I have had a good look at the PGA event the Northern Trust Open today, where Phil Mickelson leads entering the third round, but have decided to pass and will wait for tomorrow.
A few words about Big Phil though, I wrote about him in my February 5th email notes and have highlighted a few basic points I made that day .....
I feel all time great Phil Mickelson is a player we should keep a close eye on in the coming weeks. Big Phil traditionally starts the year very strongly, but has stumbled out of the blocks this season, but has shown clear signs this week that his game is close to coming together. He is a fantastic putter, but we have not seen the best of him with the flat stick in recent seasons, however, if you take a quick look at the transcript from his Thursday post round interview below, you will get a feel for how excited he is by his form on the greens.
PM also has a reputation as sometimes going through the motions when off the pace and whilst that might have been the case a few years back, especially late in a round, the stats do not bear that out when he is anywhere close to the top ten and he improved his position in three of the four times he started in the top ten last year, at a time when he was struggling with medication relating to an arthritic condition, in addition to both his wife and mother dealing with breast cancer, all three problems are much improved and now he is position to focus on his game.
He looks very fit and healthy and has played the back nine this week in -10, the front in +2, to put that into perspective, leader Levin is -8 and -9 respectively. So if Phil could pick up a shot or two early, or at least get through the sixth hole without dropping a stroke to par, there is no knowing how low he could shoot today. He is ranked first for putting this week and flew in his coach Butch Harmon to help with the rest of his game on saturday, which looked to have worked, as he hit the ball tee to green better yesterday. Mickelson went to college in Arizona and lived here for 12 years, meeting his wife and having a couple of children in the state. He feels a lot of affection for the area and is a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, which is why he is so well liked,this is not a course where he is going to give anything less than 100%.
I can see a huge run at the Masters for PM this year if he can stay injury free and without off course distraction.
He finished down the field that day, but now just 13 days later, he not only won at Pebble Beach last week, but also leads at the halfway stage at the Northern Trust and is trading at circa 2.75 to win again. So, not much longer to get our money back.
I know a couple of you backed him last week and again this and also that at least three of you backed Zambia at 70.0 -85.0 + to win the ACN ( written 20/01 I do think that Zambia, available at 85.0 on Betfair for tiny money, will trade much shorter at some stage and will offer trading opportunities for whomever is quick enough to take it !) , so there have been some big priced winners between the lines in recent weeks. So, it is always worth reading the previews fully and getting the most out of them.
LIGUE 1 : DIJON- NICE
Huge game for these two clubs and one which neither dare lose. They have already met twice this season and both finished all square after 90 minutes and another stalemate is definitely a possibility this evening, but if there is to be a winner, it is far more likely to be the visitors IMO. They will certainly be the fresher after having a free midweek and have more options today, with Kafoumba Coulibaly back from the ACN and Lloyd Palun who returned from Africa last week and who came of the bench in the 0-0 draw with leaders PSG, both pushing for starts. Nice have upped their game since Christmas and had chances to win last week and performed well against the better clubs in recent weeks. They are battle hardened, in their tenth straight season in the top flight, seven of which they have spent in the bottom half, so old hands at these relegation battles. Dijon are in their first ever season in Ligue 1 and have made the most of their "go for it" style, despite conceding the most goals ( 42) and recording most defeats ( 12) in the division, their six wins have allowed them to stay three points outside the drop zone. However, they have not kept a cleansheet in eleven starts and they are probably a little too defensively naive for this level and it looks set to be a long three months or so for Dijon. They also played PSG this week, but only three days ago and lost 1-0, the goal ( once again) came from some suicidal defending and to be honest, they were fortunate not to conceded more and lucky to score nil ! Nice arrive full of confidence after becoming the first side to deny PSG maximum points under Carlo Ancelotti and believe they are much better than the league table suggests, I agree and have to take them with the draw no bet option. 1.25 units Nice level ball asian line.... currently 2.21
Dijon : Tchagouni, Reynet – Diabaté, Meïté, Diallo, Souprayen, Varrault- Marcq, Kumordzi, Sankharé, Bauthéac, Kakuta, Guerbert, Corgnet, Baradji, Bérenguer- Koné, Jovial, Thil
Nice : Gardiens : Fernandez, Ospina
Défenseurs : Civelli, Clerc, Gomis, Monzon
Milieux : Abriel, Anin, Coulibaly, Digard, Meriem, Palun, Sablé
Attaquants : Dja Djedje, Grandin, Guie Guie, Mouloungui, Mounier
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