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Tiger Woods in for tough first round with Harrington and Love III

| 11.08.2011

He may have slipped to 30 in the world rankings, but all eyes will be on Tiger Woods this week as he returns to one of his favourite hunting grounds – the USPGA Championship.

Woods has won the event on four previous occasions and, despite a lengthy layoff and an unspectacular 37th place finish at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last week, he’s still amongst the favourites to record a fifth victory at 25/1.

However, with a top class field and the Atlanta Athletic Club set up to play extremely tough – not least the par three 15th that can be stretched to 260 yards – better value may be found in having a punt on the winner of Woods’ opening three-ball with Padraig Harrington and Davis Love III.

Woods can be backed to shoot the lowest opening round of the trio at 5/4.

Despite his disappointing season, Woods still has a lower scoring average (70.65) than either of his playing partners and showed with his 4th place finish at the Masters that he’s still more than capable of competing in the biggest events.

The Atlanta Athletic Club might not be the place for Woods to reassert himself though. It’s set up as a 7,467 yard par 70, making accuracy off the tee crucial – something Woods was completely lacking last week, hitting just under 40 per cent of fairways.

Meanwhile, Harrington has been in poor form, missing the cut at the Open and, at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, he hit just 50 per cent of greens in regulation.

If you fancy him to break the cycle then he can be backed at 2/1 to win the day.

However, Davis Love III looks the bet at 11/5. His top ten finish in the Open showed he’s still a force to be reckoned with and is still long enough off the tee – averaging over 296 yards – to make the most of the tough closing holes.



Richard Anderson