World Golf Championships – Bridgestone Invitational live from 18:30 on Sky Sports 4
The fourth and final WGC (World Golf Championship) event of the season gets underway on Thursday, the Bridgestone Invitational. Seventy-seven of the world’s best players are teeing it up in Akron, Ohio, however the world number one and defending champion, Rory McIlroy has been ruled out with an ankle injury. McIlroy may not be the world number one for long, as Jordan Spieth could overtake him in the rankings if he wins this week and the 22 year old is the 6/1 favourite.
Designed by Bert Way and redesigned by Robert Trent Jones in 1960, the South Course at Firestone Country Club hosts the WGC Bridgestone Invitational as it has done for many years. The course is a par 70 that plays a very long 7,400 yards and the fairways are generous, therefore driving distance is advantageous. Take a look at the recent winners of this event and you’ll notice that they’re all relatively long drivers. Finally, Firestone plays firm and fast, and for this reason a good week off the tee is imperative to access the pins which are often placed in tricky positions.
Marc Leishman – Marc Leishman always seems to turn up for the big events, he tied for 5th in the Memorial a couple of months back and comes into this week off the back of a 2nd place finish in the Open Championship. This indicates that he’s playing some great golf and he can compete with the very best players in the world. Leishman proved this last year when he finished three shots behind Rory McIlroy in this event to finish solo 3rd. His performance in 2014 suggests this is a course that he can perform well around and I’m more than happy to have him onside at 66/1.
1.25pts each way @ 66/1
Steven Bowditch – I’m not entirely convinced that Steven Bowditch can win this event, however I think he’ll go well around Firestone, therefore I’ve opted to back him in the top 20 market. He’s a long driver of the ball which is advantageous this week because he’ll have short irons into the firm and fast greens. Bowditch is in the form of his life, he’s ranked 19th in the Fedexcup standings and recorded his second victory on the PGA Tour a couple of months back. Since then, the Aussie has produced some good results, including a 30th place finish in the Open Championship. Last week, Steven Bowditch was 12th going into the final round until he fell apart, but his opening three rounds suggest he’s still playing very well.
Top 20 Finish @ 9/2
Byeong-Hun An – Like Steven Bowditch, I don’t think Byeong-Hun An can win the Bridgestone Invitational because the cream usually rises to the top, but I think there’s some value in backing Byeong-Hun An in the top 20 market. An is a very talented youngster, he won the European Tours flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship earlier this year and like my other selections, he’s a long driver of the ball. Finally, he’s already recorded eight top 20’s this year and despite the step up in class, I believe Byeong-Hun An can compete and 5/1 is a great price in my opinion.
Top 20 Finish @ 9/2
Prices correct at time of writing.
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