If anyone ever tells you miracles don't happen in golf, point them towards last year's Wells Fargo Championship. This prestigious event, once optimistically mooted as a sort of 'sixth major', boiled down to a play-off between an unknown 1000.0 chance David Ernst and perennial Euro Tour journeyman David Lynn, despite the presence of McIlroy, Mickelson et al in contention. In truth, Ernst wouldn't have appeared on any form student's radar at ten times those odds and given that he's still yet to make another top-30 on the PGA Tour, it must go down as a fluke.
Don't assume, however, that this is the type of course where outsiders come to the fore. Most previous winners were either major champions or young guns widely tipped to become one and Quail Hollow is the type of course where class usually tells. Whereas most weeks the shortlist for this column is at least five or six, this time it was a struggle just finding two.
Happily that pair do tick plenty of boxes at least and in the first case, we're on a multiple winner who has thrived in three of the last five Quail Hollow renewals. Having finished fifth in 2009, runner-up in 2011 and ninth a year later, odds of 140.0139/1 very much appeal about Jonathan Byrd. With five PGA Tour wins to his name, nearly always at huge odds, Byrd is exactly the type to follow as he is clearly capable of finding excellent form from nowhere. Granted it's been a while but he's made four of his last five cuts and a top-20 in the classy Houston Open.
My second pick is a man whose career trajectory is proving rather disappointing, yet Nicolas Colsaerts remains a player with extreme potential. We saw a bit of it when finishing runner-up to Lee Westwood in Malaysia a fortnight ago and, on that basis, odds of 180.0179/1 are fair value. At his best, Colsaerts has won a World Matchplay title and starred in a Ryder Cup. He plays well on championship courses, especially where power off the tee is rewarded. Quail Hollow, which has been lengthened, is precisely such a layout.
The trading advice is to stake 3.5 units in total on the pair, then place lay orders on both to bank profit at 12.011/1 and 3.02/1. If either hits the first target, we'll more than quadruple our initial outlay.
Back Jonathan Byrd 2u @ 140.0139/1
Back Nicolas Colsaerts 1.5u @ 180.0179/1
Place orders to lay both players 15u @ 12.011/1
Place orders to lay both players 20u @ 3.02/1
Updated 2014 Stats: -2.5 units
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