Open Betting: In-form Peterson to take class rise in his stride

Can John Peterson take the step up in class in his stride?
Can John Peterson take the step up in class in his stride?

It's a weak field assembled for the first event of the 2014 FedEx Cup but Mike Norman believes a few Tour players and a PGA Tour veteran can go well in California this week...

"I believe 33/1 is more than a fair price for arguably the most in-form player in attendance at Cordevalle this week."

Back John Peterson each-way @ 34.033/1

The start of the 2014 FedEx Cup series gets underway at Cordevalle Golf Club in California this Thursday afternoon (UK time), and to put it the politest way possible, it's not the strongest field ever assembled on the PGA Tour.

In fact, when you've got a golf tournament on the strongest Tour in the world where the highest ranked player (Jonas Blixt) is at 34 in the world, and the joint favourites to win - Billy Horschel and Gary Woodland - are ranked 35th and 80th in the world respectively, then you know you've got a pretty weak event on your hands.

And to make the 'winner-finding' process even more difficult, there's very little recent form to go on at this level as the conclusion to the 2013 FedEx Cup took centre stage during the last six weeks with very few of this week's field being in contention.

But what we do know is that there will be a winner this week, and a bit like how a jockey riding the winner of the opening race of a new season can boast he led the jockey's championship, the player emerging victorious at this week's Open can at least say he led the 2014 FedEx Cup standings.

Steve 'The Punter' Rawlings has provided a brilliant in-depth preview here, and below are my three each-way selections using Betfair's Sportsbook prices.

John Peterson - 34.033/1

I'm sure Peterson will be a popular selection amongst punters and golf writers alike, so apologies for being unoriginal here, but in complete disagreement with The Punter, I believe 33/1 is more than a fair price for arguably the most in-form player in attendance at Cordevalle this week. (Steve also fancies Peterson but believes his price is too short).

True, Peterson's form has come on the 'second tier' of American golf, on the Tour, but his last five starts have produced form figures of 3-5-3-3-2. Whatever the level - and the Tour is highly competitive by the way - five consecutive top-five finishes, including four top-three finishes, is fantastic form by anyone's standards.

Peterson led the Greens in Regulation stats on the Tour on his way to winning the money title, which explains why he has been so consistent in recent months. And although he missed the cut around this venue last year, he has acquitted himself fairly well when playing on the PGA Tour, including when finishing a brilliant fourth at the 2012 US Open.

Tim Clark - 51.050/1

Driving Distance doesn't seem to be an issue at Cordevalle which is just as well for little Timmy Clark who hardly sends the ball out a long way by today's standards.

What Clark does do however is usually play repeatedly good golf at venues that he has gone well at previously. So the fact that the South African tied for sixth in his only appearance here in 2010 is a very encouraging sign.

True, Clark was far from in great form at the FedEx Cup play-offs, missing two consecutive cuts, but he's always been a player who can put in a good performance without any signs that he is about to hit form.

He is still on the fringes of the world's top-50 so he can't be playing too bad; in fact three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour in 2013 including a runner-up berth isn't to be sniffed at, and in a very weak field he can give us a run for our money.

Russel Knox - 51.050/1

Scotsman Russel Knox is another player who plied much of his trade on the Tour in 2013 and famously fired a round of 59 in late July at the Albertsons Boise Open. That tournament was the start of six top-30 finishes in seven events, including three top-seven finishes in the last two months so his recent form is relatively good.

In three of Knox's last four starts on the PGA Tour this year he recorded top-20 finishes, so we know he can step up to the plate when participating at a higher level, and in his only appearance in this tournament he finished in a highly creditable tie for ninth last year. Just a small improvement on that performance will see him land the each-way money this week.

Recommended Bets

Back John Peterson each-way @ 34.033/1
Back Tim Clark each-way @ 51.050/1
Back Russel Knox each-way @ 51.050/1

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