Valspar Championship

The tour returns this week to normal after a few irregular courses. Last week at Doral was only ever going to be contested by the big hitters, so it’s nice to be back to a course that requires straight hitting and good strategy – should suit Jordan Spieth, who will be encouraged by his 17thplace finish last week on a course that isn’t for him, but at 5/1 this week it’s going to be tough to back him. There do seem to be a lot of good options this week, so in-play may be a good way to go too.

Jason Dufner 30/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £332.50
The Dufner has vast course experience at Copperhead and will be looking to record his eighth consecutive top-30 finish here. He performed amazingly well last week considering his relative lack of length of the tee – 11th – and that he was consistently having to go into greens with long irons or hydrids. He’s shown good form this season including his memorable win at the Careerbuilder. Given that he’s recorded good finishes here playing in any manner of different ways, we fancy his form and course knowledge to combine well here.

Harris English 33/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £432.50
We’ve had our eye on him for a few weeks now as his form has been pretty solid of late. He’s hitting the ball great, and combining his course experience with a decent finish last year we like the look of him.

Graeme McDowell 40/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential returns £520
G-Mac has set himself the goal to get back into the top 50 this year and also the Ryder Cup. He’s talking his game up at the moment, and barring a final hole disaster at Doral would have finished pretty high up. His accurate driving and sweet iron play are perfect for this track. Despite it being his course debut, the similarities to Harbour Town will make him feel at home.

Kevin Streelman 66/1 – Stake £10 e/w Potential return £845
With 3 top-20 finishes in his last 4 starts, including T3, combined with his win here in 2013, Streelman is well-set for a good week. He certainly owes us after coming close last time we backed him.

Freddy Jacobsen 70/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential returns £447.50
The bruise has just about heeled after we kicked ourselves hard when we neglected to include The Yak at Pebble Beach having had him primed in our notebook just minutes before placing the bet. He’s on form, living the dream and his straight-hitting and stickability when the weather gets tough means we are happy to back one of our golfing heroes.

Patton Kizzire 100/1 – Stake £5 e/w Potential returns £635
Who? We’ll tell you who. He’s one of the strongest graduates from the tour in years courtesy of 2 wins last season. Many of his peers suggest that he is the real deal and will go on to win on the PGA tour. We’ve been keeping our eye on him, and following a couple of good finishes – 2 top-5’s and a top-10 – have helped us to pull the trigger this week. Why this week? He played here as a junior and we are thinking that the comfort of familiar surroundings could give him the extra edge to record a really impressive week.

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LAST WEEK – What a weekend that was! There was no going to bed early on Sunday as two of our picks were up to their back wheels in it all the way to the end. Though they were edged out by the red-hot Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Danny Willett gave us a nice return with their 2ndand 3rd placed finishes respectively. Had it not been for a snowman derailing his round on Saturday, Henrik Stenson would have been in the mix too. See who we backed here
We were really interested to see a decent finish for Jordan Spieth on a course that just doesn’t suit his game. Certainly a few good indicators for the coming weeks.

We’re currently favouring 3 players with a proven record at Augusta and are bang in form: Adam Scott (12/1), Bubba Watson (12/1) and Louis Oosthuizen (50/1) ……. We’ll keep you posted.

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