The Bridgestone Invitational | Thursday 06 August - Sunday 09 August | Firestone Country Club
The third WGC event tees off in Ohio this week as 77 of the best players in the game head to Firestone Country Club for the Bridgestone Invitational. For years this long, challenging par 70 course has hosted the event and although in the past Tiger Woods dominated here that era is over and there are a host of talented golfers looking to edge out their more experienced competitors. We’ve seen the layout countless times over the years and yet it’s still difficult to get to grips with how long the course plays. Measuring just over 7,400 yards, it is the length of your average par 72 so the fact that it is a par 70 always surprises me. That being said there are a lot of birdies to be made, especially by the big hitters. The fairways are generous enough to allow players to let loose with their drivers and the closer to the green the better, as most are small and difficult to approach. Hitting them is just the first step as they are fairly quick and difficult to read. Essentially this is a course that rewards smart play and calculated risk and whoever manages to get that right will walk away the victor here.
To Win Outright
Jordan Spieth 9/2
Dustin Johnson 11/1
Jason Day 14/1
Adam Scott 16/1
Justin Rose 16/1
Jim Furyk (45/1 a win, 99/10 a place)
If you subscribe to the ‘horses for courses’ theory then you don’t need to look much further than Jim Furyk this week at Firestone. Over the years he’s posted a number of Top 10 finishes on the course and that includes a narrow miss in 2012 where a double bogey on the eighteenth handed Keegan Bradley the title. That’s been said to be one of the cruelest moments in golf and we will no doubt see the replay of that hole countless times throughout the week, however, Furyk hasn’t let it get him down and still performs in this event. Add to his course form the fact that he already has a win under his belt this season and Furyk looks to offer a lot of value. Furyk finished fourth in his last tournament, let’s hope he improves and goes on to win this week.
Patrick Reed (45/1 a win, 99/10 a place)
I’m looking for a bit of value this week and turning away from the favourites, Patrick Reed looks like he may be a good bet. Although he hasn’t been playing the best golf lately he has been consistent and he is the type of player who ups his game when the pressure is on. In a tournament like this he should thrive and if his performance last year gave us anything to go on, a Top 5 is well within his reach. I’m backing Reed each way.
Henrik Stenson (22/1 a win, 48/10 a place)
Henrik Stenson doesn’t seem to play much golf these days and when I first looked at the betting I didn’t really give him a chance. Having thought about it a bit though, I’ve realised that the course suits the Swede’s game and that he could well be in the mix come Sunday. Stenson rarely misses the fairway and hits the ball long but more importantly, his irons are deadly and there’s no-one on the Tour who is hitting their approaches better than he is at the moment. This will stand him in good stead as he hits it into these small greens and I feel he’ll make more than enough birdies to finish near the top. Each way on Stenson is my bet.
Hideki Matsuyama (28/1 a win, 6/1 a place)
Everyone is tipping Matsuyama this week and I’m not surprised as he certainly looks to be the value bet of the tournament. He will arrive in Ohio in great form and confident that he will do well on a course that suits his game perfectly. He hits the ball long and straight so should have no trouble keeping it on the fairway and once he’s there his iron play is almost perfect. He rarely misses a green and manages to keep his scores low with solid putting. That hasn’t always been the case as he used to struggle with the putter but this season he seems to have overcome that and if he putts well here he’ll do well. Each way on Matsuyama is the best bet of the week for me, get on.