The British Masters comes out of retirement to make a welcome return to Woburn in the European schedule
The British Masters comes out of retirement to make a welcome return to Woburn in the European schedule. The Marquess course here at Woburn is relatively new having been opened in 2000 and the only snippets of course form we have to go on are from 2001 and 2002, which are almost irrelevant by now. However, with a relatively new course I see this as an opportunity to get ahead of the layers who have little course form to base their prices upon. The Marquess course is a classic style golf course that will test everybody's tee to green game. It is a narrow track which isn't overly long and those who can keep their ball straight should be able to score quite well. Very low scores have been posted around Woburn in the early 2000s and I expect this week to be no different. Similar to Italy a few weeks ago, and Wentworth in the Spring it will be a firm test off the tee, but should you hit the fairways the course will become very straightforward.
Shane Lowry has had a year to remember and he lines up this week as favourite. He negotiated his way around the trees at Firestone to record his first WGC win. He has a great record around Wentworth which I would imagine will have similar form lines to this course once we look at the leaderboard at the end of the week. The price of 16/1 about Shane is quite fair however I'm prepared to pass him up simply because of how narrow this track is. He may be able to handle it but it is enough to put me off the bet. Francesco Molinari who also plays these tracks reasonably well is once again frolicking with the market leaders. If somebody gave me double the price I probably wouldn't invest as his win ratio is poor and he finds it very difficult to get the job done. Around 20/1 is of little interest. Tournament host Ian Poulter is another towards the head of the market. He will be a busy man this week and despite patches of good form this year I don't fancy supporting him around 20/1.
One of the market leaders who we will invest in is Danny Willett
. He had a taxing week in Scotland and I'm not put off by his finish down the field in the Alfred Dunhill. Apart from that he has been playing reasonably well. Crans Sur Sierre attributes will not go amiss this week either where Willett has posted two top tens as well as a victory earlier this year. In Italy a few weeks back he finished one shot off the pace despite not playing his best golf. He made the cut at Whistling Straits which isn't exactly up his street. I expect the English golfers to do quite well at this venue, just like Poulter and Rose did in the early 2000s. Willett represents the best of the current batch of English players playing here this week and odds of 20/1 are fair enough. It is not huge value, however from time to time we sacrifice a shade of value in search for a winner. Danny has all the tools to play these tree lined courses well and if he hits a good ball off the tee most of the week we'll be laughing.
Danny Willett - 2pts e/w @ 20/1Lost 4pts
Potentially I consider Matt Fitzpatrick
to be a better player than Danny Willett and once again he is sitting at pretty enough odds to bet. You may be getting tired of him popping here on this column every week however I firmly believe we will get our reward. Last week was a smallish bet given the tournament conditions but this week suits Matt a lot more and we'll be increasing our stake. He hasn't played at Wentworth, but he has finished 2nd in Crans and tied 3rd in Italy, on both occasions finishing one shot off the pace. I consider those courses very relevant with regards to this weeks test and he simply must be backed at odds of 35/1 and 33/1 generally. His tee to green game is immaculate whenever he keeps his head and he has the ability to go very low which will no doubt be required this week. Another solid bet on the boy wonder, I can't pass him up around this track at these odds. This represents his best chance of a win on tour so far.
Matt Fitzpatrick - 2pts e/w @ 35/1Won 87.5pts
It was a toss up between two other Englishmen for my third bet this week. Chris Wood has already bagged a win this year and played extremely well at Wentworth. He finished tied 4th last week in the Alfred Dunhill and no doubt has the tools to play well this week. His price of 33/1 is just on the wrong side of value for my liking though and I'll fold Chris hoping the flop and river cards turn in favour for Luke Donald
. His price of 30/1 is only fair also but I feel his game should translate well here and he has a serious chance of going well. He loves Wentworth having won there twice and finishing in the top 3 on three other occasions. There is no doubt Donald has had difficulties in the last few years but this represents his best chance in a long while to get back towards where he once was. He missed the cut in Scotland last week however that was his first since May. Without setting the world alight he has played some solid golf. It is worth noting that the majority of these efforts have been on courses which don't exactly suit Donald's game. Hitting the fairway doesn't come easy to Luke, but his wedge game is superb and he should be pulling that club out of the bag a lot this week should he be on the short grass. He should seize this chance, he won't get a better one for the rest of the year.
Luke Donald - 1pt e/w @ 30/1Placed 0.13pts
We'll stray from the homegrown men for our final bet and go west to invest in David Lipsky
. His first jaunt to Wentworth this year resulted in a 66 and 69 sandwiched between two 75s. Some holes on Wentworth can be a bit of a struggle length wise and I'd imagine that's why Lipsky's score wasn't a bit better over those four days. He has won in Crans, defended stoutly this year, and finished 3rd for us whenever we backed him in Italy last month. These tree lined layouts are the tracks where David looks to earn his crust and this week should be no different. He failed to hole putts down the stretch in Italy but he hit plenty of good shots under pressure. This guy certainly has a game. Missed cuts at the Porsche and Alfred Dunhill aren't a big worry, however it contributes to our stake being relatively small. At 150/1 he is certainly worth chancing.
David Lipksy - 0.5pts e/w @ 150/1Lost 1pt