The Barclays Tips

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Steve Bamford's tips for the 2011 The Barclays. Twitter: @golfbetting

Well, what do you know - Webb Simpson finally delivered for both himself and us at a gentle 20/1 last week! I spotted his potential at the latter end of last year and tipped him at 80/1 for the Timberlake tournament at TPC Summerlin where he should have won but lost in a play-off to Jonathan Byrd. As a golf tipster it’s often the case that you follow players closely and the week you don’t tip them they win, so it was great after some more near misses to grab the “W” with Webb and capture our 4th PGA Tour triumph of the season.

The golfing world has changed massively in 2011 with young bucks such as Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Scott Stallings, Chris Kirk, Brendan Steele, Gary Woodland and Jonny Vegas all grabbing their first PGA Tour tournament victories and who's to say it will stop this week? Well me actually as the start of the FedEx Cup in my opinion will see a shift back towards proven Tour winners and it should be a case of Vive la revolution! at The Barclays this week in New Jersey.

The Barclays is always a tricky tournament to tip around as it’s a nomad event which travels around the best courses in the Big Apple area. Indeed 2012 will see a visit to Bethpage Black (home of the 2009 US Open) with 2013 seeing a return to the spectacular Liberty National opposite Manhattan Island. These venues help in as much that we have previous form to look back at, but this week’s Plainfield Country Club in New Jersey is a completely new venue.

So what do we know about Plainfield? Well it’s a Donald Ross design which received a recent Hanse re-design and plays sub 7,000 yards Par 71. A true novelty on the PGA Tour! Famous Ross tracks include Sedgefield, TPC at River Highlands, Aronimink and East Lake, home of the Tour Championship later in the season. The course itself is hilly in nature with undulating fairways and a number of blind driving and approach shot holes. Bunkers and greens were remodelled by Hanse who created better sight lines (he removed a number of protruding trees) that took the course closer to its Ross roots. Greens like the fairways have undulations and many are domed i.e. taking the ball from green centre into run off areas. New York has received plenty of rain in the build up to the event so expect fairly long rough and greens that will be max 11.5 on the stimp. Most importantly they are Bent/Poa annua in make-up.

Personally I’m thinking it will be similar in make-up to Westchester West course (home of The Barclays/Buick Classic until 2007). Classical in nature, think of it as Aronimink but not quite as difficult. A true second shot golf course where imagination will be required to deliver the decent number of birdies the receptive greens will dictate is required for victory. Weather could also play a part with 15mph winds forecast on Thursday and rain almost a certainty on Sunday.

I’m looking for experienced PGA Tour winners who have a history of playing well on classical courses and I truly believe a “name” will get the job done this week. 188Bet’s No Risk Bet is definitely in-play this week at The Barclays, as it’s perfect for “covering off big guns.” Open an account and they will give you a no lose £25 free bet which is fully refunded if your bet doesn’t pay out. So for the occasional golf punter place £25 on favourite Luke Donald and a win returns £275 at the current price. Second favourite Steve Stricker returns £375 and if your selection does not triumph you get the £25 fully refunded. Backing either Donald or Stricker with effectively 188Bet’s money is what I call a no-brainer!!! Click here for details.

Phil Mickelson 1pt Win 25/1 with 188bet Get a £25 No Lose bet via this link: 188bet

188Bet’s No Lose proposition is also perfect for Phil Mickelson this week and I just have to cover off the best classical golf course player of his generation at 25/1. Mickelson, who finished 2nd (I vowed he will never win the Open Championship earlier this year!) at Sandwich only last month on a quirky, uneven course in tricky conditions offers tremendous value this week so I’m sticking to my strategy of backing him at 16/1 or above at a non Major/WGC event. 3 wins at Augusta, 2 at Colonial, 2 at Riviera on Bent/Poa greens plus 2 victories at the Ross designed East Lake suggest that Plainfield will be right up his alley.

Phil loves playing around New York where he is revered by the fans and the change of course away from the tight Ridgwood to the clearer pastures of Plainfield will suit. Indeed Lefty was 7th at Westchester behind Stricker in 2007 and almost delivered his first US Open win the fanatical “New Yorkers” demanded when 2nd at Bethpage Black in 2009. 18th last time out at the PGA Championship in Atlanta on a course that was truly anti-Mickelson was a great result in my book and his current 6th place in the FedEx Cup standing puts him in the perfect space to push for the overall title, something that is missing from his CV. RESULT: T43

1.25pt EW Jason Day 28/1 with NEW!!! Get up to £150 in free bets via this link:

Pundits were disappointed with Jason Day’s sluggish start to 2011, after all he’d been one of the stars of 2010, delivering his first win at TPC Four Seasons along with another 4 Top 10 finishes, eventually finishing 8th in the FedEx Cup standings after delivering 5th at Ridgwood and 2nd at TPC Boston. However I said at the time that he was peaking for his first full set of Majors the first two of which he knew were on classical Bent greened courses that would suit his game perfectly and I actually tipped him at 50/1 in Houston the week prior to The Masters. Naturally he missed the cut, I never selected him for Augusta the following week and he delivered 2nd at a whopping 175/1.

9th at Hilton Head (impressive on a non-suiting tight track), 6th at TPC Sawgrass (as before) and 5th when defending at TPC Four Seasons (shows a real level of maturity) followed his Augusta result before he cemented his place in the World’s Top 10 with another 2nd behind “Rors” at the classical Congressional. Believe me when I say this guy is the real deal and I’m made up that I can grab the same 28/1 with Stan James this week as they quoted for the PGA Championship where he missed the cut on a track that was never going to suit. 4th on the Bent/poa greens at Firestone 3 weeks back and 5th at Ridgwood last year on the same Bent/poa carpet just adds even more diesel to the flames. RESULT: T13

1pt EW K.J. Choi 66/1 with Ladbrokes Free Bet NEW OFFER! Get a £50 free bet via this link: Ladbrokes Free Bet

An awesome price for a classical course master and if you open an account with Ladbrokes via the link above you’ll get £50 of free-bets as opposed to £25 offer you are seeing all over the British TV right now. Beware this £50 offer is for August ONLY. Choi has had a great 2011 season with a win at The Players being backed up with a further 5 Top 10 finishes. Hardly the stuff of a 66/1 shot. Then you scratch the surface of his season and see the obvious: 7th at Riviera, 6th at Bay Hill, 8th at Augusta and 2nd at Aronimink. All are classical golf courses.

His PGA Tour resume also contains wins at Muirfield and Congressional both in 2007 – this boy Choi can sure play east coast classical courses well. “Big Apple” form ain’t bad either with a 2nd at Westchester West in 2007 followed by 12th on the bent /poa greens at Ridgwood in 2008. But can he really play bent/poa carpet Steve I hear you ask? Well his 2007 Congressional win allied to 3rd (09), 5th (03) and 7th (08 & 11) at the classical Par 71 that’s Riviera suggest affirmative. RESULT: T32

1pt EW Geoff Ogilvy 80/1 with Paddy Power Free Bet £100 In free bets, get it here: Paddy Power Free Bet

Quality often rises to the top of the standings during the 4 weeks of the play-offs, after all nothing motivates a top player more than $7,500,000 tournament prize funds! Australia’s Geoff Ogilvy is horribly under-cooked at 79th in the standings. A MC this week could theoretically see him right on the bubble arriving at TPC Boston so I think the incredibly laid back Arizona resident will be motivated to play well this week. Picking players who will be motivated is paramount in my weekly tips and Ogilvy jumps off the page for another great reason this week. The Presidents Cup means nothing to us here in Europe but with the event being played in Australia for the first time since 1998 at Royal Melbourne GC, qualification is paramount for a player of Ogilvy’s stature in his home nation. With Scott & Day already Aussie “lock ins” there are a further 8 automatic spots in Greg Norman’s team based upon World Golf Rankings and Ogilvy sits just behind Oosthuizen, Ishikawa and Clark in 12th spot…..you can see my thinking here right! With Oosthuizen and Clark non qualifiers for the FedEx Cup play offs and with Allenby, Baddeley and Singh in his rear view mirror, Ogilvy will move into an automatic place in the team with a decent Top 5 in New Jersey this week.

Ogilvy’s form on classical courses is not open for debate (3rd at Augusta and 4th at Shaughnessy in 2011 alone) and a return to the area that yielded his US Open victory in 2006 plus 4th at the very similar Westchester West in 2007 in tandem with Geoff starting to hit more Greens in Regulation recently could well see a “shock” contention in New Jersey this week. RESULT: M/C

0.75pt EW Freddie Jacobson 80/1 with Ladbrokes Free Bet NEW OFFER! Get a £50 free bet via this link: Ladbrokes Free Bet

Steady Freddie was heavily tipped for the PGA Championship 2 weeks back at 90/1. The argument went that his recent form, allied to his long awaited first PGA Tour win at TPC River Highlands (a Donald Ross track) meant that the Florida based Swede had broken into the world’s elite. Contention on a technical Bermuda Atlanta Athletic that would suit was assured……well as you’d expect a level of expectation never suited and MC was the almost inevitable result. However it is absolute fact that the Swede has had a great 2011 with 9th at Bay Hill, 5th at San Antonio, 14th at the US Open, 16th at The Open and an eye catching 11th at Firestone making him one of the most consistent performers in world golf right now.

What really grabs me about Jacobson is his ability to perform in eastern seaboard states. 2010 saw a 12th and a closing 62 down the road in Sedgefield, 2009 brought 11th at Quail Hollow, 6th at Liberty National and 15th at Turning Stone, 2008 brought a 12th at Hilton Head plus a mighty 2nd at Congressional and 2007 saw 5th at Muirfield and 9th in Boston. Not to be outdone 5th at the 2006 Barclays Classic at the similar Westchester West behind Harrington shows that the Swede could pop up again in New Jersey on a course that should certainly suit. RESULT: T32

0.5pt EW Marc Leishman 200/1 with Paddy Power Free Bet £100 In free bets, get it here: Paddy Power Free Bet

This final shout certainly won’t surprise my colleague in tipping crime Paul Williams but of all the things I noticed at Sedgefield last week was Leishman’s return to semi-form. He actually made some putts for the first time since Houston in April and that makes him a dangerous outsider for this event in New Jersey. Regulars will know that I have a soft spot for the talented Australian who I think can become a World Top 50 player and is a player that has delivered profit across 2009 and 2010. 2011 started positively with 9th at Torrey Pines and a contending 3rd at Bay Hill guaranteeing his PGA Tour card for 2012, but since then his game has stalled, hence my excitement in seeing him pop up last week. 200/1 is far too big for a player who loves classical courses as 2nd at Coghill in 2009 plus 2nd at Torrey Pines and 7th at Aronimink in 2010 highlights. He’s certainly worth a speculative £5 of followers' cash this week. RESULT: T32

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:00BST 23.8.11 but naturally subject to fluctuation.

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