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Buick Open Preview

   by Matt Fargo - 07/29/2009

The PGA Tour heads back to the states this week for the Buick Open at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, Michigan. We are on a short week following the Monday finish at the RBC Canadian Open which was won by Nathan Green in a playoff over Retief Goosen. Rain and poor weather has been the story all summer long but the forecast this weekend call for little to no rain with temperatures reaching 80 degrees every day. This is what golf is supposed to be played in.

The favorite this week is Tiger Woods (+125) of course and this will be his first start since missing the cut at the Open Championship. He does not miss many cuts as this was his first in three years so it is anyone’s guess how he will respond. My guess is that he bounces back as he has never finished worse than 11th in eight previous starts at Warwick Hills and that includes two wins, most recently in 2006. It will be hard to go against Woods but he just does not look the same right now.

Next on the list is Jim Furyk (+1200) who won this event in 2003 and he is playing some of his best golf right now. A 76 on Sunday pushed him into a tie for 34th at the Open Championship but prior to that, he had four top tens in his previous five events including a runner-up at the Memorial, won by none other than Woods. He finished 36th at Warwick last year following a T5 in 2007 and a runner-up in 2006. He last hoisted a trophy back in 2007 at the Bell Canadian Open and that is a little concerning.

There is some really good value with Nick Watney (+3000). He has never missed a cut in three starts here and he looks to be turning things around after missing the cut at the U.S. Open. He has already won once this season at the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines and finished a shot behind Phil Mickelson at the WGC-CA Championship at Doral. He finished in a tie for 27th in his last start at the Open Championship and overall in 2009, he has 10 top 25 finishes putting him 11th on the money list.

After a hot start and then a rough March, Brian Gay (+3000) has been sensational since. He has two victories this season, at the Verizon Heritage and the St. Jude Classic, which has put him up to ninth on the money list. A third victory is far from out of the question as he has had great success here including a T2 back in 2002 as he and Fred Funk finished four shots back of Woods. The difference then was Friday when he shot 71 and Woods shot 63. Gay went 135 on the weekend and Woods went 141 so he is capable.

Trivia time. Who is tied for 2nd on the PGA Tour in top ten finishes this season? One of those players is Kevin Na (+5000) with seven. He looked strong last week after a first round 63 but he could not keep it together in the inconsistent weather. He was forced to withdraw at the Buick last year after finishing in a tie for 34th in 2007. His last three top ten finished this year have come after bad performances so his T53 last week puts him in that position again.

Last week, Calc and Molder finished 8th and 16th respectively while Mallinger suffered a big letdown from his playoff loss the previous week. We look to back in the black with three selections with decent odds.

Recommended plays for the Buick Open

Nick Watney (+3000) 1.5 Units

Brian Gay (+3000) 1.5 Units

Kevin Na (+5000) 1.5 Units

YTD Summaries

AT&T National

Hunter Mahan (+1500) 2 Units L

Tiger Woods (+175) 2 Units W

K.J. Choi (+5000) ½ Unit L

John Deere Classic

Steve Stricker (+1000) 2 Units W

Zach Johnson (+1500) 2 Units L

Kevin Sutherland (+4000) 1 Unit L

Open Championship

Sergio Garcia (+2000) 2 Units L

Ian Poulter (+2500) 2 Units L

Tiger Woods (+165) 2 Units L

RBC Canadian Open

Mark Calcavecchia (+10000) 1.5 Units L

John Mallinger (+4000) 1.5 Units L

Bryce Molder (+5000) 1.5 Units L

YTD -2.5 Units

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