Get me to the Chappell

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: July 29 2014, 12:01 BST

Kevin Chappell and Brendan Steele head David John's staking plan for this week's Baracuda Championship in Reno.

Chappell: Good reasons to suggest he can lose his maiden tag
Chappell: Good reasons to suggest he can lose his maiden tag

The rather aggressive-sounding Barracuda Championship in Reno runs alongside the Bridgestone Invitational this week and the modified stableford format certainly rewards attacking play.

Eagles and birdies mean lots of lovely points - Gary Woodland notched a record 44 over 72 holes on the way to glory 12 months ago - but any bogeys represent a penal banana skin with a deduction to a player's total.

Although Woodland is just about the ultimate "bombs away" merchant on the PGA Tour and the course does lend itself to this scoring system, there is an element of strategy as to when to go for your shots while the swirling wind that can kick up in this part of Nevada also makes things interesting.

With the star turns doing their stuff across the country in Ohio, this is definitely one for the second tier and although I usually try and avoid selecting too many players at the head of the betting the pair I fancy this week to begin with are Brendan Steele and Kevin Chappell.

Steele has played here the last two years and finished T8-4 and 12 months ago spoke about how much he enjoyed the unusual format.

He said: "I love it. Anything that's different is fun to me. It gets kind of monotonous playing the same thing over and over again. So it's pretty fun to do something different. Every putt is worth a little something different."

So top marks for Steele in terms of attitude and his profile this week is solidified in terms of current form with a pair of top-five finishes at the end of last month at the Travelers and the Quicken Loans.

Things have not gone quite to plan since at the Greenbrier or in the Open Championship but Steele has hinted more than enough lately that he could add to the Valero Texas Open title he won back in 2011.

This slightly easier assignment may also help Chappell finally get across the line as a PGA Tour winner and he looks to arrive with a little bit of momentum.

He has a couple of top 20s in his last three outings and although never really in the heat of battle in Canada, his week did get progressively better and he closed out on Sunday with a 66.

He has some previous from this event with a T14 back in 2012 and the man who hails from Fresno, California not a million miles from here will more than likely see this as a bit of a home fixture.

This looks to be his time of year as well as he performed with a deal of credit up to a point in the FedEx Play-offs last year and although things may have not worked out quite to his liking, the experience gained will be extremely valuable if faced with a similar situation.

Backing a maiden like Chappell at 22/1 is not the best strategy over the long term but he looks well worth a shot this week all things considered bearing in mind he stacks up quite nicely in 2014 in terms of the birdies and eagles statistical categories.

At a slightly bigger price, burly Canadian Brad Fritsch gets a positive vote on the back of two very good recent displays.

He stood up to the additional pressure very well last week in his home open at Royal Montreal to finish not only second amongst his countrymen behind Graham DeLaet but also inside the top 10.

That performance came on the back of a T13 at the John Deere and has Fritsch seemingly in pretty confident mood as he tries to boost his current lowly FedEx Cup ranking of 163rd.

"I am trending pretty nicely and rounding into form," he said.

"The back nine on Friday (in Canada) and the weekend was some of the best golf I have played all year."

There has been a 63 and a 64 included in Fritsch's last two events and that sort of scoring power looks ideal for him to improve on a promising T20 on debut here in 2013.

  • Preview posted at 1205 BST on 29/08/2014.