I was going to leave the Reno Tahoe Open largely alone but with the change of format to modified stableford I can't resist giving it my full attention. Basically the scoring system places emphasis on making birdies and plenty of them
Points are awarded as follows: (Full rules here)
Par: 0pts, Bogey: -1pt, DB or worse: -3pts, birdie: +2pts, Eagle: +5pts
Basically, players will be rewarded more for aggressive play and low numbers on the card while at the same time be punished less for mistakes. To put it into some context - a player that shoots a round of even with 18 pars will score 0 while a player that shoots a round of even that includes five birdies and five bogeys will score 5pts. We will obviously then be focusing on the birdie making stats as opposed to steady golfers and I have a handful of players to look at that excel in this department.
One more thing of importance to note is course form: Players will need to factor in altitude to the equation this week and holes generally play 10% shorter, meaning there's a premium on distance control. Those with course experience generally prosper.
JB Holmes ew @ 25/1 - Makes birdies in bunches and has the length to over power par fives, bringing eagle into the reckoning (8 this year so far). Market leader in my book.
Spencer Levin ew @ 50/1 - top price on a fiery player who will love this format. 13th on tour in total birdies and can go super low on any given day. Streaky putter.
Alex Cjeka e/w @ 50/1 (Coral) - Fifth at the Reno Tahoe Open in 2010, 4th in birdie average in 2012 and always seems to pop up in second rate tour events.
Andres Romero e/w @ 50/1 - Another who can go birdie crazy but also post a lot of doubles which costs him in stroke play. 14th in birdie average in 2011 and in good form of late. Likes an eagle.
Vaugn Taylor e/w @ 66/1 - Former winner of the Reno Tahoe and course specialist has found some form after a spell of missed cuts. Top short iron/wedge player ranking 11th in proximity to the hole and can make birdies in bunches. Prone to the odd double bogey.
Camillo Villegas ew @ 66/1 (SB) - Before cycling took over, Villegas was somewhat of an aggressive birdie machine. Ranked 5th on tour in birdie average in 2008 and signs are that he's regaining interest in his golf. Four rounds of last eight in the sixties including a 2nd round 64 in Canada. Twice the price he should be.
John Daly ew @ 125/1 - The sleeper this week is big hitting John who will be licking his lips at the prospect of stableford. Expect him to come out all guns blazing and a low round possible.
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