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Greenbrier Classic Preview and Picks
by Matt Fargo - 07/26/2011
For the second straight week, the PGA Tour heads to a course that is unfamiliar to most pros. Last week, Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club hosted the Canadian Open for the first time since 2005 and this week, The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier plays host to the 2nd annual Greenbrier Classic. Last year's inaugural event was a resounding success as players took advantage of the easy scoring conditions. The Old White TPC, built in 1914, is the oldest course to host a PGA Tour event.
The Greenbrier was on the brink of bankruptcy recently but renovations that took place between 2002 and 2006 helped attract the tour and the rest is history. Like last week, players will be playing to a par 70 on a rather short course totaling 7,274 yards. Driving accuracy will be important as the fairways are tighter this year and greens will be more firm than last year. The Old White TPC is one of only two tracks that finish with a par three, the other being East Lake, host of the Tour Championship.
With the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational taking place next week and the PGA Championship in two weeks, fields tend to be thin and that is the case this week. Only two top 20 players are in the field this week, Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen, so while star attraction will be limited, it sets up good betting opportunities. Reason being as not many players are big favorites and with renovations playing a part, it is wide open once again. Nine winners from 2011 will be teeing it up this week.
Defending champion Stuart Appleby (+10,000) needed a 59 on Sunday to overtake Jeff Overton and win by one stroke. Usually the reigning champion comes into the following year's event as more of a favorite than the underdog but that is hardly the case here. Appleby is struggling as he has made the weekend only once in his last 12 events. This is great value but it is not a great bet.
This year's favorite is Phil Mickelson (+1000) as he comes in as the highest ranked player in the field. If he is on top of his game, he is tough to beat but he has not been there many times this year. He made a Sunday charge at the Open Championship with a 30 on the front nine but gave it back coming in. He has not missed a cut this year and has five top tens including a win so he will be in the mix.
Webb Simpson (+2,000) is coming off a T16 at the Open Championship which was his fifth straight top 20 finish. He is having a great year without a victory as he is 12th on the money list and ninth in the FedEx Cup standings thanks in part to only two missed cuts. He has two solo second place finishes which came at the Transitions and the Zurich Classic, both of which had similar fields.
Jeff Overton (+2,500) was the victim of Appleby's 59 as he fell one shot short in 2010. He opened with 64-62 but shot just 66-67 on the weekend so all of the blame cannot be put on bad timing as his weekend was mediocre. Still, he comes in with course knowledge and success and while he has not been as dominant this year, he has only two missed cuts and owns three top tens including a T3 at the AT&T National.
Brandt Snedeker (+3,000) took last week off following a missed cut at the Open Championship but he had four consecutive top 25's prior to that. He has a win this year at The Heritage as well as four other top tens including two solo fourths. His accuracy will make him a threat here because his putting can make up for a lack of GIR. He closed with 65-66 here last year to finish T16.
This week's longshot will be with D.A. Points (+6,000). He has not played since the John Deere Classic where he finished T38 but he has missed only five cuts all year and is currently a solid 28th on the money list. He won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am and while he does not have a top ten since then, playing The Old White TPC offsets that as he placed T4 last year which included a 61 on Saturday.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at the Greenbrier Classic – All for 1 Unit
Phil Mickelson (+1000)
Webb Simpson (+2,000)
Jeff Overton (+2,500)
Brandt Snedeker (+3,000)
D.A. Points (+6,000