Last week’s Canadian Open was a tricky puzzle for punters, and I’m afraid a similar story applies to this brand new event. They share the same principle problem, in so far as there is a complete lack of previous course form, though there may be one potentially useful clue. Just as St George’s was an old-fashioned par 70, so is The Old White Course, which happens to be the oldest track on the PGA Tour. So theoretically, players who went well in Canada should once again enjoy conditions.
 
Course and stats
 
As in Canada, low scoring looks like the order of the day, especially if as expected, the greens are softened by rain. Apparently, driving distance is almost irrelevant, and with fairways fairly wide and soft, the emphasis is likelier to be on quality iron play and a hot putter.
 
For my money, the key stats are greens in regulation and birdie average, particularly on par 3s and par 4s. Furthermore, given those similarities with St George’s, it could pay to look back at form at another old-fashioned layout, Sedgefield, home to the Wyndham Championship. It may be no coincidence that Carl Pettersson had also previously won at Sedgefield.
 
Golf bets:
 
2pts ew JEFF OVERTON @ 28/1 (BETFRED, VCBET)
 
Odds of 28/1 may seem a short price to take about a non-winner, but Overton looks sure to correct that statistic soon. His last nine starts have yielded six top 15s, including four top threes. That run also includes an excellent 11th last time out at The Open, after which he sensibly took a week off. As well as topping the birdie stats amongst this field, Overton finished runner-up at Sedgefield in 2007, when a golfing nobody.
 
1.5pts ew BEN CRANE @ 35/1 (GENERAL)
 
Prior to the US Open, Crane was one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour and challenging for favouritism in events of this stature. Three poor results later, two of which came in Majors at unsuitable links venues, and he’s back at a much more tempting price. Crane is a birdie machine on his day, and one of the best putters in the States.
 
1.5pts ew CARL PETTERSSON @ 40/1 (GENERAL)
 
This is one of the very few occasions where I’m prepared to back someone who won last time out, and who isn’t one of the game’s elite. Given that the test is expected to be very similar to St George’s, 40/1 is a big price about a man in form, who clearly enjoys these old-fashioned layouts. That 2008 success wasn’t his only good effort at Sedgefield, and he too scores very highly in the birdie stats.
 
1pt ew BRENDON DE JONGE @ 50/1 (LADBROKES, VCBET)
 
I’m giving De Jonge another chance, as he wasn’t beaten by far at the weekend. Indeed, with four holes left he was a live candidate in Canada. That makes it four top-15s from his last six, adding to the growing suspicion that his second full season could well produce a maiden victory.
 
0.5pt ew MICHAEL LETZIG @ 100/1 (GENERAL)
 
Letzig looks a plausible outsider having finished strongly with 69/65 to grab fourth place in Canada, topping the putting and birdie stats in the process. In fact, notably for such a lowly player, Letzig ranks second amongst this field for birdie average. He also made the top ten at Sedgefield in his rookie year of 2008.