This week’s European Tour and PGA Tour events both have a difficult look to them and, rather than stick my eggs all in the same basket like some weeks, I’m recommending 2 bets in each event.
The Portuguese Masters
This is the 9th Portuguese Masters and, despite all the previous 8 having been played on the same course as the one being used this week (the Oceanico Victoria, Vilamoura), few players have shown really consistent form here. However, there are two players who have shown more than enough course form to suggest this tournament is in within their grasp, and who are currently in good enough form to take advantage of that experience.
Bernd Wiesberger 1.5 point each-way @ 12/1 (Various) ¼ odds 5 places
Ranked 27th in the world, Wiesberger is assured of his place in next year’s majors but, with that pressure off his back, this tournament is a great opportunity to take another big-step forward. His 4th here in 2012 and 3rd in 2013 shows his liking for the course, and recent form of 14/MC/4 shows he’s in good enough form at present.
Chris Wood 1.5 points each-way @ 20/1 (Various) ¼ odds 5 places
Ranked 76th in the world, Wood knows a win could get him every closer to a spot in the world’s top 50 and, if he can handle that pressure, he has a great opportunity here. 4th and 9th on his last two starts suggest he arrives here playing his best golf for some time, and 2 top-10 finishes here in 4 attempts means he shouldn’t be far away.
The Frys.co Open kicks of the new PGA Tour season just 2 weeks after Jordan Spieth won the Tour Championship but, whilst the world number 1 is absent, Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose add a bit of class to the line-up. However both of those players are contracted to be here, and the tight tree-lines track doesn’t really play to their tee-to-green strengths. The Silverado Country Club Course doesn’t place an emphasis on long, straight driving, but more on accurate approach shots and a short-game proficiency when these small greens are missed – and that’s the reasoning for both selections this week.
Kevin Na 1 point each-way @ 45/1 (Coral) ¼ odds 5 places
Na’s confidence with his chipping and putting means he can be aggressive around places like this and, with 4 top 20’s in his last 6 events, he’s expected to contend around a course that should suit. Not a prolific winner, it’s interesting that both of his wins came in October.
Steve Bowditch 1 point each-way @ 80/1 (Coral, Stan James) ¼ odds 5 places
The big Australian can hit it out there, but it’s the scrambling statistics that show why he’s improving all the time. Now a two-time PGA Tour winner, and having just played in the President’s Cup, he could make a bold bid to improve on his runner-up finish here last year.