Instead, all my other four selections are between 66/1 and 80/1, or even above 100/1 if betting win only on Betfair. Firstly, MARK WILSON has enjoyed a good campaign and registered top-25s on five of his previous six visits to Summerlin. Furthermore, there was nothing wrong with tenth place in the elite BMW Championship on his penultimate start, and I can see this gutsy player landing a third PGA Tour title before long.
Likewise, BEN CRANE is long overdue a third title. Now that his injury concerns are behind him, this excellent putter looks a man to follow under the right conditions and when available at a decent price. Crane has already finished runner-up here in 2006, and has a decent return of four top-20s from seven visits.
Whenever I think of Crane, JOHN MALLINGER also springs to mind. That may be for a few different reasons. They’re both decent putters and on the ‘overdue’ list, but it might just be because they both were in contention for a long way at Sawgrass earlier this summer. Mallinger has knocked on the door a few times this year, most memorably when carrying this column’s cash to a play-off defeat in the US Bank Championship during Open weekend. So far as Summerlin is concerned, Mallinger has strong claims on last year’s third place.
One logical route towards solving this puzzle may lie in the ‘birdie average’ stats; a list headed over the past 12 months by ROBERT GARRIGUS. Robert’s other main statistical forte is driving distance; a category he heads most weeks. If Garrigus is ever to win, it will surely come on a course where he can let rip with impunity, and third place in 2007 confirms that Summerlin is just such a venue. Recent form is fair too, with top-25s on six of his last 11 starts, nearly always on courses markedly less suitable than this one.
Lastly, a few words about others that came in for consideration. With only four Fall Series events left to earn full playing privileges for 2010, it would be no surprise to see some improvement from strugglers currently below the critical 125th spot on the money list. The most significant name in question is 130th placed Stuart Appleby, and as the Aussie has previously won and finished second at Summerlin, he could definitely be one to watch. Troy Matteson is another in need of a decent cheque, and has thrived around this time of the year before, while Tim ‘Lumpy’ Herron’s top-15s here in the last two years could provide a much-needed confidence boost.
All three are available at well over 100/1 on Betfair and could therefore be good trades to maintain this tournament’s record for producing shock winners. Another trio that could go well at silly prices are Ryuji Imada, Daniel Chopra and Ryan Palmer. They all made the initial shortlist simply because they are ideally suited to this sort of putting contest.
1.5pts ew RORY SABBATINI @ 33/1 (GENERAL, 35/1 BOYLESPORTS)
1pt ew MARK WILSON @ 66/1 (GENERAL)
1pt ew BEN CRANE @ 66/1 (GENERAL)
1pt ew ROBERT GARRIGUS @ 80/1 (GENERAL)
1pt ew JOHN MALLINGER @ 90/1 (BET365, 100/1 EXPEKT)
Portugal Masters golf betting guide:
2.5pts ew ROSS FISHER @ 20/1 (GENERAL)
1.5pts ew ALEXANDER NOREN @ 33/1 (GENERAL)
1.5pts ew ALVARO QUIROS @ 33/1 (GENERAL)
1.5pts ew CHARL SCHWARTZEL @ 40/1 (GENERAL)
1pt ew DANNY WILLETT @ 55/1 (VCBET, 60/1 SKYBET)
LONG-TERM ALREADY ADVISED
RACE TO DUBAI
2.5pts ew ROSS FISHER @ 20/1
2.5pts ew PAUL CASEY @ 20/1
6pts win PAUL CASEY @ 8/1
1.5pts ew OLIVER WILSON @ 33/1
2008/2009 STATS: -219pts
2007/2008 STATS: +618pts