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WGC Bridgestone Invitational Preview
by Matt Fargo - 08/05/2009
The PGA Championship starts next week but there is business to be taken care of this week first. The WGC Bridgestone Invitational takes place from Akron, Ohio at the Firestone Country Club. The week leading up to a major usually sees a mediocre field but that is not the case this week. With this being an Invitational, all of the top players will be competing and with the limited field, there is no cut as well.
Tiger Woods (+150) did it again last week as he won the Buick Open which was his first start since missing the cut at the Open Championship. After a rough Thursday, it looked as though Woods would continue his struggled but instead he put up a 63 on Friday, grabbed the lead over the weekend and never looked back. Now he is playing a course that has treated him well as he has won this event six times, most recently in 2007 when he won a third straight year for the second time.
This will be the first time that Phil Mickelson (+1200) tees it up since playing in the U.S. open, a span of seven weeks. He has six top tens in 12 events played this season and he is fond of Firestone as well. Although he has not won since 1996, he has two runner-up finishes since then and he finished 4th in last years tournament. The big concern now is how the layoff is going to affect him.
Vijay Singh (+4000) is the defending champion but he does enter this week in very god form. The good news is that he has made the cut in four straight events and finished T7 at the AT&T National. The problem is that he only has three top tens all season and has yet to crack the top five in any tournament. Even though he own here last year, it might have been an aberration as his recent finishes prior to that were T56 and T45.
Lee Westwood (+2500) was the runner-up to Singh last year and he is playing some of the best golf this year that he has ever played. He has only one top ten in six events played on the PGA Tour but he has placed in the top ten in his last three events overall. The question is can he close? He was the third round leader here last year before giving way and we all saw what happened at this years Open Championship.
Hunter Mahan (+3000) took some time off following his missed cut at the Open Championship and that should rejuvenate him. Prior to that, he had three straight top ten finishes and even though he has not won this year, he is close. He has not won since 2007 when he won the Travelers Championship but this course fits him well. He had a T10 last year which followed a T22 in 2007. Great value play.
One player who has not had great success this year is Anthony Kim (+2500). He has only three top ten finishes this season in 16 events played, compared to eight top tens last season including two wins, but the good part is that two of those top tens this year have come in his last three events played. He claimed that things are coming together and it would be good to see him make a late season run.
Nick Watney (T46). Brian Gay (T37) and Kevin Na (T46) struggled last weekend and stood no chance against tiger at the Buick Open. We switch gears this week.
Recommended plays for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational
Tiger Woods (+150) 1.5 Units
Lee Westwood (+2500) 1.5 Units
Hunter Mahan (+3000)1.5 Units
Anthony Kim (+2500) 1.5 Units
YTD -7 Units