Fresh off securing a big profit from Ernie Els' run to the World Match Play semis, Paul Krishnamurty's weekly search for big-priced value takes in the Honda Classic
"Three of Roberto Castro's last four events yielded top-25s, but I reckon the Florida Swing offers much better opportunities than those birdie-fests."
Rank outsiders have been known to win the Honda Classic, including last year's champion Michael Thompson, but this is usually an event where the cream rise to the top. Of the last ten champions, five were either already major champions or went on to become one. Luke Donald went on to become world number one, while Camilo Villegas was one of the leading players in the world at the time of his victory.
That trend suggests this is a week to keep stakes on outsiders to a minimum but, as Ernie Els demonstrated last week, they don't need to necessarily win in order to yield a trading profit. If a player merely gets into early contention or on Sunday, it isn't asking much to get a lay order matched in single figures.
Furthermore, there are some pretty strong clues that mean we can write off the vast majority of outsiders. PGA National played tougher than any non-major course on the 2013 PGA Tour and always penalises inaccuracy. I'm also happy to discard anyone who doesn't have proven form in Florida on Bermuda greens. In short then, calculations were restricted to outsiders who play hard courses well, have form in the state and either top-class pedigree or the potential to develop it.
Let's try the following pair, starting with 130.0129/1 chance Luke Guthrie who has been flagged up as a potential superstar ever since turning pro in 2012. The 24-year-old offered a glimpse of it when finishing a fine third on his course debut 12 months ago, and looked set to start delivering during the autumn when registering consecutive top-five finishes on the PGA Tour and Race to Dubai. In the latter at the BMW Masters, Guthrie again demonstrated that he can play hard courses well.
Secondly at odds of 260.0259/1, this looks the ideal opportunity for one of my first-time winners to follow during 2014 to make his first appearance of the year in this column. Three of Roberto Castro's last four events yielded top-25s, but I reckon the Florida Swing offers much better opportunities than those birdie-fests. Castro was extremely reliable from tee to green during the second half of last season, usually an indicator of imminent improvement. It would be no surprise to see him pop up in contention at silly odds in one of these big events on championship courses.
The trading plan is to stake three units in total, then place lay orders at 15.014/1 and 3.02/1 to bank a minimum of nine units profit should either selection shorten to the first target.
Back Luke Guthrie 2u @ 130.0129/1
Back Roberto Castro 1u @ 260.0259/1
Place order to lay each player 12u @ 15.014/1
Place order to lay each player 20u @ 3.02/1
Updated 2014 Stats: +20.5 units