Recap of last weeks bets
To Win – Dustin Johnson – LOST
Top Australian – Cameron Percy – LOST
Top European – Robert MacIntrye – LOST
Profit/Loss (This week) – Loss of $30 to a $10 Stake
Profit/Loss (Overall) – Loss of $192.50 to a $10 Stake
On to this week’s event
The roster of 60 competitors in the race for Olympic gold includes Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, and Hideki Matsuyama. Because there is no cut, all participants in Tokyo will enjoy four rounds of golf. The field was much stronger until the shocking news that Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau had both tested positive for COVID and had to withdraw over the weekend. Patrick Reed, who has taken DeChambeau’s position for the United States, Jhonattan Vegas, and Mito Pereira competed in last week’s 3M Open and are now on their way to Tokyo.
Depending on where the player is from, there are a few additional incentives. Both Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim skipped the Open to focus on their Olympic preparations. Men in South Korea are required to serve in the military, and winning an Olympic medal is one of the few methods to avoid this obligation. In addition, this is Kim’s final chance; if he qualifies for the team that year, he will still be young enough to compete in Paris in 2024. CT Pan would also receive a medal and a nearly $1 million incentive from the Taiwanese government.
The last time the course hosted a competitive event was in 2010 when Hideki Matsuyama won the Asian Amateur. However, Tom Fazio and his son Logan have since remodeled the course. However, there were only minor adjustments to the layout, with most of the changes being to the putting surfaces. Every hole has numerous greens for some reason. They now have a single massive surface with wild undulations. With an average green size of 7,800 square feet, expect a greater than an average number of three-putts.
The lakes appear to be an aesthetic option, as there is virtually little water on the course that is really in play. Water only plays a role in two of the holes. So, there’s not a lot of water, but they did go for a beach experience theme, with 68 bunkers strewn over the course. They appear to be a significant hazard on some of the longer par 4s. All of the holes are also reinforced with rows of trees. It seems to be a longer Colonial CC at first glance.
On to our picks for this Olympics…
Alex Noren +6000
All three of the medalists last time around were experienced players, and they don’t come much more experienced than Alex Noren. He’s had an up and down season so far, but he did finish fourth at the John Deere Classic recently. I give Noren such a good chance because the greens on this course are huge, and it could become a putting contest out there. Alex has very little chinks in his armor when it comes to his putting game, and therefore he could be overpriced.
Mackenzie Hughes +135
Hughes takes on Connors in the battle for Canadian supremacy, and while Connors has been a breath of fresh air this season, my money is on Hughes pipping him around here. After a mid-season slump, Hughes has begun to pick up, and he finished sixth at the Open in his most recent outing. His approach game isn’t the best, but that shouldn’t become a factor as the greens are so big around here, they could be harder to miss! Much like Noren, he is a solid player with the blade.
Patrick Reed +250
Reed comes into this with no pressure whatsoever as he wasn’t down to feature a few days ago. As previously mentioned, he will be taking the place of Bryson DeChambeau, and I fully expect him to take advantage of this opportunity. While he has played some decent golf recently, he has been looking for something to ignite his fire, and this could be exactly it. Reed is one of the best well-rounded players on the PGA tour and has a chance wherever he plays.
Cameron Smith +200
Australian Cameron Smith hasn’t been quite at it since lifting the Zurich Classic last month, but nevertheless, he is renowned for his quick starts, and if he does that here, he could be hard to peg back. He has an excellent long game and is ranked second on tour for sand saves which could come in handy as this course is littered with bunkers.
Anirban Lahiri +350
Many people won’t know much about Lahiri, but I’m a fan. His biggest problem is being consistent. However, he comes here after finishing third in the Barbasol Championship, so he should be full of confidence. He doesn’t have a fantastic long game, but it can hold its own. However, he makes up for that with his approach play and putting.