Strong field heads to Ohio in third WGC event of the season.
The world’s best golfers head to the Firestone Country Club this week for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. This prestigious tournament is the third of the four annual World Golf Championship competitions and, as it is an invitational event, only a limited number of the world’s top 50 and recent tournament winners will be in Ohio this weekend.
The in-from Rory McIlroy leads the betting at an event that Tiger Woods has won a record eight times. Keep reading for our preview of the 2014 WGC Bridgestone Invitational.
World’s top golfers face tough challenge at Firestone
The Firestone course hasn’t changed much in recent years and, at 7,400 yards, it’s as testing a par 70 as any on the Tour. It averaged +1.051 strokes to par in 2013, the second-highest of all par 70s in non-majors last year.
It’s worth remembering that as it is an invitational event the field is about half the size of a traditional tournament. Only around 75 players will tee off in Ohio, made up of the world’s top 50 and recent winners of tournaments worldwide.
The favourites for the WGC Invitational
Considering that he has finished inside the top 25 in all but one of the events he has played in 2014, it’s no surprise to see Rory McIlroy installed as the 7/1 favourite for this weekend’s tournament.
The 25 year old has been in sparkling form this year, winning two of his last six events including the BMW PGA and the Open Championship. He has three top ten finishes in five visits to the Firestone Country Club and so is not only in great form but also has previous success on the course. McIlroy is certainly the man to beat and he features in the 2-ball highlight of day one, where he faces off against Matt Kuchar, which is due to tee off at 15.40, UK time.
Tiger Woods looked a little rusty at the Open Championship but he’s back in more familiar surroundings this weekend at a tournament he has won an unprecedented eight times. Woods has earned more at Firestone (over $11 million) than at any other course and the reigning champion benefits from four guaranteed rounds since there’s no cut.
Even last year when he wasn’t in his very best form Woods shot a course-record equalling 61 on his way to a seven shot triumph. The Bridgestone was the last tournament that Woods won and he could go really well here at a tasty 17/1.
Adam Scott is a previous winner of this event (in 2011) and the world number one is on a great run of form. Since his win at Colonial his finishes have been T4 (at the Memorial), T9 (at the U.S. Open) and T5 (at the Open).
Scott shot 62 on his way to winning the tournament three years ago and looks in great shape. The Australian is 12/1 to win his second Bridgestone title.
Some outsiders to consider in the betting
For a few months earlier in the season Matt Kuchar was the man to back. The 36 year old Floridian registered eleven top 10 finishes in 14 starts although his form has dipped a little in recent weeks.
However, there were signs that he was back to his best last weekend with a T4 finish at the Canadian Open. He’s finished in the top 10 twice in the last four editions of this event and so he could certainly be one to watch at 29/1.
It’s not been the best of seasons for Jason Dufner but if there is a tournament that can help him get back to his best form then it is this one. The 27 year old has missed the cut in two of his last three starts but his form at Firestone has been terrific in recent years.
Dufner is a local – he was born less than 40 miles from the course – and in the last two years has finished P7 (in 2012) and T4 (in 2013). It’s only been a couple of months since a second place finish on the Tour and so he could well rediscover his form on a course he likes. Dufner is a great each-way bet at 41/1.
If you’re looking for an outside bet than it might pay to consider Marc Leishman. The Australian has registered six top 25 finishes in his last eight tournaments including a T8 at the Quicken Loans National last month and a T5 at the Open Championship.
He shot four reasonable rounds on his last visit to Firestone in 2012 and looks to have the type of game that would suit the course. The 30 year old is a previous Tour winner and on current form may make his odds of 67/1 look very generous.
Check out all our pre-tournament odds on the 2014 WGC Bridgestone Invitational over at our main site at https://www.betbright.com/golf/outrights/men/bridgestone-invitational-2014-winner