Barbasol Championship golf preview and tips

Trey Mullinax

David John has three selections for this week's Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour in Alabama.

Recommended bets:

1pt e.w. Trey Mullinax at 33/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)

1pt e.w. Dominic Bozzelli at 66/1 (1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)

1pt e.w. Ben Martin at 66/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5,6)

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It is time for a quick change of plan to start this week's Barbasol Championship preview and the 66/1 in the outright betting still available with William Hill on Ben Martin should be snapped up.

I will go into more detail about his chances shortly as usual but this is a standout price for sure and he should be at the top of any staking plan for the tournament in Alabama.

Martin endured a rather sticky spell during the spring with three missed cuts on the spin but there have been signs recently that he has turned the corner and a T5 at the Quicken Loans National where he posted an eyecatching 65 from off the pace in round four was a big step in the right direction.

Two efforts since suggest he is close to putting it all together and this second-tier quality of opposition should be there for the taking by a player who is a proven winner on the PGA Tour and closed out here 12 months ago with a 65 to finish in a tie for 20th place.

A South Carolina native who went to Clemson University, this is very much Martin's neck of the woods in the SEC heartlands and there could well be plenty of motivation for a heady away victory virtually around the corner from the Auburn campus.  

The price on offer might not last long but it is certainly one that needs to be flagged up while most punters focus their attention on perhaps more pressing issues over at Royal Birkdale.

Others who look interesting contenders for the third renewal of the event around the Lakes Course at RTJ Grand National are Trey Mullinax and Dominic Bozzelli. 

Both have very close collegiate links to the state with the former a student at the University of Alabama who helped them to win back-to-back NCAA titles in 2013 and 2014. 

A close friend of multiple PGA Tour winner Justin Thomas (he went to his wedding), Mullinax was born not far away in Birmingham and it is reasonable to assume he will have put a ring around this week on the calendar in his home state in what is his rookie season at this level.

There are clear signs Mullinax is finding his feet too. He was unable to build on a fast start (63) in Puerto Rico in March which was followed by a spell in the doldrums and a run of missed cuts.

That came to a halt with a top 20 in Memphis and was followed by a fine T9 at the US Open thanks to 69-68 over the weekend, admittedly recorded from the off the pace with little pressure in terms of winning a major title. 

He said at Erin Hills: “It's all learning experience. I mean it is my first year out here. I'm a rookie, I'm still learning.”

He was solid once more at the John Deere Classic last week and is starting to build a pretty firm foundation to perhaps make a serious bid for a title and follow in the footsteps of recent first-time winners Xander Schauffele and Bryson DeChambeau.

Bozzelli is in a similar position as he cuts his teeth on the PGA Tour as a rookie but has already posted three finishes inside the top 10 in 2017.

A really good start at the John Deere was rather derailed on Friday after he closed his round with a double bogey six on the 18th hole but plugged away well enough over the weekend to finish T25 and squirrel away a few more FedEx Cup points.

Bozelli won’t lack for support from the galleries as a former Auburn Tiger and the strong influence heading into this tournament from his college days can’t be overlooked.

“I am not the most naturally gifted golfer so you just have to work hard and truly dedicate yourself,” he said.

“Auburn has been huge for me and took my game to the next level out of high school. I am so grateful for that.”

I am always keen to see a player who feels he has an edge mentally or emotionally and Bozzelli has shown enough so far in 2017 to suggest he can fully embrace some familiar surroundings and rise to the occasion. 

Posted at 0941 BST 18/07/17; updated at 1241 BST on 18/07/17.

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