Driving accuracy key to Lytham success
With the English summer once again failing to disappoint, weeks of rain have left the rough at Royal Lytham & St Annes ‘unplayable’ so a premium will be placed on driving accuracy at this weekend’s Open Championship.
Tiger Woods, who arrived in Lancashire on Sunday to get accustomed to the conditions, has described the rough as “It’s just that you can’t get out of it…. in some places is almost unplayable,” he said. I’ve never seen the rough this high or thick and dense.”
2011 winner Darren Clarke also highlighted the “brutal” rough and pointed out that if the professionals started spraying it wide they would be in for a tough couple of days.
So when your choosing who to back at The Open, driving accuracy stats are probably the best place to start, with the rough looking like a title ender for any inaccurate golfers.
Hunter Mahon will be hoping to make it ten first-time major winners in a row on Sunday, and the Texan can add to his two PGA wins early in the season. Mahon has a 68% driving accuracy on a congested PGA season thus far, and his price of +5000 looks good value.
Francesco Molinari and Justin Rose are two players finding form at the right time; Rose by winning the Cadillac WGC Championship and Molinari with a strong performance at the Scottish Open after winning on the European Tour in Seville. Both have a driving accuracy of 68% on the European Tour and are level in the betting, both are priced at +3300 to win The Open.
I like the look of Ben Curtis, available to win outright at +8000. The American has shown he can tame links courses after winning by one shot in 2003 at Royal St Georges and he is well placed on both the PGA and European Tour rankings for driving accuracy (3rd & 69th). A win at the Valero Texas Open this year shows he can still deliver.
If you really want to roll the dice then have a wager on Adilson Da Silva, at +100000, who currently leads the European Tour driving accuracy, hitting 85% of greens. These stats are only based of 200 fairways played in 2012, but if he can carry even part of this form to The Open he could impress. If you don’t fancy the win he is +900 to be the top South American Player at Royal Lytham.
The head pro at Royal Lytham, Eddie Birchenough, added that this years winner will need to avoid a bunker for four days and then simply “have all your shots working for you, find the fairways, find the greens. And then putt like God.”