A strong field assembles at Firestone for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational while a modified stableford format will be implemented once again at altitude in Reno. An exciting week is in store ahead of the final major of the season and a concoction of total driving ability and strong mid-distance putting is the order of the day in Akron, Ohio. Firestone CC plays 7,400 yards to a par of 70 and conditions are generally fast and firm. Pin positions can be tough after day one and there's a premium on hitting fairways to access them from approaches.......
My three main picks this week all fit the same type of profile: Good drivers of the ball who excel from mid range on the greens. 35/1 Jason Day was a big factor at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational in 2011 and thrives in the big events. The Aussie may be struggling slightly with a wrist problem but has had a couple of week's rest. Day ranks 41st in total driving and 21st in strokes gained putting in 2013.
Keegan Bradley hit a 66/1 winner for us at the Bridgestone Invitational last year where he was tipped largely due to his performance on the greens the year previous. He seemed to have the run of them and this continued over to 2012 where he put in a flawless performance with the short stick (or long stick in Keegan's case!). Couple this to a total driving stat of 4th in 2013 and add in a morale boosting T15 at the Open, and 40s looks fair with Ladbrokes.
Ryan Moore held the joint 2nd round lead here at the Bridgestone in 2011 and arguably the two strongest departments of his game are his driving and mid length putting, ranking 27th in TD and 10th in putting from 5-15', despite an indifferent season. In saying that, if we discard the US Open, his average finish is 18.5 in his last four starts and he put himself in position to win at Muirfield after 54. 100s is certainly worth a play here on a man tipped for huge things in his amateur days. Moore may be a decent long odds potential back to lay option for traders.
One firmly under the radar for my last Bridgestone Invitational pick this week and one that may be best worth taking on in the first round leader or "to shoot lowest round" market (if possible). Under the radar this week maybe but it certainly wasn't the case this time last year when Scott Piercy was the "hottest golfer on the planet" and on the back of Canadian Open success. For those that believe in the theory of golfers peaking at certain times of the year, Piercy also won the Reno-Taho at the corresponding time in 2011. In a recent Q&A on Twitter I also recall him saying the Firestone course is one he strongly fancied challenging on or something along those lines and that stuck, as it surprised me. T19 here at Firestone last year.
The Reno-Tahoe Open is the other event going on this week and it's in the form of a modified stableford which lends itself to an attacking style of play. We hit places with Andres Romero and John Daly last year and birdie makers and course specialists are the focus. The Montreux course plays at altitude so distance control is vital and it could pay to stick with players that have plenty of course experience. The recent Greenbrier event was similar so a quick scan of the leaderboard there won't hurt either.
For my Reno-Tahoe picks, and staking plans and best prices for both events, see the bottom of my P&L spreadsheet here BetVic are going 6 places in Reno.
Up to £200 in free bets for the golf this week:
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