British Masters betting: Steve’s top tip

Let’s assume Sergio Garcia (10/1) isn’t bushed by jet lag or playing three of the four FedEx Cup playoff weeks.

If you look at his bare form and the nature of the Colt course at Close House, he’d have to be pretty high on your list on what is, admittedly, a very strong field in the North East for the British Masters.

Tenth at the Tour Championship, Garcia finished nicely on the final day with a 67. That brought to   an end a decent week only marred by an opening 73.

It also came on the back of 12th at the BMW Championship and represents Garcia’s best form since winning the Masters.

Close House is a course that demands accuracy. There’s a couple of very tight tee shots, most notably at the seventh and 11th. But there’s few better than Garcia from the markers.

Eighth on the PGA Tour in greens in regulation, and not far behind that in strokes gained tee to green, if he has an average week with the flat stick he should be thereabouts.

No one knows the Colt course better than Lee Westwood (28/1). The Englishman plays here so much he’s got his own parking space and competed in last year’s club championship!

A tidy third at the KLM Open has him in the right place at the right time. There will be some – a lot of locals – who’ll have their money down.

I may be among them but Westwood is hosting this tournament and that brings a number of extra commitments with it.

Rory McIlroy (7/1) is the star name in the line up – giving a huge boost to the event – and the clear favourite.

Victory here would be a perfect way to round off a disappointing year after missing out on the Tour Championship finale. At the price and given current form, though, it’s something of a risk to stick your hard earned down.

British Masters betting: Steve’s each-way selection

A nice and easy one to start. Eddie Pepperell’s finished fifth, third and third in his last three European Tour events. He’s 45/1. Enough said.

I also think Close House could be made for Ian Poulter (33/1). Length – particularly off the tee – is not Ian’s friend but that will not be a problem in Newcastle.

At a shade under 7,000 yards, he shouldn’t have the disadvantage of having to hit lots of long clubs into greens.

What you have to do is get up and down and that’s been Poulter’s forte this season. He leads the PGA Tour in scrambling, is third in strokes gained around the green and 5th in proximity to the hole when getting out of sand.

He could still do with putting a little better and his recent form is a negative. But Poulter has been playing a lot of golf all year – firstly in a bid to get his card back and then in an effort to make the Tour Championship.

Having had a week off after not making it to East Lake, he’ll be fresher than some of those in the field. Wouldn’t he love to contend in front of a home crowd that would be fervently behind him?

British Masters betting: Steve’s outsider bet

British Masters

It’s probably a measure of the quality of the field that Jordan Smith is 100/1. But he just shouldn’t be.

The Englishman is being talked about as a Ryder Cup debutant next year. He won the European Open and followed up with a top 10 at the PGA Championship.

It’s natural to have something of a lull after two big weeks like that and, last time out, Smith missed the cut at the European Masters.

This is a chance for him to shine on home soil. Having not played since Crans-sur-Sierre, I’ll take three figures on him potentially making a run at Close House.