Paul Krishnamurty looks through both of this week's competitive fields in search of outsiders to back at 99-1 or better. Check out his trio of selections and several alternatives here...
Both of this week's events are cracking, wide-open affairs, albeit with very different trends regarding past winners. Although history strongly suggest we should restrict our search to the PGA Tour, numerous candidates came in for consideration in both events.
Smith's driving can pay dividends at the Nedbank
The Nedbank Golf Challenge has never failed to produce anything less than a world-class champion but, given that this is only the second renewal with a field expanded beyond 30 (and it was just 12 until 2013), that may well change. Last year's leaderboard was packed with outsiders although the winner Alex Noren was pretty obvious.
Initially Stephen Gallacher was on the list but his odds have since shortened by over 100 units so I've backed him in our each-way column instead. Another tempting price is 220.00 about Callum Shinkwin following his 67/67/69 finish in Turkey.
Back Jordan Smith 3u @ 130.00
Place order to lay 15u @ 16.00
Place order to lay 20u @ 5.00
Consistently drive the ball long and straight, and you should thrive around the Gary Player Course. That's precisely why the cream rises to the top here and, before too long, Jordan Smith will fulfil that description. His form may have gone off the boil since his summer breakthrough at the European Open but mini-slumps and inconsistency are to be expected with rookies. Among recent ordinary numbers, he started well enough in Turkey and closed with 63 in Italy.
The 24 year-old has made a significant impression already and this drift to odds above 100.00 is only temporary, so let's try and take advantage on a course that should really suit. The worry - that he's at a disadvantage making his course debut - has applied all season. It didn't prevent him shooting nothing worse than 68 for third on his South African Open debut. Nor when finishing an outstanding ninth at the USPGA.
Course correlations point to this pair at the OHL
In complete contrast to the Nedbank, the history of the OHL Classic is littered with outsider winners and it is easy to see why, because this course doesn't appear to penalise any type of player, or emphasise the importance of any particular stat. Very short hitters have won but so too a bomber like Charley Hoffman.
Back Shawn Stefani 2u @ 200.00
Place order to lay 10u @ 25.00
Place order to lay 15u @ 6.00
In the absence of an essential statistical indicator, I reckon the best plan is to follow the courses listed by Steve Rawlings in his preview as having a notable correlation with El Camaleon. Shawn Stefani ticks that box, with a top-six in the Sony and a pair of top-nines at Southwind in his portfolio.
He also has course form and some promising recent numbers. Runner-up here in 2014, Stefani was a respectable 25th a year later and arrives in good heart, having finished runner-up at the Web.com Tour Championship and tenth at the Safeway Open on his penultimate start.
Back Brian Gay 2u @ 250.00
Place order to lay 10u @ 25.00
Place order to lay 15u @ 10.00
Historically at least, Gay ultimates proves the course correlation theory. He's a former champion at both at El Camaleon and Southwind, and has registered no fewer than 15 top-20 finishes at those two tracks plus Waialae, home to the Sony Open. The question is whether the 45 year-old is still capable of seriously contending for a fifth PGA Tour title.
I reckon he is, at least as previously noted in this column, when his lack of power is not much of a disadvantage. Indeed three top-sixes this term show Gay is still competitive under the right conditions and he was on the brink of contention after 54 holes when carrying our cash on his penultimate start. Moreover, older players fare better in this event than most.
The rest of the shortlist was pretty long, without any of them really generating much confidence. C.T. Pen is interesting down at 250.00, given his pedigree as an amateur and as a rookie last term. I don't know much about Ben Silverman apart from
his game being hot for several months, which is something you don't say often about a 200.00 chance.
Course correlations also led me to Derek Fathauer at 300.00 while last week's pick Sam Saunders remains of interest at 180.00, given his form on Paspalum greens at the Puerto Rico Open. He's first reserve if anyone withdraws.