With the Masters just days away, the world's finest are in Texas to hone their putting skills on some of the fastest greens around. In his weekly search for big-priced value, Paul Krishnamurty has found a pair with strong credentials in that regard...
"Crane finished fourth in last year's renewal, despite a total lack of form going in, and has only missed the top-30 once in six visits."
With a stellar field in Texas for this week's Shell Houston Open, there was no trouble whatsoever building a shortlist of potential winners amongst our usual price range. Amongst others, the likes of Geoff Ogilvy, Carl Pettersson and JB Holmes all came in for very serious consideration. The problem, though, is that with the likes of McIlroy, Stenson and co at the top of the market, it will be asking a lot to get outsiders to hit lay targets. The plan therefore is for a small outlay and unambitious lay target.
First up, David Hearn at 160.0159/1. Perhaps because he's Canadian, rather than American or British, Hearn seems a little under-rated. He's been making consistent progress over the past couple of seasons, earning plenty of cash and nearly breaking his duck when losing a play-off at the John Deere Classic. Recent form is good with a pair of top-eights from his last four, and course form also reads well after finishing sixth in 2011. The main reason behind this bet, however, is Hearn's prowess with the putter. If there is one essential criteria for success at Redstone, it is the ability to cope with greens measuring over 13 on the stimp-meter.
At his best, Ben Crane is one of the finest putters around and, while recent numbers don't generate much confidence, at enormous odds of 280.0279/1, it's worth taking a chance that this five-time PGA Tour winner finds a spark at one of his favourite tracks. Crane loves playing in his home state and has a typically solid record at Redstone. He finished fourth in last year's renewal, despite a total lack of form going in, and has only missed the top-30 once in six visits.
The trading advice is to stake 2.5 units on the pair, then place lay orders on both at 15.014/1 and 3.02/1. If either hits the first target, we'll quadruple our initial outlay. So just like last week's winning strategy, this is effectively a three-to-one bet with substantial extra profits available.
Back David Hearn 1.5u @ 160.0159/1
Back Ben Crane 1u @ 280.0279/1
Place order to lay both players 10u @ 15.014/1
Place order to lay both players 20u @ 3.02/1
Updated 2014 Stats: +15 units