2009 Buick Open Preview and Picks

2009 Buick Open Preview and Picks
Thursday, July 30 Sunday, August 2, 2009
Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club Grand Blanc, MI
The Golf Channel/CBS

by Matt of Predictem.com

After two weeks abroad, the PGA Tour returns to the U.S. for the 2009 Buick Open. Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club hosts the event, which has seen many of the top players in the game take home the trophy in the past decade. Vijay Singh, Tiger Woods and Kenny Perry have all won twice here since the 2001 season with Jim Furyk also grabbing a win in that time.Perry is the defending champion and will have to wade through a very deep field that includes Tiger if he wants to repeat. This seems to be the farewell voyage for the Buick as the PGA announced a proposed schedule and venue change for this slot in the 2010 season. The Golf Channel has the first two rounds, with coverage shifting to CBS for the weekend finish.

If you like birdies, The Buick and Warwick Hills are right up your alley. The course plays at par-72 and measures 7,127 yards this week and has traditionally featured very favorable scoring conditions for the entire field. The winning total from 2008 was 19-under and we should see more of the same this year given the par-5s that are reachable by the majority of the players. A hot putter will be needed this week to keep up in a probable shootout and well see a lot of guys with four rounds in the 60s.

Every week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and highlight a few contenders we think have the goods to go all the way. We pick a short, middle and long odds golfer for the outright win and breakdown a few head to head matches as well. Here are our favorites to take the top spot in the 2009 Buick Open.

Short Favorite: Jim Furyk (12 to 1 to win)
Tiger is the big favorite this week at 3 to 2, but Furyk brings nice value considering his 2003 victory and T5/T2 finishes in 2006 and 2007. Jim is still in his victory drought, but has seven top-10 finishes in 15 starts this year, including a third at the WGC-CA and a second at the Memorial. Furyks a nice choice this week based on his accuracy and putting, ranking 21st in fairways and 5th in putts per round. Jim is also 6th in scrambling and owns the 4th best scoring average on Tour. The irons have been a bit more crooked than in years past, but a good ballstriking week at Warwick could end the winless streak. Bet this pick using your credit card to deposit at Superbook Sportsbook.

Middle of the Road: Brian Gay (25 to 1)
We havent been able to pin Brian down this year. Hes been our pick twice so far and failed to hit, only to go on to victory in the following weeks. Well take one more ride with the St. Jude and Verizon champ based on his three top-15 Buick finishes in the last six years, including a T2 in 2002. Gay is currently 6th in fairways hit and is very strong with the putter, ranking 14th in average and 4th in putts per round. Brian also owns the 5th best scoring average overall and has proven to be a good closer with the 2nd ranked final round scoring average.

Longshot: Jonathan Byrd (50 to 1)
Byrd is having a solid season with six top-25s in his ten made cuts and his best finish came just last month with his T3 at the Memorial. Jonathan has a strong overall game, ranking 6th in total driving, 38th in GIR% and 14th in overall ballstriking. His greens hit rank jumps to 8th when you consider shots played from outside the fairway which helps a ton when his drives find the spinach. Byrd cashes in on his birdie opportunities, ranking 12th on Tour at four per round, giving him a good chance to keep up when the leaders try to run away on the weekend.

With a Monday finish at the RBC Canadian, the books wont have their head to head match-ups out until later on Tuesday, but one guy to watch is Woody Austin. Woody has finished in the runner-up spot in each of the last two years at Warwick Hills and his solid overall stat sheet should have him heavily favored against the type of players he will likely be matched against.

Scott Verplank, Justin Leonard and Kevin Na are some other players that should be good bets against almost anyone the books match them up against. All have consistent birdie potential and the type of game that fares well at the Buick.

Good Luck!