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Find Me a 100 Winner: Three cracks at another shock Sawgrass winner

Golfer Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk has returned to contention since his Ryder Cup stint

With the strongest field of the year assembling at Sawgrass, there are plenty of options at 99-1 or higher. Paul Krishnamurty recommends three plus some alternatives...

"Furyk is probably still capable of winning at this level but definitely capable of contending on a course he knows inside out."

Back Jim Furyk @ [310.0]

Often and fairly described as the 'Fifth Major', The Players Championship returns to the March position it held on the schedule until 2007. Good news as far as this column concerned!

Perhaps I'm blinded by good memories, because we saw plenty of outsiders contend after it moved to May, but those older renewals felt particularly wide-open.

Craig Perks produced an unforgettable [1000.0] miracle in 2002 but Fred Funk's victory in 2006 best summed it up. The shortest hitter on tour prevailing at around [250.0], after something like a dozen players had momentarily held the weekend lead. Trading heaven!

Numerous stats are worth considering. Steve Rawlings analyses their various merits in his comprehensive preview, particularly noting the importance of scrambling around these small greens.

Long-game excellence is also essential around a course presenting the constant threat of disaster. A fairly strong wind forecast will place extra emphasis on accurate driving and good ball-striking.

Consistent An looks a winner-in-waiting

Back Byeong Hun An 2u @ [150.0]
Place order to lay 20u @ [10.0]

First a man who scores very highly on the key stats. Byeong Hun An leads the strokes gained around the green numbers and is fourth for strokes gained tee to green.

One might wonder why he therefore hasn't won since spreadeagling an elite field at Wentworth in 2015 but, rest assured, it is coming.

An was twice a runner-up last summer and a strong finish to make the Bay Hill top-ten strengthened his winner-in-waiting credentials, following on from 12th in Dubai and 20th (fourth through 54 holes) at the Phoenix. He proved he can cope with a tough layout in windy conditions with a fine first round at last year's US Open.

Byeong Hun An 1280.jpg

Bermuda greens could inspire Hadley's best

Back Chesson Hadley 1u e/w @ 150/1 (1/5 odds, ten places)

This week's generous each-way terms are certainly a preferable option to win only betting on the exchange unless there's a big gulf between the respective odds. In Hadley's case, taking 30/1 about a top-ten finish must make better sense given the scale of task involved in winning an event of this stature.

That isn't to say he can't and everything points to a good week. He's finished top-20 on three of his last four starts, was 11th at Sawgrass last year and 24th in 2016. Hadley ranks fourth for strokes gained approach, and was ninth in that important stat last year.

Moreover, he will be happier than most on these fast Bermuda surfaces. According to the invaluable Future of Fantasy stats, Hadley putts almost 0.5 strokes better on Bermuda greens than others.

Furyk still very much a factor on home turf

Back Jim Furyk 2u @ [310.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [25.0]
Place order to lay 30u @ [8.0]

In this case, a win-only bet at triple the Sportsbook odds is advised, although any finishing position bet on Ponte Vedro favourite Furyk makes sense. The 48 year-old is probably still capable of winning at this level but definitely capable of contending on a course he knows inside out.

Even during last year's Ryder Cup captaincy, Furyk performed respectably, recording a couple of top-sevens and playing well for three rounds in a US Open. Since resuming full-time, he's finished top-15 on three out of five starts.

As for Sawgrass, Jim has finished top-five on four occasions. As Steve notes when running through historic renewals in his preview, he traded [1.77] just five years ago.

Grillo appeals among several alternatives

Naturally among the strongest field of the year, several alternatives caught the eye at triple-figure odds. It would be easy to make a case for any number trading between [100.0] and [200.0] - Cameron Smith or Kevin Kisner for example.

First reserve is Emiliano Grillo at [290.0]. He was fifth through 54 holes in this two years ago en route to finishing 11th, is a great ball-striker and has a good Florida record.

I was also tempted to give last week's pick Adam Hadwin another try at [240.0], with an eye on his solid driving. Russell Knox is another with exactly the right skills-set although his odds have collapsed to [230.0] from [400.0].


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

2019 Stats:

-18.5 units

Paul Krishnamurty,

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