The second major of the week takes place this week and before the USPGA Championship begins there is just enough time to have a look at the many side markets which have been put up for the tournament as well as some of the specials.
With this being a fourth major in eight months, regular readers will know that there are a number of markets priced up from nationality ones to finishing positions and plenty more alongside it. I’ve scoured them and found a bunch to invest in.
The first of those markets is the Top Asian one where we have a field of nine which is headed by the most recent major winner in Hideki Matsuyama, a player who showed all the class we have known he has had for a while. The recent trend in first time major winners is that they go missing for a while which would put me off him here.
Sungjae Im is the obvious danger but I’m a little concerned that he completely blew up in The Masters and might not be in his best form. We should mention the most recent PGA Tour winner in K-H Lee, the man who dotted up with a -25 score in Texas last week but I’m far from convinced that was anything but the week of his life rather than anything significant. That makes me think Si-Woo Kim is the man to be on. Kim is a lover of Pete Dye designs and one of the reasons for that is the exquisite short game that he has. He isn’t exactly wayward in the other parts of his game either. Kim won The American Express earlier in the season and was in the top 10 at TPC Sawgrass, the most famous Dye design of them all. He has all the tools to go well here and is my pick to be the top Asian.
There are six Scandinavian players in the field this week which gives us a select and tight market to get stuck into. Predictably the odds on favourite is Viktor Hovland but his short game would give me nightmares if I was to be on him at a short price so I’m prepared to look elsewhere despite his tee to green prowess.
The other five players in the field are Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Rasmus Hojgaard, Sami Valimaki and Kalle Samooja. The latter trio are just getting their major careers underway so this might be a tough ask for them while I’m still not convinced The Masters was anything other than a fluke. That leaves us with Noren who showed signs of being back in form last week and who actually went well initially around here when he opened with a 67 before a second round 80 put paid to his chances. He’s a more experienced player now though and one with a wonderful short game and a pretty strong iron game. With the challenge not so much off the tee here he could be the one to hang tough and land a less competitive market than it looks.
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There are also 13 English players teeing it up at Kiawah Island this week and they include the man who has twice come close to winning on the PGA Tour this season in Lee Westwood, as well as the man who was in with a chance of winning this tournament last year until the last few holes in Paul Casey.
Other notables in this market include Tyrrell Hatton, a popular choice after his Dunhill Links exploits but whose form is a concern, Tommy Fleetwood, another who has good links form but again form could be an issue, Matthew Fitzpatrick who might not be long enough for this course and Justin Rose who much like Stenson above hasn’t convinced me with his form. Ian Poulter and Danny Willett get creditable mentions but it is Matt Wallace I like here. Wallace is starting to crack the American code with a couple of top 10s and a top 20 in his last three regular PGA Tour events. He has shown good iron play and a short game in those efforts and that is what is needed here. He has shown in the past that he can hang tough on a tough course, not least in this tournament at Bethpage Black two years ago when he finished in a tie for third. You get the impression that someone out of form is really going to struggle here which might see Wallace see off foes out of their depth. With three places, at 9/1 he looks a fair each way bet.
Top 30 Finish
One of my favourite markets to bet on is the finishing position ones where we can target a player who might be flying under the radar in terms of going well but maybe not quite well enough to land the spoils in the outright terms. The one I like this week is the top 30 market.
Basically all we are looking for here is someone to finish inside the top 30 and the player I’m targeting is the Scottish ace Robert MacIntyre, a player who showed he could handle the major occasion with a creditable run at The Masters, a couple of weeks after a brilliant week at the WGC Matchplay where he tied with the world number one Dustin Johnson. MacIntyre has a very good all-round game which should serve him well here and the most important thing is he is naturally good in the wind, a really important facet this week. MacIntyre is going a bit of jet setting these days but he was in the top 10 at The Belfry so he is in form and can run well this week.
Back S-W.Kim Top Asian for a 2/10 stake at 5.25 with Bet365
Back A.Noren Top Scandinavian for a 1/10 stake at 7.00 with Bet365
Back M.Wallace Top Englishman (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 10.00 with William Hill (1/4 1-3)
Back him here:
Back R.MacIntyre Top 30 Finish for a 2/10 stake at 3.75 with Betfair
Back him here: