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Cazoo Open Betting Tips: Six picks for Celtic Manor

Cazoo Open 2022: John Catlin is one of our featured picks this week
Cazoo Open 2022: John Catlin is one of our featured picks this week

Fairmont St Andrews played host to another low scoring edition of the Hero Open last week, as Zimbabwean-born American, Sean Crocker ran out an impressive wire-to-wire winner, finally realising just a little bit of that potential he possesses. This meant we had to settle for 2nd with Eddie Pepperell, who continued his resurgence by running Crocker close with a superb closing 65 and will surely be a big player on the DPWT over this second half of the year.

This week we continue our trip around the UK, as we head to Wales for the Cazoo Open, the Wales Open in all but name, at the 2010 Ryder Cup venue, the Twenty-Ten Course at the Celtic Manor Resort.

Following a six-year absence from the DPWT schedule, having been held here every year from 2000-2014 previously, the course returned to help out the tour in 2020 during the covid pandemic, hosting a double-header with the one off Celtic Classic, won by Sam Horsfield, followed by the Wales Open the week after, won by Romain Langasque. 

The event, with Cazoo as sponsor, then signing a multi-year deal with the DPWT to bring it back to the schedule full-time last year. An event in which Spain’s Nacho Elvira picked up his first DPWT title.

This is a very challenging course, with winning scores often sitting in single digits previously and in 2020, with Romain Langasque’s victory, we saw it hadn’t lost any of it’s bite as he won with a score of -8. With more scorable conditions on show in Horsfield and Elvira’s victories, won in -18 and -16 respectively, but even then it is certainly no pushover.

Cazoo Open Betting Tips

The Course

The main reason this open and exposed course can play so difficult is that it’s simply a bit of a brute, as a par 71, this year stretching out to a possible 7503 yards. Combine this with some tricky driving holes, thick rough, large slopy greens and water in-play on up to half of the holes on the course, you can soon start to unravel if the ball-striking is off. 

There is little in the way of obvious birdie chances, with the par 5s certainly no gimmes, three of them measuring over 600 yards, though there is some respite in the 562 yard 11th, the easiest hole on the course. 

In addition to this is the true risk/reward opportunity of the drivable par 4 15th, with water in-play, deep bunkers and a steep mound at the back of the green making an up and down very difficult. Even if you find the green the battle isn’t won, as a slopy, undulating green that is difficult to read.

The five par 3s are tricky, with three above 200 yards and protected by all kinds of trouble and whilst there is only one brutish par 4, in the shape of the 508 yard 16th, many are in that mid to high 400 yard range, with tricky doglegging fairways not easy to find, none give up birdies easily.

The Stats

This test will require a strong all-round game, with particular emphasis on ball-striking prowess and though not a necessity, length off-the-tee has to be favoured. Whilst most of the contenders over the last couple of years have also had a good week on the greens.

This was very much the case with last year’s top 2, as winner, Nacho Elvira and runner-up, Justin Harding ranked 5th and 1st on the greens respectively. With the next two on the leaderboard, Mikko Korhonen and Callum Shinkwin ranking top 25. All of them combined it with an excellent week in approach, ranking inside the top 10, whilst Shinkwin, Elvira and Harding also produced a high-class driving performance, ranking 2nd, 3rd and 12th respectively.

Though stats aren’t as easy to find and not as reliable as last year, we see a pattern of strong ball-striking, combined with a good putting week and power off-the-tee on show in both of those events staged here in 2020.

That year in the Wales Open, Romain Langasque, won whilst gaining strokes in approach, off-the-tee and on the greens. This a very similar story for runner-up, Sami Valimaki and 3rd place finisher Matthew Jordan.

A week earlier at the Celtic Classic we saw the same theme develop, with strong ball-striking and often excellent putter, Sam Horsfield winning, gaining in strokes across the same areas. Also the case for runner-up Thomas Detry, as well as 3rd place finishers, Thomas Pieters, Andrew Johnston and Connor Syme. All gained strokes in approach, off-the-tee and on the greens, whilst predominantly being players who possess more power than accuracy with the driver.

Key Stats: SG: Approach, SG: Off-the-Tee, SG: Putting, Greens in Regulation, Driving Distance

Correlating Courses

The exposed nature of this course means it correlates nicely with many across the Middle-East. With the Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates GC, the Abu Dhabi Championship at Abu Dhabi GC (pre 2022), Qatar Masters at Doha GC and Oman Open at Al Mouj GC looking the best links. We see plenty of form-ties on show throughout those events. 

2014 Wales Open winner Joost Luiten has won in Oman, whilst possessing top 10s in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. With runners-up in 2021 and 2020, Justin Harding and Sami Valimaki, having won in Qatar and Oman respectively.

Last year’s winner, Nacho Elvira has a 2nd and 6th to his name in Qatar, with 2013 champion, Gregory Bourdy possessing top 10s in Qatar and Dubai. Further form ties found from Mikko Korhonen, 3rd here last year and with a 4th place finish in Oman to his name, Matthew Jordan, 3rd here in 2020 with a top 5 in Qatar and Richard Sterne, who was 2nd here in 2012, with runner-up finishes both in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Further to this I’ve picked out another four in Europe that take place on tough, mainly long, exposed courses. The Austrian Open at Diamond Country Club, Portugal Masters at Vilamoura, Open de France at Le Golf National, and Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Club.

Joost Luiten and Mikko Korhonen have both won in Austria, whilst Connor Syme, who has an excellent record here in Wales, has finished 2nd and 4th.

Luiten and Korhonen feature again in Portugal, having finished 2nd and 3rd there respectively, whilst Shane Lowry and Thomas Pieters are both past champions and possess a good record in Wales. Further form-ties here found with Matthew Jordan and David Dixon.

Over to France and we find Thongchai Jaidee completing the France/Wales double, whilst Tommy Fleetwood, who has finished 2nd in Wales has also won in France. With Peter Uihlein and Richard Sterne, both 2nd in Wales, also possessing runner-up finishes in France.

Finally we have both Thomas Pieters and Jamie Donaldson as past Czech winners, with good records in Wales. With form-ties strengthened by Sam Horsfield, who’s finished 3rd in Czech, whilst Jacques Kruyswijk and Callum Shinkwin both match up their strong Wales Open records with good efforts at Albatross Golf Club.

The Weather

With rain around in recent days and further set to fall before the event, the course should be receptive this week. Add in the fact that there will be little in the way of wind and the course shouldn’t be at it’s most difficult. With a score closer to Horsfield/Elvira’s winning scores of -16/18 more likely than Langasque’s -8.

The Field

This week’s field lacks star power, with nobody from inside the top 100 in the world teeing it up in Wales and South Africa’s Oliver Bekker the highest ranked at #102 in the world. Both of last week’s top 2, Sean Crocker and Eddie Pepperell are straight back at it, whilst we’re also joined by Thomas Detry, who sat out the previous two weeks.

Golf odds
Jordan Smith Win Only
Odds correct as of 2022-08-02 15:35 Odds subject to change.

I’m going to start this week at the very top and I just couldn’t leave Jordan Smith out of selections. He’s hitting the ball better than anybody on tour this year and with his putter behaving more than it’s been inclined to in recent years, he has every chance of picking up a long awaited second DPWT victory this week.

Smith has had an excellent year so far, missing just one cut in fifteen starts, with that coming by just the single shot. Twelve of those starts have resulted in a top 25 finish, with five top 10s, which includes runner-up finishes in the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and MyGolfeLife Open. Most recently we’ve seen him hold his own in world-class company, finishing 24th in the Scottish Open and 47th in The Open last time out.

His game is engineered by outstanding ball-striking, where he ranks 1st off-the-tee, 1st in GIR, 19th in approach and also possessing plenty of power, ranking 20th in driving distance. With him only losing strokes in one event with the driver this year and only four in approach.

He backs this up with an excellent scrambling game, ranking 8th this season, with the well documented putter his biggest weakness. Though he has putted well plenty of times this year, gaining strokes in eight of his fifteen starts. Hopefully he’ll be on one of his going weeks with the putter this week.

Though never quite getting into contention here, Smith has made the cut on each of his three visits to Celtic Manor, finishing in the top 30 on two occasions. In addition to this is a good book of correlating form, with top 10s in Dubai, Oman and Qatar, even that solo DPWT victory in the European Open in 2017 should point to a player who can go even better here, played on an exposed, tough, watery course.

Over the last two weeks on tour we’ve seen players breaking long losing streaks and you can too draw parallels between Smith and Tony Finau on the PGA Tour, with both players possessing a similarly impressive tee-to-green game that makes you wonder why they don’t win more. He can take encouragement from what he’s managed to do over the last year, as well as Crocker and Ramsay in the UK in recent weeks to be the latest player to break a long winless run here in Wales.

John Catlin each-way (1/5 7 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-08-02 15:40 Odds subject to change.

With wins at Valderrama and in Austria, John Catlin has won at some of the toughest courses on the DPWT. He also showed his aptitude for this test with a 6th place finish on debut in 2020 and with some strong recent form, this quality ball-striker can go well again in Wales.

Catlin can be forgiven a couple of missed cuts on his two most recent starts, both coming in star-studded events at the Scottish Open and Open Championship. Prior to that he’d recorded his best finish of the year when 4th in the Irish Open, that in turn following three top 25s in his four starts before that.

Though picking up a little more distance off the tee in recent years, Catlin is still more about accuracy off-the-tee, but such is the quality of his driving that he ranks 19th on the DPWT this season and has gained strokes in nine of his last ten starts. He compliments this with a recent strong iron game, ranking 50th on tour in GIR and 55th in approach.

The putter is the biggest worry with Catlin, though there had been some more positive signs before that two week stint in Scotland and it’s notable that he’s putted well on 2/3 occasions he’s teed it up at Celtic Manor.

This was in fact the biggest factor in him finishing 6th here in the Celtic Classic in 2020. He followed that with a missed cut the next week at the Wales Open but showed again last year he can play this course well, when finishing 32nd. 

We can draw further confidence with Catlin’s past win in Austria, as well as a top 10 in Portugal and I’m expecting the gritty American to bounce back from those two missed cuts in Scotland, this week in the Cazoo Open.

Paul Waring each-way (1/5 7 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-08-02 15:40 Odds subject to change.

Paul Waring’s runner-up finish in the Cazoo Classic two starts ago was part of a larger strong run of form. Once again looking good last week over the first two rounds before fading over the weekend, this high-class ball-striker can contend again this week on a course that should suit his game.

Waring’s improved form started five starts ago in the Scandinavian Mixed, where he finished 10th. He then followed that with a 26th place finish in the BMW International and a missed cut in the Irish Open, before those two most recent efforts of 2nd in the Cazoo Classic and 30th in last week’s Hero Open.

The driver is the undoubted star of Waring’s game, an area he’s excelled most in during his career and he ranks 31st on tour this season, also possessing a good deal of power. Though this season his iron-play has been every bit a match for the driver, ranking 26th in approach and 46th in GIR. 

Previously a very good putter, it has been that which has contributed most to his underwhelming form for the last couple of years. He showed an upturn in his fortunes there in his 2nd at the Cazoo Classic, putting up his best putting display in two years and though ultimately losing strokes with the putter by the end of last week, still enjoyed two rounds of good putting from four.

Waring hasn’t played in any of the most recent events staged here but if we go back to 2013 we find an 18th place finish in his debut effort, with a missed cut the following year. My belief he can still go well here is carried by a strong book of correlating form, where he’s recorded a 3rd in Dubai and Portugal, as well as top 10s in Abu Dhabi and Austria. With some strong form in Qatar, including finishing 12th this year to add to that.

Waring managed that 2nd place finish two starts ago in spite of his approach game not being up to the standard it had been prior and then last week’s subsequent start. If he can put it all together this week and recapture the form he found with the putter at Hillside, he looks the right type to excel here at Celtic Manor.

Wyndham Championship Betting Tips: Back Brian Harman in North Carolina

It may have been almost a year since he won that long-awaited 2nd PGA Tour title in the Northern Trust last year, but over the last couple of weeks, Tony Finau has proven everybody right that said with his talent, once he got over…

Maximilian Kieffer each-way extra (1/5 8 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-08-02 15:40 Odds subject to change.

Despite being winless since breaking through onto the DPWT in 2013, Germany’s Max Kieffer has continued to threaten, this no more on show than when he finished 2nd in back-to-back events last year. Arriving here in Wales in his strongest form of the year so far he can improve on an already solid record at Celtic Manor.

Kieffer’s 9th place finish at Ras Al Khaimah at the start of the year was the one bright spot over that period, with the rest of his best performances this year coming over his last six starts. 

His stronger run of form kicked off with a 14th in the Dutch Open and though he missed the cut on his next start in the European Open, he hasn’t finished outside the top 30 on his four latest starts. With a 7th in the Scandinavian Mixed the best of them, though a 30th in the Scottish Open a fine effort in itself.

The improved form has come from all parts of his game coming together, where he’s started to show more consistency with his ball-striking and better all-round performances with the short-game. Gaining strokes in every area multiple times across recent starts.

Though it’s the iron play that stands out and sees him rank 16th on tour this season in approach, as well as 28th in GIR. With 70th in driving perfectly respectable, considering he’s much more about accuracy than length.

This translates to a player who can go well here, as shown by the fact he’s never missed a cut in four starts and produced his best effort to date when 14th in the 2020 Celtic Classic. In addition to this he has finished runner-up at both the Austrian and Oman Opens. 

Kieffer is ten years without a victory but with four 2nd place finishes to his name on tour, three of them coming in the last three years, he has shown he has the ability to take one of these home eventually. Currently showing the best form he has all year, he can put himself into the mix once again this week.

Chase Hanna each-way extra (1/5 8 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-08-02 15:45 Odds subject to change.

America’s Chase Hanna has had a feast or famine year, with three top 6s surrounded by multiple missed cuts. He comes here off the back of his best finish in eight starts last week, when 30th in the Hero Open, his ball-striking looking in good shape and with a 6th place finish here on debut to draw upon, he can go even better.

Those three top 6s all came in the middle part of the year, following him missing his first five cuts of 2022. He finished 2nd in Qatar, following that with two missed cuts but bounced back with a 6th place finish in the British Masters and 4th in the Soudal Open.

Another five missed cuts followed, though he showed signs of life when 68th in the Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour and then followed a missed cut in the Barracuda two starts ago with that 30th place finish last week.

Hanna has started to drive the ball well over recent weeks, gaining strokes on his last six starts off-the-tee, whilst also possessing plenty of power. Though every other part of his game is as in and out as his results. With him showing short-game quality in the earlier part of the year and bits of pieces of strong iron play throughout the year, which has been on show over his last four starts. However I do find it a positive that every part of his game has showed quality over the year and as shown by the three top finishes, it doesn’t take much for him to be able to put it all together on a given week. 

This is certainly what he managed to do here last year, finishing 6th thanks to a strong ball-striking performance in which he excelled in approach and combined with a good week on the greens. Something he then replicated with the hugely encouraging piece of correlating form when 2nd in Qatar this year, his second best finish on the DPWT.

Hanna should be geared up by seeing what Crocker managed to do last week. With last year’s 6th showing he has the game to handle this test and coming here off the back of an encouraging ball-striking display, he could well go some to replicating what his fellow American did in Scotland.

Kristoffer Broberg each-way extra (1/5 8 places)
Odds correct as of 2022-08-02 15:45 Odds subject to change.

Despite an underwhelming run of results, Kristoffer Broberg continues to look a player just a decent putting week away from a strong performance, such is the consistent quality of his long-game. Coming to a course which should make use of those key assets he possesses, I’m hoping this is the week he finally finds something on the greens. 

Broberg has actually only missed four cuts in fourteen this year, though has only recorded the one top 20, when 14th in the Dutch Open. His ball-striking meaning that he’s been able to see more weekends than not, despite losing strokes every week on the greens.

The quality ball-striking is represented by him ranking 15th off-the-tee, possessing both length and accuracy, 21st in approach and 12th in GIR, barely missing a beat all year. Though ranks a lowly 168th in putting.

This week he comes to a course he’s familiar with, playing three times and making the cut on two occasions. With a best of 32nd in 2014. He does possess some strong correlating form, with a 6th place finish in Austria and 8th in the Czech Masters, as well as top 20s in France, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Portugal.

Broberg is undoubtedly a risk with how poor the putter has looked but with the quality of his ball-striking he won’t need to find a huge amount on the greens to become a danger this week in Wales.

Golf betting tips
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