The second event of the PGA Tour’s Fall Series, the Frys.com Open, takes place this week at the CordeValle Golf Club in California, the host course for the third consecutive year.
In truth, the tournament possesses one of the weakest fields of the season, and many players outside the all-important top 125 on the money list will view the Frys.com as a pivotal week for PGA Tour survival.
CordeValle Golf Club isn’t one of the longest golf courses on the PGA Tour roster, and the average winning score over the past two years has been 16-under-par.
As such, driving accuracy, greens in regulation and putting will be far more important than distance off the tee, as proved by the last two winners of the event: Bryce Molder (2011) and Rocco Mediate (2010).
Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are joint favourites this week, but with neither player showing exceptional form of late, I would look elsewhere.
Bud Cauley, at 20/1 with Ladbrokes, has as good a chance as anyone this week. The young American has had four top tens in his last seven starts, including a third place finish at the Wyndham Championship. He is 20th in Total Birdies, 16th in Final Round Scoring average and sixth in Scrambling on the PGA Tour, and will come into the tournament full of confidence after a third place finish here last year.
Luke Guthrie, at 33/1 with Labrokes, could well feature in an event with a weak field. The talented American has already secured his PGA Tour card for 2013 after a brilliant debut season on the Web.com Tour. Despite still attending university, Guthrie has won twice and recorded six top tens in just eight starts. He has also played three PGA Tour events thus far in 2012, finishing 19th at the FedEx St Jude Classic, 18th at the True South Classic and fifth at the John Deere Classic.
Heath Slocum, at 66/1 with Ladbrokes, looks a good bet this week. He is one of the best putters in the game when on form, and will be buoyed after a tie for 13th last week at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. He is third on the PGA Tour in Driving Accuracy and has a decent record at the Frys.com, finishing 8th in 2009. He also knows he needs a good week to stay inside the all-important top 125 on the money list.
Bill Lunde, at 100/1 with Ladbrokes, is the type of player I would expect to make a move this week. He currently sits 128th on the PGA Tour money list and needs a big week to secure his 2013 tour card. What’s more, he finished 18th at the Reno-Tahoe Open and fifth last week at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Colt Knost, at 125/1 with Ladbrokes, is generously priced this week. He played some fine golf last week and was in contention with one round to go in Las Vegas. He is 36th in Strokes Gained: Putting and 18th in Driving Accuracy – a winning combination this week – and comes into the tournament knowing a top 25 should be good enough to earn his 2013 tour card.
Frys.com Open advised bets:
3pts each way on Bud Cauley at 20/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Luke Guthrie at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Heath Slocum at 66/1 with Ladbrokes
1pt each way on Bill Lunde at 100/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Colt Knost at 125/1 with Ladbrokes