One of my favourite betting events this week at the Memorial tournament where a certain type of player seems to prevail. The first person I ever heard describe Muirfield Village as a "second shot course" was three-time Memorial champ Kenny Perry and he features in the staking plan this week.
With generous fairways, smallish targets and a big emphasis on avoiding short siding yourself at Muirfield, this is indeed a track where approach shot accuracy is key. Long hitters are on the radar, those with a higher ball flight have an advantage and scrambling here can be akin to Augusta if you miss greens running up to 13' on the stimp. Experience, patience and good course management are all valuable assets and leaving yourself uphill putts is the brief on many holes.
Rory McIlroy is a perfect fit for the course but at 16s isn't big enough to make the EW staking plan; he represents a great potential back to lay opportunity around 20.0 on the exchanges though. Instead, Matt Kuchar is first to get the nod opening at 25/1 6 places with Stanjames. Kuchar ticks a lot of the boxes mentioned above and it's no coincidence his average finish is just under 8th place across his last five starts at the Memorial tournament. Off the back of a 2nd at Colonial, Kuchar almost picks himself this week.
Not many have a better record at the Memorial than former champion Justin Rose. The same could have been said before Wentworth last week where he started well before fading but again, his combination of total driving and GIR% stats, coupled with his high ball flight, meticulous style, and control from approaches make him a standout amongst the market leaders for me. I got it wrong earlier in the year when I said I didn't think his short putting would cost him at Augusta and it could all be about how the flat stick is for him at Memorial.
Next up we have two players who have really struggled to kick start their seasons but both have an affinity with Muirfeild Village and the Memorial track; I'm hoping they can be inspired this week. Rickie Fowler came in at an outstanding 66/1 six places with Stans and couldn't be ignored. He played some brilliant golf here in 2010 before a bit of an implosion on the back nine saw him lose out to the aforementioned Justin Rose while in search of his maiden title. Rickie will benefit from the extra room off the tee this week and shorter approaches into the greens and judging fromhis Twitter timeline, he seems in good spirits.
The second of the twosome actually finished just behind Fowler in 2010 and is one of these players I like to back at 50/1 and over. Ever consistent but arguably doesn't win/place often enough to back any shorter than 40s or 50s, Bo Van Pelt actually excels on the tougher tracks due largely to his ball striking ability. The big man was 4th in the all round last year, has posted 4 of his last 8 rounds in the sixties and has multiple top 20s to his name at Memorial.
Memorial tournament Sleeper watch
There are a few standouts as per usual at larger odds this week and first up is the man I mentioned at the top of the preview - Kenny Perry. Three time winner at Memorial and a man who knows how to tackle the Muirfield track, Perry describes himself as a streaky player. He's just come off the back of a 2nd place at the senior PGA where he should have won so definitely one to look at in the subsidiary markets. Geoff Ogilvy is another who always makes the Memorial shortlist. In 2009 he posted a 63 here in tough conditions and looked set to do the same in R1 the following year before a bogey on his 17th (8th)left him settling for a 65.
Two more to keep an eye on maybe in the first round leader markets are Graham DeLaet and Matt Every who both featured prominently last week. Every lead the field in GIR at Colonial and finished 6th at Memorial last year while the big hitting DeLaet ranks 2nd in total driving and greens in regulation in 2013 and can overpower the par fives here.
As always, follow me on Twitter @Nicspicks for more thoughts
Memorial staking plan (prices from Monday members email)
Pick #1: 1u ew Matt Kuchar @ 25/1 ( Stanjames 1-6)
Pick #2: 1u ew Justin rose @ 28/1 ( Stanjames 1-6)
Pick #3: 0.75u ew Rickie Fowler @ 66/1 ( Stanjames 1-6)
Pick #4: 0.75u ew Bo Van Pelt @ 70/1 (Sportingbet)
Pick #5: 0.5u ew Kenny Perry 1st RL @ 200/1 (Betfred) 1u top 10 @ 22/1(Skybet)
ALERT: Stanjames are places 1-6 and top industry price on numerous players at the Memorial Tournament
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