It's one of my favourite golf betting weeks of the year with the Valspar Championship (formerly the Transitions / Tampa Bay Championship) and the Trophee Hassan II taking centre stage. Many readers will know the Trophee Hassan has been one of the most profitable events for Nicspicks in the five years now since the blog's inception and it's not a coincidence, as targeting a specific profile of player here can potentially pay dividends even more so than certain other events....
Golf du Palais Royal is a short, half tree-lined, half exposed pure links course with deeply undulating fairways and greens. Surfaces are also small and guarded by pot bunkers. It's a shot maker and ball strikers course and if the wind is down there are plenty of birdies to be made. It's the favourite stop on tour for a lot of the players even with the dreaded ice plant lurking for errant drives!
Over in the US for the Valspar Championship, the Copperhead track is another ball strikers' paradise and the first thing I look at around here are the par threes. There are five of them averaging around the 200 yard mark and they are key to making a score. Par 3 performance and approaches from around the 175-200 yard mark are a vital stat for me this week and a few of my picks feature prominently in this area. Justin Leonard and John Peterson to name a couple.
Another key feature I noticed when following last year's tip Jason Dufner at Copperhead was tricky putts from 5ft and in on large green surfaces. I was left cringing on numerous occasions - Dufner actually three-putted from three foot on one hole. It wasn't just Jason though, the short putts were proving tricky for many of the pros so this is another factor I've taken into account for the Valspar Championship. Step up Brandt snedeker.
I'm pushed for time a bit this week so going to give a little reasoning behind a few of my best value Valspar championship and Trophee Hassan II picks while all picks and staking plans can be found on my profit and loss spreadsheet or Unibet column on Wednesday.
Simon Dyson who I put up at 50s yesterday in a members email - join here is the standout bet of the week in the Trophee Hassan II. Dyson featured strongly at the Tshwane Open on a course that arguably didn't suit last time out and now he comes to a track that should really fit his eye. Dyson is a links specialist who loves to shape it both ways and play different shots in the wind. He's one of the best iron approach players on Tour and from recent quotes, he seems to have reignited his passion for the game after a tough time due to a rules infringement.
Back to Copperhead and the Valspar Championship and the aforementioned Brandt Snedeker has been struggling a bit this year but Sneds is one of the best holer-outers on Tour. Brandt also popped up in the long iron approaches / par three stats where he ranks 6th in approaches from 175-200 yards and at 50/1 is well worth a play at the Valspar Championship for me.
Continuing on this theme, Justin Leonard's (125/1) refocusing to the cause for a last push at big event glory paid dividends at Humana and perhaps somewhat surprisingly, he sits 2nd in par 3 performance. Add to that a 3rd in the standings in putting from < 5' and a driving accuracy rank of 25 and maybe that explains some good form down the years at Copperhead including a top five last year.
Leading the approaches from 175-200 yard stat is solid ball striker John Peterson (250/1). He keeps popping up in my research so I tweeted him yesterday and this was his response: "well man- I'm playing good. And I will turn this around eventually - Hopefully this week." Peterson excels in the ball striking, total driving and GIR% departments and this course should suit and he's worth a dabble at such long odds. He is a very confident player and the type who could make that price look silly.
Charlie Beljan (250/1) is a player I was excited about tipping here last year but he let us down. His form coming into the event is similar to last year after challenging at Riviera - a ball strikers course he says is his favourite - and a MC at Honda. In 2013 Beljan went straight to Copperleaf to practice and he said he loves the course and it "felt like home". Copperleaf has similarities with Riviera from tee to green and Beljan also has a new Caddie on the bag - an "upbeat, positive friend who reads greens well". I'm happy to get the enigma that is Charlie (I think he loves every course!) onside here for one more year. The big man is still currently available at a whopping 350/1 e/w and 28/1 for a top 10 with Stanjames.
Check back on Wednesday evening on the spreadsheet for full picks and staking plans or If you'd like to become a member - click here to sign up
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