Obviously, it was nice to earn thirty units profit from Chez Reavie's fine US Open performance, but particularly so given that it could easily not have happened with the same selection.
Yet again, we saw just how hard it is for any outsiders to contend in majors or reach the sort of low odds where cashing out becomes worthwhile. Okay, Gary Woodland was just within our price range at 110.0109/1 but that is relatively prominent in the market nowadays.
Had we backed Reavie at the vastly inflated win only odds of 680.0679/1 via the exchange rather than each-way, it isn't clear that we'd even got our stake back. I did take those odds but wasn't matched at the cashout target of 15.014/1.
Thankfully both of this week's events seem more suitable than majors for our purposes. For a detailed overview of both, check out Steve Rawlings' comprehensive previews of the BMW International Open and Travelers Championship.
Herbert can bounce back on suitable course
Most BMW International Open leaderboards are pretty classy and there's no shortage of quality at the top of the market. My sole pick is a player who I'm confident will be as good as pretty much any of them in the long-term.
Back Lucas Herbert 1u each-way @ 100/1 (1/5 odds, seven places)
Lucas Herbert was a frequent pick of mine on these pages last years, delivering big-price places in the Sicilian Open and the Portugal Masters. The Aussie rewarded each-way backers (when seven places were available) on six occasions.
He's drifted in the betting of late - fairly, given a bad run of results - but now could be the right time to chance of a return to form.
Bombers often fare well here
Golfclub Munchen Nord-Eichenried is not a bombers' paradise - it is tree-lined and has penal rough - but plenty do well here. Andres Romero and John Daly have both won, for example. Herbert hits it miles but, more pertinently for this challenge, is best on low-scoring courses. Only five of this field have a better birdie average over the past 12 months.
A few alternatives made the shortlist. Steve's each-way pick Alex Levy is just in our range at 100.099/1. George Coetzee 120.0119/1 is another bomber with a good course record. At 270.0269/1 Tapio Pulkkanen makes some trading appeal after a decent run.
Focus on birdie machines in the Travelers
Low scoring will also be the order of the day on the PGA Tour, which moves on to one of my favourite tournaments of the year for trading. River Highlands is a great course for catch-up and that normally involves plenty of outsiders getting into contention. Historically if not the last two renewals, several went on to win.
Nevertheless with Brooks Koepka leading a large bunch of elite characters at the top of the market, the each-way route is preferred for both selections. In both cases, I'm backing relatively in-form players who fit the right statistical criteria.
Back Troy Merritt 1u e/w @ 150/1 (1/5 odds, eight places)
Both of Troy Merritt's victories came in low scoring contests - the Barbasol Championship and Quickens Loan National. Only four of this field boast a higher birdie average over the past three months - Koepka, Cantlay, Spieth and plausible 280.0279/1 chance Matt Jones.
Besides putting and birdie average, I think the key stat to study is strokes gained approach as the greens will be receptive. Merritt ranks an impressive 29th on that list (which is again dominated by vastly superior players). Par four performance is also very important at River Highlands - Merritt ranks 16th among these over the past year.
Tringale is in eyecatching form
Back Cameron Tringale 1u e/w @ 150/1 (1/5 odds, eight places)
The case for Tringale is similar. He's in solid form, finishing top-23 on three of his last four starts. Only Koepka and Alex Prugh (510.0] have hit more greens in regulation over the last three months.
Tringale is also an excellent 40th for strokes gained approach this year and 25th for par-four performance over the past 12 months. If you prefer the bigger odds, 330.0329/1 is available on the exchange but, considering he has never won, each-way top-eight is preferred.
Regarding alternatives, I can't help thinking C.T. Pan's 120.0119/1 odds are an over-reaction to a bad US Open. Previously he was third in the Charles Schwab, soon after winning the Heritage.
First reserve is Kevin Tway 190.0189/1 - another in decent form right now, who was sixth last year. Finally serious consideration was given to a highly speculative punt on Chris Stroud at 810.0809/1 on the basis of a stellar course record. He's made nine out of 11 cuts at River Highlands with runner-up in 2013 the best of four top-20 finishes.
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