By Michael McGill

The great John Denver used to sing ‘country roads take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia’.

And with that we head to White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia  for the third edition of The Greenbrier Classic being played at The Old White TPC.

The Greenbrier Classic has replaced the Buick Open and had its inaugural event in 2010. It was won by Aussie Stuart Appleby on -22 with Jeff Overton finishing second at -21 and Brendon de Jonge in third place at -17. The course was rated second easiest from the 14 Par 70’s that were played on the tour.

In 2011 it was lengthened from 7031 to 7272 yards with 16 holes undergoing changes while all 18 greens were reseeded with bentgrass. Scott Stallings won his first PGA tour event after finishing on -10 and winning a play off against Bob Estes and Bill Haas.

The course is a Par 70 with 72 sand bunkers and 10 water hazards. Last year it was ranked 13th most difficult from 51 courses played on the PGA tour. It has certainly been toughened up since its first edition.

Looking at the results from the last two years the course suits a player who plays well tee to green and is a good putter as the greens are undulating and can be difficult to read. It is always difficult to go off two years of stats when a tournament is still in its infancy. Players in good current form are always a safe way to go as well.

This weeks field is a pretty good one with several big names teeing it up.

The Top 5 in betting are:-

Tiger Woods (4.50) has had 3 wins this season and looks back to his best. Won last weeks AT&T National and will crack the $100 million career prize money if he wins.

Webb Simpson (17.00) is now a Major winner after claiming the US Open and has had five Top 5 finishes already this season. As a Major winner there will be more emphasis on his results now.

Phil Mickelson (19.00) won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am as well as a second, third and fourth this year.

Dustin Johnson (21.00) had missed three months of golf due to injury yet he still won the St Jude Classic in June. A real crowd favourite and more results are not to far away.

Steve Strickeer (23.00) has only had the ten starts this season yet he has still had four Top 10’s including a win in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at the start of the season.

Joining these guys in the field are 13 Major winners like Trevor Immelman, Ben Curtis, Jim Furyk and John Daly. As well as International players of the calibre of Graham DeLaet, Carl Pettersson, Brendon de Jonge, Rod Pampling and Camilo Villegas.

This week we have two players to follow:

Cameron Tringale 50/1

Cameron turned pro in 2009 and had his first full season on the PGA Tour in 2011. From 32 starts he made 23 cuts and managed a respectable eight Top 25 finishes and four Top 10’s.

This season has seen him improve out of sight with 18 starts and making it to the weekend on 14 occasions. That has produced seven Top 25’s and four Top 10’s.

Highlights have been T4th Farmers Insurance Open, T8th Shell Houston Open, T8th Valero Texas Open and T7th Zurich Classic of NEw Orleans.

His last three starts have been T25th The Memorial Tournament, T15th Travelers Championship and T44th AT&T National. He is in good nick at the moment and should be happy with his game.

The Greenbrier will also bring back good memories as he was T4th here last year after opening with an even par 70, then shooting three rounds of 67 to finish one shot back from the play off.

Looking at his stats this season you will notice that he is ranked 17th in strokes gained putting, 21 in total driving, 16th in birdie average, 27th in ball striking, 21st in Par 4 birdie or better and 2nd in putting from 10-15 feet.

He is getting closer to a victory every week and this week could be just the right time to get onboard the Tringale Express.

Seung-yul Noh 40/1

He may still be looking for his first PGA Tour victory however after turning pro in 2007 Seung-yul won the 2008 Midea China Classic and the 2010 Maybank Malaysian Open on the Asian tour. So he knows how to win a tournament.

The 21-year-old has had 20 starts this season and has made 16 cuts. Eight of those were turned into Top 25 finishes while three were Top 10’s.

Two of those Top 10’s have come in his last three starts so we know he is in good current form. He was T7th in the St Jude Classic, followed by a T18th in the Travelers Championship and last week T4th at the AT&T National.

He has not missed a cut since the Valero Texas Open in April. That is nine tournaments, not bad for a tour rookie. In ten of his last twelve rounds he has also been under par.

Current form is great form and Seung-yul is showing why he has a big future in the game. He is currently ranked 19th in driving distance, 30th in all round ranking, 33rd in ball striking and 30th in 3 putt avoidance.

He has the game to win this week and his confidence is sure to be high due to his recent results. That first PGA tour win is just around the corner.

Good luck and good punting.
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