So much points to a strong challenge from Gay, who has been a rock of

consistency in the year since landing an 80/1 touch for this column. He

really does have the perfect game for this short, low-scoring course,

but having waited so long for a first title it could be asking too much

for him to cope with all the extra pressures of being defending

champion. His odds are also only a quarter of those available last year.


is always respected in this company, but doesn’t strike me as

particularly well suited to the layout. Verplank on the other hand does

and could offer good value at 50/1 if returning to the form shown when

finishing 3rd in Florida last November. He made the shortlist, but was

overlooked on the basis of three very disappointing efforts so far this

season. Steve Marino, 8th and 2nd these last two years and a regular

failed selection of mine, came in for extremely close consideration.

Eventually he was overlooked because of three consecutive missed cuts,

which are completely out of character.

Two of my remaining four

selections are looking for their first wins, KEVIN NA and BRENDON DE

. Na is making his course debut, but would appear to have ideal

conditions to land that first title. He is accurate off the tee, a good

putter and a player that specialises in quality iron approach play. He

made the top-5 in the same two events as the headline selection David

Toms, and confirmed his wellbeing with three sub-70 rounds at Riviera

over the weekend.

De Jonge has looked one of the best Nationwide

Tour recruits, and registered his best finish of the season in 10th

behind the superstars at Riviera on Sunday. He also made the top-10

here last year, on a rare start at the higher level, and so long as he

continues the fine iron play and putting of recent starts, De Jonge

looks bound to be a big candidate over the weekend.