The Humana Challenge always tends to favour outsiders, with the last seven champions all starting at 100.099/1 or bigger. Paul Krishnamurty recommends three at huge odds to maintain the run...
"These levelling conditions are perfect for backing outsiders. The last seven winners begun the week within our triple-figure price range and many more have traded short."
The beginning of the 'West Coast Swing' is always eagerly anticipated by this column, as there are few other events on the calendar that better suit our purpose than the pro-am birdie-fest currently known as the Humana Challenge.
Played on a trio of easy resort courses, the basic criteria to succeed never changes here. Make a stack of birdies, then make some more and just hope it's enough to stay competitive. The worst winning score since this became a four-round event is -24. Anyone with a hot putter can contend. Those without one need not apply.
These levelling conditions are perfect for backing outsiders. The last seven winners begun the week within our triple-figure price range and many more have traded short. Arguably this column's finest hour came here three years ago, when both Robert Garrigus and John Mallinger hit both their lay targets, trading below 3.02/1 in-running, from starting odds of 160.0159/1 and 500.0499/1.
With a similar staking plan in mind, let's try the following trio. First at 250.0249/1, Nicholas Thompson ticks the two key statistical boxes, ranking fifth for putting average and 14 for birdie average over the past three months. He was sixth in this event two years ago and is in fair form, making his last five cuts, including three top-25s and a top-ten.
The biggest recent upset here came from Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas in 2011 and Fabian Gomez would represent a similar scale of shock. Nevertheless, this 36 year-old Argentinian has the right birdie-chasing skills and decent numbers for a 410.0409/1 chance.
After earning his card via a consistent Web.com Tour campaign, Gomez finished top-ten on his seasonal debut at the McGladrey Classic, then followed up with two more top-25s. Amongst these, he ranks fourth and 13th for birdie and putting average respectively over the past three months.
Finally at an even bigger 460.0459/1, Andres Gonzales is worth a small punt to show his third last time out at the OHL Classic wasn't a fluke. Over the past year, he ranks fourth for birdie average and seventh for putting average amongst these. Gonzales can also boast good location form, winning and finishing second in Web.com Tour events in California.
The trading plan is to stake 3.5 units on the trio, then place orders to lay each in-running at 20.019/1 and 3.02/1. If any of them hits just the first lay target, we'll be guaranteed to at least quadruple our money, with substantial extra positions still running.
Back Nicholas Thompson 1.5u @ 250.0249/1
Back Fabian Gomez 1u @ 410.0409/1
Back Andres Gonzales 1u @ 460.0459/1
Place order to lay each player 14u @ 20.019/1
Place order to lay each player 20u @ 3.02/1