Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
I would advise anyone to stay away from having a flutter on the WGC Matchplay in Texas. The format by design is unpredictable - a player can be in great form, but still get knocked out by someone who just plays a better 18 holes on the day. Kevin Kisner won the last renewal and he was an outsider. Any of the top players can have the edge on each other in a match on a given day and finding an outsider is difficult, due to the random nature of what Matchplay can conjure.
So I am sticking to stroke play recommendations this week.
The virtual pot is at €964 from €1000 entering this week's tournament of focus, the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on the PGA Tour in the Dominican Republic.
The Puntacana course is a par 72 which has wind as its main defence. The fairways are forgiving. Low scores are commonplace, so good putting and making birdies are important factors in contending.
The tournament starts at 11am Thursday Irish time.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, Betfred and BoyleSports offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top seven places. Other bookmakers are offering better terms for less places and I will highlight the best terms beside each player recommendation.
I am interested in this event, because it was held last September due to a delay because of the pandemic and I followed it closely. So this is the first week where I am watching a golf tournament again in short succession. Hopefully I will have spotted things first time around that can help uncover the winner.
Our headline selection is Thomas Pieters for €4 each way at 18/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, Betfred).
Belgian Thomas Pieters is the class act in this field, still bidding for his first PGA Tour win. The big hitter is back in form, with three top 15 finishes from his last three appearances across the European and PGA Tours. He played nicely in Puerto Rico and even though this is his first appearance in the Dominican Republic, I believe he has the talent to go close. Former Ryder Cup player Pieters has finished inside the top five at the Masters, which a lot of this field wouldn't have a hope of doing. I think his long hitting can set him up well on the par fives this week and he should be there or thereabouts.
Our second selection is Patrick Rodgers for €2 each way at 35/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, Betfred).
Last September, American Patrick Rodgers finished in a tie for 11th in this tournament, his best finish of the season. He was inside the top 15 against a stellar field at the recent Genesis Invitational, and while his form is patchy, I still believe he can live up to the talent he showed as an amateur when he was ranked number one in the world.
Our third selection is Justin Suh for €2 each way at 40/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Betfred).
American Justin Suh is one of the most talented players in this field - he was just as good an amateur as Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland and Matthew Wolff. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't managed to secure his Tour card. He was given a chance to play in this tournament last September and finished in a tie for 14th. He's hitting a lot of greens on tour and if his nerves hold, his ability may propel him to the summit of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Our fourth selection is Kelly Kraft for €2 each way at 100/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places, Betfred).
American Kelly Kraft is not showing the recent form to contend in this event, but he does have course history that warrants a second look. The former US Amateur champion was tied for 14th last September, following a tie for 5th in this event in 2019 and a 3rd in 2018. He has struggled on the PGA Tour, a hip injury not helping, but perhaps an environment which he likes can spark a revival for the former Walker Cup golfer.
Our final selection is Rafael Campos for €2 each way at 150/1. (1/5 the odds the first 6 places, Unibet).
Puerto Rico native Campos nearly won his home tournament a few weeks ago, finishing in a tie for third after turning up injury free. That can give him the confidence to be a force in similar terrain. He has track form at the Puntacana Resort - he finished tied for third when this tournament was held on the satellite Korn Ferry Tour in 2017. It was a run which included a round of 64, so he can play the golf course.
So that's €24 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home! A euro each way will do!
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!