It’s the week before the US Open, and the likes of Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy all sit this week out as the PGA Tour takes in the St Jude Classic and the European Tour hosts the Lyoness Open.
St Jude Classic
The TPC Southwind is the traditional venue for the St. Jude Classic, and the Memphis based course is a Par 70 that measures a little over 7,200 yards. It’s seen as an ideal course to play prior to the US Open as its small greens are difficult to hit, and scrambling is often at a premium. However, there isn’t an identikit winner, with big-hitters and more accurate players both being successful here. Previous winner Dustin Johnson will have his backers, but at 7/1 I’m happy to pass, and I’m backing a 14/1 shot with plenty of course form, and two three-figure outsiders.
Phil Mickelson 1 points each-way @ 14/1 (Various Bookies) ¼ odds 5 places
The debate about whether Mickelson will ever add to his tally at the age of 46 will keep going until he either wins or hangs up his clubs, but he loves to play well the week before a major, and has finished 2/11/3 here the last 3 years. His recent form figures of 4/MC/20 aren’t very exciting, but perhaps the old dog with the youthful enthusiasm is eventually learning to pick his battles – and this is one he can hopefully win.
Ben Crane 1 point each-way @ 125/1 (Various Bookies) ¼ odds 5 places
Ben Crane was devastated not to be highly enough ranked to get in the Players Championship this year, and said he would be upping his motivation to try and make sure he was back in that tournament next year. Form figures of 24/29 since aren’t bad, and his form figures here read 14/12/73/18/1/37.
Troy Merritt 1 point each-way @ 150/1 (Betfred, Stan James) ¼ odds 6 places
Merritt is typically hot and cold, but has a habit of getting in contention at big-prices now and then. He was second here in 2014, and looks a big price to bounce back at a venue he’s played well at before.
The Lyoness Open
The Diamond Course, Alzenbrugg, Austria is the home of the Lyoness Open, and the greens are again quite small. However, the fairways are wide-open and not mirroring those that players will face at next week’s US Open, though not many of this field will actually be there.
Three players that should be lining-up at the US Open are market leaders Joost Luiten, Berndt Wiesberger and Chris Wood and, as all 3 are previous winners, it would be no surprise if one of them won again. However, they’re all priced in single-figures, and I’m opting for two value selections.
Kristoffer Broberg 1 point each-way @ 80/1 (Betfred, Coral) ¼ odds 5 places
Broberg hasn’t been in the best of form this year after claiming his maiden tour victory at the end of last season, however he often comes to form in the summer months. Sixth last year, he’s a big-price on that form, and look the value-bet in the field.
I’m prepared to give Warren one more chance, as this is a relatively weak field, and he’s a proven European Tour winner. He hasn’t played this event for a while, but has finished 21st and 20th here previously, and the fact he returns here in this relatively weak event suggests he’s looking for a confidence boost, which the wide-open fairways may just give him.