Two events lacking in value that I can see this week and wind is set to be a big factor on both sides of the pond. Strong gusts are a regular feature at the HP Byron Nelson Championship where only a handful of players finished under par in 2011 and for this reason it's hard to be confident about any players near the top end of the market and I like to look further down. Fairways and greens are some of the hardest to hit on tour when the wind blows around TPC Four Seasons and scrambling will be a premium this week.
In Madeira, the same can be said about the top of the market but for different reasons. This is a field of very little quality and is wide open IMO. The main defence of the sub 7,000 yard par 72 is the Atlantic Ocean winds while the course plays at altitude, and distance control from approaches plays a vital role here.
Damien McGrane is the type of player that always stands out on a course such as Santo De Serra and McGrane posted a top 10 on his last outing here. Showing progressive form of 40 - 29, the Irishman ripped up the course in round 2 in China, eventually settling for a 66, so signs are there that his game is boiling up nicely ahead of the Madeira Islands Open on a track right up his street.
Next up we have two Spaniards that stand out for different reasons: Alvaro Velasco caught the eye on Monday before the prices were out, with a concoction of current and course form. Velasco posted a top 30 here last year and a top five the last time the course was used before that. He opened at a standout 66s with two firms, the next best being 50/1 so some pretty obvious value there. Augustin Domingo at 100/1 also looks overpriced across the board. Admittedly I know little about him but a 2nd place last week on the Challenge tour - posting rounds of 68-68-64-68 - and in a field this week of not too much higher quality, he's worth a small investment for me, feeding off last week's confidence.
Local boy Jordan Spieth is a man who has finally burst onto the big stage this year and is the one everyone wants to be on at the Byron Nelson. Making his PGA Tour bow here in 2010 at aged just 16, Spieth put in a fantastic performance in front of his classmates (yes he was still in school) who all followed him around. He certainly impressed playing partner Corey Pavin judging from the then Ryder Cup captain's comments and indeed was in with a shout of winning until a double late on in his final round. Spieth has three top 10s to his name on the main tour this season and looks the standout from the pack at 40s.
Two players that featured last week at the Players were Ben Crane at 50s who yo-yo'd up and down the leaderboard showing signs of his best form, and Greg Chalmers. The Aussie is well used to playing in strong winds and indeed won back to back in his blustery homeland in 2011. Chalmers already has a top five to his name this year in Tampa and if not for a poor final round at the Players last week, he'd have finished much higher than T37 and would be priced a lot lower. Scrambling is a premium this week at the Byron Nelson ans Greg ranks 4th on tour in total putting.
For full list of bets (including outsider and first round leader) and staking plan for this week's golf, see spreadsheet. All prices from members emails earlier in the week. As always you can follow me on twitter: @Nicspicks for in play thoughts.
Stanjames are top price EVERY PLAYER this week in the Volvo Matchplay
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