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Michael Taylor 10th Aug 2010 - 20:33

De Jonge good value to succeed at Whistling Straights

Brendon de Jonge, perhaps the PGA Tour's most improved player, heads to the year's final Major, the PGA Championship, in the sort of form that can see his star really rise.

The Zimbabwean, who's already claimed $1.8m in prize money this year, has seemingly been in contention on the final day in every tournament he's played over the past few months.

Last week he managed a tie for 16th in the Turning Stone, the week back a solo third in the Greenbrier, in fact you have to go way back to the Crowne Plaza at the tail end of May to find a result that didn't see de Jonge picking up a decent cheque on Sunday.

That means in the past eight tournaments he's not come any lower than a tie for 33rd while during this period he has seen his position in the FedEx Cup standings rise up to 23.

It's an unbelievable turnaround for a man who was only granted conditional Tour status after ending 2009 139th on the money list - to think he came so close to losing his card yet now find himself very much in the picture at Whistling Straights.

You now have to ask whether the course suits his game, and looking at the stats you'd be hard pushed to say it doesn't, mainly because he's shown enough to suggest he can conquer any track.

The key number is 364, that's the points tally he currently has to his name in all-around ranking and a high enough total to put him fifth overall.

He isn't particularly long off the tee but he has enough accuracy to make it count and he's as good as anybody in hitting the greens in regulation (4th overall in greens in regulation percentage).

This is perhaps as essential as it gets over the coming week with many predicting Whistling Straights to be the toughest test of all the Major courses this year.

If he can keep it together under pressure, which he's also shown glimpses of this season, then he has to be the value bet at 150/1 in the outright market and 160/1 in the enhanced win only market.

You also have to look at his 20/1 top rest of the world player as having a great chance with very few of the market leaders impressing over the last few events.

Elsewhere I think you have to say that despite being at his biggest price since time began Tiger Woods is still unbackable at 14/1 to win his first Major since 2008.

Woods is coming off his worst performance ever at the WCG-Bridgestone Invitational where he finished on a dreadful score of 18 over par -30 shots behind eventual winner Hunter Mahan.

With the greatest player in golf out of form there is a big opening for Big Phil Mickelson who you have to believe has one big performance left in him in 2010.

The length of the track will suit Lefty's style to perfection and with hazards laying on every hole it could come down to his brilliant short game and ability to scramble when the final positions are decided.

More importantly, and one that has to be playing on Mickelson's mind, is that a victory would guarantee he finally gets the better of Tiger at the top of the world rankings.

It's pointless going into details about Big Phil's game because everybody knows that on his day he's simply majestic, the bigger issue is whether he can get on his game after stinking it up on the final day at Firestone.

His post round interview suggested he wasn't overly bothered about the manner in which he faded, which is good enough for me and his price is even better at 12/1.


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