A return to the scene of Rory Mcilroys' maiden major victory as the PGA tour heads to Congressional, Mcilroy himself is playing in the Irish Open but the event has still attracted a strong field (although minus Woods due to injury, and now Rose has pulled out due to fatigue), lead by Masters champ Adam Scott and Fedex Champion Brandt Snedeker.
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At a lengthy 7,574 yards this Par 71 Length will be an asset this week but only when combined with accuracy. The rough tends to be penal on this famous Congressional layout, GIR will be a key factor with all of last year’s top 5 finishing in the top 28 in this category, they also finished in the top 29 of scrambling and top 34 in putts per round. The weather forecast looks to be hot and humid with a continual threat of thunderstorms throughout the tournament, this will likely make the greens more receptive, but the rough more punishing if you stray offline.
I do like the chances of bookie favourite Adam Scott, I think Scott may just be too lightly raced.
Jason Day – 16/1 EW
Never going to be the straightest of hitters, but was ranked 17th in total driving at a brutal Merion course so is straight and long enough (finished runner up), tends to rely on his excellent putting and sharp short game to compile his score. Still just the one win on the PGA tour but has a tremendous record in the majors and is a real competitor, is due his second PGA tour win and it could well be this week with his excellent course form here, 2nd in the US Open in 2011 and 8th here last year.
Billy Horshel –20/1 EW,
Another player who had an excellent US Open (apart from the Oakley Pants on Sunday, ugly!), ranked in the top 25 in strokes gained putting and GIR this season and although his scrambling statistics are not so impressive his game should be suited to this course. Hits high long drives (much like the last two winners here Woods and Mcilroy) and is in fantastic form with 6 top 10’s in his last 9 events. Missed cut here in 2009 but is a far more accomplished and consistent player now.
Brandt Snedeker– 22/1 EW
Excellent course form here, 2 top ten’s and an 11th in the 2011 US Open here suggests Brandt is comfortable on this course, his rib injury earlier in the season has knocked him back from his incredible early season form, but he still has 3 top 20’s in his last 6 starts. Has all the key skills to perform on this layout, ranked 22nd in strokes gained putting, 17th in GIR and 27th in scrambling, if he is unhindered by his recent ailments I expect him to go really well this week.
Scott Stallings – 40/1 EW
With 3 tops 5’s in his last 4 starts he is one of the hottest players on tour at the moment, ranked a reasonable 65th in GIR and 52nd in strokes gained putting. This long track should suit Stallings who sits comfortably in the top 50 in ball striking and total driving; price looks generous considering his recent form.
Kevin Chappell – 80/1 EW
One of my personal favourite players on tour, he is another pure ball striker who is working on improving his short game, if he brings it up to 75% the standard of his ball striking he will be in good shape. Excellent 3rd place here in the 2011 US Open and a stunning 2nd place finish hitting quality shots down the stretch at the Memorial show his mental toughness and all round ability.
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