28-31 March 2013
Redstone Golf Club – Tournament course, Humble, Houston, Texas
This time-honoured PGA Tour tournament dates back to 1922 and has been played at Redstone since 2003. The Tournament course at Redstone is a relatively easy 7,450yd (6,800m) Par72 with no significant rough, plenty of run on the fairways and slick bentgrass greens.
Its easiness is perhaps best illustrated by the tournament record score of 22-under & average winning total of -16.
Canvassing the Favourites
Rory McIlroy is the favourite @ 10.00 and, on balance, merits that favouritism. This will be the last chance for him to get his competitive game into shape before The Masters on 11 April. He certainly showed signs last time out in the Cadillac at Doral, closing with a 7-under 65 for 8th place and this will be just his 5th start since November. I rate Rory 12.00 here so cannot recommend backing him at 10.00
Steve Stricker @ 18.00 is 5th favourite. Normally I’d sack any 46-y-o from mention here, purely on the grounds of ageism, but on a 3-event schedule thus far in 2013, Strick has finishes of 2nd, 8th & 2nd. He plays Redstone well too with 4 finishes inside the Top12 in his past 6 starts here. However, I can’t recommend backing a 46-y-o!
Two Masters favourites, Phil Mickelson @ 15.00 & Brandt Snedeker @ 23.00, arrive here fresh from missing the cut at Bay Hill last week so they will be watched with interest. It was Snedeker’s first start after recovering from a rib injury so we can forgive a bit of rust and allow him some chance this week. Phil must be given a chance as well, being unpredictable and a previous winner here (2011). I can’t recommend either at these prices, however.
Hunter Mahan @ 15.00 and equal 2nd fave is, in my opinion, one of the great under-achievers on tour. Running at worse than a win every 50 starts, he’s impossible to recommend at this price despite being the defending champion and with 5xTop11’s in his past 7 starts at Redstone
Keegan Bradley @ 15.00 arrives with an impressive form line that reads: 4th, 7th, 3rd. This will be his 6th start in 7 weeks, perhaps surprising with The Masters approaching but this track perfectly suits his game and he looks likely to beat the course up. In my opinion he’s the only favourite on whom you could place a win bet with any confidence, though I personally only rate him a 19.00 shot here.
The only other shorter-priced player of note is Louis Oosthuizen @ 21.00 who opened with 67, 66, 66 last year before going out on Sunday and tossing the tournament away with a sloppy 75! He’s never won on the PGA Tour (I don’t count the Open Championship as a PGA Tour win) but in the past year has got himself in contention far more often. I don’t think he’s great value at 21.00 (I rate him 28.00).
Among those in the market who I believe can realistically contend for a win and whose prices I assess as value, there are two standouts:
Chris Kirk @ 41.00 Kirk has been playing well without much luck all year, opening with a 5th in Hawaii and including a runner-up at Pebble. He finished 2nd here in his only start, in 2011, and I believe he represents great each way value. He’ll be in all my each-way doubles this week!
Jordan Spieth @ 67.00 is a phenomenal 19-y-o who just keeps upping his game. Hard to ignore his recent form line too as it reads: 7th, 4th, 2nd, 7th. And he’s a Texan; see comments below.
If you’re looking for some value among longer shots, those with triple figure prices who have played well here before and who have shown at least some signs of life in 2013 are:
Aaron Baddeley @ 101.00
Graham Delaet @ 101.00
Bryce Molder @ 101.00
James Driscoll @ 201.00
Bud Cauley @ 151.00
With Rory capable of finding form and winning this, my favoured strategy here is back-to-lay and I recommend Chris Kirk plus any you like among the five players above.
There’s an old adage that you should back Texans in Texas and there is some, shaky, statistical evidence to support it.
In case you are a believer, off the top of my head as I don’t have any database record of state-of-origin, some Texans in the field are: Justin Leonard who was a good 4th last start at Tampa Bay, Johnson Wagner, the aforementioned Jordan Spieth, old but still-kicking Bob Estes, out-of-form Chad Campbell, Ryan Palmer, Hunter Haas & Mr Monday Patrick Reed.
Jimmy Walker, John Rollins, JJ Henry & Hunter Mahan reside in Texas.
Good luck with your golf punting!
© Copyright Mike J Miller: 25 March 2013