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Greenbrier Golf Preview and Picks

   by Matt Fargo - 07/27/2010

For the second straight week, the PGA Tour heads to a course that is unfamiliar to most pros. Last week, St. George's Golf and Country Club hosted the Canadian Open for the first time since 1968 and this week, The Old White Course at The Greenbrier plays host to the inaugural Greenbrier Classic. After it is all said and done, The Old White Course, built in 1914, will become the oldest course to host a PGA Tour event. This will also be the first ever PGA event in the state of West Virginia.

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 7,020 yards. Driving accuracy will be important but with wide fairways, there is more room for error than at most stops so chances can be taken. The Old White Course is one of only two tracks that finish with a par three, the other being East Lake, host of the Tour Championship.

With the PGA Championship in two weeks, fields tend to be thin and that is the case this week. Only one top 20 player is in the field this week, Jim Furyk, so while star attraction will be limited, it sets up good betting opportunities. Reason being as not many players are big favorites and with this being a first-time event, it is wide open. There are seven players in the field ranked in the top 25 in FedEx points (Furyk, Matt Kuchar, Ben Crane, Jeff Overton, Carl Pettersson, J.B. Holmes and Ricky Barnes).

Nick Watney (+2000) is not the favorite this week but I think he should be over Furyk despite the rankings difference. He does not have a win this year but he has six top ten finishes including his last event at the Open Championship. He is a long hitter and is ranked eighth in ball striking. He is 19th on tour in GIR from the fairway but is third in GIR from off the fairway so some misses are not a big deal.

This could be the tournament that Jeff Overton (+2500) finally breaks through and gets his first PGA Tour win. He is not a household name and after a slow start, he is playing some of the best gold on tour. He has made the cut in six of his last seven events which include three top ten finishes. He hits the ball a long way but he is also good around and on the greens as he is 23rd in total putting.

I have been a Ben Crane (+3000) supporter all season and while he has cooled off some, it has been because of events. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open and the Open Championship while finishing T46 at the AT&T but now he catches a light field. He had finishes of top 25 or better in seven of his previous eight events including three straight top tens. This is excellent value for a player ranked 12th on the money list.

J.B. Holmes (+3000) has not won since the 2008 FBR Open and his game is not ideal for this course but that does not mean he is at a disadvantage. The wide fairways mean a long hitter like Holmes can attack and considering he is 13th on tour in scrambling, he isn’t likely to get into trouble. He has a 5th and a T14 in his last two starts and he has only one missed cut all season so we will see him around on the weekend.

Matt Jones (+4000) has five top tens this year and it should be more. In his 13 made cuts, his percentage of scoring in the 60’s other than Sunday is 62.5% while that percentage drops to 23.1 percent on Sunday. It is clear what he needs to do but this course should once again set up well for him. He is 30th in driving distance and 15th in total putting so the wide fairways should definitely benefit Jones this week.

I really think D.J. Trahan (+6000) is a solid pick for a longshot because he isn’t playing like one. He had missed his last two cuts but has taken the last two events off so the rest could be a good thing. He has four top tens this year including a T8 at the St. Jude, his last made cut. His game should be an asset here as he is the only player in the field who is ranked in the top 15 in driving distance, greens hit and ball striking.

Recommended Tournament Win Six Pack at the Greenbrier Classic – All for 1 Unit

Nick Watney (+2000)

Jeff Overton (+2500)

Ben Crane (+3000)

J.B. Holmes (+3000)

Matt Jones (+4000)

D.J. Trahan (+6000)

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