A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier Golf Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
Old White TPC Course, The Greenbrier, West Virginia. Par 70, 7,286 Yards
The PGA Tour resumes this week as we begin the wraparound 2019/20 season at The Greenbrier some 3 hours drive west of Richmond and host to five fantastic golf courses. The Old White TPC, which has hosted this event since its inception in 2010, was designed originally in 1914, redesigned in 2006, toughened in 2012, and finally completely restored in 2017 after the floods that saw the cancellation of the event the previous year.
The Old White is a fairly standard venue. A tree lined parkland course with average width fairways and strong greenside bunkering which serves as the biggest defence. The course is at altitude (around 2000 feet) so the ball flies an average of 2.5% further than it does at sea level. This levels the playing field on a Tour where week after week the bombers have the edge on the long expansive courses.
The test here is to have a good all round game and a hot putting week. The winning score last year touched its lowest ever at nearly 20 under par, and I would expect it to be similarly low this year. Both the par 5s are on the back 9 (holes 12 and 17) and unusually the 18th is a par 3. A strong field has assembled this week. I’m expecting a very tight and competitive event.
Last Five Winners:
2018: Kevin Na -19
2017: Xander Schauffele -14
2016: Tournament cancelled due to flooding
2015: Danny Lee -13
2014: Angel Cabrera -16
The Market Leaders
American World number 9 Bryson Dechambeau (12/1) leads the market this week alongside up and coming young Norwegian superstar, 21 year old Viktor Hovland (12/1). Both players are not easy to assess this week having only appeared at the event once between them when Bryson Dechambeau finished 14th back in 2017 before opting not to play last year. Both players are capable of posting numbers in the low 60s, and there is a lot of variance in their respective chances depending on which Dechambeau or Hovland turns up over the first 36 holes. If either puts themselves into contention, they could be very hard to shift, but the fact that they have no course affiliation on such a familiar venue alongside, particularly for Hovland, the fact that they aren’t the best putters and perhaps suited to this type of low scoring venue is enough for me to watch them. I won’t be tipping either pre event at 12s.
Behind them sits in form American Jason Kokrak (16/1)). This must be the first time Kokrak has ever occupied a position in the first three of the betting for a PGA Tour event. It is understandable based on his strong finish to the Fedex Cup, posting four consecutive top 20s, and having finished 3rd here last season. On the flip side, and if one were to be negative, he also has two missed cuts here in the proceeding four events, and there were a number of shortened fields for the Fedex where his finishes were typically only inside the top third of all starters. His lowest score this season is also just -16 at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans which was only good enough for a 22nd place finish raising questions over whether he can reach the low numbers required to win here. For me he isn’t consistent enough to be a play at this price.
The exciting trio of Marc Leishman, Joaquin Niemann and Bubba Watson sit next in the market (all 25/1). Leishman has a poor record here having missed three of five cuts and then not appearing in the last two seasons. His current form also gives scant encouragement and I am happy to pass him by. Twenty year old Niemann is one of a crop of hugely exciting young players on Tour, and has made two previous appearances here; finishing 5th last year and is a player that will rightly garner a lot of interest this week. Watson has been an ever present at The Greenbrier, appearing at the last five stagings with best placed finishes of 13th last year and in 2015. His recent form is the usual mixture of top 10s and missed cuts and, whilst I wouldn’t put anyone backing him at this reasonable price, I think there is better value elsewhere in the field.
Former world number 1 amateur Niemann enjoyed a successful rookie season on Tour, finishing 67th, making it to all but the last two events, and moving inside the top 100 of the World Golf Rankings. His best returns were 5th placed finishes at The Travelers and the Rocket Mortgage Classic in June where he posted 17 under par behind Nate Lashley who blew away the field that week on 25 under. Niemann also posted strong finishes at The Wyndham and the John Deere Classic and it is only a matter of time before he claims his first win as a professional.
Towards the end of last season, his biggest issues were off the tee, and he was unable to finish inside the top 100 on Tour for driving despite being one of the best for strokes gained tee to green which shows the strength of his iron play. Putting was also not generally his forte. The fact that he was losing on average two shots to the field each week on the greens, but still posting high finishes and contending for titles is a very strong sign. This is a week where Niemann will need to be on top of other areas of his game, but he is a stand out player in this field and represents better value than Hovland at the top. I will be having 3 points e/w at 25/1.
Twenty eight year old American Austin Cook is the next best selection this week in Virginia. Cook is a player that is capable of shooting low scores as he showed at The Barbasol a few weeks ago where his score of 22 under par wasn’t quite good enough to keep pace with eventual winner Jeff Herman. Nonetheless it showed how close Cook is to competing with the best at this level, especially at the lower scoring venues such as at The Greenbrier. He also had top 15 finishes at the RSM and CIMB Classics at the start of the season on 14 and 18 under par respectively to further exhibit his ability to go low which will be a great help to keep pace with the field this week.
Cook has only made one previous appearance at this event which was last year when he managed an impressive 5th placed finish behind Kevin Na. Cook came into that event on the back of missing three of his previous four cuts, and in far less solid form than this year. I expect a really strong challenge from him this time around and suggest backing him with 2 points e/w at 66/1.
Nate Lashley burst, somewhat belatedly at thirty seven, onto the golfing scene back at the end of June when he took the field apart at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. Lashley’s winning total of 25 under par was the second lowest of the season, and showed what a force he can be on these types of open and scorable venues. Since then he has made three of six cuts, and had two top 25 finishes, including at the World Golf Championship St Jude Classic.
Lashley hadn’t really had time to take in that result with the Fedex Cup series suddenly thrust upon him, and the three weeks he has had off have probably come as a very welcome relief to him. Lashley is a straight hitter, and a tremendous short iron player which will sit to his advantage around this par 70, relatively short, course. The venue is a new one, but as we have seen with Cook (and as was Detroit for Lashley), that does not need to count against him here as much as other courses where course form is a greater indicator than it is at The Greenbrier (see Augusta, Sedgefield as an example). I will therefore be having what I see as a value bet of 2 points e/w at 100/1.
American Zac Blair was one of the most hyped up and talked about players on the PGA Tour between 2015 - 2018 when he lost his card, and this season he has been rediscovering his form, with some success, on the Korn Ferry Tour. Blair won the Ellie Mae Classic four weeks ago on a score of 17 under par, and has four top 10s in his other seven most recent starts leading up to his reappearance on the PGA Tour this week. Blair is a streaky player, and when he finds a run of form he can continue it for some time, and he seems to be right in the midst of one at the moment. Had he been returning these numbers on the PGA Tour he would be less than half the price that we find him this week. Previously he has appeared three times at The Greenbrier with limited success, but he has made two of three cuts and not been returning these types of scores in the preceding weeks. He is worth a small bet with 1 point e /w at 125/1.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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