It is hard to believe but we are into the 39th week of golf in 2011 and naturally Golf Betting System has been there every step of the way. This week marks your final opportunity to have a punt on the PGA Tour in 2011. The Fall Series as ever has thrown up some decent winners so far with Na (60/1), Molder (40/1) and Crane (66/1). All experienced pros and not a favourite in sight, so be wary Donald and Simpson followers!
Go back through Fall Series 2010 and you’ll also see Robert Garrigus, Jonathan Byrd, Rocco Mediate, Heath Slocum and Bill Haas. A pattern emerges. 1) US players abound 2) All had multiple years on the PGA Tour as a pro 3) All were hungry for victory as they grabbed either a Top 30 Money List position, Top 50 WGR ranking or a 2 Year Tour exemption from a lowly position on the Money List. The Money List No.1 spot is naturally worthy of note, but in my view Donald made the mistake of not appearing last week on St Simons Island and has paid the penalty. He really has to win or at the least finish solo 2nd and hope that Simpson can’t grab a Top 8 position. I wish Luke good luck, but Simpson’s rise from relative obscurity in 2011 is an amazing story.
I won’t waste your time by describing in minute detail the course, suffice it to say the important factors are 1) Two Par 72 based Courses (Palm and Magnolia) 2) Grainy Bermuda Greens 3) Both Palm and Magnolia are Resort courses so easy for PGA Tour professionals. With only light breeze forecast across the 4 dry days expect crazily low scoring. Birdies will abound.
I’m reluctantly dropping both Charles Howell III and Spencer Levin from my tips this week after recent weeks of interest across the Fall Series, but for me there are hungrier players in the field at bigger prices. Howell's form across Bermuda greens over the past 3 years is spectacular but as he sits 25th on the Money List, a place at The Masters and US Open is already assured. Californian Levin is hungry for one of those Top 30 places but I can’t back him at 28/1, i.e. 7/1 for a more likely EW place.
I’ve always been an admirer of Jeff Overton. He’s a real talent who, against the odds, forced Fred Couples' hand when he automatically qualified for the Ryder Cup last year after a summer of high quality golf. He ended 2010 53rd in the World and that world rank allied his Top 30 finish in the PGA Tour qualified him for the World Matchplay, WGC at Doral, WGC at Akron plus the 4 Major Championships in 2011. The effort of earning a place at golf’s top table and the inevitable attention/pressure that went with it has taken its toll this year and Overton started the year poorly and has only started to recover in the latter end of the season. Bermuda green Top 6 finishes at PGA National and last week at the Seaside Course have bookended 8th at TPC Four Seasons and 3rd at Aronimink and, for me, it’s the mark of a quality player that a poor year contains 4 Top 10 finishes across both Bermuda and Bent greens. Jeff will be very much aware that he is due a maiden victory and if achieved at Disney this week it will boost him back onto the verge of the World Top 50, rubber stamp a place in Shanghai plus give him a spot at Kapalua next January. His last 3 appearances here have yielded 6th, 11th and 21st and his 2nd place finish at the Par 72 TPC Louisiana last year adds even more validity to his chances this week in Orlando. RESULT: T37
Stricker’s best mate Jerry Kelly fits the bill perfectly this week in Florida. This experienced pro, like Overton, has delivered 4 Top 10 finishes this year and there is no doubt that Bermuda greens are his best surface. A contending 3rd at PGA National behind Sabbatini in March highlights that Kelly is comfortable in the state of Florida and 13 appearances at Disney have yielded 2 Top 10 finishes and a further 2 Top 20s. Scratch the surface though and the case for Kelly continues to grow in strength. His last win (-14) was at the Florida-style Par 72 of TPC Louisiana in 2009, so his 2 year Tour exemption ends this weekend. His CV also contains 3rd (-19) at Turning Stone (Par 72) last year, 2nd (-12) in Puerto Rico (Bermuda Par 72) in 2008 and 2nd (-21) at Tucson (Bermuda Par 72) in 2006. I’m thinking he likes resort style Par 72s. 20th at Seaside last week took away the rust of a month’s inactivity and a win this week will be the perfect end to a decent 2011 and a great platform to attack the world elite level in 2012. RESULT: T53
“Tommy 2 Gloves” was so right for this tournament that I had him in my team 4 weeks ago! We grabbed some 100/1 EW action on him at TPC Summerlin a few weeks back and you’ll be glad to hear it's situation normal i.e. the North Carolina boy will still be motivated to win his first PGA Tour tournament on a course that’s absolutely perfect for his crazily attacking style of golf. His goal is a place in the Money List Top 30 and the Augusta/US Open places that go with it and on Twitter he’s fully aware that a Top 5 delivers his target. It’s also situation normal in that he’s overpriced at 66/1 EW. 8th after leading into the back nine at TPC Scottsdale, 3rd in New Orleans, 3rd at Hilton Head and 7th at Annandale with an aggregate score of -57. He pushed Webb Simpson all the way(-14) at Sedgefield in August before his -18 total delivered 3rd in Nevada. Enough said. RESULT: M/C
Adding to this team of American pros is 3-time PGA Tour winner John Rollins who, like Jerry Kelly, will have to be monitored closely moving forward from this week on the basis that he is just about to exit his 2 year PGA Tour exemption period for winning at Montreaux (Par 72) in 2009. “Streaky” and “savvy” are the perfect descriptions for the Virginian who is now based in Texas and I’m seeing glimpses that he’s interested in grabbing his 4th PGA Tour title and the guaranteed exemption that goes with it. It’s fact that Rollins has no real interest in climbing the golfing ladder, instead he focuses on maximising his talent and grabbing results wherever it’s possible. He likes to play well on courses where low scores are required and sure enough he popped up with 2nd at River Highlands (-19) back in June, then resurfaced in California a fortnight back with 6th. All 3 of his victories have been on low scoring Par 72s – Angus Glen (-17/2002), Turning Stone (-19/2006), Montreaux (-17/2009) and Rollins likes Disney and as he’s delivered 5th and 6th places in 9 appearances. I’m on Rollins stealth alert this week. RESULT: T6
Stroud let us down last week with a MC but as I’ve learnt to my cost over the 3 seasons of public tipping one bad performance means little when the reasoning behind the original tip is correct. What really attracts me to Stroud again this week is his pre-McGladrey Bent/Bent Poa form-line of 15 (CordeValle) – 22 (Cog Hill) – 42 (Boston) – 18 (Plainfield) following on from a tremendous 6th at the classical Aronimink test back in July. In reality Bent is Stroud’s secondary surface and he should welcome a return to the Bermuda greens he considers home – he’s delivered Top 10s at a whole host of Bermuda Resort courses like La Cantera, Greyhawk, TPC Louisiana and Annandale plus 4th at the Mayakoba Classic this year. 10th (10) and 12th (11) place finishes at TPC Sawgrass allied to 7th (10) and 10th (08) here at Disney highlight to me a 5th year pro who is comfortable on Bermuda in Florida. 2011 has been Stroud’s best ever season (he sits 82nd on the Money List) and I’m thinking Stroud is ready for a serious contending performance this week to grab the Top 70 finish he deserves. RESULT: M/C
This tournament has a habit of throwing up contending performances from players who sit outside the Top 125 or even the Top 150, so I’m finally having a small Top 10 punt on a player who is playing for his future this week:
The time for excuses is over for Augusta-based Virginian Vaughan Taylor. The 2-time PGA Tour victor (both interestingly on the Par 72 at Montreaux) is out of exemptions and after a terrible season sits 148th on the Money List. A finish in the Top 150 and the partial status that goes with it is the minimum requirement for Taylor this week so a Top 10 is absolutely essential. 2006 and an appearance at the Ryder Cup must seem a long way off, but Taylor has always had a habit of delivering on Par 72s as 2nd at Houston (10), 2nd Turning Stone (09), 8th at Palm Springs (08), 2nd down the road at The Conservatory (08) and 3rd at Bay Hill (07) indicate vividly. PGA Tour Qualifying beckons and The Nationwide Tour is a real possibility if Taylor doesn’t get his act together this week.
Odds and bookmakers offers correct 19:30BST 18.10.11 but naturally subject to fluctuation.