It's Jack's Memorial Tournament, and the Wales Open this week, one of my favourite periods and two of my favourite courses in the golfing year. Last time out was a bit of a kick in the teeth as big triple odds fancy Harris English hit a seven on a par four late in round three, leaving it all to do on Sunday. Tipped at 125/1 initially on Twitter, Harris was into 50/1 in some places before the off and it's always nice when those picks prove fruitful but it wasn't really to be last week. He managed a good round but could only share fifth place with four others, cutting the place odds significantly.
The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village is very much a course that demands experience. Straight away I'll rule out the majority of debutants and youngsters around here. Known by the pros as a "second shot course" where keeping it under the pin and avoiding the short side from approaches is key, there are three course specialists, all at generous odds for the Memorial who pick themselves this week for me.
Memorial Tournament Picks
Pick 1: 0.75pts e/w Bo Van Pelt @ 45/1 (Betfred) Outstanding course form for big Bo around Memorial and hardly surprising given he has all the attributes to go well around this course. It's five top tens for BVP this season including one at The Players following some injury problems. Ranks 20th in proximity to the hole and 2nd in the all round. Has been playing the Memorial for many years with a 3rd place finish posted as far back as 2005. He also finished in a tie for third in 2010.
Pick 2: 0.5pts e/w Ryan Moore @ 55/1 (Bet365) 2nd here in 06 and tied fifth in 2010, Ryan Moore is another who knows how to get around Muirfield village. Poor season by his standards in 2011 but has burst back into form this year with three top 10s (two top 5s) in strong events. Moore ranks 24th in approaches from 150-175 yards and has shot the lowest round on tour this year (61) - good first round leader shout.
Pick 3: 0.5pts e/w Geoff Ogilvy @ 66/1 (Betfred) I havn't backed Mr. Ogilvy for a while and long term followers will know how much of a fan I am but there are three or four courses on tour where Ogilvy really excels, and at Memorial, he's always on the shortlist. Numerous top 25's for the Australian in what's been a very consistent yet not overly flattering season, Geoff boasts serious form at Muirfield Village with multiple top tens. Generous fairways really suit and low rounds have been shot here by Ogilvy including a -9 in 2009 (to the astonishment of one fellow competitor named Tiger Woods) and an opening 65 in 2010. Super-fast greens plus wide fairways = GEOFF OGILVY. Top 20 last week with no over par rounds in tough conditions on a course that doesn't suit.
The Wales Open at the Celtic Manor Resort is not too dissimilar to Memorial this week in terms of set up. A lengthy course with big importance on approaches to avoid the nasty run offs on deceptively large, elevated greens. Missing the greens at both events will more often than not cost you a shot while both courses can be forgiving from the tee.
Pick 4: 0.75pts e/w Thomas Bjorn @ 50/1 (general) Course form at the Wales Open and a decent showing from the Dane at the BMW PGA last week, Thomas will have happy memories from the 2010 Ryder Cup, being a key member of the staff. The fiery competitor is in fine form this season, won three times on tour in 2011 and has designs on a Ryder Cup playing spot this time round. 50's is double the price it should be.
Pick 5: 0.5pts e/w Raphael Jacquelin @ 100/1 (general) Another that features on the Wales Open leaderboards down the years, the streaky Frenchman comes into the event off the high of US Open qualification on Monday. Opened with a 67 here in 2010 and 100/1 is too big. One to watch.
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