As seems to have become almost the norm lately, we are presented with a new course without any previous form; CordeValle GC in California. Sometimes that can prove an advantage, if a layout has really distinctive features, but such clues are rather thin on the ground here. Such guesswork makes this a tournament to avoid laying out vast sums, and if the four previous renewals at Grayhawk are anything to go by, that would certainly be the case.
All four Frys.com Open champions began the week at 100/1, as did a very high percentage of the placed players. All four winners started the week below the cut-line of 125th on the money list. Last year saw a play-off between three such triple-figured candidates, including this year’s favourite, Rickie Fowler.
Course and stats
Robert Trent Jones Jnr calls CordeValle, his ‘finest golf course creation’, so this should be an interesting learning experience at least. Low scoring looks guaranteed given a calm weather forecast. The greens are massive and apparently receptive, pointing towards it being a ‘second shot course’, which would emphasise hitting greens in regulation. Overall, it appears to be a course demanding sound strategy rather than power, although the driveable par-4 17th could offer an advantage to long-hitters.
The key to catching the erratic Sabbatini right is to only back him on courses where he can make plenty of birdies and that won’t stretch his fragile patience. Playing in California also often brings out the best in him, so if as expected, CordeValle proves to be such a layout, 50/1 could represent good value. Recent form is pretty good, with three top tens in his last seven starts.
Quinney has a great record in California, and is offering strong hints that he hasn’t given up on saving his card, despite languishing in 140th place. He produced four rounds of 68 or better to make the top ten at Sea Island last week, topping the putting stats for the third time in six events.
1pt ew JAMIE LOVEMARK @ 80/1 (GENERAL)
Lovemark is a very interesting candidate at a tasty price. He was one of the losers in last year’s three-way play-off at Grayhawk, on one of his earliest professional starts, but still didn’t earn enough to gain playing privileges. However, spending his rookie season on the lower-grade Nationwide Tour has worked well for Lovemark, with the 21-year-old currently topping the money list following a spate of high finishes and a win in the Mexico Open.
Though he never looked like threatening the places, Wilson wasn’t that far behind in 25th place last week, and retains his place in the staking plan. He ranked third in the gir stats and third of these for ball-striking. To reiterate, as a two-time PGA Tour winner, battling to save his card in 137th place on the money list, Wilson is exactly the type of player worth following at this time of year.
Though needing to do something special to earn his card from 152nd place, Wetterich is one of the more interesting money list strugglers. He’s fought back from a long injury nightmare, and steadily improved throughout the summer, missing only two cuts. The former Ryder Cup man finished eighth on his penultimate start in the Viking Classic.
Piercy heads the tour’s birdie average stats over the last three months, so this low-scoring layout offers an ideal opportunity when most needed. In 133rd place, Piercy is right in the thick of the top-125 battle and within range of safety with one good week. Last week’s top 25 was his fourth in seven events.
See also: Portugal Masyters golf betting guide