ON Sunday with four holes to go I thought we had our first winner of the year when Hideki Mitsuyama stormed ahead in Phoenix.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be but I mentioned on the message board a couple of weeks ago to watch Brooks Koepka this season (why I didn’t take my own advice I’ll never know) and he stormed to a great win.
However, we managed three places with Matsuyama, Ryan Palmer and over in Dubai it was Bernd Wiesberger who did the business behind Rory McIlroy so it wasn’t all bad.
The European Tour moves out to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Open where defending champion Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell are among the contenders.
McDowell played his first tournament after a long break last week in Dubai and finished T9. Had it not been for a par round on the Saturday he could have finished higher.
He had a good finish to last season with a T3 at the WGC-HSBC Champions and is hoping to carry that on this year. He has not been in the world top 10 since September 2013 and is determined to get back there.
His driving accuracy is only in the high 50s but with GIR at 75% and average putts at 28 it doesn’t seem to cause too many problems.
I’m also going for Wiesberger again this week. We backed him last time out but no one was going to catch Rory on the form he’s in.
In his last three tournaments Wiesberger has finished T6, 3 and T4 and in that form the Austrian is going to win soon and it could be this week.
His stroke average is two strokes better than last year and as with most golfers at this time of the year driving accuracy is in mid-50s but GIR is a good 78.79% and putting average 29.
I’m finding it difficult to choose between Danny Willet and Thomas Aitken but decided to go with my gut which is pointing me towards Aitken as his stats are superb.
His driving accuracy is 73.95%, with GIR at 75.82% and in fact all his figures are better than last year with the exception of GIR.
Over at Torrey Pines in California, for the Farmers Insurance Open, I’m backing another one of my tips from last week.
I was impressed with Matsuyama when a brilliant 63 in the third round got him back into the mix. I thought he was going to win when he went into the lead but he couldn’t hold on.
With four top-three finishes from seven PGA Tour tournaments this season he’s having a great run. His driving accuracy is not too bad at 65.22% and GIR at 73.50% and he is ranked ninth in strokes gained tee to green. Another one of my favourites for this year. Solid each-way.
He’s only played two tournaments this season but Jordan Spieth has won one and T7 in the Waste Management last week. He is second in strokes gained, tee to green has a GIR of 65.97 and driving accuracy is around 59%. Should go close.
McDowell 2pts ew (16-1, bet365, William Hill)
Wiesberger 1.5pts ew (12-1, 888sport)
Aiken 0.5pts ew (55-1, 888sport)
Matsuyama 1.5pts ew (22-1, Betfred)
Jordan Spieth 2pts ew (12-1, 888sport, BetVictor)