Frazzled looks at some other markets in his second Scottish Open preview and these include Top Continental Euro, First Round Leader and Top 20 finishes.
There is no question that Victor is something of an enigma and goes into his own shell from time to time, but he is a ridiculously talented golfer and with his mind seemingly settled at the moment, he looks interesting on a course that he really should enjoy.
Victor has shown form on links course and in Scotland, with his 5th place in the Dunhill Links in 2012 illustrating this. He was also 9th in The Open last year at Hoylake despite shooting an opening 74 and he finished 17th at Castle Stuart in this event in 2013, when a 74 on the Saturday derailed his winning bid. He also has solid form at wind affected venues such as the Qatar Masters, where he was 9th for three years running from 2011-2013, the Nordea Masters where he was beaten in a playoff by Thongchai Jaidee last year and the links style Binhai Lake venue in the China Open, where he was 3rd in 2013.
He has stumbled on a few occasions now and not really kicked on from an excellent 2014 season, where he has 4 runner up finishes and starred in the Ryder Cup, but the early part of his season was characterised by late withdrawals from events, so the dip in form has been understandable. However he has looked back to something like his best in recent weeks with a 20th in the BMW International at the end of June being his best finish since 4th in Abu Dhabi and this was followed by a 12th last week at his National Open at Le Golf National. A final round 75 dropped him out of contention there, but it was still a great effort considering he struggled from tee to green, ranking 50th in Driving Accuracy and 62nd in GIR among those that made the cut. He made up for this by leading the field in putting, ranking first for Putts Per GIR and Putts Per Round.
These more generous landing areas and larger greens will be much more to his liking and if he can putt as well as last week, then he must have an excellent chance of contending on Sunday. He is 50/1 for outright glory and could have made it into our Outright picks, but we have settled on the 14/1 in the Top Continental Euro market with Bet365 and Ladbrokes. It is possible to combine him with Koepka at 13/2 and Fleetwood at 18/1 for Top Amercian and Top GB & Ireland with Bet365, which links him to our outright picks and we are advising a small patent on these selections as well.
0.5 points each way Patent with Bet365:
Top Continental Euro - Victor Dubuisson at 14/1 (1/4 odds first 4 places)
Top American - Brooks Koepka at 13/2 (1/4 odds first 3 places)
Top GB & Ireland - Tommy Fleetwood at 18/1 (1/4 odds first 4 places)
Berger was one of our picks last week at the Greenbrier, but despite producing some very good golf on the Friday, he could not make up for such a poor opening round of 73 and missed the cut. That was disappointing, but there is still no denying the fact that he is one of the most promising young players on the PGA Tour as his 5 Top 10 finishes including a playoff loss at the Honda Classic testify to.
As a Florida Native, he will be very much accustomed to playing in breezy conditions and two of his better efforts this season have come at wind affected, relatively low scoring venues, with 13th at the Sony Open and 10th at Pebble Beach. The wind was certainly a factor in the Honda Classic as well and he produced a stunning 64 to make the playoff at that difficult venue and these conditions should hold no fears for him, even if it is his debut on a European links course.
Berger lacks a little in accuracy from the tee, but he ranks 16th in Driving Distance and 22nd in GIR on the PGA Tour this season. He is also 13th in Par 4 Scoring Average and he faces 48 of these holes this week (if he makes the cut) and ranks 34th in Par Breakers and 22nd in Scrambling, which is always vital at a links venue. He also ranks 30th in Round 1 Scoring Average and it is forecast that the wind might be slightly calmer in the afternoon on Thursday, although there may be little advantage in the draw based on the forecast.
With all of this in mind, this looks like a venue that Berger could very much enjoy and the 11/2 for a Top 20 Finish looks a very decent price with Paddy Power. There is little wrong with the 125/1 each way in the Outright market, but we will look at the 100/1 in the First Round Leader market for the purposes of this preview and 6 places are available with Paddy Power, BetVictor and Skybet.
Advising Ricardo Gonzalez as a bet based on his form this year would appear madness, but there is a consistent theme about his results which means that he might well play much better than he has recently.
He has been 17th and 16th in the last two renewals of this event and this included his blistering start last year when he shot 65 on the Thursday, but could not keep the momentum going and recorded three 71s after that, to gradually drop down the leaderboard. However it was one of only two Top 20 finishes last year for him (the other being 17th in the rain reduced Portugal Masters).
In 2013 he was 17th at Castle Stuart and all his other very solid results came on courses that can provide a link to this venue. He recorded a 7th in the Dunhill Links, was 2nd in the Johnnie Walker at Gleneagles after a 65-65 start and was 12th in the China Open which has held at the links style Binhai Lake venue.
Gonzalez seems to play well at the same venues and although he is inconsistent, there is an element of predictability in where he will play well. He was 7th in Gleneagles in 2007 and was also 16th in 2009, while his form at the Dunhill Links includes 7th in 2005, 9th in 2009 and 13th in 2012. He has also finished 4th, 9th, 19th and 5th at various renewals of the Qatar Masters and there is a link between all these venues, as we have detailed in the previews of each particular event. Even the Portugal Masters at Villamoura, where he registered his only other Top 20 last year, ties in with these courses.
In 2015, Gonzalez has only made 5 cuts, but they include 30th in the Qatar Masters, 22nd in the Open De Espana and 43rd in the Irish Open, where opening and closing rounds of 76 ruined his card. While we need to see more from him than this in order to land some of these bets, it does show that he can still raise his game when faced with an ideal venue.
The 350/1 that is available with Boylesports is of some appeal, although we do not quite see him playing well enough to figure as prominently on Sunday, but he does make appeal in other markets and the 250/1 each way with Boylesports for first round leader is off interest, while the Top 20 odds of 11/1 with Betfred makes some appeal as well.
0.5 points each way Ricardo Gonzalez - First Round Leader at 250/1 with Boylesports