PHIL MICKELSON is a mercurial and fascinating character and I can't wait to see how he performs in the Shell Houston Open this week.

At Bay Hill last week he was dreadful, four-putting from four feet on one occasion and playing just about as bad as he can but this is a different week and a different venue.

He hasn't performed at Bay Hill in a long time and the week before he looked in good order at Doral.

He's had a good old rant about the fact this event doesn't immediately preceed the Masters this year and I couldn't help but smile when I read it, you can often expect something special after a Mickelson moan.

When interviewed after this event in 2010, just days before he won his third Green Jacket at Augusta, he said for him this wasn't an ideal course to prepare for Augusta because he had to use his driver all week to prepare for the Masters.

With all the water in play he knew he was going to put himself in lots of trouble and he did! He finished down the field in a tie for 35th.

Here we are a few short years later and he's moaning this event isn't being used the week before but I for one am pleased it doesn't. I fancy his chances are enhanced for both events as a result.

With Redstone form figures that read 23-MC-35 he bumbled along with two opening rounds of 70, 12 months after his negative comments and his 35th-placed finish before appearing to suddenly get Redstone.

Weekend rounds of 63 and 65 saw him blow the opposition away but also blew his chances of a fourth US Masters and a successful title defence. He had unquestionably peaked seven days too soon.

Then last year, having opened up with 65 to lead on day one, he drifted along for three days, eventually finishing fourth.

It's just possible he was subconsciously protecting himself for Augusta, given what had happened a year earlier. Maybe I'm looking into it far too deeply, maybe I'm not, but one thing I am absolutely sure off is that this place, just like Augusta, suits Phil's game perfectly. The risk, as always though, is which Phil turns up on Thursday?

It's perfectly possible he hasn't yet shook off his horrid form from last week but I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to see him bounce back and if that's the case he's a fair price right now for both here and the US Masters and I've got him onside for both.

Graham DeLaet ranks highly for both driving distance and greens in regulation, he's been in decent order so far this season and nearly did me a massive favour here in 2010 when he finished third after I'd backed him at 600.0! He's not a massive price this week but I couldn't leave him out.

Texan Ryan Palmer also ticks all the stats boxes nicely and has an improving record in his home state with three top-10s there in his last five outings.

And last but not least I've thrown a few pounds at in-form Boo Weekley at a big price. He's not the longest on Tour but when he's dialled in, as he most certainly was on the final day of the Tampa Bay Championship two weeks ago, few are more deadly with their irons.


Phil Mickelson @ 18.5
Graham DeLaet @ 120.0
Ryan Palmer @ 120.0
Boo Weekley @ 170.0

Milesey (Betfair)

  1. Milesey 11 years ago

    Shell Houston Open: Each way selections for the Texas treat

    Back Chris Kirk @ 41.0

    With the Redstone greens measuring, as usual, above 13 on the stimp-meter, the very best putters should be in their element. Amongst this field, Chris Kirk ranks joint-best for putting average over the past three months and fifth over the past year. No wonder, therefore, that Kirk finished runner-up on his sole previous attempt here in 2011. He’s twice rewarded each-way backers already this year, finishing second at Pebble Beach and fifth at the Sony Open, while 16th at Bay Hill last week was also a fair effort.

    Back Ryan Palmer @ 81.0

    Texans and Texan residents have a great record at the Shell Houston Open and given that three of the last four winners ranked inside the top-10 for Driving Distance, a big-hitting Texan like Ryan Palmer must surely have a good chance. He sat in a tie for sixth and just four off the lead after round three last year, before a disappointing 76 saw him tumble down to a tied 21st. He’s finished inside the top-10 in his home state a couple of times since and he looks like a lively outsider with an each way chance.

    Back Gary Woodland @ 101.0

    The Punter tells us the stats to focus on this week are driving distance and greens in regulation. That’s good news for me because I’ll be cheering on Gary Woodland. The powerful American is showing signs that he can get back to his best following an injury ravaged 2012 to forget and this week faces his last chance to play his way into the Masters field. Woodland was 13th here in 2011; don’t expect him to give up on a Masters invite without a fight.

    Back Jimmy Walker @ 41.0

    If you were asked to name who hit it furthest off the tee at Bay Hill last week I’d wager few people would say Jimmy Walker, but he did, and this talented American continues to impress. Walker has only once failed to finish inside the top 30 in eight events this season, and he has already recorded three top-10 finishes. He’s as consistent as they come in 2013, making the cut in all eight events played and shooting under par in 26 of his 32 rounds. When you consider some of the courses he’s plated at, that’s some going. So if Driving Distance is to be key this week, then Jimmy’s most definitely your man.

    Back Ben Crane @ 176.0

    Ben Crane is in no sort of form but he is a proven winner and I’m hoping that a return to his home state can inspire a turnaround in fortunes. In his last 11 tournaments in Texas, this Westlake resident has finished top 10 three times, including one top five. Odds of 176.0 reflect his poor play this year – Crane has missed four cuts in seven tournaments – however he did go well for three rounds at the Arnold Palmer before a poor final round on Monday. It’s a long shot, but big priced winners are not rare in golf and at least Crane knows how to get the job done.

    Milesey ( betfair )

  2. the chief 11 years ago

    Im taking Rory Mcllroy to reclaim the number 1 spot this weekend, I know he isnt playing well but he is too good a player not to have on your short list, Im also taking 3 selections in the place market.

    Mcllroy to WIN @ 9/1


    CHRIS KIRK 10/1


    • Allen 11 years ago

      Hi Chief,

      Placings are they Top 5, Top 10 or Top 20?


    • Milesey 11 years ago

      You can do top 5, top 10 whatever you like.

      Milesey ( betfair )

  3. C.J 11 years ago

    Milesy any tips for outright winners ?

    • Milesey 11 years ago

      Charles Howells, Keegan Bradley and Steve Stricker ARE WORTH LOOKING AT FOR THE OUTRIGHT WIN.

      Milesey ( BETFAIR )

  4. the chief 11 years ago

    Allen its top 5

    Good luck with who you go with

    can I just mention on this thread my selection for the Trophee hassan II

    Pablo larrazabel 28/1 outright market

    • Milesey 11 years ago

      It depends how you bet, you can do to finish in the top 5 or the top 10, and there are markets for that on betfair under every golf tourney !

      The two previous renewals of the Trophee Hassan II that were played on this particular layout offer some very useful clues. First and foremost, one cannot overlook the fact that all of last year’s top-five were from the British Isles. So for that matter were two of the three play-off candidates in 2011.

      Secondly, there is a marked correlation between results here and another couple of sometimes European Tour venues – Oitavos Dunes and Porto Santo Golfe, previously home to the Estoril Open and Madeira Island Open respectively. For example last year’s champion here, Michael Hoey, had previously won at both venues. Runner-up Damien McGrane also had form at both.

      A third clue is the weather, because the wind can change significantly here, creating a sort of linksy-feel which may explain the success of UK and Irish players. This year’s forecast suggests the wind will get up every afternoon, so an early tee-time on Thursday could offer an advantage in so far as many afternoon starters will effectively lose the tournament on day one. The first two of this week’s three picks meet the tee-time criteria, with the third picked nonetheless for wider reasons. All are from the British Isles.

      First up, while McGrane hasn’t done anything lately, he is obviously well suited and a very big price at 130.0 given last year’s effort. Damien is widely known to be a wind specialist.

      Next at 270.0, Graeme Storm is among the earliest starters and at his best, would tick all the right boxes. He finished top-25 in the last two renewals and has been third at Oitavos Dunes. Again, the lack of recent form must be a worry, but 21st on his penultimate start in South Africa offered enough encouragement to support a small risk at huge odds.

      Finally, 250.0 chance John Parry qualifies despite a late tee-time. Its less than three years since Parry was rated one of Europe’s hottest young prospects following a superb streak which yielded victory at the Vivendi Trophy and a competitive third in the Dunhill Links. After losing the plot and a spell on the Challenge Tour, Parry is back and contended till halfway on his penultimate start. He’s talking a good game this week and two top-nine finishes in Madeira add to his case.

      The trading plan is to stake four units in total, then place lay orders on each player at 10.0 and 3.0 to bank a minimum of 11 units profit should any one of our trio hit the first target.

      Recommended Bets

      Back Damien McGrane 2u @ 130.0
      Back John Parry 1u @ 250.0
      Back Graeme Storm 1u @ 270.0


      Tournament History
      Although the Trophee Hassan II has been in existence since 1971 and this will be the 40th staging, it’s only been an official European Tour event since 2010. Prior to that, it was a limited field invitation only jolly and form prior to 2010 is largely irrelevant.

      Golf du Palais Royal, Agadir, Morocco.

      Course Details
      Par 72, 6,844 yards, stroke average in 2012 – 71.70

      In addition to the last two renewals of this event, the Golf du Palais Royal also hosted the Moroccan Open six times in the 1990’s. It’s an undulating, variable Robert Trent Jones design with small greens, surrounded by deep bunkering, running at around 10.5 on the stimpmeter. Some fairways are tree-lined and some exposed and generously wide. Water is in play on five holes.

      It’s a tricky track, close to the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s made decidedly more difficult when the wind blows.
      All the players speak highly of the venue and Rhys Davies last year described it as a ‘hidden gem’, before adding that it was a “special privilege to play there.” And here’s what England’s John Parry has said about it in his blog.

      “While many of the holes are tree lined with a parkland feel, there is one stretch which runs along the coast that has dunes and is definitely more links style. Being alongside the Atlantic, the whole course can be exposed to very difficult crosswinds. In such a lovely and spectacular setting it’s impossible to do anything but look forward to the week ahead.”

      Useful Sites
      Event Site
      Course Details
      Tee Times
      Weather Forecast
      Alternative Weather Forecast

      TV Coverage
      Live on Sky all four days – 11.00am and 3.30pm on Thursday and Friday, 1.00pm on Saturday and 2.00pm on Sunday

      First three winners
      2012 – Michael Hoey – 17
      2011 – David Horsey -13 (playoff)
      2010 – Rhys Davies -25

      What will it take to win the Trophee Hassan II?
      Although the fairways are fairly generous, if players do stray very wide a lot of trouble awaits. There are five metres of maintained rough (6cm high) either side of the fairways but any wider and they’ll encounter unmaintained ground with bushes and ice plants. An accurate game is very much what’s required this week.

      Greens In regulation was the important stat when the Moroccan Open was played here and of the top-five players in the last two years, only Jaco Van Zyl (ranked 22nd in 2011) didn’t rank inside the top-seven for Par 4 performance on the week.

      Current form hasn’t been at all important in the last two years so don’t be afraid to back someone that isn’t on the top of their game coming in to the event.

      Is there an angle in?
      I fancy this venue plays very similar to a number used on the European Tour rota, either past or present. East London, home of the Africa Open, Royal Portrush, which hosted last year’s Irish Open, Oitavos Dunes in Portugal, once the home of the now defunct Estoril Open all have form lines tying-in with Golf du Palais Royal and I’m pretty sure Lake Karrinyup, home of the Perth International will prove a great guide in the fullness of time.

      Hong Kong Golf Course is another tree-lined tight venue and an even more tenuous link could be Wentworth. Again, it’s tree-lined and often wind-affected.

      Is there an identikit winner?
      Brits have a great record here. They filled the first five places last year and David Horsey and Rhys Davies, along with South African, Jaco Van Zyl, fought out the playoff in 2011.

      In-Play Tactics
      The draw may prove pivotal. There isn’t an awful lot of wind forecast but what there is arrives in the afternoons so an early start on day one when the course will be at its spectacular best, could prove beneficial.

      If you’re playing in-running, the last hole is tricky and last year it ranked the toughest on the course but the back-nine is definitely easier than the front-nine.

      Looking at the 2011 renewal, it looked as though a fast start was required – the first four home were all in the top-ten after day one but last year, Michael Hoey came from a country mile back to win and there may well be opportunities in-running on both Friday and Saturday as players come from behind before Sunday’s final round.

      Market Leaders
      An out-of-form Francesco Molinari heads a tightly-packed market, where a whole bunch of players trading below 50.0 have outstanding claims. His brother, Edoardo, Richie Ramsay, Pablo Larrazabal, 2011 winner, David Horsey, and Raphael Jacquelin were all players I was interested in but they were all too short, and, with the exception of my first selection, I’ve cast my net a bit further afield.

      I backed Gregory Bourdy at the recent Africa Open, at East London, because he had form at both Oitavos Dunes (winner there) and Portrush (led at halfway) and he very nearly obliged. He was going to be left out on account of price but given he tees off nice and early on the back-nine, I felt I ought to have him onside, albeit modesty, from the get-go.

      All the players mentioned above, as well as a number of others that are yet to get off the mark on the European Tour, are all considerably shorter than multiple winner Alvaro Quiros and I’ve felt compelled to take a chance on the Spaniard.

      This shouldn’t really suit the massive hitter but he handles windy conditions very well and he has bits of form at both Wentworth and the Hong Kong Golf Course, so he can play tight, tree-lined venues. He returned to the fray following wrist surgery just two week ago at the Avantha Masters and there were real signs of progression last week in Malaysia where he made 13 birdies over the last two rounds. It’s a bit of a just-in-case wager but with the exception of Francesco Molinari, he’s the class-act in the field and he might just contend.

      I simply couldn’t leave out last year’s winner Michael Hoey, who I was lucky enough to be onboard twelve months ago. Like Bourdy, Hoey is also a winner at Oitavos Dunes and considering he trailed by nine after day one and that he won by three, he clearly loves this gaff. He hasn’t been in great form this year but he’s been preparing nicely in Dubai and he’s more than capable of finding form from nowhere.

      Of all my picks, Emiliano Grillo, at 130.0, looks the best value. He led in Perth last year before being overhauled by Jason Dufner and Bo Van Pelt and he finished inside the top-ten at the Africa Open too, so he should be suited by this venue. He has a very solid all-round game and I can see him going well this week.

      After that, I’ve chucked in four big-outsiders in Freddie Andersson-Hed, Rhys Davies, John Parry and James Morrison.

      Gregory Bourdy @ 40.0
      Alvaro Quiros @ 60.0
      Michael Hoey @ 76.0 (Fixed odds Market)
      Emiliano Grillo @ 130.0
      Freddie Andersson-Hed @ 130.0
      Rhys Davies @ 160.0
      John Parry @ 240.0
      James Morrison @ 290.0

      Milesey ( Betfair )

  5. the chief 11 years ago

    U not fancy Larrazabel at all then.
    Milesey do u prefer place markets as oppose e/w they both have pro’s n cons I guess. Is there a particular sporting event you were its more advantageous to go placed rather than e/w or visa versa?

  6. Milesey 11 years ago

    I had Pablo Larrazabel last time out and was pleased with the top 10 place, but wasn’t so pleased that it was reduced to over 54 holes, for thought Charl Schwartzel would have won it with ease, but oh well thats gone now….. anyway don’t really fancy Larrazabel on this course no, not for me, but out of the 200 plus players over these 2 tourneys you can’t cover them all…. ;) ;)


  7. Guido 11 years ago

    Romain Wattel trading at 85 and Julien Quesne at 90 might give us a run for our money in the Trophee Hassan. Jeremy Chapman of RFO has been banging on about young Wattel in particular for the last year. He will come good soon – will be worth following good for top 5/10/ew..whatever ya fancy at a nice price in an event very soon – why not this one? JC knows his stuff. Thorbjorn Oleson another he’s identified over the last few years. What say ye Mr Milesey?

  8. Daryl Cruickshank 11 years ago

    Trophee Hassan – Howell, Horsey, Sullivan and Baldwin

    Houston – Westwood, Stenson, Palmer and Huh

  9. Milesey 11 years ago



    Trophee Hassan II
    LEADER -8

    T3 Graeme Storm @ 270.0 -4

    T32 Rhys Davies @ 160.0 +1
    T32 John Parry @ 250.0 +1

    T49 James Morrison @ 290.0 +2
    T49 Michael Hoey @ 76.0 +2
    T49 Emiliano Grillo @ 130.0 +2

    T62 Freddie Andersson-Hed @ 130.0 +3
    T73 Alvaro Quiros @ 60.0 +4

    Damien McGrane @ 130.0 +8
    Gregory Bourdy @ 40.0 +11


    Shell Houston Open
    LEADER -8

    T9 Jimmy Walker @ 41.0 -4

    T27 Boo Weekley @ 170.0 -2
    T27 Ben Crane @ 176.0 -2

    T42 Chris Kirk @ 41.0 -1
    T42 Graham DeLaet @ 120.0 -1

    T63 Phil Mickelson @ 18.5 E
    T63 Gary Woodland @ 101.0 E

    T105 Ryan Palmer @ 120.0 +2

    Milesey ( betfair )

  10. Milesey 11 years ago

    It’s one of those weeks when finding an opportune time to update the blog isn’t easy, unless I do it in the middle of the night! From first thing in the morning to last thing at night, either or both events are in-play.
    At the Trophee Hassan II, I had a poor first day and things haven’t improved this morning. The majority of my pre-event picks got a break with the draw when the troublesome morning winds dropped considerably in the afternoon but none of them took advantage.
    Those with an early tee time yesterday shot an average of 1.72 shots more than the afternoon starters, which makes David Horsey, Simon Wakefield and Paul Krishnamurty’s Find Me A 100 Winner pick, Graeme Storm’s, four under-par 68’s look very impressive.
    All three are trading considerably bigger now than they were yesterday afternoon, when it looked as though they’d set stern target, but when the wind dropped, Germany’s Marcel Siem stepped up and shot 64, courtesy of two holed bunker shots!
    We’re getting to the end of the morning session now and Siem has already traded as short as 1.865/6. He’s currently on -12, leading by five and firmly in command.
    I’ve had a tiny bet on Wakefield, but other than that, I’m playing a waiting game for now.
    Over in the states, I had an extremely frustrating first day at the Shell Houston Open, and all thanks to Phil Mickelson and the PGA Tour website’s shot-tracker. Prior to the off, I’d back Lefty to win this week and also to win the US Masters and the plan yesterday was to follow the play closely and to try maximise my position on him at the US Masters.
    Everything was going to plan, he was playing well enough and was four under-par with just five to play. Having backed him before the off at 18.5n/a in this event and having traded him in-and-out in the US Masters to get him onside at a juicy price, when shot-tracker showed him in the left rough on the 5th hole (his 14th of the round), up I got to stretch my legs make a cup of tea.
    I sat back down again, happy enough with the way it was all going, only to see, to my complete dismay, that shot-tracker had changed from him being in the rough, to being in the water. And what a difference it made! All of a sudden, he’d gone from a single-figure price to win this event to above 20.019/1 and my US Masters position wasn’t looking so hot either.
    He made double-bogey on the 5th and compounded the error by bogeying the 6th and 9th too, and he now trails overnight leader, D.A Points by eight stokes. Not ideal.
    With all the pre-event market leaders struggling yesterday, including Rory McIlroy, who shot +1, the event is extremely open and I’m going to see what today brings. The morning starters yesterday had a big advantage, shooting over 1.5 shots better than the afternoon starters and Rory could be one to keep an eye on when he kicks off round two shortly at 12.50. I’m convinced he’s not playing enough competitive golf and having knocked the rust off again yesterday he could make a big move, both in this event and in the US Masters market.
    With regards to the US Masters, I still have Phil onside. He lost his way yesterday but he sounds confident enough and although his age is a big worry now, his record at Augusta is so strong that I simply have to have him onside there.
    I did back Bill Hass last night too but I layed the bet back in the end. He has the right profile to win, he’s the right age, he’s had the right number of previous appearances and he’s in form but I just can’t imagine he has enough length or that he putts well enough to win there.
    And I’ve also now backed Matt Kuchar at 42.041/1. I suspect he’ll be in the line-up at next week’s Texas Open, which I don’t think will be an ideal prep but he’s in fair form this year and he contended twelve months ago.
    And finally, I thought I’d had a bad day yesterday but it pales into insignificance when compared to poor Czech pro, Jakub Svoboda’s day. He withdrew from the Trophee Hassan II after playing just six holes in 21 over-par! Ouch!

    Trophee Hassan II
    LEADER -8
    T3 Graeme Storm @ 270.0 -4

    T32 Rhys Davies @ 160.0 +1
    T32 John Parry @ 250.0 +1
    T49 James Morrison @ 290.0 +2
    T49 Michael Hoey @ 76.0 +2
    T49 Emiliano Grillo @ 130.0 +2
    T62 Freddie Andersson-Hed @ 130.0 +3
    T73 Alvaro Quiros @ 60.0 +4
    Damien McGrane @ 130.0 +8
    Gregory Bourdy @ 40.0 +11

    Shell Houston Open
    LEADER -8

    T9 Jimmy Walker @ 41.0 -4
    T27 Boo Weekley @ 170.0 -2
    T27 Ben Crane @ 176.0 -2
    T42 Chris Kirk @ 41.0 -1
    T42 Graham DeLaet @ 120.0 -1
    T63 Phil Mickelson @ 18.5 E
    T63 Gary Woodland @ 101.0 E

    T105 Ryan Palmer @ 120.0 +2

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