3 driving stats make Lowry big price to defend Bridgestone title

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The course at Firestone Country Club that will play host to all four rounds of the WGC Bridgestone Invitational isn’t nicknamed ‘The Monster’ for nothing.

Despite being a par-70 layout, the Ohio venue totals 7,400 yards, with the 667-yard, par-5 16th being the longest on the current PGA Tour offerings.

Therefore, it will be no surprise to hear tee shots being the most critical this week, both in terms of distance and accuracy.

We are offering the guaranteed top price on the top 10 in the betting between midday and 15:00 on Wednesday June 29th and those with the shortest odds certainly have no issues smashing balls great distances down the course.

Jason Day (4/1), Dustin Johnson (8/1), Brooks Koepka (20/1) and Adam Scott (also 20/1), sit 21st, second, 14th and 19th respectively in the PGA Tour statistics for average driving distances.

However, they all let themselves down somewhat when it comes to finding the fairway. Day ranks 163rd for driving accuracy, Johnson 148th, Koepka 125th and Scott 156th.

At a course as long as Firestone, it is going to be tough to make birdies, regardless of driving distance, if too many approach shots are from the rough at distances around the 180-yard mark.

In fact, the majority of players towards the top of the betting, who drive regularly beyond 290 yards, struggle for consistency with accuracy. Hideki Matsuyama is the straightest hitter, according to the stats, and he still ranks 89th in this regard.

Defending Bridgestone champion Shane Lowry is not within the top 10 of the betting at 40/1, but he ranks more favourably for driving statistics in 2016.

He sits 57th for distance with an average yardage of 293.6 yards and 48th for accuracy. Lowry also ranks 14th for shots gained off the tee.

The Irishman’s mission for a first major success is arguably now his biggest quest after sharing second on his latest start at the US Open when blowing up over the closing 18 holes, but winning this tournament remains a big deal.

Lowry has course experience, the driving statistics to feature prominently and is in decent current form, making his each-way price certainly on the large side.

The Bridgestone field has been reduced to just 61 entrants, with many Europeans heading to Paris for the 100th renewal of the Open de France instead, where double Ryder Cup points are up for grabs, alongside a better grounding for the upcoming Open Championship at Troon.

Rory McIlroy, Danny Willett, Martyn Kaymer and Lee Westwood are among those taking part at the course, due to host the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Kaymer isn’t in a great position if he is to make a fourth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance, but has won at this course in 2009 and finished in the top six in half of his six visits since.

His current form shows some encouragement of a big performance and 14/1 is fair value that the German triumphs.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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