The two players challenging Clark for favouritism, Sergio Garcia and Lucas Glover, both look well worth taking on. Garcia owes his position purely to reputation rather than this season’s form, which remains disappointing after another missed cut at Hazeltine. Glover fared vastly better in the PGA, challenging most of the way for fifth. However, that and his US Open triumph are well factored into the price, and there’s little in his history to suggest that Hazeltine form will be retained on a very different type of course just a few days later.
Alternatively, DAVID TOMS represents solid value at 25/1. His three second places in 2009, amongst seven top 10s, owe nothing to any failings on Toms’ part. He’s just found one better each time. Toms is a prolific PGA Tour winner, and will end his losing run soon in my view. This course should be perfect for his talents, and last year’s mid-division effort can be disregarded along with the rest of his poor 2008 form.
Last year’s title was won by a European, Carl Pettersson, with Scotland’s Martin Laird also in third. Laird should go well again after finishing runner-up last time, though it’s worth noting that we took 66/1 in that much weaker event; substantially better than this week’s 40/1.
For me, the likeliest European winner is JUSTIN ROSE at the same price. Prior to the PGA, Justin had looked on the verge of a return to somewhere near his best, which as we saw in 2007 is of the very highest class. Top 20s at Congressional and Turnberry were followed by three decent rounds out of four in the Bridgestone Invitational; three events that boasted much stronger fields than this one. Rose has often played well on these old-fashioned style courses before, which tend to favour his classy iron play.
MARK WILSON has really taken the eye this season, and is expected to thrive on a course where he made the top 10 last year. Six of his last nine starts have produced top 25s, and the stats recorded in the process look perfect for Sedgefield. As I’ve written before, Wilson displayed an excellent temperament for both of his PGA Tour titles, which always makes him one to keep an eye on at big prices.