Frys.com Open Betting Preview

Jonas Blixt wins the Frys (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

Jonas Blixt wins the Frys (Courtesy: Zimbio.com)

The 2013-14 PGA Tour season starts this week, as the PGA Tour heads to San Martin and CordeValle Golf Club for the Frys.com Open.

2013 Frys.com Open Fact Sheet

  • Course: CordeValle Golf Club
  • Location: San Martin, California
  • Yardage: 7,379 yards, par 71
  • Defending Champion: Jonas Blixt
  • Five Consensus Favourites: Billy Horschel, Gary Woodland, Hideki Matsuyama, Jonas Blixt and Jimmy Walker

TV Schedule

  • Thursday – 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Friday – 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Saturday – 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)
  • Sunday – 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM ET (Golf Channel)

Key Storyline This Week

You wanted a break from the PGA Tour? Too bad. The new schedule starts this week, which gives the players little time to rest or prepare for the new season, but they do get a six week break after this six week run to start the season. Confused? You can read up on the new season in my preview right here.

The big thing for these six events, formerly known as the Fall Series, is that they are awarding full FedEx Cup points this year, and winning the event also guarantees an entry into the Masters for the first time. For players like Jonas Blixt, who won here last year but didn’t qualify for the Masters, this is a pretty big deal.

CordeValle

CordeValle has hosted the Frys since 2010, won by Blixt, Bryce Molder and Rocco Mediate. In that time, the winning scores have been no higher than 15-under par, so you can expect some low numbers this week. The Frys has always been a tournament that surrenders low scores, even when it was played at Grayhawk, and the scoring average has gone down in each of the three years at CordeValle from over par at 71.49 in 2010 to 70.47 in 2011 and 70.26 last year.

Typically, the best putters have an advantage here, as Blixt showed last season. One thing that CordeValle boasts that a lot of other courses can’t is the difficulty of their par-3’s. Four of the nine most difficult holes on the course last year were the par-3’s, with the 236-yard 11th playing as the number one handicap hole. Three of the four played over par in 2012.

The weather is expected to be pretty much perfect for the week, with no rain in the forecast.

Thoughts On The Favourites

  • Billy Horschel: Usually when we go from season to season, a player’s last finish means nothing since it was so long ago, but Horschel last played at the Tour Championship a few weeks ago where he finished tied for 7th. At CordeValle, he’s never shot a round above 73, and he finished tied for 7th here back in 2011.
  • Gary Woodland: Woodland had a late season renaissance win a win in Reno and a runner-up at the Barclays. He’s the longest hitter in the field and an improved short game. Finished in the top-10 in his lone appearance at the tournament last year.
  • Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama is coming off of the Presidents Cup where he turned a lot of heads with his quality play, and in a field short on talent, he’s an intriguing play at roughly 30-1. My only caution is that he’s never seen the course before, so be wary.
  • Jonas Blixt: The argument for Matsuyama could come from Blixt though, as he won here last year in his debut at the course. He did end up qualifying for the Masters with his win at the Greenbrier and got through the first three legs of the FedEx Cup before failing to get into the Tour Championship.
  • Jimmy Walker: Walker made a charge here on Sunday last year with a final round 62, but he couldn’t catch Blixt and settled for a tie for fourth place. He’s a big hitter, but he struggles with his consistency. His last ten events on the PGA Tour resulted in six missed cuts, a runner-up to Blixt at the Greenbrier, and ties for 11th, 54th and 73rd.

Suggested Plays

Gary Woodland (Best Odds 20-1 at Sporting Bet)

I’m pretty high on Woodland this year based on the way he finished the 2013 season, mostly because of his improved short game. He finished well here last year, and he’s my top pick for the week.

Charles Howell III (Best Odds 50-1 at bwin)

Howell is one of those guys that I just can’t seem to get away from, even though he’s only actually won twice on the PGA Tour. He’s got far more talent than that, as he showed for a good chunk of last season despite not finding the winner’s circle again, with five top-10’s and nine top-25’s. Finished tied for 11th here last year in his first appearance at the course with rounds of 66-69-66-72.

Tim Clark (Best Odds 69-1 at BETDAQ)

Of everyone in the field this week, Clark’s odds pre-tournament confuse me the most. He’s one of the more talented guys playing this week, plus his T6 with no rounds over par last year lead me to believe that he likes it here. It could be that his last top-10 came at the Crowne Plaza in May, but at this kind of price, I’ll take my chances.

David Hearn (Best Odds 80-1 at bwin)

Hearn nearly got his first PGA Tour win last year at the John Deere, losing in the three-way playoff to Jordan Spieth and his putter is what’s going to push him towards that first win this season. Missed the cut here last year, but was T-7 back in 2011 and he was pretty consistent for most of last year. I don’t think he wins this week, but a finish inside the top-5 is very likely.

Ryo Ishikawa (Best Odds 80-1 at Ladbrokes)

Ishikawa hasn’t had the kind of start to his PGA Tour career that he would have liked, but there could be some signs of life here for the 22-year old. He had to earn his tour card again a few weeks ago on the Web.com Tour, and he did so pretty easily with top-10 finishes in three of his four events played. This is a longshot bet to be sure, but as with Howell, I’ll take talent over anything at this kind of price.

Brian Gay (Best Odds 135-1 at BETDAQ)

It’s always a little surprising when you see a player who won a tournament a few months ago, and has a decent pedigree to be placed at this kind of number, but that’s where we’re at with Brian Gay. T29 here last year, with all four rounds played under par and he’s always been one of the best putters on the PGA Tour.

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The European Tour is at Oceanico Victoria for the Portugal Masters this week as well, and actually boasts more players in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings than the Frys. I won’t have a full betting preview up, but here are some plays that interest me:

Miguel Angel Jimenez (30-1): Comes in to this week in good form with back-to-back top-5 finishes.

Matteo Manassero (35-1): Finished T12 here last year, and I think he’s the best player in the field, so there’s good value at this price.

Alex Noren (50-1): Coming off of some injuries, he’s got a good track record here and played decently at the Dunhill a few weeks ago.

Tom Lewis (55-1): Winner here in 2011, and is coming off of a T3 at the Dunhill.

Eddie Pepperell (200-1): Could be getting blinded by his performance last year at Wentworth, but you should never get him at this kind of price. Jump on it and hope he plays well.

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