Find Me a 100 Winner: Three to follow in the CareerBuilder birdie-fest

Wesley Bryan is very much one to follow in 2018
Wesley Bryan is very much one to follow in 2018
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With birdies galore expected as usual in this annual PGA Tour pro-am, Paul Krishnamurty looks for players at 99-1 or higher with the right credentials to thrive...

Meen-Whee Kim hasn't won yet but has already easily beaten the market - and certainly this week's odds - with seven top-six finishes in 84 PGA Tour starts. Second place in the Shriners last autumn points towards suitability for this test, as does 17th place here last year.

Back Meen-Whee Kim 1u each-way @ 200/1 (1/5 odds, 7 places)

A frustrating start to 2018 perfectly illustrated a perennial, fundamental dilemma for golf punters. Is it better to take much enhanced win only odds on the exchange, or to forego that win bonus in favour of luxury place terms via the each-way market?

Finishing in a full tie for fourth place, Brian Stuard would have yielded a big return on an each-way bet at 125/1. Yet despite being beaten by only two shots, our bet lost as we couldn't get matched at 20.0. The key issue, of course, is that Stuard was a full 75 points bigger on the exchange, which made trading a preferable option in this particular scenario.

It really depends upon the player. Some outsiders are very consistent and perfect for each-way. Others are better for speculative win only punts at enhanced, over-reactive odds, on the basis that whilst inconsistent, they pop up in contention relatively frequently. Those characteristics apply to all three of this week's picks, hence the mix of strategy between back to lays and each-way.


Back Wesley Bryan 2u @ 170.0
Place order to lay 10u @ 15.0
Place order to lay 15u @ 6.0

Wesley Bryan is precisely the type to take considerably bigger odds on the exchange about on the basis of a remarkable win ratio. Though a relatively late starter, four wins in just 53 starts on the Web and PGA Tours make him very much one to follow. His breakthrough win at The Heritage was no fluke, and one of a quartet of top-four finishes.

This event came a few weeks before he'd settled in and made an impact, so I'm happy to overlook a missed cut on debut. In theory, Bryan's prowess on the greens should be perfect for this test. As Steve Rawlings explains in his tournament preview, putting is what the CareerBuilder Challenge is all about. Take note, therefore, that last season Bryan ranked second for total putting and so far this term, he's first for strokes gained putting.


Back Meen-Whee Kim 1u each-way @ 200/1 (1/5 odds, 7 places)

Perhaps the best angle to consider in the next few years involves identifying emerging Asian players. They are coming through on the PGA and European Tours at a rate of knots, particularly from South Korea and betting markets are invariably late to catch on. Even when establishing themselves, the odds of non-Americans and Brits are often still affected by nationality bias.

Meen-Whee Kim hasn't won yet but has already easily beaten the market - and certainly this week's odds - with seven top-six finishes in 84 PGA Tour starts. Second place in the Shriners last autumn points towards suitability for this test, as does 17th place here last year. Kim ranked tenth amongst these for strokes gained putting last season so birdie-fests may be his forte.


Back Robert Garrigus 2u @ 300.0
Place order to lay 10u @ 30.0
Place order to lay 15u @ 10.0

Next an old favourite, who has done this column multiple favours in this tournament previously. Last year's 17th place was only his fourth best result in seven visits - the highlight of which was being runner-up at 300/1 in 2012.

Then as now, the market dismisses Garrigus because he is so inconsistent. However that is the nature of many an ultra-attacking bomber, and a few missed cuts doesn't mean he won't bounce back in more favourable conditions. He has only played five events since running off a trio of consecutive top-ten finishes - all in low scoring events.

Finally as always, a few alternatives. With an eye on course correlations, former Shriners winner Smylie Kaufman is eyecatching at 400.0. Granted there isn't much recent form in the bank but it's less than two years since he played in the final group at the Masters. JT Poston was fourth at last year's Shriners and made the shortlist at 170.0, as did big-hitting Luke List at 140.0, who was sixth here two years ago.


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

2018 Profit/Loss

Stakes: 6 units
Returns: 0

P/L: -6 units

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