Thank goodness for seniors golf. With our bets in last week’s main two events offering little to shout about, it fell to Loren Roberts and co to make our profit at the British Seniors Open. You may recall that I upped the stake for that event, on the basis that the seniors scene is markedly less competitive, therefore offering greater value from a betting perspective. That argument was proved comprehensively, with fifteen of the leading twenty in the betting making the top-20 including ties, and four of our five selections amongst the top-6.
There’s no let-up for these older guys though with another major to follow immediately; a schedule that seems very strange compared to the main tours. For those who also played the Open at Turnberry, such as Tom Watson, that makes it three consecutive weeks playing majors on world-class golf courses; a testing schedule if ever there was one, especially considering the travel from Berkshire to Indiana. The big names here are certainly fit enough, but there may be a slight advantage to the Americans who stayed at home to focus purely on this tournament.
Nevertheless, such is the gulf between the best and the rest, I’m expecting another predictable leaderboard. Like all US Open venues, Crooked Stick is bound to present a particularly gruelling test, where only those with world-class scrambling skills and repeatedly hitting greens in regulation are able to stay in touch.
Despite ultimately failing to land our short-priced bet, BERNHARD LANGER confirmed again at Sunningdale that he is very much top dog in this sphere. After struggling to make the cut during the second round, the German fought back brilliantly to only lose by just one shot; an achievement that I doubt any of his rivals are capable of. Langer is yet to win a seniors major, but that can only be a matter of time, and improvement is expected on last year’s 6th. Such is his clear supremacy that it would be madness to leave Langer out of calculations here.
Sunningdale victor Roberts has similar, rock-solid credentials as he bids for a famous majors double. His four attempts as a senior in this major have all produced top-12 finishes. However, regular readers will know I’m generally loathe to support players seeking back-to-back titles, so while the ‘Boss of the Moss’ is greatly feared, he just misses the staking plan.
Roberts’ play-off victims Fred Funk and Mark McNulty are similarly feared but overlooked. Funk’s failure to win at Sunningdale after holding a substantial lead was reminscent of his earlier career. He never looked comfortable in contention, and at half last week’s odds makes less sense as an each-way bet. McNulty was more seriously considered at a much better price, and would have been my ‘first reserve’.