Ireland at 80/1. He was up there the whole week and played solid on Sunday but holed very little on the greens. He made a big putt on 16 from off the green which was good enough to get into a playoff with Kjeldsen and Pepperell. Unfortunately a wayward drive on the first extra meant he couldn’t match Kjeldsen’s birdie. We won 15 points with the impressive Austrian.

Elsewhere players threatened but couldn’t consolidate. An was out of position after day 1 in Ireland but clawed his way back through the field before faltering a little on Sunday. He showed us his undoubted quality again though. Grillo played nicely on Thursday before slowly drifting back through the field as the week went on.

In the States it was like we had backed three players attached to elastic bands. Every time they would get near the lead the band would tighten and pull them back into mid division. Koepka is such a good player in full flow but, a little like McIlroy, he doesn’t have the short game to save the bad days. English, didn’t make the mistakes that Koepka did but couldn’t make the birdies to keep up. Wilcox truly outperformed his price of 200/1 and, like Koepka, saw himself briefly inside the top 5 on Sunday before slipping back. He is one to keep an eye on when he gets a start.

On to this week. We have two decent events to look at. Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament and the Nordea Masters from PGA Sweden National near Malmö. Lets look at The Memorial first.

A strong field has assembled in Dublin, Ohio. More out of respect to Nicklaus I would imagine rather than the honouring of Sir Nick Faldo. (They honour one or more figures from the game each year at this event.) Spieth once again heads the betting. He faltered when in contention last week to finish 35th and finished 19th here last year but there is still no doubt he is a worthy favourite. The two events he has just played in Texas came with separate pressures and distractions for the native Texan, here he can have a singular focus back. His game has no weakness at the moment. He has a great attitude and his iron play and statistics on and around the green are as good or better than anyone right now. Driving may be his ‘least strength’. Driving is not so important at Muirfield Village. It is lenient from the tee and although the par 5s are vital to take advantage of, Luke Donald has shown us in the past that you don’t need to drive it well to milk the par 5s. I expect him to go very well again, he ticks nearly all the boxes and even at a single figure price (8/1) is tempting.

Other players I like, in order, after Spieth, are Jason Day, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Thomas, Matt Kuchar, Brooks Koepka, Kevin Na, Dustin Johnson, Shawn Stefani, Brendan Steele, Patrick Reed and Harris English.

Jason Day has been fairly quiet of late and also has poor form in this event. This is strange as it should suit him perfectly. Lenient from the tee, firm fast greens with an emphasis on touch around the tricky greens. It’s perfect for him. He is long but not straight, hits it higher than anyone and has great touch on and around the greens. He is available at 25/1 this week, 28/1 in a place. Whenever Day gets to that sort of price in any field he is worth a long look, when it is on a course that should suit he is worth backing, especially coming back off a break. The only concern is the fact he withdrew last week on the Wednesday due to dizziness. This may have just been a reason to get away from an event which was going to be badly effected by rain.

Hideki Matsuyama defends this week. We backed him for weeks leading up to this last year but failed to put him on the betting slip when he finally got off the mark. There’s plenty to like about him this year too. He has 7 top 10s already this season, ranks 9th in greens in regulation, 10th in scrambling and 3rd in bogey avoidance. The only real concern is a rank of 131st in putting. These are fast greens with plenty of swing, his putting rank this time last year was much higher. Having said this it is the greens in regulation guys that tend to do well here. Guys that get it on the correct side of the hole and avoid the horrible short game challenges this course can throw at you.

Look at the past winners, Matsuyama, Kuchar, Woods (5 times), Striker, Rose, Kenny Perry (3 times), Choi, Petterson, Bryant, Els, Furyk, Couples, Singh, Tom Watson, Norman, Lehman etc. These guys are all, perhaps with the exception of Stricker, notorious green finders. Kenny Perry’s three wins is the biggest key. He lead ball striking 6 out of the 10 years during the 2000’s on the PGA Tour. This year’s top 10 ball strikers are Jim Herman, McIlroy, Matsuyama, Wilcox, Stenson, Glover, Scott, Horschel, Simpson and Swafford.

Out of these Herman, Matsuayama, Glover, Horschel and Swafford are on display this week. Herman is an interesting one. He is 200/1 as ranks 132nd in putting and has nothing better than a 13th this season and only has four top 10s in his PGA Tour career. But he was born and went to College in Ohio, he is tempting as has similar stats to Matsuayama but a more attractive price. Matsuyama obviously has better form, pedigree and is defending champ but Herman may be worth a punt. Matsuyama fits the bill but 22/1 appears to be a little short in a quality line up. Glover is 300/1 but should be as he ranks last in putting. Horschel is 45/1 and looks to be getting close to his best again, he played well at Sawgrass a couple of weeks ago. Interestingly, the FedEx Champ, using the old style stats of greens and fairways etc looks like he has great stats but he ranks 115th in strokes gained tee to green. This is partly due to his scrambling rank of 109 and partly because when he does miss, he misses big. Not for me at the price. Swafford is 250/1 and has tidy all around stats, not spectacular but solid. His form is hit and miss too. 19 events played, one top 10, five top 25s and 9 missed cuts. Interestingly he finished 11th at Bay Hill and 12th at New Orleans which I don’t see too different from this, especially Bay Hill. He looks well worth a chance. So from this let’s add Herman and Swafford to our list of contenders.

Justin Thomas is young, long, confident and aggressive. I think there is a fair bit of value in the 60/1 available too. This is, again, a great fit for him. He makes a lot of birdies and has returned 5 top 10s in 20 starts this season. My main concern with Thomas is he has played a very easy schedule and it therefore is difficult to really get a grasp of what his stats equate to. There are some storms forecast, but Muirfield Village could play firm, fast and tough the first couple of days which may not be ideal. He has played his best golf when scoring has gone into the middle teens under par.

Matt Kuchar won here well in 2013. At that point he was the most consistent golfer in the world. He is not now. He is still putting and scrambling unbelievably well but he has to, his ball striking, by his standards, is appalling. 143rd in distance, 98th in accuracy and 117th in greens is not going to get much done. The fact he has a 2nd, a 3rd and an 8th in 15 starts is testament to his ability to grind, more than anything else. He will need to improve to win this and the leniency from the tee gives him a chance, but there are much better options around the 25/1 mark, like Day and Matsuyama.

We touched upon Brooks Koepka’s poor scrambling earlier. His raw talent and ball striking ability does neutralise this weakness, and actually leaves plenty left over for greatness too. We have already backed him to win the Money List and this could go some way towards that, but ultimately that will be decided during the next few months with the Majors and WGCs. But I like his chances this week. The end result from last week doesn’t show the whole story. He finished 16th but was in the top 5 before 2 late bogies. At The Players he shot 78, 67 to miss the cut but made back to back quads on 17 and 18 in round 1. This is his story the last few weeks. He is playing well enough but just lacking the consistency. Some of this is due to a weakish short game, some due to occasional erratic drives. His style of power hitting is always going to leave him vulnerable to the occasional big number, but all in I like his chances this week. The lenience from the tee helps, but the fact there have only been two first time winners in since 1976 is concerning. Roger Maltbie won the first Memorial and Matsuyama last year. Koepka won the WM Phoenix Open on debut earlier this year. I like him at 55/1 and he will be motivated by the Nicklaus connection, he appreciates golf’s history and traditions.

Kevin Na lost in a playoff to Matsuyama last year. His recent form, course form and stats give him a good chance. But I don’t like the amount of times he hasn’t been able to cross the winners line and I don’t like his claw putting action under pressure. 40/1 isn’t for me.

Dustin Johnson is statistically is very strong, if you remove his putting stats. He has three top 20s in his last three at Muirfield Village but these could have been so much better if he avoided a few big numbers. It was the same last week. Lots of very impressive golf marred by some big mistakes, like his triple on number 6 in the final round. I think he will go well, he certainly hits it well enough to go close, but at 12/1 there are still too many questions that need to be answered.

Shawn Stefani is 100/1 and well priced. He does so much so well but until he tightens up his short game he can’t be backed. He ranks 162nd in scrambling and has funky technique. Down the stretch, when he inevitably misses greens, it is going to be a horror show. He will be useful in matchbets but not one to be with on the outrights, yet.

Brendan Steele is another with a hugely impressively long game. He hits it big and finds a lot of greens in regulation. He finished second in the Humana this year (a notoriously easy test of resort courses in a pro am format), 8th in the Texas Open and 9th at the Wells Fargo. He has finished 51-62-MC-MC here and if you have a BET365 account you should take the 150/1, but at 100/1 general I think he is priced about correctly. (If you do have a BET365 account also consider taking Reed @ 10/11 to beat Kevin Kisner over 72 holes).

Hmmmm, my old friend Patrick Reed. He hasn’t rewarded us well so far and his form appears to have dived somewhat, but he keeps plugging away, he keeps playing. I like this 24 year old, 200 pounder, with a face out of the Wonder Years’ attitude. He’s a fighter that will always give you 100%. When you look at the bear bones of it you can see his weakness’ in the 196th in driving accuracy and 119th in greens in regulation. But one has to wonder how much the poor driving is linked to the greens number. I think it is fairly substantial. We see him hit loads of great irons when in position. He sometimes starts aiming a long way right but is aware of this fault and corrects it fairly quickly. He debuts here which, as mentioned, is not a good thing but 50/1, 60/1 with Coral, looks just about fair. A more interesting, well at least perhaps a better way, to get with Reed is in the first round leader market. Reed ranks 2nd in round 1 scoring compared to 106th in final round scoring. He is 50/1 to be first round leader. That’s a bet.

Harris English, as I mentioned last week, is very solid all around. He has always hit it great and his putting is heading in a very positive direction. 24th is a great ranking for him in this category. His form is ok, not spectacular but he does have a 2nd, a 3rd and another top 10 in 17 starts this season. He ranks 21st in driving distance, 29th in greens, 24th in putting, 11th in scoring, 14th in ball striking and 23rd in scrambling. This level of consistency makes the 100/1 look huge.

So to conclude. It is very difficult to separate Matsuyama and Day. I am going to go with the neither. If I had to pick one it would be Matsuyama purely as his recent and course form are better and he matches the profile of past winners (including himself) closer. His putting is a concern. I expect Day to go well too after a break but I don’t particularly want to back them win only with Spieth in the field. There is not enough place value to back either of them each way. Koepka and English are selected again and look a lot better than their prices suggest. Swafford and Herman are two players who should enjoy this set up at a big price, but one has to feel winning this is beyond them. They look good value to finish in the top 20, both at 8/1.

Fortunately I think the Nordea is perhaps an easier question to answer. Stenson should win at 5/1. He has had a couple of weeks off, finished 2 shots out of the playoff last year and should be able to enjoy fair conditions. The only question when you look at his European stats are his putting and scrambling, where he ranks 131st and 74th respectively, but look back at his more accurate and more recent US stats and 51st in scrambling and 16th in putting would see him comfortably get the job done here. He is easily the best player in the field and if he plays to form someone would have to get very hot to beat the world number four. Even at 5/1, the only thing I see stopping him is the weather, which isn’t forecast to be poor, just cold Thursday and Friday leading into a pleasant weekend.

Elsewhere I like Grillo again but think 25/1 is too short. I quite like Maximilian Kieffer too, but again, I think 40/1 is an overreaction to his performance last week in Ireland. I do like two at bigger prices though as a bit of value to play alongside Stenson. I think Tjaart Van Der Walt at 125/1 and Andrew McArthur at 150/1.

Van Der Walt has an 11th a 3rd and an 8th already this season. Admittedly these were all co-sanctioned events with his home Sunshine Tour. This will be his first event in Europe this season and I imagine he will be very keen to take advantage of it. He is worth a chancing.

McArthur is similar. He has played two main tour events this season finishing 34th and 13th. On the Challenge Tour he has finished 20-2-3. The second was in Denmark (Scandinavian form) and the third in the Czech Challenge last week. They are both long shots but worth keeping on side.

The Memorial Tournament

1 point each way Harris English @ 100/1
1 point each way Brooks Koepka @ 55/1

1 point Jim Herman to finish in the Top 20 @ 8/1
1 point Hudson Swafford to finish in the Top 20 @ 8/1
0.5 points each way Patrick Reed to be First Round Leader @ 50/1

(if you have a BET365 account you should take the 150/1 about Brandan Steele and also bet Patrick Reed @ 10/11 to beat Kevin Kisner over 72 holes)

Nordea Masters

5 points win Henrik Stenson @ 5/1
0.5 points each way Tjaart Van Der Walt @ 125/1
0.75 points each way Andrew McArthur @ 150/1

Greater Dallas Open

1 point each way Wes Roach @ 40/1

2015 running total =  -43.61 points. This week’s investment 16.5 points. This weeks P&L = -16.5 points

(Already advised)

US Money List 2015

1.5 points each way Hideki Matsuyama @ 80/1
0.5 points each way Brooks Koepka @ 150/1

The Open
1.5 points each way Bubba Watson @ 40/1

2014 total -103.98 points
2013 total - 24.22 points
2012 total +150.36 points
2011 total +370.78 points
2010 total +189.33 points
5 Year Total +582.27 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.