Jason Day looks to have set an almost unassailable lead at the BMW Championship but things are much tighter in Italy where Steve's picked out a few value plays for the final round. Read his final in-running thoughts of the week here...
“It’s very difficult to look past Kaymer at around 2.89/5 but there are just enough niggles to put me off at the price. The classy German is yet to win since last year’s US Open and the last time we saw him leading on the European Tour he made a complete hash of the job, somehow giving up a ten-stroke lead in Abu Dhabi.”
09:45 - September 20, 2015
Jason Day has cruised six clear at the BMW Championship with a round to go and he trades at a perfectly fair 1.162/13.
Since Greg Norman famously lost the 1996 US Masters, having led by six, in 1996, 19 men have led by that margin on the PGA Tour and only two have failed. Sergio Garcia messed up the Wachovia Championship (now the Wells Fargo) 10 years ago and Spencer Levin failed to convert from half-a-dozen in front at the Phoenix Open in 2012 but the other 17 all won and I fully expect a player of Day's calibre to oblige also.
Having backed him very modestly before the off I've layed him back twice - firstly at 1.42/5 and again last night at 1.081/12 - so it makes no odds to me now whether he does or doesn't win.
At the Open D'Italia, after a superb seven-under-par 65 in round three, pre-event second favourite, Martin Kaymer, has eased his way to the top of the leaderboard and to the head of the market. Here's the current state of play with prices to back at 09:30.
Martin Kaymer -17 2.8815/8
Romain Wattel -17 6.611/2
Jens Fahrbring -17 10.09/1
Bernd Wiesberger -15 6.86/1
Fabrizio Zanotti -15 14.5
Lucas Bjerregaard -15 28.027/1
David Lipsky -14 30.029/1
Jaco Van Zyl -14 34.033/1
Rikard Karlberg -14 34.033/1
-13 and 60.059/1 bar
It's very difficult to look past Kaymer at around 2.89/5 but there are just enough niggles to put me off at the price. The classy German is yet to win since last year's US Open and the last time we saw him leading on the European Tour he made a complete hash of the job, somehow giving up a 10-stroke lead in Abu Dhabi.
He will, of course, put that behind him soon enough and he may well do so today but he's been tied for the lead five times in total through 54 holes and only converted once. He has a favourite's chance and if he got the job done I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised but it's a busy enough leaderboard for me to think there must be value elsewhere.
Romain Wattel is the current second favourite but he's not for me at all. He tends to get very nervous in-contention and is yet to win on the European Tour. I tried to lay him in the Top-5 Finish market but to no avail and it's a shame that he's up against Kaymer in the final two-ball because I'd have liked to take him on in a match too. He'd have been the favourite to beat the other man tied for the lead, Jens Fahrbring, and he'd have been worth taking on.
Trailing by two strokes, Bernd Wiesberger is the man most likely to give Kaymer a run for his money, Fabrizio Zanotti, who sits alongside Wiesberger, could be a threat if he can get a few more putts to drop but at considerably bigger prices, the three I've chanced are David Lipsky and Jaco Van Zyl, who both sit a further shot back in a tie for seventh, and Mikael Lundberg, who's four off the pace.
Lipsky won the European Masters from three back last year and Van Zyl is the type that needs to post a score from slightly off the pace, whilst Lundberg is definitely close enough at just four back - he won the Austria Open last year having trailed by six with a round to go! All three are very modest sporting bets at big odds, designed to provide a bit of entertainment. I'll be back tomorrow with my De-Brief and my preview for the FedEx Cup decider at East Lake - the Tour Championship.
09:55 - September 19, 2015
Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard and Sweden's Jens Fahrbring will play together for the third day running at the Open D'Italia today and they'll begin the day sharing the lead on 13-under-par and two clear of the field. Between them they've notched 27 birdies and an eagle over the first two days but with so many quality players tucked in behind them, they're going to have to remain hot over the weekend if they have designs on taking the title and I think the pressure will take its toll today.
Bjerregaard's record in-contention is far from great - he's been within four of the lead at this stage five times in his career to date and he's never bettered 73 in round three. Fahrbring has a much stronger record and he's already a winner this year, having won the Czech Challenge on the Challenge Tour in May, and it's a shame they aren't playing in two-balls because I'd very much favour the Swede if they were but they're in three-balls today and Romain Wattel, the third member of the final group, is a major fly in the ointment.
Backing Fahrbring at over 2/1 in the three-ball is as close as I got to a wager today as the outright market looks far too tough. After a terrible start to round two, my only in-play bet so far, Nicolas Colsaerts, recovered well to end the day in the group of four tied for third on -11 and there's a group of six players, that include Martin Kaymer, Bernd Wiesberger and David Lipsky, a further stroke behind in a tie for seventh. Danny Willett and Spanish legend, Miguel Angel Jimenez are tied for 13th alongside Peter Lawrie and just four behind the inexperienced leading pair and it looks like a minefield to me.
In stark contrast to the Open D'Italia, the BMW Championship looks like it could well be a done deal already. With an eagle at his final hole yesterday, Jason Day has moved five clear of Brendon Todd and Paul Krishnamurty's long odds pick, Daniel Berger, and I've decided to put myself in profit regardless of the final result.
Having backed Day modestly before the off, it makes sense to lay him back now at 1.42/5, even though I fancy him to convert. I'll take another look at both events tomorrow but it's nice to go into the weekend knowing I'm going to have another profitable week regardless of the results.
10:30 - September 19, 2015
The second round of the Open D'Italia is well underway and although my two picks are hardly shining, three of this week's each-way selections are bang there. Mike Norman's Rikard Karlberg is currently leading, Joe Dyer's Wade Ormsby is on the move and Paul Krishnamurty's pick, Kristopher Broberg, should begin his second round this afternoon in a decent position, having shot an opening seven-under-par 65 yesterday.
No doubt inspired by back-to-back wins by fellow Belgian, Thomas Pieters, Nicolas Colsaerts set the early pace yesterday with a nine-under-par 63 that included a European Tour record equalling eight birdies in-a-row. I'm going to wait until halfway to analyse the event in depth but as detailed in the preview, when the course has been used before, albeit a long time ago, early pacesetters have gone on to win so I've had a tiny wager on Colsaerts at 10.519/2.
Although curtailed by bad weather, there was still plenty of drama on day one of the BMW Championship. Jim Furyk was forced to withdraw with an injured wrist, my big fancy, Zach Johnson, very nearly made a hole-in-one at the 11th before Jordan Spieth aced the second and there were chip-ins aplenty before play was halted due to inclement weather. And if Jason Day can manage one from 44 yards on the par four ninth when play resumes today he'll match Furyk's feat of two years ago here and shoot another 12-under-par 59.
Having backed Day for just enough to cover the weeks stakes before the off, I'm happy to have him onside but with Jordan Spieth within five and Rory McIlroy seven back with still six to play in round one, I'm not sure I'd be diving in at just a shade over even money right now. I'm going to leave this one alone for now and see what today brings and I'll be back in the morning with a detailed look at halfway.
Open D'Italia Pre-Event Selections:
Thorbjorn Olesen @ 110.0109/1
Pelle Edberg @ 150/1 each-way (Sportsbook)
Open D'Italia In-Play Pick:
Nicolas Colsaerts @ 10.519/2
David Lipsky @ 28/1 (Sportsbook)
Jaco Van Zyl @ 34.033/1
Mikael Lundberg @ 140.0139/1
BMW Championship Pre-Event Selections:
Jason Day @ 9.417/2 (saver only)
Rickie Fowler @ 19.018/1 (saver only)
Zach Johnson @ 32.031/1
Jason Bohn @ 170.0169/1
BMW In-Play Trade:
Jason Day layed at an average of 1.330/100
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