When last covering the in-play blog for Steve Rawlings, I laid out a trading plan to lay all players once they reached contention and their odds hit certain, pre-determined targets. The precise details of such a plan are not set in stone and I only try them in selected scenarios. As it transpires though, the closing stages of both events today look ideal. First to the Nordea Masters, where Thomas Aiken and Paul Waring take a three-shot advantage into round four.
Nordea Masters Leaderboard
-12 Thomas Aiken 3.40 -12 Paul Waring 3.60 -9 Thorbjorn Olesen 4.50 -9 Mark Warren 11.50 -8 Max Kieffer 28.00 -7 Lucas Herbert 38.00 -7 Lee Slattery 50.00 -7 Adam Bland 85.00
Yesterday's lay of the front two is more or less level. Scott Jamieson imploded, hitting 75, but Waring still shares the lead. Nevertheless, I'm still very happy to take him on. Although highly capable, the Englishman has never won as a professional and the fact he made bogey from the fairway on yesterday's final closing hole (a par-five) does not bode well.
By comparison, Aiken is an experienced, relatively prolific winner. Two of his three European Tour wins came from the front. However it has been four years since the last of those and the South African looked distinctly nervy when briefly pulling away yesterday. He shortened to 1.72 at one stage, before bogeying 15, 16 and 17. On the plus side Aiken bounced back with birdie on 18 and, not withstanding doubts, he's the rightful favourite.
Nevertheless, these two are worth taking on at what amounts to 1.75 combined. Throughout, it has felt like Thorbjorn Olesen's bid to move into automatic Ryder Cup qualification would be the big story on Sunday. He's by far the class act on this leaderboard and fought back really well from a bad start to get within three.
Olesen is now perfectly poised and this one really knows how to finish the job. With five wins at this level, he's one of the most reliable around in contention and appears to be rising to that Ryder Cup challenge. I think he'll win today but a bet at 4.60 makes considerably less appeal than the joint lay of the leaders, because it keeps others onside.
This is far from just a three-horse race. Mark Warren is high-class on his day, a three-time winner and very much in need of the cash to save his season. Max Kieffer has long been rated as highly capable, but a terrible finisher. Lee Slattery knows how to win while Lucas Herbert is one of the most exciting prospects around. In truth, this is one of those leaderboards where it is easy to imagine someone from way back shooting low to set a strong clubhouse target.
Here's the plan. Add two more lays on Aiken and Waring - the updated profit/loss is listed below. Then place another order at 2.00 on Aiken, that would level up their positions. Next place an order on all the rest at 2.50, to take out most or potentially all of the risk. Finally, place orders to lay everyone at 1.40.
Lay Thomas Aiken 3u @ 3.40 Lay Paul Waring 3u @ 3.60
Place order to lay Thomas Aiken 5u @ 2.00 Place order to lay everyone bar Aiken/Waring 8u @ 2.50 Place order to lay all players 7u @ 1.40
Lay Scott Jamieson 3u @ 5.20 Lay Paul Waring 2.5u @ 5.70 Back Andrea Pavan 1u @ 70.00
Updated Profit/loss prior to any further lays
Waring -14.55 units Aiken +0.3 units Jamieson -4.7 units Others +10.5 units
Wyndham Championship Leaderboard
-16 Brandt Snedeker (thru 7) 1.75 -13 Brian Gay (thru 12) 9.80 -12 Trey Mullinax (thru 12) 29.00 -12 Keith Mitchell (thru 8)16.00 -12 C.T. Pan (thru 7) 18.00 -12 D.A. Points (thru 6) 40.00 -11 Ryan Moore (thru 13) 29.00 -11 Sergio Garcia (thru 9) 17.00
A rain delay held up Brandt Snedeker's bid for a ninth PGA Tour title but the 37 year-old remains in control of the event, as he has since shooting 59 on Thursday. He will have 11 holes of his third round to play when resuming, and a chance to pull away from a mostly inferior chasing pack.
However that break came at a bad time for Snedeker and there is still plenty of time for things to change. The fact he shot 59 shows what one of the chasers could do. I've been toying with laying Sneds ever since day one but left it because I wouldn't be watching on Friday night. Now he's shortened further, this feels like a good time to start. Laying anyone at odds-on with more than 18 holes to go is invariably a decent strategy.
The Wyndham plan is similar to Sweden. Simply, lay Snedeker now, add another target at 1.40, then place orders to lay everyone else in the field, in the hope that the leaders bunch up and tonight's final round produces plenty of drama.
Lay Brandt Snedeker 6u @ 1.75 Place order to lay Brandt Snedeker 7u @ 1.40 Place order to lay every other player 4u @ 2.50 Place order to lay every other player 7u @ 1.40
00:30- August 18, 2018
While Steve is away for the weekend, Paul Krishnamurty takes over the in-play blog.
Nordea Masters Leaderboard
-11 Scott Jamieson 5.10 -11 Paul Waring 5.70 -9 Thomas Aiken 14.50 -7 Lee Slattery 24.00 -7 Hunter Stewart 65.00 -7 Bradley Neil 75.00 -6 Thorbjorn Olesen 7.20 -6 Martin Kaymer 15.50 -6 Soren Kjeldsen 23.00 -6 Benjamin Hebert 26.00 -6 Lucas Herbert 30.00
After taking full advantage of ideal afternoon conditions, Scott Jamieson and Paul Waring share the halfway lead at Hills G.C. Available to back at 120.00 and 210.00 pre-tournament, neither arrived in Sweden boasting obvious credentials, but the same could be said of anyone else within four strokes of the lead.
For me, this looks perfectly set-up for a Moving Day turnaround. Winds around 15mph will present more difficulty but the course remains soft and ripe for attack. Waring has never won at this level while Jamieson has only once, six years ago. The latter held the lead at this stage or later three times last season and failed to convert, falling away badly on one occasion. Of the next four, only Lee Slattery makes serious appeal.
My instinct is that the leading score won't move much forward, if at all, allowing chasers from a bunched pack to move into final round contention. Ryder Cup-chasing Thorbjorn Olesen looks particularly ominous and remains very much the one to beat, but odds of 7.20aren't all that exciting considering his current position in what is still a wide-open event.
If the leaders do come back to the field, at least 30 are still in with a chance. A case could be made for at least half a dozen but, rather than pick a bunch of them to trade, I'm laying Jamieson and Waring at what amounts to less than 3.00 combined. That just seems too short, given their lack of winning pedigree, with such a long way to go.
One player from the pack whose odds really do stand out is Andrea Pavan at [70.0]. The Italian's iron play has been outstanding all season, earning plenty of good results, and he's exactly the type of player to break through in an event of this stature. Let's get him in the book now as a couple of early birdies would see these odds crash.
Lay Scott Jamieson 3u @ 5.20 Lay Paul Waring 2.5u @ 5.70
Back Andrea Pavan 1u @70.00
09:20- August 17, 2018
The second round of the Nordea Masters is well underway and I'm already out of the game. All of my pre-event picks were woeful on day one and I'm yet to get involved in-running.
I toyed with backing both Tapio Pulkkanen and Lucas Herbert after the opening round but as yet, I've not made a move. Tournament favourite, Thorbjorn Olesen is currently out on the course an he's making a big move. He's shortening up dramatically but caution is advised given he's played the easier back-nine first.
There was a distinct difference between the two nines yesterday and that needs to be taken in to account if you're planning to trade in-running. The tougher front nine was played in an average of 37.1 strokes yesterday, 1.71 strokes over-par, whereas the back-nine averaged 33.6, which was 0.4 strokes below it's par of 34. The five hardest holes (seven, one, five, six and nine) are all on the front side and holes two and three are the only respite. Olesen's clearly the man to beat now but be careful about siding with him after the third hole (his 12th), as it's a tough stretch after that.
Over at the Wyndham Championship, one of my pre-event picks, Ollie Schniederjans, has fared ok, opening up the tournament with a very useful six-under-par 64 but he's going to have to keep the pedal down after Brandt Snedeker shot the PGA Tour's tenth sub-60 round when he sunk this putt on the par four ninth.
It's going to be interesting to see how Sneds fares now. It's obviously going to be hard to follow up a round like that today and he's certainly not for me at less than 2/1, although the PGA Tour stats suggest he's not too short.
Yesterday's heroics have left him four clear at the top so I had a look at how four-stroke first round leaders have fared and on the PGA Tour since 1996, only six players have held such an advantage and two of the six went on to win. However, they were both major champions in red-hot form - Phil Mickelson (around his beloved TPC Scottsdale in 2013) and Jason Dayat the BMW Championship in 2015, after he'd won three of his previous five tournaments.
When I extended my search of four-stroke first round leaders to include the Web.Com as well as the PGA Tour, it goes from two wins from six to three wins from 12, with only Stephan Jaeger, who opened with a 58, converting (2016 Ellie Mae Classic) and when I included four stroke round one leaders on the European Tour it goes to three wins from 20. As many as eight have led by four on the European Tour and none of them went on to win.
One could argue that all that does is provide an example of how much weaker the European Tour is but on the Challenge Tour, the European equivalent of the Web.com Tour, five of the eight players to lead by four after round one went on to win. So, looking at the four main Tours in Europe and America, the total is seven wins from 28.
I've gone around the houses somewhat, but all things considered, Snedeker looks a lay at less than 2/1.
10:50 - August 16, 2017
The Nordea Masters has started and it's live on Sky Sports right now but none of my early starters have begun the event well (preview here).
Conditions are soft and preferred lies are in operation so despite a bit of a breeze, the scoring is already good and according to Sky commentator, Jamie Spence, the back-nine is playing easier than the front. I'll take another look at the event at the close of play but I'm kicking off the blog early this week because I've added two more in the Wyndham Championship.
I've followed Dave Tindall in on Meen-Whee Kim in the First Round Leader market and I've also backed him in the outright market at 110.00. The Korean has been playing well of late and that was simply too big. A win in his homeland in June was followed by a decent tied 16th in the John Deere Classic and he was second at the Canadian Open three weeks ago. He missed the cut at the US PGA Championship last week but a disastrously poor out of character first round 75 was followed by a second round 67 so it wasn't an awful effort.
Dave has also backed Johnson Wagner to get off to a flier and he's also one of Paul Krishnamurty Find Me A 100 Winner picks so I was more than happy to see he'd drifted to a tasty 170.00.
Wyndham Championship Pre-Event Selections: Russell Henley @ 42.00 Ollie Schniederjans @ 48.00 Meen-Whee Kim @ 110.00 (added after the preview published) Chad Campbell @ 170.00 Johnson Wagner @ 170.00(added after the preview published)