FIRST of all well done to anyone who picked a winner last weekend. Rickie Fowler (2nd) and Danny Lee (T4) gave me a small each-way return at the Quickens National Loans so I can’t complain.
This week it's the WGC Bridgestone at the Firestone Country Club in Akron with only Rory McIlroy and Chris Kirk absent from the top 50.
With all these top players taking part it has the feel of a Major … but that’s next week. This 7400-yard course is the longest par 70 in a non-mMjor and there are only two par fives of which one is a monster 667 yards.
First of all I’m trying to stop myself from picking Dustin Johnston this week and have decided to leave him till next week (he’ll probably win now).
Fowler has been going along nicely since missing the cut in the US Open. He won the Scottish Open, T30 in The Open (we can forgive him that due to weather) and a second in last week’s event with a superb finish.
After winning the Players Championship he missed the cut in both the Memorial and US Open but does look like he’s steadied the ship again.
I have to admit I was worried about Jason Day after The Open. You could see at the end he had put so much into winning it, both physically and mentally, and looked totally drained.
I thought it would take him a while to recover but certainly proved me wrong by coming back straight away and winning the Canadian Open. He missed the cut in both the Players and the Memorial before that superb T9 in the US Open.
How he managed to complete the four rounds amazed me. He then had a T4 in The Open and won two weeks ago. Over his last three tournaments he has averaged over 70% in GIR. His driving accuracy wasn’t too good in the Canadian Open but still managed to win. Solid bet this week.
It's hard to believe but Henrik Stenson is still waiting on his first win of the season. Number one in GIR on both sides of the Atlantic and top five in driving accuracy on European and 21st on Stateside he has everything to win in Akron.
He’s also 12th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained:putting. The last two seasons here have seen him finish in the top 20, including runner-up in 2013. Add all that together and what do you get … a winner (hopefully!)
Brooks Koepka has four top-20 finishes in his last five outings, including the US Open and The Open. GIR is over 70%, with driving accuracy over 60% and he’s 10th in strokes gained:putting.
I said at the beginning of the season I expected big things from him and unfortunately I didn’t back him with he won the Phoenix Open,but I still think there’s more to come this year and this could be it.
From 18 starts on the PGA Tour this season Hideki Matsuyma has missed the cut once, finishes in top 25 on 15 occasions, top 20 a dozen times and eight top-10s. That’s some record. He’s also 9th in GIR and driving accuracy of 67% but his putting could be a weakness. Still worth a look.
Rickie Fowler 2pts ew (16-1, Hills, Ladbrokes, bet365)
Jason Day 2pts ew (14-1, Hills, Ladbrokes, bet365)
Henrik Stenson 1pt ew (25-1, Hills, Ladbrokes, bet365, Betfred)
Brooks Koepka 0.5pts ew (50-1, Betfred, Paddy Power, Hills)
Hideki Matsuyama 1pt ew (28-1, Hills, Paddy Power, Betfred, bet365)