Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson are the respective favourites to win on the US and European Tours this week. The former has won a major while the latter is looking to become the first Swede to win one the four most prestigious prizes in golf. The OnParProfits service is on a difficult run but we are opposing the favourites this week with some big price outsiders which could see us boost overall profits significantly.
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We had a great run at the start of the season but it’s fair to say we need a decent priced winner to get back on track. The fancied players are worth taking on and the service has tips between 25 and 100 to one.
Rose won the US Open last year thus becoming the first English player to win a major since Sir Nick Faldo won the US Masters in 1996. Faldo is the most winning English player in the majors. Rose is unlikely to match his total of six but at least he has one in his tally, unlike Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Ian Poulter.
It must be galling for Westwood and Donald that they played their best golf of the season in the week after the Masters. Westwood would probably swap a dozen Malaysian Opens for that elusive major. He is the only player in the history of the sport to finish in the first three in each major without winning one.
Tee to green Westwood is still one of the best players in the world but his putting has let him down so many times in majors. He holed some putts in Malaysia which meant his all round game led to a win by seven shots. The quality of the field was well below that in a major but a Westwood in the form of last week must surely win one of the big prizes.
Donald looked the most likely winner of the RBC Heritage for much of the week but was finally thwarted by Matt Kucher who overhauled him with a final round of 64 strokes. Donald missed the cut at Augusta where Poulter had moderate week. He bizarrely said he could have won if he had played the par 5 better.
Jonas Blixt has won twice on the US Tour and could beat Stenson to win a major for Sweden. He has been placed in two majors now and clearly has the game to compete at the highest level. The next logical care step for Stenson is to win a major but he had a disappointing US Masters which he began on form as just about the best player in the world. He won the Race to Dubai and FedEx Cup last season and his caddie said he hardly missed a shot in three months.
The China Open is this week’s event on the European Tour but on a new course so there is no course form to assess. The length of the holes and the nature of the fairways suggests this is a track that puts a premium on accuracy over distance. Stenson is on the top 40 in both disciplines but across both tours.
Betting in a golf tournament at a new venue is always difficult and unfamiliarity with surroundings often leads to big priced winners in such tournaments. We are the left with current form and skills profiles to identify potential winners. Stenson looks too short for a player not in great form and bets should be taken from further down the list of bookmakers’ prices.
The Zurich Classic of New Orleans is being place at TPC Louisiana for the seventh successive year so there is plenty of course form to assess. At 7425 yards it is above average in length by modern standards. Despite its length the course puts premium on accuracy over distance. The course presents a good all round test and certainly the big hitters don’t dominate as might be expected on a course more than 7400 yards long.
The Bermuda greens are below average in size. Approaches are made challenging by 13 acres of fairway bunkers and over 70 pot bunkers some of which guard lay-up areas as well as greens. Low scores can often come when the wind is at its strongest early in the tournament so tough pin positions are used as protection especially in benign conditions.
Last season the course was the seventh easiest par 72 on Tour. The champion, Billy Horschel, was second for greens in regulation, fourth in proximity to the hole and third in stokes gained putting. He also had the most birdies in the field which indicates good putting as well as accuracy is required to contend. Horschel excels on courses that require accuracy more than distance and his excellent profile suggests he can make a successful defence.
Rose is playing in the tournament for the seventh time so he has accumulated plenty of course form. He has recorded three top 20s, including in the last two renewals. He took last week off after finishing tied 14th in the Masters which means he has finished in the top 15 twice in his last three starts. He is one of three players in the top 30 in the betting to have won a major so is the class act in a moderate field.
Freddie Jacobsen is another Swedish player with the ability to win a major. His chances might now be beyond but is proven at the level of this week’s Zurich Classic and has plenty of current form in his record. His lack of course form may be a problem but he has made his last four cuts with ease and is currently fourth in the States for strokes gained putting.
The better players now plan their season around the four majors. Rose and Stenson are in the group of players that can win one and events like the Zurich Classic and China Open are probably seen as part of preparation for the US Open. Rose and Stenson look false favourites in a week that could see huge rewards for achieving the Holy Grail of golf betting, the Transatlantic Double.
On Par Profits