Golf Betting: Vets to take Crowne
...it's a plethora of old-heads at crazy prices, who I hope will all be itching to get going again around Colonial.
Steve Rawlings encourages you to bet for the vets in his round up of this week's PGA Tour event, the Crowne Plaza Invitational, where his pre-event picks are plentiful and not far off being pensionable!
This will be the 65th staging of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, universally known as the Colonial.
Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Par 70 -7,204 yards
Stroke Index in 2011 - 70.04
The Colonial has hosted the event since year one and on the US Tour, only the US Masters has been staged at the same venue for longer. It's a tight tree-lined track with lots of dog-legs and small greens. Water is in play on six holes and it's all about accuracy, especially off the tee, and good scrambling.
Accuracy is most definitely a key attribute but so it seems is experience. Remarkably, half of the last 14 winners have been aged 40 or over. This is an event the vets can't wait for.
The 1st and 2nd holes are nice and gentle but the players are then faced with the 'horrible horseshoe'. The 483 yard 3rd nearly always averages over par, and so does the lengthy par 3 4th. Once through those two holes the par 4 5th is the toughest on the track and players can soon give up early gains made at one and two.
Last Five Winners
2011 - David Toms -15
2010 - Zach Johnson -21
2009 - Steve Stricker -17 (Playoff)
2008 - Phil Mickelson -14
2007 - Rory Sabbatini -14 (Playoff)
I can't argue with Mike Norman, who makes a great case for Zach Johnson here. I too was sorely tempted by Zach, who has both course and current form. He's a worthy favourite and of the market leaders he certainly makes most appeal. If I'd have been on the ball, I'd have taken the 20.0 plus available at the beginning of the week but having backed him last year at 27.0, when he was defending champ, I can't quite back him this time around at just 16.5.
The next three in the betting, Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner have all won very recently and I can't see any of them as even close to value.
Possible In-Play Trading Angle
Third round leaders have a pretty good record of late. In the last ten years, seven winners have either led or co-led after 54 holes and Zach Johnson's tied 3rd two years ago is the furthest back any winner's been after three rounds.
I've backed Bill Haas at 44.0 but not for as much as I'd have liked. I didn't get fully-matched before his price collapsed and I'm not sure he's value now at 36.0.
I was fortunate enough to be on-line when reports of Harris English's record breaking 60 at Monday's Open championship qualifier broke and I got him onside at tasty price but again, like Haas, I'm not sure he's a particularly great price now.
Third-up, and the last of my young gun picks, is John Huh. Although he doesn't anywhere near fit the veteran criteria I like him a lot this week, providing he's fit. He had to withdraw last week with an elbow injury but if he's in good order again I can see him taking to this place and he's definitely a player I want to keep on the right side of.
After that, it's a plethora of old-heads at crazy prices, who I hope will all be itching to get going again around Colonial.
Crowne Plaza Invitational Betfair Selections
Harris English @110.0
John Huh @110.0
Brian Gay @170.0
Stewart Cink @288.0
Boo Weekley @300.0
Davis Love III @400.0
Tom Gillis @444.0
Scott Verplank @444.0
Jerry Kelly @450.0
Tim Herron @450.0