It's a case of if at first you don't succeed at this week's Northern Trust Open where Ryan Moore features once again as one of the headline tips. The same can be said of Bill Haas as these are two of the most tipped guys on Nicspicks blog. It's amazing what a year or two can do as Jimmy walker - another former favourite of Nicspicks - has gone from being tipped at a three figure quote to opening at a ridiculous 18/1 in some places for the Northern Trust Open, albeit Riviera CC is his favourite course on tour. In fact the first time I tipped Jimmy Walker on here, I tipped him at 18s for a top 10 in Texas! As always, you can follow me on Twitter : @Nicspicks for more insight and updates throughout the week.
Nicspicks' man to beat: Dustin Johnson 14/1
Northern Trust market negatives: Jimmy Walker 18/1, Graham DeLaet 20/1
Likely to be tipped / backed: Charl Schwartzel 40/1, Ryan Moore 33/1
The course - Riviera CC Par 71; length: 7,349yds
Key Features: Tree-lined and hard to hit fairways, penal rough, difficult pin positions
(update: I've been alerted to a tweet from F. Molinari that suggests the rough is down this year)
Premium on: Long iron approaches; three putt / bogey avoidance; scoring on the par fives; ball striking
Notes: From previous yeas I've noted that a big factor at the Northern Trust Open is players being left with lengthy approach shots, and thus on large greens, landing in three-putt territory is common; good lag putting is essential at Riviera.
Northern Trust Open Shortlist (made the cut)
(quoted prices from time of spreadsheet entry)
Pick #1 Bill Haas 28/1 (1-6)
Course form: 3-1-12; Current form: 34-43-6
Key stats: 18th in GIR%; Ball striking: 22nd
Other: superb tee to green game and ball striking ability sets Haas up perfectly for Riviera. If he had stronger current form he'd be my man to beat, even in a field of such quality.
Pick #2: Ryan Moore 33/1 (1-6)
Course form: 27-17-4; Current form: 6-10-7 #simmering
Key stats: Proximity to hole:2nd; 1st in approaches from 175-200 and 150-175 yds
Other: I went for outsider place value on Nicspicks but Ryan Moore was my headline Unibet tip for the CIMB pre-Xmas. I've been tipping him a lot for the last six months as I'm expecting him to finally fulfill his promise as an amateur. Leading in approches from both 150-175yds and 175-200yds is a huge positive for me this week.
Pick #3: Charl Schwartzel 40/1
Course form: 3; Current form: 59-15-6-4-1
Key stats (2013): 3-putt avoidance 8th; putting from 15-25' 9th; total driving 27th
Other: excels in distance control with long irons. Inflated price due to poor effort last week but shook off the rust and ready to go on course that suits.
Pick #4: KJ Choi 66/1(1-6)
Course form: 33-24-7-27-3-7; current form: mc-42-2-20
Key stats: averaging 23rd in approaches from 125-200yds
Other: The "tank" has re-found his touch again this season and is another who excels on tracks where ball striking is rewarded. the tougher the course the better. MC last week can be excused with excessive wind conditions. Eye catching performance at the Farmers on US Open style layout.
Pick #5: John Senden 200/1 (18/1 top 10)
Course form: mc-44-21; current form: mc-69-61-3-65-4
Key stats: Ball striking 26th; Total driving: 21st
Other: Another player to watch on tracks where tee to green game and pars on the card takes precedence over putting and birdie making. Flashbacks to 2011 where Senden was impeccable here, right at the top of the board after 36 holes. A couple of top fives worldwide recently for Senden.
Best of the rest (from shortlist): H. Matsuyama 33/1, K. Bradley 30/1, C. Tringale 110/1, Justin Hicks 250/1
Tipster comp: win a £50 free bet this week with Stanjames
Northern Trust Open finalised staking plan
1u ew R. Moore @ 33/1 (1-6 PP)
1u ew Bill Haas @ 28/1 (1-6) PP
1u ew C. Schwartzel@ 40/1 (general)
0.75u ew KJ. Choi @ 66/1 (1-6) PP
1.5u J. Senden top 10 @ 18/1 (general)
Tips and staking plans for this week's golf including africa Open can be found on my P&L spreadsheet, while my Africa Open preview will be up on Unibet tomorrow.
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