Tournament: AT&T National
Date: July 1st-4th, 2010
Course: Aronimink Golf Club Newtown Square, PA
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, PGA Handicapper of Predictem.com
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Many PGA players take the week off following a Major for some rest, so I did the same and skipped last week but am back along with a very strong field for this weeks AT&T National. Tiger Woods headlines the participants this week and is looking to defend his 2009 title against a deep and talented field. After three years at Congressional CC, the tournament makes a move to Aronimink Golf Club so it is anyone guess as to who will fare well this week. One thing we do know is that the new venue has the capacity to play very long and the area has seen significant rains over the last few weeks which could make the course play even longer.
Aronimink GC will be a par-70 for the Championship and while the tournament length is stated at 6,995 yards, the course can be stretched over 7,200 yards and will feature a par-5 that measures 605 yards. Several par-4s will play at 440 yards or more so look for long irons in the hands of nearly everyone at some point this week. That kind of length can be tamed by the bombers on Tour but dont look past the guys that strike it well as that is always a key when the approaches reach 180 yards plus with consistency. Past the raw distance, the course will test players with 75 bunkers and most will likely struggle making a lot of putts simply due to not having a ton of course knowledge.
Each week, we take a look at the online golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players that we like to make a run. Well pick a short, middle and long odds player and breakdown a few head to head matches as well. Here are our picks for the 2010 AT&T National.
Short Favorite: Jim Furyk (12 to 1 odds to win)
I was all set to give Tiger an endorsement here but alas, he wound up with very short odds (3 to 1) and there just isnt value there, in my opinion. So, Furyk is certainly the next best thing, especially with two wins under his belt already and the kind of game that can win anywhere. Jim is 7th in fairways hit which should give him just as much advantage in hitting greens as the bombers, and his top-10 ranks in scrambling and bounce back look really good on a new course. As usual, Furyk is playing no mistakes golf with his overall scoring average ranking much better than his birdie average. Look for another boring week with the potential for a wire to wire type of win.
Middle of the Road: Rickie Fowler (30 to 1 odds to win)
You might not like his choice of outfits, but its hard not to like what this youngster is doing with the clubs right now. Fowler has missed some cuts (7 of 17) but has finished in the top-10 in nearly half of his made cuts with two runner-up finishes. He put together a nice 68/66 finish last weekend for a top-15 and will be less affected by a new course as most of the courses he is seeing are new to him. Fowler comes into the week as the top ranked ballstriker on Tour with putting as his only trouble spot on the stat sheet. The scoring pace should keep a large group in play so there will be time for the rookie to figure out the greens.
Longshot: Ricky Barnes (40 to 1 odds to win)
It has been a career year for Barnes and he is in the midst of his best golf with three top-10s in his last four starts to make six overall and lead the PGA in that category. Ricky isnt good at any one thing in particular, but isnt lacking in any stat either. 45th in greens is good enough to hang anywhere and his 73rd rank in putting average has led to the 21st ranked overall scoring mark. A slight improvement on the greens will turn all those top-10s into serious bids at victories. Barnes can handle a new track with a solid game around the greens and has proven himself as a finisher with the 3rd most birdies on Tour.
Head to Head Matches (our pick) *matches are for entire event. See your favorite offshore book for single round matches and prop bets.
Hunter Mahan (-115) v. Bo Van Pelt (-115) (Van Pelt)
If this were Congressional, I think you would have to go with Mahan after his charge to 2nd last year, but the scales tip toward BVP this week at a new course. Van Pelt has slight edges in most every relevant stat category, but the biggest comes on the greens where Mahan has struggled all year and has slipped outside the top-150 in overall putting average.
Robert Allenby (-115) v. Ben Crane (-115) (Crane)
Allenby started the year looking like he would put the putting woes behind and start cashing in wins right and left. The putter is better (30th) but the wins just arent there and he is up against one of the best tee to green guys on Tour in this one. Crane should be consistent and grind out another solid finish in the 11-19 range with Allenby just behind in the 21-29 category.