Paul Krishnamurty describes the annual birdie-fest at Summerlin as our best chance of finding an outsider winner all year. Check out his trio of selections at 99-1 or better here...
It's been a difficult last few months for the column, as what seemed certain to be a handy annual profit has diminished rapidly. We need a winning trade fast, in order to restore our position, and where better to look than the Shriners Hospital for Children Open?
This is arguably the very best event on the golfing calendar with regards outsider winners. Steve Rawlings describes the event as a lottery in his detailed preview and that is hard to dispute, in light of winners at TPC Summerlin this century.
Defending champion Rod Pampling - a mere 670.00 chance 12 months ago - would be a contender for unlikeliest ever winner at many courses but not here. That honour at Summerlin could go to either fellow Aussie Andre Stolz or Wes Short Jnr - both of whom were trading at 1000.00 pre-event.
Back Sam Saunders 2u @ 140.00 Place order to lay 10u @ 15.00 Place order to lay 20u @ 3.00
This course is extremely easy by professional standards, making the task crystal clear. Birdies and a hot putter are absolutely essential to stay in contention. My first pick ranks sixth for birdie average and a respectable 21st for putting average among these over the past six months.
Indeed, Saunders has caught the eye on low-scoring courses in a late bid to qualify for the FedEx Cup, making the last five cuts of the regular season, hitting 21 sub-70 rounds out of 25 and registering a trio of top-25s. Despite failing to reach the top-125 on the FedEx list, he kept busy and maintained that form, going onto finish runner-up in the Web.com Tour Championship.
A further possibly relevant clue is that he's finished top-nine in the last two Barracuda Championships - another birdie-fest, played at altitude in Nevada.
Back Rory Sabbatini 2u @ 250.00 Place order to lay 10u @ 25.00 Place order to lay 15u @ 10.00
It isn't often the case that you can back the birdie average leader (dating back six months), on a course where he's previously finished 2/5/9, at odds beyond 250.00. Yet that's how Sabbatini's reputation with punters has sunk since the heyday. To be fair, those Summerlin results came between 2001 and 2003.
Nevertheless, one should never write off a six-time PGA Tour winner at the age of 41 and Rory showed he still had plenty to offer during the summer. A run of five top-25s from six starts completed an unlikely bid to qualify for the first Fedex Cup event and he contended on the final day when fourth at the Wyndham.
Back Geoff Ogilvy 2u @250.00 Place order to lay 10u @ 25.00 Place order to lay 15u @ 10.00
Next, an identical trade on another forgotten star. In this case, we're backing a US Open and three-time WGC champion. During Ogilvy's descent from the big-time, he's always maintained the ability to come back and contend out of nowhere. For instance three years ago, the Aussie could barely make a cut before winning the aforementioned Barracuda Championship and then finishing runner-up in a FedEx play-off.
12 months ago, he showed a few small signals in the FedEx qualification chase, then turned up here to finish fourth and repeated the trick in the Australian Open. As perhaps it was with Pampling, Stolz and another shock champion, New Zealand's Phil Tataurangi, the need to find good form ahead of the imminent Aussie season may be a motivating factor.
Three alternatives warrant a mention. I've got plenty of time for 2014 champion Ben Martin, who also has a good record in the Barracuda and seems best in birdie-fests. Cameron Tringale was runner-up in 2015 and is always worth a look when short game excellence is at a premium. If he had any recent PGA Tour form in the book, I'd have taken odds of 240.00.
And finally I must give a heads-up to one of Steve's picks. He's shrewdly taken 250.00 - now 190.00 - about Brian Stuard which, again, would have been very hard to ignore. Third last week, Stuard's forte is putting and has shown up for brief spells before.