Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are tied at the top after day one at the BMW Championship but does Steve fancy either one to go to convert? Read Steve's latest in-running thoughts for the week here...
Wide, soft fairways were meat and drink to Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy at Aronimink yesterday. Woods opened up the BMW Championship by posting 29 on the back-nine (his first nine) and McIlroy birdied six in-a-row form the ninth and both men ended the day on eight-under-par after shooting 62s that could have been better. Woods played his last eight holes in only one-under and McIlroy bogeyed both 16 and 17. With the threat of poor weather later today, the second round has already started but here's the first round leaderboard with prices to back this morning at 11:00.
Rory McIlroy -8 4.90
Tiger Woods -8 5.30
Xander Schauffele -7 20.00
Justin Thomas -6 8.40
Alex Noren -6 28.00
Billy Horschel -6 34.00
Peter Uihlein -6 55.00
-5 and 23.00 bar
Tiger's 62 was his best opening round since he fired 61 at the Byron Nelson Classic back in 1999 and it's the first time he's led or been tied for the lead after round one since March 2013. Incredibly, this is also the first time that Rory's ended round one in front since the DP World Tour Championship almost four years ago, so as experienced as they both are, they're in front for the first time in a very long time.
The two, understandably, dominate the market but I'm happy to look elsewhere. Woods is looking for his first success in more than five years and McIlroy isn't the greatest of frontrunners. He won the Open Championship wire-to-wire in 2014 but since he took this title six years ago, he's led or co-led after round one nine times and that win at Royal Liverpool was the only occasion he went on to win.
I'm not writing either man off, that would be ridiculous, but I do think they're prominence in the market has created a bit of value elsewhere.
Last year's Tour Championship winner, Xander Schauffele, looked over-pried given he trails by only one after the first round and I also like another East Lake winner, Billy Horschel, and Justin Thomas, who was second to Xander last year.
Please accept my apologies for not getting this post up earlier but I've had a leaking radiator that couldn't be left so this is three hours later than intended!
I'll be back in the morning with a look at both events at halfway.
The first round of the Omega European Masters is still ongoing and the BMW Championship (previewed here) is yet to begin but I thought I'd kick the blog off early as I've already added to my pre-event picks (here) with last week's winner, Matt Wallace.
In their wisdom or cruelly (delete as appropriate) the European Tour grouped the three men to miss out on Ryder Cup selection - Matt Wallace, Thomas Pieters and defending champ, Matthew Fitzpatrick - together and I'm not sure any of the three benefitted from it.
Fitzpatrick looked particularly grumpy, Pieters fared OK and Wallace said he went through a flat spell halfway through the round. Wallace also spoke about his selection near-miss and I couldn't have been more impressed with his attitude.
"I've had a lot of disappointments in my life, in my career playing golf, and I've always used it as fire to get better. This is probably one of the biggest you can have, so watch this space."
Wallace, who appeared calm and unemotional, had clearly processed the news brilliantly, going on to say. "I respect his decision, I've looked at the people he's picked and he's gone with experience, which I believe they probably need as well."
I backed Wallace in-running at 40/1 after he'd done this at the seventh (his 16th).
Having finished the day on two-under-par, it's hard to know how far back he'll be by the time he tees off tomorrow afternoon and he could easily drift from his current price of 34.00 on the exchange but he looks worth getting onside.
He may not be anywhere near over the disappointment and he could lose the plot tomorrow but we've seen what he's capable of and he could just as easily race up the leaderboard. And if he does that, he's a dangerous beast in-contention.
The BMW Championship doesn't start for a few hours so if you fancy a bet in the First Round Leader market, check out Dave Tindall's thoughts on who might make the early running here.
Omega European Masters Pre-Event Selections:
Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 13.50
Lucas Bjerregaard @ 32.00
Alexander Bjork @ 65.00
Aaron Rai @ 70.00
Ashley Chesters @ 160.00
In-Play Pick:
Matt Wallace @ 40/1 Sportsbook
BMW Pre-Event Selections:
Cameron Smith @ 60.00
Bubba Watson @ 80.00
Brandt Snedeker @ 80.00
Henrik Stenson @ 100.00
C.T Pan @ 110.00
Si woo Kim @ 230.00
In-Play Picks:
Justin Thomas @ 8.40
Xander Schauffele @ 21.00
Billy Horschel @ 34.00

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