PGA CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING APPROACH by @MattTizzardGolf

Hi all

A reduced article this week of all weeks. It’s been a challenge but I am happy with my plays!

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Last time out with the coupon

A frustrating week and our first blank in a while. Albeit, only 1 of our 6 picks missed the cut. Will Zalatoris actually hit it ok on Thursday and Friday, yet missed the cut due to the familiar issues with his rather long, short stick.

Our 100/1 shots of Lashley & Lipsky both flirted with places over the weekend. Finishing -18 & -17 respectably, I can’t really complain with the process. They both played well, but scoring was easy and they ended up a few shots away from picking up 20u each!

Until that bunker shot on 13, JT looked well in the mix. I certainly will be back on JT at The PGA Championship this week. He finished 5th but I didn’t shoot EW on him.

Therefore, tied in with a poor week on The DP World Tour. Following not 1, 2 but 3 Connor Syme collapses (will keep tabs on him!). We have a -9u week and now are only +3u on the year. The downswing continues but again on The PGA Tour, our picks play well. As Arsenal Manager Mikael  Arteta would say, trust the process.

The betting spreadsheet has been updated on The Betting Blog, and we roll ahead into the 2nd Major of the year!

The PGA Championship

To Oaklahoma where The PGA Championship will be held for the 104th time at Southern Hills Golf Club. As a European, it’s safe for me to say that The PGA Championship or USPGA Championship is the least-watched of the 4. 

However, I believe there are many reasons to tune in. Firstly the PGA Championship is the strongest field in golf. A maximum of 156 golfers compete for the Wanamaker Trophy and qualify through a meritocracy based format. The current criteria to date included (from Wikipedia)

  • Every former PGA Champion.
  • Winners of the last five U.S. Opens.
  • The winners of the last five Masters.
  • Winners of the last five Open Championships.
  • Winners of the last three The Players Championships.
  • The current Senior PGA Champion.
  • The low 15 scorers and ties in the previous PGA Championship.
  • The 20 low scorers in the last PGA Professional Championship.
  • The 70 leaders in official money standings on the PGA Tour (starting one week before the previous year’s PGA Championship and ending two weeks before the current year’s PGA Championship).
  • Members of the most recent United States and European Ryder Cup Teams, provided they are in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of one week before the start of the tournament.
  • Any tournament winner co-sponsored or approved by the PGA Tour since the previous PGA Championship .
  • The PGA of America reserves the right to invite additional players not included in the categories listed above.
  • The total field is a maximum of 156 players. Vacancies are filled by the first available player from the list of alternates (those below 70th place in official money standings).

From a betting perspective, the PGA Championship you will find the most amount of “long-shots.” For example, even last year, Phil Michelson won at Kiawah Island and was 200/1 at some bookmakers. Looking through the list, Martin Kaymer & Keegan Bradley won in 2010 and 2011 which was their major “breakthroughs.” Who also can forget Y.E Yang holding off Tiger Woods in Minnesota in 2009.

The point is, that major breakthroughs and slightly longer – shots can compete in this event. My only reluctance to fill my card with players in the 80 – 120 /1 mark is the course. I do believe the set-up will ensure the cream rises. Particularly those who are strongest from 120 yards and in. 

SOUTHERN HILLS – The Course

Southern Hills Country club is a Par 70 a smidge over 7300 yards. The greens are many players putting favorite, bent grass and the fairways are very tight Bermuda grass. The reason for this is it brings roll-off areas into play. A miss placed approach can land and end up 50 yards away through the slopes of the course.

We saw Southen Hills last year when Alex Cejka won (1000/1 this week). I watched this back and found that he was leading after round 1 and went on to win by 4 shots at -8. He put his win down to the fact he’s 50 and he is now driving it better. I think this course doesn’t crush you for being out o position from the tee, but it will with the 2nd shot. Particularly from the rough. 

We did see the course also in the noughties, however, there has been significant work since. 

I am writing quite factually, hold on, this is a beautiful parkland course. One of the best in America in parkland. It’s tree-lined, albeit many have been stripped since Tiger Woods last the Wanamaker Trophy here in 2007

There is plenty of elevation into the greens, aesthetically it’s a fantastic course. The 1st and 10th tee are up high and you tee off down into battle. Streams meander throughout the course, some dry and some still full of water. When Maxwell redesigned the course, this position of the streams in conjunction with the greens was taken fully advantage of throughout. 

It’s make-up includes, 4 Par 3s, 12 Par 4s, and 2 Par 5s which are a monstrous 632 & 656 yards. Will I factor that into my picks? No to be honest.

Anyway, this is a natural, undulating site and what the designers have done is calved out something that is beautiful & complicated. I imagine professional golfers and visitors love to play here.

It reminds me of The Masters aesthetically. Yes this typically is the major we are “least” interested in over here. Maybe not this week.

The Weather

The Weather will play a key factor. If the firm and fast, I could see the winning score around -8. However, if softer it could be closer to -18.

The weather looks to be warm and clear, with possible rain on Friday. Therefore, in terms of AM/ PM starts. I am not factoring that into my picks.

Key Stats Analysed

  • Driving accuracy
  • Strokes gained approach
  • Strokes gained putting

I have been complex over the last few weeks, maybe overly so. Therefore I am going to look at the course and say this. If you are in the rough it’s going to be very hard to find the greens. The run-off areas will find you and the terrain is a further factor that makes ball control difficult. 

Ultimately, players that are on the fairway, WILL HAVE to be tuned in with the PW and down. To ensure optimum strikes to keep that ball on the green.

After Will Zalatoris crushed me with his terrible putting, I am not entertaining flushers with average short sticks.  No sir, not this week.

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING PICKS

Justin Thomas 16/1 – 6 places  Boyle Sports

As a golf fan, I really feel like it’s coming for JT. I am picking him because his strokes gained in approach is +1.07 over the past 24 rounds and this is a statistic I am leaning on. The only player in the top of the market that can beat that is Cam Smith.

His T2G game is solid and the putter is working. He has 3 Top 10s in his last 5 starts. 

I thought Thomas was excellent last week as a tipped him at the AT&T Byron Nelson. His swing looks in great shape and he was once more shaping the ball as we know he can. I particularly enjoyed his right to left draws and slings. Taking some anecdotal information from Andy Lack, he believes a drawer of the ball will prefer this course. Another tick on JT.

Shane Lowry 25/1 1u – 8 places Boyle Sports

I have noticed that Shane is very popular this week. I would have expected it anyway considering his ball-striking clinics of late. Also, the putter is working. 

The only thing that concerns me with Shane is his “closeability” having had shots in the early parts of the year to win again.

If the course gets firmer and faster I think the jolly Irishman can stick with the pace. Having won The Open where you need a shit hot short game, that side of Lowry’s game will always keep him in touch. The difference is right now, the swing is on point.

Shane is one of the most in-form putters in the field and currently is gaining 0.82 shots in the approach (over past 24 rounds).

Abraham Ancer 90/1 6 places 0.75u – Boyle Sports

Out of the 4 Majors, The PGA Championship as I said, is often the first for players to win. 

Statistically, Abraham matches up. He is one of the straightest off the tee on the entire PGA Tour. His iron play needs to improve this week but you cannot argue with the putter. He is the 4th best putter playing this week, gaining 0.84 strokes (based on 24 previous rounds).

Abraham had a good week at the matchplay but hasn’t played near his best since. When I noted his prices creeping up I thought it was a good value play. I won’t say no to 90/1

Min Woo Lee  200/1 12 Places 0.5u – Boyle Sports

This lad has a bright future in the game and I am going to be consistent with him while the price is so high. My thoughts are, if I back in at 200 / 400/1 over the next 2 or 3 years, that is a + EV decision. 

Fans of the DP World Tour will know Min Woo very well. Particularly from his impressive victory in Scotland. There isn’t sufficient data to pull game trends, but I backed him at The Masters where he finished 14th. 

Finally, I will be taking Speith at the best Outright price I can find and I don’t think I can say any more about him.  Readers will know how much I analyze his game, it’s there alright. I also will take 0.25u on DP World Tour player Ryan Fox.

This has been a challenging week personally to keep the blog up to date, hence why it’s a short one this week. I can’t wait to settle down and watch this weekend. Oh, and the missus is away!

Have a  good week all and good luck.

Matt Tizzard

2022 AT&T Byron Nelson Betting Approach

The AT&T Byron Nelson Betting Approach by MattTizzardGolf

It’s the week before the PGA Championship. Many of the big guns return to the field in the Dallas suburb of McKinney. Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Xander Schauffele makes his first appearance at this event. Oh, and Scottie Scheffler returns to action after a couple of weeks off.

Last time out with the coupon

A loss on The PGA Tour at the Wells Fargo. With Brian Harman grabbing a place on Boyles Sport that has been split about a million different ways. I did have Olesen over on The DP World Tour but got way too trigger-happy having been attending the event. The week in total ended up +2.5 and the spreadsheet is all updated on the website. You will see I did go very over the top because I was at The Belfry! We live and learn!

If you are new to my golf articles, hello! I basically whip through my thought process, the analytics I have researched, and spew out some picks. Simples.

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After last week’s spend fest on Saturday at The Belfry I am +12.4u for the year.

TPC Craig Ranch – The Course

This Byron Nelson Betting preview is focused on the course, TPC Craig Ranch, a Par 72, 7468 yards. The course was a Korn Ferry qualifying course (Nationwide) but hosted The PGA Tour in 2021. We can look at last year for some guidance, however not a complete picture, which I will explain later in the article.

Tom Weiskopf designed the course, I read a quote in Golf Digest, “I may not give you access to every pin,” he once said, “but I’ll give you the middle of the green every time.” Weiskopf has a number of well-known courses that he has designed or co-designed, including Troon North GC, TPC Scottsdale, Loch Lomond, Scotland & Quail Hollow CC, Ohio.

As you research Weiskopf courses, the common theme writers mention is his love for a drivable par4, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the par 4 14th selected for the Aon Risk Reward Challenge.

The best way to describe the course is, well, “standard.” It is a standard 72 with 4 par 5s, 4 par 3s about 10 par 4s. It has the players’ favourite of bentgrass putting greens but the not so common Zoysia fairways. The greens are large, not quite the same size as the Mexico Open but on the larger size.

Zoysia Fairways are one of the most robust grasses and somewhat typical to see across Texas. Rickie Fowler was quoted saying he liked the surface having played on it while at College. Studies have shown that it’s expensive, dense but easy to manage with a low amount of water. Therefore, I can expect that despite the length of the course, the ball should roll out and play shorter than last year. Zoysia has been said to require a third of the water of its competitors in the soil. I understand from looking online that Texas holistically hasn’t had the same rainfall that it had last year. When the course was very much target golf. Don’t get me wrong, I do expect the same, but not quite to the extent as last year. The ball will run, and landing areas will be a little more important.

The organisers actually played this course 200 yards shorter one-day last year. That was also because of how wet the course was, and it became target golf. The course was as easy as it could have been. However, I do expect a low winning score, but I don’t think the cut will be quite -5 again.

Byron Nelson – Course Correlation

The recent venue of Vidanta (Mexico Open) and a course from earlier this year Plantation course Kapalua (tournament of Champions). TPC Deere Run is another easy course with the same bent grass greens that the players will face this week. My article will predominately focus on TPC Scottsdale due to it also being designed by Weiskopf.

Weather

It’s going to be roasting hot (33C) with some gusts (24KpH). This will provide a challenge to the players, but I don’t think will affect the birdie opportunities we are going to see!

Stats Considered

Looking at the stats from last year, a 30,000 feet look tells me that iron play and putting is the key to win here. However, I think making all decisions based on last year’s stats is a risky approach. The course was straightforward off the tee and into the approach. Weiskopf courses will always give you access to the centre of the green and it was a lot wetter than it will be this year.

Therefore, I am going to ignore our classic short game experts. The reason for that is, if we are looking at players that grind and graft well for par. I think those players won’t be competing at the top of the leaderboard because I expect birdies. The complete opposite of last week at the Wells Fargo.

TPC Craig Ranch ranks 2nd in Strokes gained in approach out of 43 correlated courses on rickrungood.com and 7th in putting. Perhaps, the picture has been made already.

You also need to find players that are accurate, however, and to my surprise, driving distance is ranked 39th. This means you can find many players that are good in the approach and good putters. The caveat and where I need to be careful, is I need to be sure that my picks have and can get to -20. It could quite easily be that low of a week.

This correlates well with TPC Scottdale, another Weiskopf design course. Where the approach is of upmost importance (ranked 6th / 43 correlated courses: rickrungood.com)

Therefore, these are the stats I will look into, I will then take my picks

STATS

  • Driving Accuracy
  • Strokes Gained in Approach
  • Strokes Gained in Putting
  • Putting 15 feet

Driving Accuracy

Here are the Top 20 most accurate Drivers on The PGA Tour this year.

RANKPLAYER NAMEROUNDS%
1Ryan Armour3874.63
2Brian Stuard7171.35
3Abraham Ancer4970.03
4Satoshi Kodaira2669.58
5Chez Reavie5969.55
6Henrik Stenson2569.44
7Brendon Todd5969.43
8Tyler Duncan5369.33
9Jim Herman4169.26
10Brian Harman5469.22
11Kevin Streelman6069.17
12Kevin Kisner5068.81
13Russell Knox6968.59
14Joel Dahmen6168.35
15Austin Cook4568.34
16Louis Oosthuizen2968.33
17Hayden Buckley5768.15
18Vaughn Taylor3568.12
19Collin Morikawa3868.03
20Daniel Berger2967.93

The fairways are massive here, but I am keen to see if there are any players that are leading in SGAPR or on the putting green that complete the package. There isn’t too much to shout about, but I wanted to demonstrate my thought process when narrowing down a field. I am not as weighted towards Driving Accuracy, as I was at The RBC or Wells Fargo, because these are much wider fairways that the players will be aiming at.

Strokes Gained in Approach

I just can’t bring myself to back Kitayama again. However, he is the leader in the field over the last 25 rounds in shots gained through approach (1.39). Other leaders in the field include.

  • Justin Thomas 1.03
  • David Lipsky 0.89
  • Adam Hadwin 0.84
  • Jhonattan Vegas 0.84
  • Scottie Scheffler 0.68
  • Brandon Wu 0.76
  • Austin Smotherman 0.76

Strokes Gained in Putting

Ok, this is where we start to hit some players that I like the look of. Let’s once more look at the best 20 players holistically on tour.

RANK THIS WEEKPLAYER NAMEROUNDSAVERAGE
1Brian Gay391.068
2Tyrrell Hatton421.009
3Scott Brown270.945
4Cameron Smith360.922
5Lucas Herbert330.82
6Beau Hossler400.78
7Kelly Kraft450.756
8Tommy Fleetwood350.747
9Billy Horschel460.697
10Martin Trainer540.695
11Kevin Kisner500.681
12Brendon Todd590.662
13Denny McCarthy680.641
14Matt Kuchar470.638
15Mackenzie Hughes490.634
16Shane Lowry350.622
17Adam Scott380.602
18Troy Merritt570.599
19Matthias Schwab460.595
20Scottie Scheffler570.588

This is where I can start to find some players that I like. Again, we cannot ignore Scottie Scheffler. Brendon Todd, who ran well for me in Mexico appears, as does Tommy Fleetwood, who has gained on average a boeing 0.747 in shots gained putting. This is good to see from Tommy, I have watched him for many years. It’s the Driver and the Putter that can slow him down.

Putting 15 feet

Players that lead in this field of note include, Adam Long, Sam Ryder who led at stages last year and Nate Lashley. The best on tour is Sung Kang, who I have quoted in the podcast as being last years winner. That will go down well with the betting community!

Betting Picks

The top of the leaderbaord is pretty strong. I can see DJ or JT winning, so I will back JT, but I am not too worried about Xander & Brooks. Scottie won’t win again…. Right?

Finally, everyone knows my love for Kurt Katayama. My thoughts are that this field is much deeper and Kitty’s form will unfortunately come to an end. I expect to take one last bullet on Talor Gooch, Kurt Kitayama or Brandon Wu.

Will Zalatoris 20/1 – 10 places – Boyle Sports

Zalatoris was once more exceptional at The Masters, but time has ticked on. I know Will is going to be tipped left, right and centre this week and for good reason.

It’s a ball-striking paradise and I like his game where iron play is key, especially some of the longer irons. The concern is that it’s going to be a putting competition, particularly with that middle of the green access you get here.

However, Will putted well at The Masters. I am fully aware that watching that putting action for 72 holes is going to be tough going but I am happy to accept the challenge. He will find the middle of the greens, and if he can roll it, he can be in with a shout.

When I ran my model for this week Will was 8th, only the market leaders really featured ahead. I do believe a winner will be in “pot 2” of the talent for the week. With all eyes on The PGA Championship next week, Will is a player I like to have a little extra focus and get the win.

Tommy Fleetwood 28/1 – 10 places – Boyle Sports

Tommy needs a win on The PGA Tour. The week before a major just feels right. Nothing to statical in that assumption but it’s fair to say again that players above him in the market will be focussing on sharpening up for next week.

I have watched Tommy for many years on the European Tour and recently The PGA Tour. When I last watched him closely was at in the middle east, where his driver was spraying and predominately being lost to the right.

Tommy has excelled in the middle east many years, and those courses are a little firm, long but wide. I am not supporting this with data; however, I feel some of the tournament in Abu Dhabi & the Dubai Dessert Classic, will have some performance-based correlation.  Again, this is from what I have seen rather than being data driven and more my own personal opinion. For what it’s worth.

Potentially more factually, anyone who saw him at The Masters can certainly presume that this has been fixed and the data suggests the same. He has improved off the tee over the last 12 rounds. He actually gains nearly 2 shot in total SG, this was only 0.14 in his previous 36, he is certainly trending.

I was shocked to see Tommy performing so well on the greens and this was the final piece of the puzzle for me (maybe an oversight I wasn’t aware). I did my first TikTok about a month ago and I said after The Masters, I will be tracking Tommy. Let the tracking begin.

Nate Lashley 100/1 – 10 Places – Boyle Sports

Nate is a player that pops up for me time and time again. I am pulling the trigger on him for a number of reasons. The first one is his recent performance in Mexico on a “birdie fest, showed that the birdies he probably needs to make this week is possible. He also has a similar result from Puerto Rico earlier this year where he cam T7.

In the correlated courses he has a T3 and T17 at the WM Phoenix Open (2020 & 2021). He has a T19 at the Tournament of Champions and a recent T11 in Mexico.

Lashley from a statistical point of view, fits well for this course. The only area I did have concerns was driving distance, but I think the course will play shorter than last year due to the run. Statically, length isn’t as much as a fact of Mexico a fortnight ago.

He gains marginally in the approach and gains 0.68 shots putting. Given his form, this shows in Mexico and Puerto Rico, this shows me the long game is good enough to hit the greens. I have the thinking that I can’t risk players that don’t excel in iron play this week. If you are missing these relatively easy greens, then you won’t be placing, fact.

My angle on Nate is the positive trend with the putter. In his last 36 rounds he was losing 0.70 shots whereas now he is gaining. The long game also has improved in that time as well. His Total SG is currently sat at 0.72 in his last 12, where it was -0.46 in the last 36.

The trends are good, the course fits and I think that Nate will be a good price. Obviously the quality of this field compared to a Puerto Rico or Mexico Open is a stark difference. However, Nate can reach the number, and a good price at 10 places or a Top 20 bet is what I will be taking.

Summary of picks

  • Justin Thomas 1u
  • Tommy Fleetwood 0.5u EW
  • Will Zalatoris 0.5u EW
  • Nate Lashley 0.25u EW

I will fire one last bullet as discussed but I am not sure where yet. Awaiting for the Lost fore Words and / or Chasing Pars lads to do their thing.

I hope you enjoyed my Byron Nelson Betting preview. Please feel free to feedback any thoughts and if you wish to follow me, my social buttons are below, they are all @MattTizzardGolf

Good luck this week, see you Thursday on the pod!

Matt

WELLS FARGO BETTING APPROACH by MattTizzardGolf

Wells Fargo Championship Betting Preview

We have a lot happening at Waggle Duff this week. We also have Wells Fargo picks and a betting preview from NelsonsGolfTips here. British Masters betting preview and tips from RH_G0lf here.

If you are looking to play Waggle Duff free fantasy golf and want to submit a team, the link is here!

You can listen to this article in the above Podcast episode, as I break my thought process down. Just search “The Waggle Duff Podcast” on Spotify, Apple or Amazon

Last time out with the coupon

Before we head into the Wells Fargo Championship Betting Preview, a quick recap from Mexico.

The Mexico Open, much like the RBC Heritage was a “nearly week”. We turn a small 2u profit on the tournament following a place from Kitayama at 125/1, finishing 1 shot back from winner Jon Rahm. This is the 2nd time I’ve placed with Kitty this year, following his 400/1 place at The Honda Classic.

Long flirted with the places but a poor back 9 on Sunday stopped all proceedings.

This ends what really has been a poor month (-28u) following a hot start to the year. A long way to go and it’s a swingy game we play! I will always be honest with my readers and track all P/L (+14u) on the website. Long-term followers will know I provide the data and my approach in my articles. I believe they will assist in decision making and I hope continue to be entertaining!  

On to this week!

Wells Fargo Championship

After an incredible final round at the 2022 Masters, Rory McIlroy is back to headline the field at the Wells Fargo Championship, played at TPC Potomac, just outside the US capital.

In similar fashion to Jon Rahm at last weeks Mexico Open, Rory will be wanting to stamp some authority on the tour and collect his 21’st win. Rory won’t have the same perceived advantage as Rahm last week, but following “that Masters round”, I am expecting punters to track and back him heavily.

TPC Potomac

Due to the President’s Cup taking centre stage at Quail Hollow, the Wells Fargo Championship has been moved to the north to TPC Potomac, a venue we have seen before on tour.

Therefore, unlike last week, we do have some course data that we can analyse. The PGA Tour came to the venue most recently in 2017 and 2018 for the Quicken Loans National (which was replaced by the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2019).

The course was seen on tour in the 90s and naughtiest but wasn’t much of a favourite of the players. This was due to poor drainage and flooding issues which messed with tournament conditions. With a name like “The Booz Allen Classic”, it’s hard to wonder why it didn’t have much sex appeal.

However, after a face-lift we saw the Quicken Loans National take its place on tour and the course reputation improved. In 2018 Francesco Molinari got the dub and in 2017 Kyle Stanley beat Charles Howell to win in a play-off. It was a week where Stanley won despite having negative stroke gained putting. Something to note for later in the article.

As an Englishman from Buckinghamshire, I love the look of this course. It looks like a Berkshire/ Buckinghamshire type of Parkland course. The fairways twist and turn through tree-lined fairways, towards greens that are slightly elevated and protected by some large Scottish or heathland-style bunkers. In 2017 Justin Thomas said to the media he believed this course could hold a US Open. High praise.

Occasional water does come into play, for example, holes 7, 14 17. Also “Rock Run Creek” snakes its way through 5 of the holes including the drivable par 4 14th which gave players an Eagles opportunity, which was snatched at 15 times in 2018. However, the water does come into play. Something Ricky Fowler knows all too well, having drove into the water here on Sunday in 2017 when in contention.

The course is a par 70 made up of 7,139 yards that 156 players will do battle over the $9m purse. A complete key change from last weeks tournament which did end up a bomber fest, despite my thought’s accuracy, could take charge.

The course features Bentgrass greens, tees and fairways with subtle elevation changes and distinctive Mid-Atlantic and Scottish-style bunkering.

Despite being made of mostly Par4’s (2 par 5’s and 4 par 3’s) there is still plenty of variety for the players to contend with. Early on- the course demands correct placement on the fairway but offers some birdie opportunity

Course Correlated

North-eastern bent grass courses that can correlate are hard to come by. Winged Foot for example and The Congressional next door is a little too longer than the positional play that golfers will face this week. Therefore, looking specifically at course correlation and picking players that like the course design or match statistics that did well here in 2017 & 2018 (to come later in the article) is not going to be a line I base my selections on. I do however think players that played the Quicken Loans, have some advantage from a ball position off the tee perspective.

Weather

According to weather.com it appears that Thursday afternoon and Friday will see some showers and thunderstorms. I know things can change quickly, so will be keeping tabs on the draw and the weather.

Key Stats Analysed

We have some good data from PGATour.com initially where we can analyse the recipe to Molinari’s success. I am a little dubious to look capture Kyle Stanley’s data because the winning score was -7. Which was 14 shots worse the Molinari’s win at -21.

It’s also to note that Molinari’s performance in 2018 was an anomaly. This is because at the time it was one of the best performances in stroke gained since ShotLink data was captured in 2003. He gained 20.5 shots on the field! In total 84% of his total shots gained in that winning week were gained tee-to-green.

However, this does paint somewhat of a picture. TPC Potomac ranks 1st in Driving Accuracy importance. It also ranks 5th in Strokes gained off the tee and strokes gained tee-to green.

In contrast, TPC Potmac ranks 33rd on SG putting. (All data from rickrungood.com).

Let’s take a look at some examples. In 2018 this was the Top 12.(I added Ricky just because)

POSPLAYERScoreR1R2R3R4
1Francesco Molinari-2167656562
2Ryan Armour-1366656868
3Sung Kang-1272646864
T4Abraham Ancer-1165706272
T4Tiger Woods-1170656866
T6Bronson Burgoon-1068706567
T6Beau Hossler-1065667168
T8Brian Gay-967647268
T8Chesson Hadley-971646868
T8Andrew Landry-963726571
T8Ryan Palmer-970676767
12Rickie Fowler-870666967

Firstly, shout out to Tiger. Secondly, 4 of the Top 12 feature inside the top 12 players that gained strokes putting on the week. 9 of those players feature inside the top 12 players that gained strokes tee-to-green and 6 for putting.

Now that isn’t uncommon but for context in Mexico last week, inside the top 12 you would find 6 players that lead the field in strokes gained tee-to-green. This course and tournament feel closer to an RBC Heritage of 2 weeks ago. By this I mean I am leaning towards accurate iron players again, rather than bombers and putters.

Where I am a little surprised from the Quicken Loans in only 2 of these players feature inside the top 12 from 150 – 175 yards (Tiger and Anomilari). I would have thought there would be a higher value placed on short iron play (wedge – 8iron). Also considering that stroke gained in approach ranks 7th in importance at TPC Potomac. I am now looking more within driving accuracy and total strokes gained tee to green.

A note on finding where statically these players are “hanging out” the margin between 10th and 20th is relatively small. However, my purpose is to build a picture of which golfers I believe will perform well and these exercises do often find patterns.

Let’s zoom out a little and simplify. What statistics appear most important at TPC Potomac. Firstly, there are 12 par 4s on the course, so I want to know who is playing them well. Secondly, tee to green and driving accuracy is of the upmost importance. Finally, as we saw with Finau, Woodland last week and a preference of mine is to ensure I am comfortable with their ability to put on the greens if I can.

Stats Analysed

  • Par 4 performance
  • Stroke gained Tee to Green
  • Driving Accuracy
  • Putting from inside 10 feet

Par 4 performance

Taking a look at the Par 4 leaders of 2022, who are playing this week.

TOUR RANKPLAYER NAMEROUNDSSTATUSPAR 4 AVG
T2Matt Kuchar43-323.93
4Cameron Smith36-313.91
6Seamus Power57-293.95
T7Cameron Young49-253.95
9Corey Conners54-243.95
T10Nate Lashley55-233.96
T10Denny McCarthy64-233.96
12Brian Harman50-223.96
T16Russell Henley53-183.97
T20Joel Dahmen57-153.97
26Matt Jones51-123.98
T27Ryan Armour34-113.97
T27Chase Seiffert31-113.96

Stroke gained Tee to Green

A little more of a conventional list of players here and not many surprises. Analysing their last 6 competitive rounds the leader’s tee-to-green are.

STAT RANKPLAYERT2G
1Rory McIlroy1.93
2Gary Woodland1.37
3Corey Conners1.27
4Cameron Young1.27
5Matt Fitzpatrick1.14
6Keith Mitchell1.14
7Mark Hubbard0.99
8Matt Jones0.98
9Keegan Bradley0.97
10Martin Laird0.97
11Matthew NeSmith0.96
12Russel Henley0.95
13Paul Casey0.94

Driving Accuracy

Digging into the most accurate players of 2022 in totality. I am starting to see a few faces pop up again. Brian Harman who is a steady hand on the Par 4’s clearly achieves this by being in position. He isn’t a long hitter, so at 7100 yards, this course isn’t going to overpower him. The same can be said about Joel Dahmen.

TOUR RANKPLAYER NAMEROUNDS%FAIRWAYS HIT
1Ryan Armour3472.9304
2Brian Stuard6971.24639
5Tyler Duncan5169.4449
6Abraham Ancer4569.35387
7Kevin Streelman5869.21553
8Chez Reavie5568.86502
10Jim Herman3968.75352
11Austin Cook4368.72391
13Satoshi Kodaira2468.2223
14Lucas Glover5768.18527
15Hayden Buckley5568.16501
16Brian Harman5068.1442
T18Russell Knox6567.93574
20Vaughn Taylor3367.91292
21Joel Dahmen5767.84500

Putting from inside 10 feet

Before looking at the best putters from 6 feet, I noticed that Matt Kuchar over his last 5 tournaments has gained 0.87 strokes in putting. A recipe that can be cooked up from the data is Matt is super steady on the par 4s (ranking 2nd on tour) but also is the 8th best putter over the last 5 tournaments played. But it’s 2022 and I can’t be betting Kuch? Can I?

After disappointing week last week, Abraham Ancer is another player who is putting well (1.05 strokes gained in the last 5 tournaments). He also is one of the most accurate players in the field.

Sepp Straka and Davis Riley are two of the few players that gain stokes off the tee and dominate with the flat stick. Davis played Mexico last week and this is a big key change in course and climate. I would lean towards Sepp personally.

Finally, Chase Seiffert has been an excellent par 4 player in 2022, ranking 27th. He is also gaining 0.48 shots in strokes gained putting over the last 5 tournaments and rolling the ball well. A potential EW bet as I would hope he has generous odds.

I went from inside 10 feet because out of my T2G specialists I will need some conversion. I won’t be placing too much weight on this statistic, as we have seen good performances can come with a cold wand. See Kyle Stanley for details. Again though, Matt Kuchar appears in 13th position in 2022 and Tyrrell Hatton remains one of the best putters, returning to the field this week.

Picks

Waggle Duff is an affiliate of Boyle Sports and will continue to bring you exclusive offers. Use the link above for £20 of free bets. *New customers only. DM me on Twitter if you have any questions

I am going to commit to 3 today and long list who I will keep tabs on throughout the week. You can see my final picks by following me on Twitter or TikTok or other socials below;

The reason for this is, as I write, the stormy weather and the rain expected late on Thursday. If this changes throughout the week, comes earlier or not at all. This will affect certain sides of the draw. By this I mean those teeing off AM and PM.  This is something that had an effect on the Mexico Open with the wind heavily blowing PM on the Thursday and almost killed Kevin Na!

Rory McIlroy (2u) – 13/2 Boyle Sports

Doesn’t need any introduction but I think The Sunday Masters was a turning point for Rory.  His main competition on paper likely comes from Conners & Fitzpatrick and he must fancy that.

Joel Dahmen (0.75u e/w) –  40/1 Boyle Sports

Finished T12 last time out at the RBC Heritage without making any ground on Sunday. If I am going to trust my process, then Joel & Brian are going to make my line ups. He is one of the most accurate players on tour and performs well on 4s throughout 2022. I dislike his hat, but certainly like his play from the tee.

 I don’t love his price, because you could have picked Joel up much cheaper earlier in the season.

His best tour finish comes from Quail Hollow at this event in 2019 where he had much worse form heading in.

Brian Harman (0.75u e/w) – 45/1 Boyle Sports

Brian made the cut at the RBC Heritage and didn’t play in Mexico. So, I am hoping he is fully rested and ready to battle. He has some good performances this year, playing well at The Valspar Championship (5th) and The American Express (3rd).

This course is built for steady Brian, and the lefty can plot his way through the trees and around the bunkers. I definitely want players that keep the ball straight and Brian is the 16th straightest on tour this year.

He gains marginally with the putter and off the tee, so I like this combination with this course. I suspect he will be heavily backed this week, so I will commit and try to fire in early for a good price.

PLAYERS I WILL CONSIDER (likely to pick 2, perhaps 3, closers to Thursday)

  • Tony Finau (only player from Mexico considering)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Tyrrell Hatton
  • Sepp Straka
  • Russell Henley
  • Matt Kuchar
  • Joel Dahmen
  • Chase Seiffert
  • Matt Wallace
  • Charl Schwartzel

I hope you enjoyed my thought process ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship. Always happy to have a discussion on Twitter if you wanted to reach out.

You can also find further betting previews from NelsonsGolfTips and RH_Golf here.

Good luck with your plays, and I look forward to seeing you soon on The Waggle Duff Podcast.

Mexico Open at Vidanta Betting Preview & Tips

Mexico Open preview for the Waggle Duff community by @MattTizzardGolf

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Last time out with the coupon – RBC Heritage Review

I didn’t bet at the Zurich Classic, as I wanted to spend a bit more time preparing for this week’s Mexico Open. I also thoroughly enjoy the team events as a spectacle and thoroughly enjoyed a stress-free weekend!

RBC Heritage was a “nearly” week for me, you may have seen from my TikTok that I had Cantlay, Hadwin & Morikawa. All of which had position at some point, especially Cantlay who unfortunately lost on a play-off. After a Sunday double of Spieth & Lowry to win their groups, I ended the week -1.05u. This means I ended the week +12u for the year following a poor Masters.

Before I begin this Mexico Open preview, this article is written to aid you with your plays for this week. If you have any questions or comments you can always DM me @MattTizzardGolf on Twitter or email matt.tizzard@gmail.com . It’s always good to share opinion and learn.

Waggle Duff is an affiliate of Boyle Sports and will continue to bring you exclusive offers. Use the link above for £20 of free bets. *New customers only. DM me on Twitter if you have any questions

Mexico Open Preview

A few big names are traveling down South this week, for what I am going to predict will be a birdie fest. Jon Rahm headlines a field that is notoriously weaker than I presume organisers expected. I am honestly scared of what odds he will be…. 5/1!? I think we can avoid 2u on Jon, and to be honest he needs get the flat stick working.

For the next 3 years, the Mexico Open will be held at Vidanta as PGA Tour returns to Latin America. Potentially unbeknown to many readers, The Mexican Open is a historical event that has run under different names, and one that many of the old great have competed in.

For keen golf fans you will recognise that this event has been branded, rebranded, toured, and “re-toured” under the PGA Latinoamérica, The Nationwide tour and The DP World’s 2nd string tour, “The Challenge Tour.” Winners include some familiar names, Troy Merritt (2009), Stewart Cink (1996) and Lee Trevino (1973 & 1975). However, I am not expecting the past of this event to paint any imágenes.

This is because, unlike the RBC Heritage of a fortnight ago, the now, Mexico Open is held at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta Golf Course for the first time. As a result, 132 players will complete for $7.3m and 500 FedEx cup points.

The irony is the course selected for the week was designed by the great white shark, Greg Norman. It’s actually called The Norman Signature Course. Therefore, it is safe to say, it’s not only the course that will be possibly baring its teeth this week.

Mexico Open Course

Mexico Open – The Course

Despite my jest, the Mexico Open course has some fantastic reviews and will make a great spectacle for the fans that get on the course. Both the Jack Nicklaus course and Greg Norman signature course is highly regarded by many, and the course features in Top100golfcourses.com

My only worry about the course is that it is taken apart by the World’s ‘elite’ that descends on Mexico. Here are the headlines.

  • Designer – Greg Norman
  • 18 Hole, Par 71
  • Yards – 7,456
  • Course Type – Championship
  • Grass on Greens – Paspalum
  • Grass on Fairways – Paspalum
  • Bunkers – 106
  • Lakes – 6

Having looked online and studied, the course looks very, well, “hotel lads abroad.” Certainly, a holiday destination for many, the Vidanta setup looks 5 stars. The vibes, appear to be that of when The European Tour, I mean DP World Tour (sigh), at The Canary Islands. Albeit the sand here is sand coloured and not black.

To describe the course, there are big sandy wasteland, some vegetation, and a fair amount of water. However, we also have big greens and big fairways for the players to target golf away at.

As I analyse the course, I am being remarkably taken mentally to Garrick Higgo’s romping win at the Golf Costa Adeje, Canary Islands at -27. Surely we won’t get the same this week…. will we?

Weather

It looks right now there isn’t going to be a breath of air and the temperature will be 72F / 22F degrees. The wind is the course’s defence, and it doesn’t seem to be there. This really could be a low scoring week.

Correlated Course Analysis

We haven’t played the Mexico Open on the PGA Tour, but some assumptions can be made. For this preview, I have looked at the historical performance at; “Makyakoba Golf Classic, Corales, RSM Classic, RBC Heritage, TPC San Antonio & Waialae GC for the Sony Open.

I am drawn predominantly to some Mayakoba correlation due to the geography, the course layout and the grass type also being Paspalum. It’s more of a thinker’s course than Vidanta appears to be, particular off the tee. However, the geography, set up and the grass is similar.

In essence, I am interested in seaside courses and some correlation with geography, which appears to be a factor. Particularly with the performance of Latin-American golfers in this region.

As I analyse what are the most important stats on each course, the driving accuracy or stroke gained OTT and T2G and the putting stats coming through as highly important.

Interestingly, at The RSM & Sony Open we need putters that are good from around 5 – 10 feet. What surprised me is the best from this length in 2022 playing this week is Adam Long, he holes under 7/10 from this length. My gut feel would be a tour average that is much higher…. It isn’t and there lies a possible angle.

With the big dog, which should get a fair ride this week. Mayakoba the RSM Classic shows us “seaside” importance off the tee, ranking 5th, and 3rd in importance out of over 70 analysed stats. Albeit Makyakoba is definitely more of a thinker’s course. Vidanta is a lot longer and much wider than Makyakoba so players with length will have an advantage off the tee.

I am interested in RBC because again the water and flatness of the course. Also, because it’s been played recently, and you can also pull some correlation in performance. A different strategy off the tee but I believe players that played well at Harbour Town, who match Vidanta, can certainly perform.

Historically I have picked long players for the long courses, and I am not a believer this is always the case. The advantage typically lies in being able to hit a shorter club in. I would rather be hitting an 8 iron than a 6 iron. Therefore, I am interested in players with good approach play, rather than having been worried with driving accuracy or length. Let me explain, with big fairways the better players off the tee can find the right places to have the best angles to get close. I know many will be leaning towards just length this week. However, I am trying to be pragmatic. They will all find the fairways, but whoever pinpoints within them can hold an advantage.

Within approach, most players will find the fairway this week and hit the larger greens. But how close proximity will players be hitting in.

Mexico Open – Key Stats Analysed

I use RickRunGood & PGA Tour stats, before any correlation is published I am drawn towards off the tee golf stats and putting. Usually, these types of courses have the wind as their primary defense, unless the weather report changes. That will be the case

  • SGOTT (Strokes gained off the tee)
  • SGAPR
  • PAR 5 Performance
  • SGPUTT
  • PUTTING from 5 – 10 Feet

SGOTT (Strokes gained off the tee)

Jon Rahm (1st), our favourite, leads SGOTT in 2022 on the PGA Tour, averaging 1.29 gained.

Hayden Buckley who has 2 Top 20’s this year (1 at the Sony Open) is 12th scoring 0.56 in strokes gained.

I finally note Callum Tarren (18th) picking up over 0.5 in SGOTT. He also has had a good week in the Zurich Classic. I don’t pay too much attention to this for more historical golfers, but for up-and-coming golfer the Zurich can be a confidence booster. Callum is 31 years old but relatively up and coming on The PGA Tour.

SGAPR

Traditionally one of the most important stats and an indicator of how well a player is striking it. Due to the longer par 3’s and long par 4’s. I thought about looking at PGATour.com at the best players from 150 – 175 yards but I want to know total stroke gained.

Some of the big hitters will be going in with short clubs from under 150 yards which would knock this stat out the water. So, I am bringing the shorter and more average players into play by looking totally at this statistic.

There is an argument to play big hitters this week. For me, I am looking for accurate drivers that will find the right area of the fairway and have the chance to attack pins and get low. Horses for course, but that’s my route this week.

The best in the field in approach over the last 24 rounds are Sangmoon Bae (don’t touch him, he really can’t putt at the moment), Justin Lower, the tipped Austin Smootherman & Robert Garrigus. Also towards the top of the leaderboard are Cameron Tringale, Kurt Kitayama, Chris Kirk, and Gary Woodland.

PAR 5 performance

Let us take a look at some of the best Par 5 players on tour in 2022. There are 3 par 5’s in the closing 7 holes of the Mexico Open, which will be fun if someone is chasing on Sunday.

RANK LAST WEEKPLAYER NAMEROUNDSPAR 5 AVG
T4Sahith Theegala634.57
T14Russell Knox594.58
T21Matt Jones474.52
T21Chad Ramey504.56
T21Vince Whaley534.57
28Robert Streb494.54
T29Cameron Tringale554.61

SGPUTT

Throughout the stats, and probably for the next few weeks I will use RickRunGood but also The PGA Tour stats as have enough 2022 data to build some trends.

The best putters this week include Abraham Ancer (+0.95), Brendon Todd (+0.78) and Adam Long (+0.43). Long and Ancer are also plus stroke gained off the tee. The only 2 people out of the top 17 putters for the week.  

PUTTING from 5 – 10 Feet

The Paspalum grass is slower, so players will be hitting their putts harder than they would week on week. This makes the shorter parts slightly more challenging because it’s a longer stroke. Hence my interest in this stat.

A lot of putting presence in the field, which I believe will be crucial. My only notes are that the wind won’t play havoc with the short putts like we can see on windier, seaside courses. Also, greens like this seem to be flatter. This shows for me that the better putters will typically rise to the top.

Best putters this week from 5 – 10 feet range

RANK LAST WEEKPLAYER NAMEROUNDS% MADE
5Adam Long5766.85
6Patrick Reed4766.67
7Kelly Kraft3566.29
10Brendon Todd5163.87
11Chase Seiffert2563.83
15Kevin Tway4963.01
16Greyson Sigg5662.5
17Wesley Bryan2562.32
T18Joshua Creel2562.3
T18Richy Werenski4262.3
T22Anirban Lahiri4661.81
T22Adam Schenk5161.81
T24Brice Garnett5161.65
26Austin Cook3961.63
27Kevin Na3061.54

Longlist

  • John Rahm – not at that price.
  • Abraham Ancer
  • Emiliano Grillo
  • Scott Piercy
  • Aaron Rai
  • Matt Jones
  • Adam Long
  • Cameron Tringale
  • Brandan Todd
  • Chris Kirk
  • Wyndham Clark
  • Aaron Wise
  • Saith Theegala
  • Kurt Kitayama
  • Callum Tarren

Picks

I’ve got 4 players I am definitely going to back. I will take perhaps 3 more throughout the week as things develop.

Abraham Ancer 22/1 Boyle Sports 2u

Vamos! Viva la Mexico! Abraham is an obvious pick at the top of the market for the Mexico Open, although I do not love the price. He is a monster tee to green, consistently picking up a shot on the field week on week. He hasn’t been great with the flat stick but comes with some form.

A good performance at the WGC matchplay and a T8 earlier in Saudi. It’s definitely due for Ancer, who’s last time to Mexico was again Mayakoba where he came 8th.

Ancer would have grown up playing this style of course, will be comfortable on the grass and the layout. If the putts roll, he will be there or there abouts.

Chris Kirk 30 /1 Boyle Sports 1u EW

Chris Kirk has been a monster this year. Looking at his form he boasts the following: T5 Arnold Palmer, T7 Honda Classic, T14 WM Pheonix Open.

When looking for a player that can put himself into position, he is arguably the best in the field this week. Picking up consistently 0.5 shots on the field off the tee and a whopping 1.76 shots on the field in strokes gained tee to green.

The putter has been cold of late, that is my concern. However, this is a different surface to recent events, and I am hopeful it can change his luck. I mean, at the RBC his putting performance was dreadful, I would be surprised if he hasn’t been working away to bring it back to that hot streak in February.

Brendon Todd 40/1 Boyle Sports 0.5u EW

A few weeks ago, Todd had his best finish for about 6 months. He came T8 at the Valero Texas Open. His wins on tour have come at courses that I like; Makyakoba the Bermuda Championship. He also is putting well this year from the short distance.

His history in general on correlated courses is relatively strong. In 2019 he won the Mayakoba and followed up with a T11 in 2021 and a T8 in 2022. He also has a 4th place at the RSM in 2019 & the RSC Heritage in 2015. Todd clearly likes the seaside and Mexico.

With the traditional Greg Norman littering of bunkers, it’s good to find that Todd is also one of the best players in the field at sand save percentage (59% | 25th on tour).

Finally, he is inside the Top 5 in the field for stroke gained putting. A key statistic for me this week. We need him to have a better week particularly off the tee, but the low wind and wide fairways will put people in position.

I think there is value in Todd, however you may need to look at the exchange for a better price.

Adam Long 60/1 Boyle Sports 1u EW

When building my plays and modelling, Long was an easy pick. In his earlier 24 rounds of golf, he was losing shots on the field Tee-to-Green. Something fundamentally important this week. Therefore, to see him start to now gain shots in his last 12 rounds shows that he is swinging it very well and improving.

He also is one of the best putters in the field, you will see from my earlier table that he is superb from 5 – 10 feet and the best statistically in the field. If this game is trending and he is getting the chances, there is a good chance he can convert.

Finally, I will have 0.5u each way on Callum Tarren and Kurt Kitayama. Tarren is awful around the green, but I am expecting him to be putting most the time for birdie due to the large fairways, large greens, and lack of wind. Kitayama is lethal with the irons and playing well. I placed with him a few weeks ago at 400/1. I will also look to play Tringale at some point if the price is right, but I don’t want to be too top heavy.

Good luck everyone with your plays, if you take a different view to my approach please let me know. Always good to learn and collaborate!

We do have prizes for this weeks Fantasy Golf, simply input your team here to play!

Matt Tizzard

Founder: Waggle Duff

RBC Heritage Betting Preview & Tips

by Matt Tizzard (@MattTizzard)

A fantastic Waggle Duff last week, well done to INNIT STORE and thanks one last time to the amazing sponsors; INNIT & HoleSaleGolf. You can find the results here and the league table will be updated tomorrow. There won’t be a Waggle Duff this week for the RBC, only this RBC Heritage Betting Preview & Tips, but we will be doing Fantasy Golf for the Zurich in a couple of weeks.

MASTERS REVIEW

My betting Masters was, well, poor.  Despite being away on a stag do Thursday, Friday, Saturday and at a Wedding Sunday (leaving yesterday morning). I did pretty well to keep up to date.

At the cut, Fitzpatrick, Hatton (we all saw what happened here) & Berger were in position. I thought one maybe 2 would push on. I also selected these players knowing the scoring would not massively improve through the week holistically and they are steely players. This was correct. Scheffler got to -8 on Friday and finished winning on -10.

So, I do like my play, but I do not like the results.

Very surprised in Tyrrell Hatton’s comments that he couldn’t wait to get off the course. You have won at Wentworth mate, and to be honest, playing Augusta National is a privilege.

Very, very, surprised that Matt Fitzpatrick & Billy had a barny (hopefully it was just northern banter).

Very, very, very, surprised to see Daniel Berger going down with what looked like food posing. Irony in the name?

Just to rub salt into the wound, Min Woo Lee who I got at 250/1 did reach the T7 with 9 holes to play. He then dropped 4 in a row to fall out of a place! Que Sara (or something like that).

RBC HERITAGE OVERVIEW

Onto this week and as a betting man I prefer these events. Obviously, I prefer to watch the majors, but these types of events I do find easier to spot value. The RBC Heritage is 7121 yards of Pete Dye, Bermuda green grass. A tree lined course, which dog legs this way and that. Played here since 1969 and traditionally the event that comes after The Masters.

The course has water hazards on almost every hole, but they do not always come into play like a Florida style course. However, there are many streams and ponds fronting the greens.

What the Players say about Harbour Town

Luke Donald – “It’s a classic golf course, It’s one you have to really manage your game around. You have to think your way around very well. And obviously the greens are the smallest greens we’ll play all year.”

Rory McIlroy – “I’m just not comfortable and sort of trying to pick lines and really commit to shots. I just was not as committed today as I need to be around here.”

The picture I am building is that the course is narrow, the greens are small, and it suits a thinker that can move the ball both ways.

In recent years, the scoring has been much lower that what we traditionally see. There is an argument not to consider Webb Simpsons 2020 win, because the course was much easier given the time of year due to the COVID delay. However, Stewart Cink turned up last year with his son Reagen on the bag and they plotted their way round to finish -19. I suspect that it will be around that number this year because we are blessed with an exceptionally strong field. However, it could be -15 looking at the weather and some scattered shower storms predicted.

To be concise, the course it set up for the accurate player. This is because of the “postage stamp greens”, you will only find smaller at Pebble Beach. So being accurate with the irons is essential in going low, and yes, you can go low. We need to find players that are relatively straight, can get into position and then are lethal with the irons.

Looking at the data below, this theory is affirmed. Strokes gained in approach is a key to success, with many players finding themselves inside the T10 on the week they won. I note that only Cink last year averaged over 300 yards (312) and the next best around 280 was Simpson and Grace.

A final note on the historical recipe is that the winner does not always putt the life out of it. Now, we do mostly need to putt well to win, however its not essential this week. I am looking for players that can find the green, particularly with a lower proximity to the hole. Typically, some players with high GIR may be finding the green but be 40ft away. That easily is in a bunker, pond or the rough at Harbour Town.

The Masters performance is something I will consider. Historically it is 50/50 if that is a key. CT Pan, Wesley, Peterson & Brian Gay in 09 did not play The Masters but won this event.

Therefore, I will analyse GIR, SGT2G & Masters performance before selecting my bets / tips for the week. I am looking totally at GIR because finding fairways at Harbour Town is not essential but overall finding the small putting service is.

GIR 2022 on The PGA Tour

RANKPLAYER NAMEROUNDS%
1Russell Knox5773.59
2Jon Rahm3873.53
3Corey Conners5072.61
4Cameron Smith3071.67
5Seamus Power5571.44
T6Luke List4971.26
T6Scottie Scheffler5371.26
8Joel Dahmen4971.2
9Russell Henley5171.18
10Collin Morikawa3071.15
11Lucas Glover5171.13
12Adam Hadwin5071.11
13Mito Pereira5370.86
14Sam Burns4070.69
15Billy Horschel3870.59
16Will Zalatoris4570.56
17Justin Thomas3970.52
T18Sungjae Im5170.49
T18Hideki Matsuyama4570.49
T18Cameron Tringale5170.49

Certainly, a simplistic view to look at the GIR stat holistically. However, with fairways not being always the order of the day, just being the right side of the trees. I want to know who does find the GIR in 2022.

Collin Morikawa 2u 14/1 Boyle Sports

I can honestly say, I got so obsessed with The Masters that I over complicated it and missed with egg on face! Therefore, when you think expert iron players, people like Zalatoris & Morikawa spring to mind. This course should suit Collin Morikawa’s laser irons play. He is 10th in GIR this week and 32nd on tour from between 120-150 yards all season. This stat plays a part, because you can stand on most tees here and hit a 4 iron, 3 wood or Driver. When the player elects for shorter clubs of the tee, that is when we will see some of the shorter holes having this yardage in.

Collin found something last week at Augusta didn’t he? Finishing 5th with the exceptional partnership with McIlroy. I know they were competing, but it did feel like a partnership that round!

Morikawa is only 25 so doesn’t have a large amount of course history, although he did finish 7th here last year.

Adam Hadwin 1u EW 40/1 Boyle Sports

Adam Hadwin is playing well. That is the ultimate reason. 3 Top 10s in a row at Sawgrass, The Valspar and the Valero. He picks up 0.6 shots on the field in SGAPR and from the GIR chart, features in 12th. He also does fit the mould by being a player that slightly looses shots in SGOTT. Similarly, to CT Pan and Bryan in their victories.

I know many tipsters are hot on Hadwin this week, with his form and player profile, it’s a genuine match.

Russell Knox 1u EW 66/1 Boyle Sports

Ok, so everyone knows that Russell struggles to put 4 rounds together at the moment. I know this and you know this. However, if there was a course where I can see him doing the business, it would be Harbour Town. His 7th at Sony and T6th at TPC Sawgrass is certainly an indicator the game is there or there abouts and can suit Harbour Town.

The thing that stuck out for me in my approach homework is that he appears a lot in many of the categories.

We saw a couple of weeks ago at the Valero that Russell has the game right now. He opened with a 65 and disappointed many with his 76 on day 2. I had a certain Waggle Duffer DM’ing me on Twitter after! I am going with Russell this week as I believe this place suits his game much better. He is 1st on tour for GIR, a simplistic view I do agree but he is also 11th on Proximity to the hole. Some of the players that score well on GIR maybe hitting the larger style greens that would miss round Harbour Town.

Russell has won twice on tour, so despite my 4-round worries, he can close and has looked more like doing so over recent months. Finally, and in a similar trend, Russell has 3 MC’s here in a row, yet. Has also has 2 top 10s and 4 top 20s in 9 years. So, another good year is due, right?

20142015201620172018201920202021
91821140MCMCMC

Finally, I will have 2u on Patrick Cantlay, 0.5u EW on Danny Willet (100/1) and 0.5u Andrew Putnam (125/1). Danny was excellent at times last week and Andrew was T6 at Pebble Beach, likes those smaller greens! I was only going to do Danny, but I really like that price on Putnam.

Thank you for reading, I hope it helps The Waggle Duff community and all with your plays. I will be back with a Zurich betting preview and a Waggle Duff fantasy golf. Till then, enjoy this week!

Matt Tizzard: Founder of Waggle Duff

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THE MASTERS 2022 BETTING PREVIEW & TIPS by @MattTizzard

by @MattTizzard

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The greatest show on grass. The Masters is back, and it genuinely feels like 5 years since we had a Major. In this, The Masters 2022 Betting preview, I will review some changes to Augusta National.

. We will then dive into player form and history, before analysing the other stats and data I considered. If you want to see the data I collated the link is below. The article will finish with my picks and the reasons behind them

Google Sheet – Click Here to view Masters Form, Recent History & some random 1st round data

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AUGUSTA NATIONAL, THE COURSE & RECENT CHANGES

We all know the course well, although if you don’t, check out a piece on Amen Corner by NelsonsGolfTips, There are 2 key changes which I think will have an impact. Particularly on Thursday & Friday when the course will potentially be soft like 2019.

Overall, such is the Bryson DeChambeau effect, the course has been lengthened, The overall distance of the course was 7,475 yards to a record 7,510 yards.

The first change is the exceptionally long par 4 11th is now 520 yards from 505 yards and continues to be longer than the par 5 13.

The second change is that the 15th has been lengthened by 20 yards This will catch some players out as the tee box has moved and the contours of the fairway have changed.

Themasters.com website states, “In today’s world, it is referred to frequently as risk/reward. But given the distances elite players are hitting it in 2022, the sentiment is that there is more reward with less risk.”

I read this and I think they are trying to stop someone from doing what Bryson did to the US Open and just muscling their way to victory. This is because, on both holes, where the benefit is to favour the right-hand side, the fairways have been re-contoured to give players a challenging stance into the green.

THE FIELD

I have never seen such a top-heavy field. There are 12 players when I last checked on Sky that were under 20/1. I honestly can’t remember seeing that so close. Traditionally the better players and cream do rise to the top, with most winners ranking inside the World Top 29. The last time someone won outside of this was Angel Cabrera.

With all this talent between 9/1 & 25/1, it is difficult to find value. Perhaps the way to profit this week is to consider the EW markets & Top 40 markets. However, we are here for winners and I will try to build a case for my picks.

Something I have noticed is that Viktor Hovland who was widely backed ante-post is starting to slip as punters back the inform Scottie Scheffler and Cameron Smith. Both of them have wins to their names already this year. Scheffler recently won the WGC Matchplay.

THE MASTERS 2022 BOOKIES & OFFERS

From my research, you have 2 options, without going to the exchange. Finding value with the places or finding the best odds.

The best places I have found are Boyle Sports & Sky Bet. Both of which are giving you odds of 11 places. It appears from first glance that Boyle Sports have slightly better prices than you do down the field.

Alternatively, the best prices are found at Bet 365 (87% of golfers in 2022 so far have had the best odds-on Bet 365) or Will Hill. Both are paying out EW for 8 or 9 places respectively.

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Best Odds

Best EW Places (11)

WHO I AM RULING OUT

To begin with I am ruling our former winners of The Masters who traditionally do not fair well. That rules out Matsuyama, who also WD last week at the Valero Texas Open following a neck injury. I am also ruling out former winners Patrick Reed, Danny Willett, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson & sorry, Tiger Woods.

FORM & HISTORY

You can see my data sheets here, (which are free for you to use and draw your own conclusions) that form isn’t easy to come by. This isn’t uncommon heading into The Masters because we have only just gotten started. For me TPC Sawgrass, won by Cameron Smith signifies the beginning of the golfing season. Albeit the show does go on 24/7, 365.

TOP OF THE FIELD FORM

Form Heading into Augusta 
PlayerOdds141312111098
Jon Rahm9/19551721
Justin Thomas11/1353336
Cameron Smith12/1133
Dustin Johnson12/14399MC
Rory McIlroy12/1MC331310
Jordan Spieth14/13535MC26
Scottie Scheffler14/115517
Brooks Koepka16/1512MC16MC
Collin Morikawa16/1968MC2
Viktor Hovland16/11833924
Xander Schauffele16/13512MC13
Patrick Cantlay18/126MC33
Bryson Dechambeau25/1MC58

RECENT HISTORY

PlayerOdds20212020201920182017
Jon Rahm9/1579427
Justin Thomas11/1214121722
Cameron Smith12/110251555
Dustin Johnson12/1CUT1210
Rory McIlroy12/1CUT52157
Jordan Spieth14/134621311
Scottie Scheffler14/11819
Brooks Koepka16/1CUT7211
Collin Morikawa16/11844
Viktor Hovland16/12132
Xander Schauffele16/1317250
Patrick Cantlay18/1CUT1795847
Bryson Dechambeau25/14634293821

GOLF DATA & STATS I CONSIDERED

Form & history is not something that always lends itself to a Masters victory. I analysed the stats of the winners over recent years, which produce the following

YearGIRDRVG
ACC
DRV
DIST
SAND
SV%
BALL
STRKG
PAR 3PAR 4PAR 5Front 9Back 9
Hideski Matsuyama202169.44%64.29%288.842.86%601E-1134.535
Dustin Johnson202083.33%78.57%306.675.00%2-4-5-1133.533.5
Tiger Woods201970.83%76.79%282.625.00%5543-836.2535.5
Patrick Reed201866.67%73.21%299.350.00%244-6-133434.25
Sergio Garcia201775.00%80.36%291.983.33%31-3-734.535.25
Jordan Spieth201659.72%67.86%27857.14%6627-113437.5
Danny Willett201566.67%67.86%278.80.00%36-2-3E35.2535.5
Bubba Watson201469.44%71.43%305.625.00%7-11-835.534.5

The data here taught me that there are many ways to skin this great cat of course. I think of DJ bruising his way from tee to green in 2020, right back to ZJ (Zach Johnson) winning by plotting his way around the course, (he did not go for a single par 5 in 2 all weekend).

So where does that leave us….

Some tipsters will look purely at ball-strikers, however my selections this year are built upon the short game. The reason for that is 3-fold.

  1. Augusta will leave you with testing 6 – 8ft putts all week, due to the speed and contours of the green.
  2. The weather will go from soft and to the firm over the week, players will need to adjust. I am predicting this will lower the greens in regulation and allow someone to come from behind. Similar to Tiger Woods in 2019.
  3. The vast runoff around the green means a slight miss on the green can leave a challenging up and down. Otten from 20, 30, or 50 yards away

I, therefore, analysed the following stats from the 2022 season so far;

  • SG putting
  • Putts made between 5-10ft
  • SG Scrambling from the rough
  • SG Scrambling 20-30 yards

I selected the SG scrambling from 20-30 yards due to the contours of the greens and run-off areas at Augusta. You can’t always see it from TV but the course has great elevation changes throughout and this lends itself to more challenging up and downs.

SG SCRAMBLING FROM THE ROUGH

RANKPLAYER NAMEROUNDS%SUCCESSESATTEMPTS
1Daniel Berger21751520
2Jordan Spieth2773.813142
3Matt Fitzpatrick2972.584562
4Shane Lowry2370.972231

SG PUTTING

SG Putting, 2022
RANKPLAYER NAMEROUNDSAVERAGETOTAL SG:PUTTINGMEASURED ROUNDS
1Tyrrell Hatton261.16821.02718
2Brian Gay351.13627.27124
3Cameron Smith261.04826.2125
4Lucas Herbert290.8216.39920
5Kevin Kisner400.77423.21530

BETTING PICKS

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Below are the players I will be betting this week. You can view my datasheets here and draw your own conclusion

Google Sheet – Click Here to view Masters Form, Recent History & some random 1st round data

Jon Rahm 11/1

I think you would be foolish to ignore the top of the field completely due to value. When everyone is on their game, Rhambo competes. He isn’t in his best form, and I worry about his putting. However, his record at Augusta National in recent years is fantastic. Bar Smith & Scheffler, no player inside that huddle at the top of the betting is in any better form than Jon. If he can put well, he can win, simple.

Tyrell Hatton 50/1

Putting out of his mind this year, reminds me of Spieth when he was dominating golf. It’s very rare for a debutant to do well at Augusta and Tyrrell is slowly becoming more and more experience. He has 4 / 7 Top 10s so far this year.

I found within the data some strange correlation between the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters. In the last 3 years; Rose (5th 2021), Casey (1st 2021) & Dechambeau(4th 2019) have shot leading 1st rounds at The Masters, alongside T5 finishes at the nearest DDC. Danny Willet also won the Dubai Desert Classic in 2016 and went on a few months later to put on a green jacket. Tyrrell was inside the Top 5 of the Dubai Desert Classic this year.

I also like Tyrrell from his win at PGA Championship Wentworth. There certainly is course correlation in terms, of course, set up and the aesthetics of the course being a tree- lined.  

Tyrrells form in 2021 took him as high as 5th in the official world golf rankings.

  • Matthew Fitzpatrick 50/1

When I crunched my short game data, Matt Fitzpatrick’s name kept coming up. He is inside the Top 20 for 3 of my 4 short game criteria and I am really excited to see him out at 50/1. As the course gets firmer over the weekend, players will miss more greens and you will need players that can save par. Fitzpatrick is one the of best on tour as you can see from the table.

Matt is in good form, finding the top 10 4 times out of 6 already this year. He has a game that suits Augusta and will have not entered a Masters with such confidence. He also has never missed a cut here and flirted with the top page of the leaderboard at times over the week.

With Augusta you typically see players mature into their performances here, and like Tyrrell, Fitzpatrick is maturing nicely and becoming a complete player on the tour. If you are looking for value in the 40 – 70/1 bracket, you will be hard beat to find it outside of Fitzpatrick.

Again, I watched a younger Fitzpatrick storm to a European Tour victory at Woburn Golf Club which like Wentworth has similar aesthetics to Augusta. By this I mean, it’s tree-lined and a thinkers golf course.

  • Daniel Berger 35/1

Like Fitzpatrick, Daniel meets my short game and putting criteria. He is the best at getting up and down on the PGA Tour. This of course builds concern for the long game, particularly thinking of the aforementioned lengthening of the course. However

Daniel was incredibly unlucky following a “dropping” altercation with Joel Dahman and Viktor Holvand. A little fire in the belly and some near misses at the Honda Classic and tournament of champions. I feel Daniel is due a win, and this would be a week to do it. You are effectively getting 7/1 for Daniel to finish inside the Top 11 and I think there is value to have there.

Fitzpatrick, Berger & Tyrrell are the steely players I am looking to hang around the Top 5 come Sunday afternoon. I am not expecting a crazy low number to blow them out of the water, (-13 / -16) I suspect is in with a chance. This is in the ball park for all 3.

I also will be putting 0.25u on Si Woo Kim & Min Woo Lee. A final mention to Abraham Ancer, I have 1 pt E/W on him at 66/1 following his WD from Valero Texas Open. If he plays and is fit, he could certainly contend.

SOME FINAL OTHER INTERESTING FINDINGS IN MY RESEARCH

(5) & (4)Justin Rose & Jordan Spieth appear the most inside the Top 10 in the last 8 years after the 1st round
57%Slight trend that the winner of The Masters is found inside the Top 10 of round 1 the year before 57% of the time. I am also counting Spieth during Willet’s win in 2015 (57%)
0No winner of the Arnold Palmer has gone onto be inside the T10 of The Masters after Round 1 – Scottie Scheffler (last 6 years)
0No winners of the Gensis Invitational that has gone onto be inside the T10 of Masters after Round 1 – Joaquin Niemann (last 6 years)
0No winners of the Players Championship that has gone onto be inside the T10 of Masters after Round 1 – Cameron Smith (last 6 years)
3The Dubai Desert Classic may have some correlation? In the last 3 years; round 1 leaders, Justin Rose (5th 2021), Paul Casey (1st 2021) & Bryson Dechambeau(4th 2019) have shot leading 1st rounds at The Masters, alongside Top 5 finishes at the nearest Dubai Desert Classic. Casey’s came 2 months later due to COVID
1Round 1 leaders have come from as early as 08:00 and 14:00 throughout the years, with no correlation
1Tyrell Hatton meets the DDC trend. He finished 4th in the Dubai Desert Classic and came inside the T10 at the end of round 1 in 2021

THE MASTERS – FORM & RECENT HISTORY DATA

I have started building a pool of data from player performance, form & stats to help the Waggle Duff community with tips, bets & Waggle Duff fantasy teams. I didn’t think of a better time to publish some initial work and findings ahead of The Masters.

I hope the below google sheet helps you with your bets! Any feedback is welcome.

Google Sheet – Click Here to view Masters Form, Recent History & some random 1st round data

Waggle Duff Fantasy Golf submission for the Masters opens Monday morning. Once open, simply tweet your team to play!

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I will over the weekend play with the data and seek some trends to share on the Waggle Duff twitter. You will also notice this sheet update as I find trends and when The Texas Open ends on Sunday. Any questions, let me know. Just a bit of fun!

If you want a deeper dive into such data sets and trends, I would strongly recommend GolfBets101

By @MattTizzard. Founder of Waggle Duff

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Kenya Savannah Classic 2021 – GOLF BETTING preview and TIPS

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Written by @MattTizzard for @WaggleDuff

WAGGLE DUFF fantasy golf returns to The PGA TOUR this week, you can see the format for the DELL WGC MATCHPLAY here.

Below is the betting preview for the KENYA SAVANNAH CLASSIC

KENYA SAVANNAH CLASSIC – BETTING PREVIEW

Déjà vu, here we are again. Karen Club, Kenya for our 2nd instalment of European Tour action from Africa. For the players, it’s a short 1-day break then back to it, as this event is run from TUESDAY – FRIDAY. The short 6900 course will again be a birdie fest, but we do expect some rain and maybe some storm delays on Tuesday.

I liked my plays last week, OTAEGUI, RAI and HANSEN threatened top 6 at times but didn’t quite get there. I did get carried away with covering a number of other players who were towards tiple digits. TONG LI withdrew and I will not continue my support, MOLINARI I poked at early Thursday morning, but he missed the cut.

I did catch HARDING after day 1 at 18/1 and I felt this was good value for money with SOUTH AFRICANS performing typically well. HARDING closed out a bogey free 66 to get the win on Sunday.

This week, I am going to go a little left wing away from the popular picks (RAI, HANSEN, VEERMAN) but give myself good value in returns. This course and field give you an opportunity to do. With many players threatening over the course of the MAGICAL KENYA OPEN.

  • For @GolfBets101 WGC Matchplay preview – click here
  • For @MattTizzard WGC Matchplay preview – click here

WHAT WE LEARNT FROM LAST WEEK

It is a short course and a birdie fest so being good off the Tee is key. Players that ripped apart the par 5’s and drove right down or on the short par 4s seemed to pick up the birdies necessary. The beast that is NIENABER ticks this box and is 33/1.

A lot of players can make the birdies on what is an easier course to climb the leaderboard. Again, I think this is a field to bet low but cover with many outsiders who have the game to potentially threaten, HEND gets there at 150/1.

I have a mix in my picks this week, although tempting to go with HARDING and KITAYAMA after last week, I am going to pass. I never like backing back-to-back winners and after watching KITAYAMA I did feel he was fighting his swing, particularly off the tee.

He was using his hands a lot through impact to flick the ball straight. I am not sure this is sustainable over another 4 days of tournament play, starting less than 48 hours after the MAGICAL KENYA OPEN.

SUMMARY OF PICKS

  • Wilco NIENABER 33/1 – (0.5u)
  • Niklas LEMKE 50/1 (0.75u E/W)
  • Pep ANGLES 70/1 – (0.25u E/W)
  • Soren KJELDSEN 125/1 – (0.25u E/W)
  • Scott HEND 150/1 – (0.25u E/W)

OTHER PLAYERS CONSIDERED

  • Justin HARDING
  • Aaron RAI
  • Adrian OTAEGUI
  • Dean BURMESTER

KEY STATS

GIR

Putting

Birdie Performance

Last week’s performance indicator

THE COURSE

Parkland style, tight but not as tight as appears on TV

Small greens, pushes me towards GIR stats

Short course compared to most.

RECENT WINNERS MAGICAL KENYAN OPEN (PLAYED ON SAME COURSE)

2021 –  Justin Harding

2019 – Guido Migliozzi

2018 – Lorenzo Gagli

2017 – Aaron Rai

2016 – Sebastian Soderberg

2015 – Haydn Porteous

2015 – Jake Roos

2013 – Jordi Garcia Pinto

2012 – Seve Benson

2011 – Mihiel Bothma

2010 – Robert Dinwiddie

Wilco NIENABER 33/1 – (0.5u)

Ticks the boxes for me off the Tee. Can rip the course apart if kept straight.  A little undetected in his -10 total for last week, however constantly a popular pick and tip.

Niklas LEMKE 50/1 (0.75u E/W)

LEMKE came T33 last week, remember it is the same course, and this was his worst finish in his last 5 appearances. LEMKE’s recent finishes are T9 (Cyprus), T11 (Joburg Open), T8 (Dubai DP World), T9 (Qatar Masters).

He also made more than enough birdies to challenge last week, just made a number of mistakes. LEMKE is in good form and if he can go a step further can get inside the Top 6. A good each way bet at 50/1/

Pep ANGLES 70/1 – (0.25u E/W)

Solid performance last week finishing T8th. A good price of 70/1 for ANGLES and the game to show. ANGLES ticks the boxes with the length and accuracy of the Tee and kept it quite straight last week. He ranked 6th T2G on the Friday and he ranked 1st off the tee on the Saturday, which indicates the swing is in place.

His approach play let him down, and that was the difference between his performance and KITAYAMA, particularly in round 1, ANGLES ranked 101st in approach play.

ANGLES is a recent winner on the Challenge Tour and this course has historically been a Challenge Tour venue. That combined with a watered-down field for the European Tour, there is no reason he can’t go one better this week.

Soren KJELDSEN 125/1 – (0.25u E/W)

A little emotional pick, but I noticed KJLEDSEN T14 after round 1 last week. I also looked back at his cards and he only dropped 6 shots all week. Where he failed was taking advantages of the Par 5’s and short Par 4’s which the bigger hitters will do.

When play starts tomorrow there is a good chance that rain, and storms may come into play. Someone like KJELDSEN with his tight compact swing and the way he plots round the course could get himself into contention. Particularly if those conditions come into pay.

If he can have a hot week with the putter, KJLEDSEN will be in with a chance, he is always going to find the greens in regulation, just maybe with slightly longer putts!

Scott HEND 150/1 – (0.25u E/W)

Exceptional price, considering HEND was right up there until the last round. He closed with a 73.

Although let’s not ignore the previous 67, 64, 68.

Within that 68 he effectively dropped 4 shots on the field on the short par 4 10th and par 5 11th. The game is there to pick the sticks up tomorrow and compete.

MAGICAL KEYNA OPEN – BETTING PREVIEW

By @MattTizzard

For this weeks PGA TOUR Betting Preview click here – by @GolfBets101

MAGICAL KENYAN OPEN – BETTING PREVIEW

The European Tour heads to Africa now and begins with the Magical Kenya Open. Certainly, one from the B side of the European Tour schedule. This event has flicked between the Safari Tour, Challenge Tour and now European Tour . Still, we shake things up on WAGGLE DUFF and feature the Kenya Open this week.

There is a reason to put a case forward for many 3 digit players this week, its very exciting. Certainly a week to bet small and go for the higher odds players. I have tried to not get carried away, but you can make a case for and I have considered the following;

  • McEvoy – Tweeted about him earlier! 150/1
  • Kjeldsen – 150/1
  • Lars Van Meijel 150/1
  • Bjerregaard 175/1
  • Rithammer 175/1

However, below is who I have backed. This week I have got a little emotional over OTAEGUI and TONG LI. I believe statistically the other 3 are good performers!

SUMMARY OF PICKS

  • Louis De Jager – 55/1 – 1pt EW
  • Joachim B Hansen – 40/1 pt EW
  • Aaron Rai – 28/1 – 1pt EW
  • Adrian Otaegui – 40/1 – 0.5pt EW
  • Hao Tong Li – 125/1 – 0.5pt EW

KEY STATS

GIR

Putting

Birdie Performance

THE COURSE

Parkland style, tight but not as tight as appears on TV

Small greens, pushes me towards GIR stats

Short course compared to most.

RECENT WINNERS

2019 – Guido Migliozzi

2018 – Lorenzo Gagli

2017 – Aaron Rai

2016 – Sebastian Soderberg

2015 – Haydn Porteous

2015 – Jake Roos

2013 – Jordi Garcia Pinto

2012 – Seve Benson

2011 – Mihiel Bothma

2010 – Robert Dinwiddie

Louis De Jager 55/1 (1pt E/W)

Louis scored highest on the Golf Betting System model that I used for this event. He was also 4th on the official model used by Steve & Paul. The key difference is Driving accuracy will play a part in leading me towards some of my other picks below.

Louis flicks between African and European Tours, which I hope will put him right at home this week.

The South African doesn’t smash the trend of straight hitters, he’s a bit of a monster rather than someone that plots his way around the course. Yet, across the key stats of Driving, Approach, Putting, and Scrambling he has improved from 2019 into 2020.

He has made 9 of his last 10 cuts, which indicates the game is there He can now push on from the T10 in Cyprus late last year.

Joachim B Hansen 30/1 (1pt E/W)

I watched HANSEN at the BMW PGA last year and thought he looked excellent. Since then he has won the JOBURG OPEN and finished 9th last week in Qatar. Players in the typically do well here. I think HANSEN will relish returning to Africa and will be full of confidence come Thursday morning. He also smashes the ball striking stats, which will be important this week.

HANSEN had a good week last week and enters the Kenya Open in good form. His approach play was excellent, and this is a key stat for this week.

Aaron Rai – 28/1 (1pt E/W)

Ok, people know I like Rai a lot. Now using the GolfBettingSystem.com model, Aaron Rai ranks highly due to his putting stats.

Aaron also has a good finish this year, coming T18 in the Workday WGC, against the big boys may I add. A little like Adrian Otaegui he typically starts seasons slow and grows into them. I think this shift following such a good performance in a WGC event will give him a boost.

Aaron is great off the tee, good into the green and good with the putter. I have weighted GIR and putting as the key stats and he is 10th on my model.

Adrian Otaegui 40/1 (1pt E/W)

Ok, my last 2 picks are more on the gut then the stats. I know this isn’t what you read this for, but this is my justification! I would add, I was right with Spieth EW at the WASTE MANAGEMENT Phoenix Open a few weeks ago!

Apart from 2018, recent winners have been towards the -20 mark. What this means is players that can make birdies will do well, and we can look no further than Italian OTAEGUI. I said OTAEGUI starts seasons slow, and yet again he has. So potentially its now time to see him find a groove. Changing from the sandy Arabian courses to the more parkland Karen Club will suit him. There is also a correlation between tight Italian & Spanish courses and good performers in Kenya.

Adrian does frustrate me, in the last 3 weeks he has shot rounds in the 60s, so the game is there. It’s the consistency. I thought that given this week is a bit more of a parkland course, accuracy off the tee is important.

Either way, OTAEGUI has the long game and ranks 11th off the tee this season on Tour. He can certainly put himself in position. Also the KAREN CLUB isn’t the longest course on tour, which will suit his short, accurate play.

Everyone remembers what he did in Scotland, going crazy low to win. It’s in the locker and 40/1 against this field is a good bet.

Hao Tong Li – 125/1 (0.5pt E/W)

Before I start, Li is WELL OUT OF FORM but I have some justification.

It feels like Li has been kicking about for 10 years, well he actually has. He played when he was 14 in the Volvo China Open. This means now he is still only 25 years old, although he has a lot of experiences that can arm him for a big 2021. He’s played in all the majors, WGC and even in the Olympics. Between such events, he holds 6 wins across the European Tour, OneAsia Tour and PGA Tour China.

LI lead the PGA Championship last year by 2 strokes after round 1 last year. He has the experience and game to do well, despite a lack of form and maybe some motivation.

On paper, he doesn’t smash anything so more a gut pick. Either way, 125/1 is a ridiculous price! Surely if I stick with him his good week will come and we will have a lovely payout, right? (+EV pick?)

This PRE – SHOT ROUTINE helped me play SCRATCH GOLF

In a series that I have always wanted to write, I am going to write a reflection piece that describes I did that helped me achieve a handicap of scratch. I don’t believe many people really talk in depth about what exactly did to get results and when they do, it’s usually a flash Instagram teenager or an interview with an Ex – Tour player, that can be very difficult to relate to.

This first article is all about the pre-shot routine. This wasn’t something I really took seriously until I was in my twenties. I was a good player, I played some good rounds, I played a lot of bad rounds (it was only 0.1 added to the handicap for a bad round then) but I believe there was some key principles that I stuck to, which allowed me to kick on and become a scratch golfer.

In this article I discuss my pre-shot routine. This is something I am sure golfers know all about. It’s a pattern of behaviour from when you arrive at your golf ball until you have struck your shot. We see Sergio and his waggle, Matt Wolff with his dip and Bryson with his big practise swings. However, I did not realise how powerful the pre-shot routine is for your golf game until I used it consistently and effectively.

This was the routine;

  1. My bag arrives at my ball, this is a trigger to switch my mind on
  2. Decide what shot I was going to hit and what club, I would literally picture the shot in my mind
  3. 2 practise swings behind the ball, feeling what I wanted to achieve with the swing
  4. Pick a spot 6 inches in front of the ball, that is in line with the hole
  5. Align club face with the spot and draw an invisible line in my mind
  6. Align feet parallel with line created between the “6-inch spot” and my ball
  7. 2 looks at the target
  8. Commit to shot

There are some key advantages to developing a pre-shot routine. Firstly, it allows you to enter your shot with the right mindset, your routine needs a trigger that brings your mind into focus and into your shot. For me that was my bag banging down on the ground and the stand pinging out. It could have been however a throw up of the grass or even just the words “OK” being said to yourself when you arrive at your ball. It doesn’t matter what it is, but the trigger needs to prepare your mind to play the golf shot and enter your routine.

The pre-shot routine also has physical benefits, my routine allowed me to align my club face DIRECTLY AT THE TARGET, which meant I was more consistent with my alignment to the flag and fairway, subsequently I hit straighter shots more often. Simples.

However, it also meant on days when the swing wasn’t going well I could rule out alignment as a factor for poor performance. 

Finally building a routine you trust and feel comfortable doing will prepare you to play well under pressure. By having a routine you do with your mates on a Thursday, you are also developing your mind, body, alignment and swing for when you play in a Medal or any competition.

A study from Weinberg and Gould 2003, founded that college basketball players made their free-throw 74% of the time when a pre-shot routine was used vs 68% when they didn’t.

I did and still do this routine every time I practise, play 9 holes with a few beers, or tee it up in a Medal. The biggest challenge is sticking with it when things aren’t going so well or you have just had a bad shot. However, I know it works for me with the lads and it works for me under pressure.

I would strongly recommend building a pre-shot routine that works for you and COMMIT to it for weeks, months and years.

 Not only did it allow me to be physically more repeatable, but mentally more repeatable no matter what shot I was facing. So build a routine you feel comfortable doing, and stick with it!

Matt Tizzard

Matt Tizzard |Founder: WAGGLE DUFF

Twitter: @MattTizzard

Insta: @MattTizzardGolf