Firestone CC (South Course) - Akron, OH, USA, early odds from betfair.
Winner Alright: Last week we tipped both Bernd Wiesberger (19/1) and Scott Piercy (75/1) to victory
Adam Scott 19/1
Shot a 62 in the first round here last year and never really looked back. This is where caddie Stevie Williams declared himself “a great front runner”, which came back to haunt him at Lytham a few weeks back. I’m one of the people who didn’t think Scott blew up at The Open and predict another strong showing here. Third and second in his last two starts, Scott’s not far away.
Hunter Mahan 38/1
Hunter would break your heart if you had shares in him as logic and stats suggest he should figure more foten than he actually does. Fourth in total driving (distance and accuracy) is a big advantage on this mammoth 7,400 yard par 70 as is Hunter’s standing of third in the greens in regulation stats. Three top 10’s in his five stars at Akron including a win in 2010 coupled with decent recent form give Hunter a shout for my money.
Tiger Woods 7/1
Adopted a tactic of laying well back from the bunkers at the Open and came third. But Tiger will need his driver on full power this week if he is to have any chance to contend. Discount last years poor performance here; Tiger was out from May to August and look more to the seven Firestone wins from 1999 to 2009. If Tiger gets back to his billing as ranking third in total driving, it’s hard to see past him.
Luke Donald 18/1
Shot 64, 66 at the weekend last year to tie for second with Rickie Fowler; Donald’s best finish at a venue which theoretically should not be suited to his game. The BMW PGA Championship was lightly raced coming into Lytham having taken five weeks off before playing the Scottish Open, yet snuck into a top five finish. The Englishman will be buoyed up for this week and I can tell you now, he WILL be one of my five picks for the US PGA Championship.
Bubba Watson 32/1
Bubba continued to excite his fans with some extreme shot making at Lytham where I considered him a little unlucky to finish 23rd. The Masters champ showed good form in finishing second at The Travelers at the end of June, a result he matched at the WGC Cadillac Championship earlier in the year. The longest driver on Tour and surprisingly accurate, if Bubba is in the mood, he could win this week.
Best Of The Rest
It’s only Bo Van Pelt’s 65/1 third appearance in Akron and he’s played well to date. Tied for third in 2010 and top 25 last year, Van Pelt ranks eighth in total driving and was second to Tiger Woods at Congressional recently. Played well in Canada last week also and certainly worth an each way wager.