Puerto Rico Open: The Punter picks with Pride
Dicky Pride – In fine fettle at present
“The first player I backed was Dicky Pride, at [55.0]. He’s in very good form this year so far and he arrives here following a tied 7th at the Mayakoba Classic and a tied 5th at the Honda.”
It may well be playing second fiddle to the WGC Cadillac Championship but someone has to win in Puerto Rico. Has Steve found that someone? Read his preview here...
Very much the week's second string event, this is just the fifth staging of the Puerto Rico Open.
Trump International Golf Club (Composite Course), Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Par 72, 7526 yards, stroke average in 2011 - 71.53
A diverse wind-exposed composite of two courses that were originally four nine hole courses, designed by Tom Kite in 2004. The grass is paspalum, which is the same surface used at El Camaleon, home of the Mayakoba Classic.
First Four Winners
2011 - Michael Bradley -16 (playoff)
2010 - Derek Lamely -19
2009 - Michael Bradley -14
2008 - Greg Craft -14
In four stagings we've had just three winners, with Michael Bradley winning twice. He and the inaugural winner, Greg Kraft are accurate veterans, whilst Derek Lamely, when he won in 2009, was a PGA Tour rookie. All three have one thing in common, they were all just about impossible to pick (Bradley obviously less so the second time around), so spending too much time pawing through the field here may be an exercise in futility.
The first two home last year ranked first and second for greens hit, so accurate iron-play is the main weaponry required, along with an ability to handle windy conditions.
As an immediate indication of both how weak the field is and how devilishly hard a puzzle to solve this is, the first three in the betting - Jeff Overton, Kevin Stadler and Brendon De Jonge are all looking for their first PGA Tour wins.
I quite liked the look of a few here. Brandt Jobe bounced back to form at the Honda last week but can you really back a veteran with a conversion rate of nought from 300 at just [40.0]? I know I couldn't. I may yet back Jerry Kelly and Stephen Ames; if they drift a bit before the off but for now I've just got five onside...
The first player I backed was Dicky Pride, at [55.0]. Also a veteran, Pride is in very good form this year so far and he arrives here following a tied 7th at the Mayakoba Classic and a tied 5th at the Honda, and he's a winner too - way back in 1994. For some bizarre reason I have quite a strong recollection of his only win, at the Federal Express, St. Jude. I distinctly remember him waving a club aloft and his huge glasses!
I felt I had to back Troy Matteson, after he'd come so close last year for me and I thought Ben Curtis looked big enough at [80.0]. He's a great wind player and he caught the eye at the recent Dubai Desert Classic.
And finally, there are the obligatory wagers on my ole mates Matt Bettencourt and Graham DeLaet. We all have our weaknesses.
Puerto Rico Open Selections:
Dicky Pride @ [55.0]
Troy Matteson @ [65.0]
Ben Curtis @ [80.0]
Matt Bettencourt @ [110.0]
Graham DeLaet @ [130.0]
I'll be back on Friday with the In-Play Blog.
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