As detailed in the Cyprus Showdown preview, I suspect the value lies with the market leaders before the off in that one and with the bizarre format, which sees the field cut and the scores reset twice, it doesn’t look like a great tournament in which to pick an outsider to trade low.
Sunday’s final round, with 16 players all starting on the same score, will be very different to the usual finish to a standard 72-hole event with a conventional cut and to use a couple of horse racing analogies, it will be more like a five furlong handicap sprint at Epsom than a four mile handicap chase around Warwick in the mud. We may only see the winner trade at a short price. The Houston Open on the PGA Tour, on the other hand, looks ideal…
After eight events of the new PGA Tour season, we’ve now had five triple-figure priced winners and four of the last seven winners of the Houston Open have gone off at huge prices too.
Former Winner Phil Can Still Create a Thrill
Back Phil Mickelson 2u @ 140.0139/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1
As soon as I looked at this week’s Houston Open venue, Memorial Park, I thought it would be ideal for a big-hitter with a great touch around the greens (see preview) and although now long in the tooth, that pretty much sums up the 2011 winner, Phil Mickelson, who has a habit of winning before a major championship.
In addition to winning this one at the old venue, the Golf Club of Houston, prior to defending the US Masters in 2011, he’s won on as many as six other occasions in his final start before a major, starting as long ago as 1997 when he won the now defunct International in Colorado before finishing 29th at the US PGA Championship.
In 2000, 2005 and 2006, he won another defunct event, the Bell South Classic, before finishing seventh, 10th and first at Augusta. In 2007 he won the Players in his final start before he missed the cut at the US Open and he was also beaten in a playoff at the Scottish Open before missing the cut in the Open that year. And last but not least, he beat Branden Grace in extra time at the Scottish Open before winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013.
Lefty hasn’t been great on the PGA Tour of late but that doesn’t put me off. He’s won two Champions Tour events since turning 50 at the event of June, he was third at both the Saudi International and the AT&T Pebble Beach in February, as well as second in the WGC FedEx St Jude, just days after turning 50, and with another attempt to grab a fourth Green Jacket now only a little over a week away, he could be very well tuned up for this one.
Long Odds Landry Well Worth Chancing
Back Andrew Landry 1u @ 390.0389/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 15.014/1
Without pulling up any trees, Andrew Landry has been plodding along nicely enough of late and he’s in better form than he was prior to either of his first two PGA Tour titles. He sat just one off the lead after 36 holes of the Wyndham Championship back in August and he opened up the recent Shriners Hospitals for Children Open with a 64 just three starts ago. He hasn’t set the world alight by any means but he’s made six straight cuts on the PGA Tour for only the second time in his career and for the first time in two years.
When he won his first title, the Texan Open in 2018, he had form figures reading MC-MC-MC-Mc-42 and when he won his second title, at the Desert Classic last year, he did so on the back of five straight missed cuts. Landry is in search of his second victory in his home state and his third PGA Tour win in 63 starts, so I thought he looked well worth chancing at 390.0389/1 given he’s shown more of late than he did before either of his first two victories.
Sean Can Show Up Again
Back Sean O’Hair 1u @ 700.0699/1
Place order to lay 15u @ 20.019/1
I was hoping that James Hahn, whos’ one of my three pre-event picks, would drift to a big enough price to include here but he didn’t so I’ve gone for another player playing on a medical exemption and one that definitely qualifies. Sean O’Hair at 700.0699/1!
The 38-year-old Texan, who’s already won four times on the PGA Tour and who enjoys putting on Bermuda (this week’s surface), tore his left oblique 18 months ago and he didn’t play anywhere for almost a year after missing the cut at the Phoenix Open in February 2019.
O’Hair, who finished second to Landry at the Texas Open two years ago, plays well in his home state (three top fives in his last six outings) and he’s no forlorn hope.
O’Hair finished fourth on the Korn Ferry Tour in his first start back after injury and prior to the pandemic in January and, he was 14th at the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship a little over a month ago, having sat second at halfway.
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