Wind and rain to suit Reed and Grace

Grace wins in Puerto Rico.jpg

We’re off to Sawgrass for the Players Championship this week and our man has three monster-priced picks to trade at the Floridian showpiece…

It was a case of close but no cigar again last week when 140.0139/1 chance, Marcus Kinhult, hit the front after six holes on Sunday at the Kenya Open before folding like a cheap suit around the turn, having been matched at a low of 3.711/4.

That’s two weeks in-a-row that we’ve had someone in the thick of the action on the final day, following Adam Svensson’s efforts at the Honda Classic a fortnight ago so we’re trending in the right direction and we came close in the Players Championship last year too when Lee Westwood couldn’t quite convert his two-stroke 54-hole lead. The Worksop Wonder finished second having been backed before the off at 160.0159/1. Fingers crossed we can go one better this year.

Using the trends highlighted in the preview, I had quite a collection of players in mind at triple-figure odds this week, but it’s been all change as the week’s gone on and as the weather forecast has changed.

Current form and course experience have been key at Sawgrass, with really strong course form far from imperative and the link I really like is the course correlation with Sedgefield Country Club – the host venue of the Wyndham Championship as year after year form at Sedgefield has shown up at Sawgrass.

As highlighted in my preview, I like a morning starter at the Players on day one as a rule, so I fully expected to be putting up both Paul Casey and Tom Hoge. Both played better than their respective finishing positions last week with Casey starting well and finishing poorly and Hoge starting deplorably before plugging on in the tough conditions.

Both have form at Sedgefield, although Hoge’s is better hidden. Casey has finished third in the Wyndham whereas Hoge has led after round one twice but never finished better than 20th. And that was after a slow start!

I liked both Casey and Hoge and I backed Casey for a top-20 finish on Monday at 5/1 but I’m really put off by the draw now. In addition to lots of rain throughout the week, wind is now forecasted to be a factor on Thursday morning before it dies down completely on Thursday afternoon, and both have been allocated an early start.

There’s always a risk in giving the weather predictions too much credence so I’ve had small savers on Casey and Hoge in case it’s wrong, but I’ve focused most of my attention on the afternoon starters on Thursday, although the first of my three extremely speculative picks, is drawn on Thursday morning…

Wind and rain to suit Reed

Although he’s missed his last three cuts and his Sawgrass form, reading MC-24-MC-22-41-47-22, can only be described as ordinary, I can see why there’s been money for the prolific 2018 US Masters winner, Patrick Reed.

The 31-year-old Texan has won a PGA Tour event every year except 2017 and the first of his nine victories was at the 2013 Wyndham Championship at the aforementioned Sedgefield.

Few, if any, players relish horrible conditions more than Reed and he wont care how wet and windy it gets. He’ll just dig in and grind and he’ll be going forwards when others have had enough.

Back 1 ½ u Patrick Reed @ 240.0239/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

Hot Herbert can defy debut hoodoo

We have to go back 20 years to the last occasion a debutant won the Players Championship and Craig Perks in 2002 was only the second to achieve the feat, some 19 years after Hal Sutton and that’s a big negative for Australia’s Lucas Herbert. Other than that, there’s a lot to like.

At 26, the world number 43 is really starting to find his feet on the world’s stage and he’s up to contending in an event of this stature if last week’s seventh-placed finish at Bay Hill is anything to go by.

Having broken his duck on the DP World Tour at the ultra-competitive Dubai Desert Classic in 2020, Herbert won his second event at the Irish Open last summer before signing off 2021 with his first PGA Tour title in foul conditions in Bermuda.

The wind howled and the rain lashed on Sunday and that was a great event to consider if the forecast transpires this week. And for the record, Patrick Reed shot a six-under-par 65 on Sunday to finish second.

Back 1 u Lucas Herbert @ 360.0359/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1 u Lucas Herbert Top 20 Finish @ 8/1

Grace can grind at Sawgrass

My final pick at Sawgrass, Brenden Grace, is as badly out of form as Reed but the price is just to big to ignore given how many boxes the South African ticks.

It’s just a year since he won his second PGA Tour title – the Puerto Rico Open – and he followed that by contending in the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island and by finishing second in the Wydham Championship at Sedgefield.

Like Sawgrass, Kiawah was designed by Pete Dye, as is Hilton Head, the venue for Grace’s first PGA Tour success.

Grace’s Sawgrass figures, reading 48-42-57-48-46-72-MC, aren’t great given how much he enjoys a Dye design but it’s worth highlighting that he was sitting third at halfway on his second visit in 2015.

Grace wins in Puerto Rico.jpg

Given the draw, I though Grace and Herbert were both worth chancing in the top-20 market on the Sportsbook at juicy odds too.

Back ½ u Branden Grace @ 740.0739/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1 u Branden Grace Top 20 Finish @ 12/1

Sullivan too big at circuit set to suit

The Players Championship is undoubtedly the big event this week but I couldn’t leave out Matt Cooper’s each-way fancy for the MyGolfLife Open on the DP World Tour – Andy Sullivan.

Matt makes a very sensible case for the Englishman and 120.0119/1 is way off the mark.

I’ve also had a few pounds on the in-form South African Thriston Lawrence at a triple-figure price but he’s now trading at around 80.079/1.

Back 2 u Andy Sullivan @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

I’ll be back on Friday with the In-Play Blog.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

Author: Ellen Garcia