Rose Ready For Solid Show In New Orleans
Dustin Johnson heads the betting for the 2015 Zurich Classic of New Orleans but does Masters runner-up Justin Rose pose better value?
Formerly the New Orleans Open, the Zurich Classic dates back to 1938 and is the only tournament to be held in Louisiana, but it’s an event that doesn’t always attract the strongest field, and although there are some big names amongst this year’s entrants, it’s worth noting that seven of the last ten winners were claiming their first PGA Tour title, including last year’s victor Noh Seung-yul.
The TPC of Louisiana is a relatively new course that was opened in 2004. Set in suburbs west of New Orleans, it winds through 250 acres of lush wetlands and cypress trees along the Mississippi delta. At around 7,500 yards, it’s long, but blasting away with the driver is not the answer, because there are numerous dangers including several tricky run-offs, over 100 bunkers and water hazards on eight holes. The course is a test of shot making ability and in particular accurate iron play.
In The Bunker
Since his return to action, Dustin Johnson’s form has been all or nothing. Seven tournaments have yielded five top-six finishes, including victory at the WGC Cadillac, along with two missed cuts. We can’t be sure which Johnson will turn up this week, but the fact that he has only played the course once before, missing the cut in 2008, is cause for slight concern and enough to put me off backing him at 8/1.
Justin Rose is behind Johnson at the top of the antepost betting market, but at slightly longer odds is a more appealing betting proposition. He had a quiet start to the season, but peaked when it mattered two weeks ago, chasing home Jordan Speith to finish second at Augusta.
He has two top tens from his last three trips to Louisiana and now that he’s back in form, he looks like a solid bet at 10/1.
Keegan Bradley has had an inconsistent season so far, but he looked good in finishing inside the top five at the Houston Open and he put in three good rounds at the Masters, only letting himself down with a 75 on the Saturday. His last visit to Louisiana twelve months ago saw him crack the top ten, his best result to date at this tournament and he’s a reasonable bet at odds of 22/1.
As mentioned, this tournament has helped a number of players earn their first title and this year it could be the turn of Troy Merrit. He grabbed the headlines at Harbour Town last week, leading the field going into the last day and equalling the course record, before dropping back to finish third. He’s in the form of his life at the moment, has a top-three finish at this event to his name is worth a look at 100/1.