WGC Bridgestone Invitational Expert Preview

Firestone CC, South Course, Akron, Ohio, Aug 2-5, 2018

Course Details

Firestone, South Course was originally designed by Bert Way, but redesigned by Robert Trent Jones Sr in 1960. Firestone is best known for its legendary history of tournament play, and length. The par 70 layout measures 7283 yards, and will definitely be a stern test for the shorter length players. There are only two par 5’s at Firestone, the 2nd hole and the 16th hole, however the 16th hole is a beast, measuring 667 yards, and with a pond just short of the green, it captures its far share of errant shots. The tough holes, I will be looking closely at this week, are the 18th hole, measuring 464 yards and surrounded by bunkers with a long narrow fairway.

The Par 3 15th hole, measuring 221 yards is a tough hole, and getting the ball close to the hole can pose its share of problems. The other difficult par 3 is on the front nine, the 200 yard 5th hole, most players will be coming in with a 5 or 6 iron, however when the wind blows this course easily become a 4 or 3 iron. It’s a tough Par 3 to play, right before reaching arguably the toughest hole at Firestone, the 6th hole. The 6th hole has ranked the toughest hole and second toughest at Firestone over the years, it will be one of my main focal holes for betting this week.

Weather Report

Thursday – Humidity 65%, Wind WSW 7-10mph, Temperature a high of 83F. Will be partly to mostly cloudy with a stray shower or possible thunderstorm.

Friday – Humidity 75%, Wind SSW 6-10mph, Temperature 74F. Partly cloudy skies all day.

Last 10 Winners and Runners Up

Year Winner Runner Up
2017 Hideki Matsuyama Zach Johnson
2016 Dustin Johnson Scott Piercy
2015 Shane Lowry Bubba Watson
2014 Rory McIIroy S Garcia
2013 Tiger Woods** Keegan Bradley* , Henrik Stenson
2012 Keegan Bradley* im Furyk , Steve Stricker
2011 Adam Scott Luke Donald , Rickie Fowler
2010 Hunter Mahan Ryan Palmer
2009 Tiger Woods** Robert Allenby
2008 Vijay Singh Stuart Appleby
2007 Tiger Woods** Justin Rose , Rory Sabbatini

Players contending more than once * Keegan Bradley

Players contending more than twice** Tiger Woods

Top 25 World Rankings Current Form Review

(Last 5 events played)

Player Event 1 Event 2 Event 3 Event 4 Event 5 Scoring Average
1. Dustin Johnson 1st MC 3rd 1st T8 68.55
2. Justin Rose T2 T9 T10 T6 1ST 68.5
3. Justin Thomas MC T8 T56 T25 T8 70.72
4. Brooks Koepka MC T39 T19 1st T30 70.11
5. John Rahm MC T4 T5 MC T5 70.43
6. Francesco Molinari 1ST T2 1ST T25 2ND 67.75
7. Rory McIlroy T2 T28 T12 MC T8 70
8. Jordan Spieth T9 T42 MC MC T32 70.43
9. Rickie Fowler T28 T6 12TH T20 T8 69.5
10. Jason Day T17 T12 MC T44 T5 70.11
11. Tommy Fleetwood T6 T12 MC T59 2nd 70.77
12. Patrick Reed T9 T28 T23 MC 4th 69.88
13. Alex Noren T17 1st T25 T23 T3 69.85
14. Bubba Watson MC MC T13 1st MC 69.78
15. Paul Casey T7 T51 T2 T16 T20 70.05
16. Hideki Matsuyama MC MC T16 T13 T16 70.25
17. Henrik Stenson T35 T6 T26 T13 T23 70.2
18. Xander Schauffele T2 T21 MC T6 MC 70.12
19. Marc Leishman 60TH T13 MC T45 T62 71.38*
20. Webb Simpson T12 T47 MC T10 MC 70.75
21. Phil Mickelson T24 MC T65 T48 T12 70.61
22. Sergio Garcia MC MC T8 T12 MC 71.71*
23. Bryson Dechambeau T7 T51 T2 T16 T20 70.15
24. Tyrell Hatton T51 T9 T16 T6 MC 70.22
25. Kevin Kisner MC T2 55TH MC T74 71.13*
& Tiger Woods T6 T4 MC T23 T11 69.66

Note – Tiger Woods is rising fast in the world rankings, therefore I will add him into the form review.

Poor Form*- Players Averaging over 71 – 3 Players I consider to be in poor current form are Marc Leishman, Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner, despite finishing 2nd at the British Open.

Good Form** – Players averaging under 69 – 3 players in good form are Francesco Molinari, Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose

Top 25 World Rankings Performance at the Event

(Over the last 5 years)

Player 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 Scoring Average
1. Dustin Johnson T17 1st T53 DNP T33 70.06
2. Justin Rose T63 T46 T3 T4 T17 70.05
3. Justin Thomas T28 T33 DNP DNP DNP 70.5
4. Brooks Koepka T17 WD T6 DNP DNP 69
5. John Rahm T28 DNP DNP DNP DNP 69.75
6. Francesco Molinari T24 DNP T61 T31 T44 70.81
7. Rory McIlroy T5 DNP DNS 1st T27 68.33**
8. Jordan Spieth T13 T3 T10 49TH DNP 69.63
9. Rickie Fowler 9TH T10 T10 T8 T21 69.2
10. Jason Day T24 T3 T12 WD T53 70.27
11. Tommy Fleetwood T28 DNP DNP DNP DNP 69.75
12. Patrick Reed T36 52ND T15 T4 DNP 70.25
13. Alex Noren T28 DNP DNS DNP DNP 69.75
14. Bubba Watson T17 T14 2ND T37 T27 69.55
15. Paul Casey T5 T16 T17 DNP T27 69.75
16. Hideki Matsuyama 1ST T42 T37 T12 T21 69.55
17. Henrik Stenson T17 DNP T6 T19 T2 68.75**
18. Xander Schauffele T13 DNP DNP DNP DNP 69
19. Marc Leishman T41 55TH T33 3RD DNP 70.81*
20. Webb Simpson DNP DNP T25 T31 T14 69.75
21. Phil Mickelson T39 T27 T63 T15 T21 70.25
22. Sergio Garcia T39 DNP T37 2ND T40 69.81
23. Bryson Dechambeau T60 DNP DNP DNP DNP 71.75*
24. Tyrell Hatton T36 DNP DNP DNP DNP 70.25
25. Kevin Kisner T28 T16 T37 DNP DNP 70.33
& Tiger Woods DNP DNP DNP WD 1ST 66.25**

Good History at Event **   Tiger Woods has only played this event once in the last 5 years, although prior to that it is an event he has dominated. 2013-1st, 2012 – 4th, 2009 1st, 2007 1st, 2006 1st, 2005-1st, 2004-2nd, 2003-4th,2002-4th,2001-1st & 2000-1st.

You would have to be crazy to exclude Tiger Woods from any betting this week, based on his love affair with Firestone CC. Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy are the only other players to average under 69 at this course, but are a distant second to Tiger Woods.

Poor History at Event *   Bryson Dechambeau has only played once at this event and didn’t perform well, and Marc Leishman outside of that has the highest stroke average at Firestone of the current top 25 players in the world.

Adjusted Stroke Averages for the Top 25 World Ranked Players

Note – You can compare my rankings against the Betfair Market to find under the odds and over’s

Note – I have added Tiger Woods into the form review, as he is one of the fastest rising world ranked players, AND GUESS WHO APPEARS ON TOP!

Player My rankings for the tournament
1.       Tiger Woods 68.44
2.       Dustin Johnson 69.09
3.       Justin Rose 69.21
4.       Rory McIlroy 69.3
5.       Henrik Stenson 69.43
6.       Rickie Fowler 69.46
7.       Francesco Molinari 69.48
8.       Brooks Koepka 69.66
9.       Paul Casey 69.77
10.    Alex Noren 69.8
11.    Bubba Watson 69.88
12.    Tommy Fleetwood 69.88
13.    Xander Schauffele 69.9
14.    Jordan Spieth 69.97
15.    Webb Simpson 69.98
16.    Jason Day 69.99
17.    Patrick Reed 70.04
18.    John Rahm 70.1
19.    Hideki Matsuyama 70.15
20.    Justin Thomas 70.21
21.    Phil Mickelson 70.25
22.    Marc Leishman 70.31
23.    Tyrrell Hatton 70.36
24.    Bryson DeChambeau 70.59
25.    Kevin Kisner 70.76
26.    Sergio Garcia 70.84

Betting Notes – The market seems to have caught onto Tiger Woods, but is still an ok “over” for mine! My top 4 rankings match Betfair’s top 4 rankings and are very close in order. However there are some discrepancies as I move further down the list. I have Henrik Stenson ranked 5th ($23) and the market has Henrik ranked 13th ($42) & I have Paul Casey ranked 9th ($30) and the market has Paul ranked 20th ($55).  Vice Versa, I have Jordan Spieth ranked 14th ($50) and the market has Jordan ranked 5th ($23) & I have Justin Thomas ranked 20th ($48) and the market has Justin ranked 10th ($26).

In Play Trading Opportunities

Hole 2 – Plays as the easiest Par 5 at Firestone, averaging 4.59 strokes. I will be looking for players that are well positioned off the tee, to be placing a “back” bet and then placing a “lay” bet after the hole is completed.

Hole 4 & 9 – Play tough, averaging 4.23 each. Ill be looking for players to drop a shot on these holes or miss the fairway. Both these holes are difficult fairways to hit and if the fairway is missed on the No.9 it becomes even harder to hit the green, due to the 12 foot false front. I will be looking at some potential “lay” opportunities on these holes at the tee box and will be looking to “re-back” these players after the hole is completed.

Examples of Pre-Tournament Bets

As mentioned previously, I generally don’t like to place any bets pre-tournament, but after my rankings got the trifecta in the U.S Open, you may want to “back” some over’s or “lay” some under the odds off my rankings.

It was also great to see my biggest “over” Francesco Molinari win the British Open. It’s a little harder this week as the market seems to have the top 4 players correct, however I might be able to still find a little bit of value.

 BACK – Justin Rose has had 5 straight Top 10’s, $2.5 “back” for Top 10 is overs! – 3 units

 BACK – Tiger Woods loves this track and is in form, “back” $2.44 for Top 10 – 2 units

 LAY- Justin Thomas Top 10 @ $3.4 – 1 units

 BACK – Henrik Stenson “back” for Top 10 @ $4.2 – 2 units

 BACK – Paul Casey “back” for top Top 10 @ $4.8 – 2 units


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