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|What The Golfinggods Say
In a year that has already produced many great stories, perhaps the best one so far occurred on the weekend with Steve Webster winning the Italian Open. For the past ten years Steve's ability and obvious talent has been recognised by all professionals on tour but after five second places and two lost playoffs he must have been thinking a win would not come. But over the weekend he was able to take the mental step required into the winners circle and a more popular winner amongst the professionals you will not find. I hope this is the start of better things for Steve now and he can start contending at the highest level, in accordance with his obvious ability.
For the second time this year a large lead on the US PGA tour was lost over the final round. Sergio Garcia simply ran out of steam in the final round of the Wachovia Championship and could not get the job done. With both Vijah Singh and Jim Furyk making big moves up the leader board Sergio began to quicken his swing and hit tee balls left. Of course Vijah simply did what he does best in shooting low when it matters and took care of a gallant Jim Furyk in the playoff. Vijah must be a huge threat now for the US Open with his game in brilliant shape.
And so to this week
The US PGA tour honours one of its finest at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship played at the TPC Four Seasons and Cottonwood Valley courses, just outside Irving in Texas. The Cottonwood Valley course is only played once during the event and consistently plays two shots easier than the TPC course. Traditionally both courses do yield birdies and low scoring is possible. If the wind blows though the course immediately toughens up and it is common for at least one or two rounds to be affected by the weather.
Justin Leonard: a native Texan who seems to play well when the wind blows. He has good form this year with a win already and is hitting a lot of greens in regulation. With four top twenty finishes in the pat five years this is a tournament that suits his game and I see him contending this week.
Phil Mickelson: shot 66 in the last round of the Wachovia which included finding the water twice in his last three holes. He admitted he was a little rusty last week and any cobwebs will be blown away now. Look for lefty to go very close this week.
Kenny Perry: in an event which favours the players who hit a number of greens in regulation an obvious contender must be Kenny Perry who leads this statistic on the US PGA tour. With a win already this year and consistent performances recently, I think Kenny could surprise a number of people this week. I look for him to go very close.
Others to mention: Vijah Singh, Chris Dimarco, Peter Lonard and Nick Price.
The European Tour finally hits British shores with the playing of the British Masters tournament around the beautiful Marriott Forest of Arden course in Warwickshire. This is a course of two sides with the front nine wandering through a woodland surrounding and the back nine more open and affected by the elements. The course is however a consistent test with subtle sloping greens and punishing rough, especially around the greens, which will make scrambling very difficult. Ball striking will be the key this week.
Colin Montgomerie: boasts the best record in this event with one victory and four top five finishes in the past eight years. Complained of exhaustion two weeks ago in Asia however after a week off should be ready for the challenge. Monty is still aiming for a top fifty ranking and can break into that group with a win here. Will go very close.
Darren Clarke: been playing very well this year in America and should have won the MCI Heritage tournament last month. Is high on the ball striking statistics in the US and must contend this week if he is similar form.
Henrik Stenson: one of the best ball strikers on the European tour this likeable Swede is enjoying consistent results this year. He does have a weakness with the putter but will hit fairways and greens all week long. If the putter is behaving this week he could surprise a number of people. Good value bet!
Nick O'Hern: perhaps the most improved player to some out of Australia in the past five years. He has just got better and better and with the victory over Tiger Woods in the Accenture Matchplay tournament his confidence will be very high. Needs to make the next step into the winners circle but has the ability to do so. Should contend again this week.
Others to mention: Ian Poulter, David Howell, Brian Davis and Michael Campbell.
Until next week - May The Golfinggods Be With You!
For all your Golf Betting requirements log onto www.golfinggods.com
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