After Ted Potter landed the Pebble Beach Pro-Am at the maximum odds of 999-1, it is clear that anything is possible in golf. Here's Paul Krishnamurty's best three bets available at a mere 99-1 or bigger this week...
"Cook is clearly a top prospect. In just 19 starts on the PGA Tour, he's made no fewer than 12 top-25s and won already. His game stats are equally impressive - ranking third for greens in regulation and sixth for scrambling amongst this elite field over the past 12 months."
Consistent Finn fair value to land his maiden title
A new event on the European Tour schedule inevitably means a degree of uncertainty of what to expect and therefore perhaps a chance to perhaps find an angle that beats the market. In truth, there is plenty we know already about the host course for the Oman Open, because it has hosted several events on the Challenge Tour, including the last three Grand Finals.
We know it has links characteristics and is exposed, although a very calm forecast, slow-running fairways and greens somewhat negate that angle. For me, avoiding the rough and bunkers in order to frequently set up birdie chances will be the key. After that, the ability to putt rarely-seen Paspalum greens well may prove decisive. As Steve Rawlings notes in his comprehensive preview, the best place to study that form is the Shenzhen International.
Looking back through past course form, it is notable how many Scandinavians fared well - particularly Jens Dantorp, who finished top-seven on his last three visits. He's broadly a short, steady type rather than a bomber and other contenders here suggest it's a place where ball-strikers will likely come to the fore.
One such steady, solid character that fits the bill is Mikko Korhonen. The 37 year-old is a very late developer, only turning pro at 24, but has struck me as the type to break through at big odds somewhere soon. This sort of second-division Race to Dubai affair looks just the right level. Last spring, he was runner-up at both the Tshwane Open and Lyoness Open.
Although the Finn hasn't contended seriously since the latter in June, he was up there at halfway when 13th on his final 2017 start at the Joburg Open and finished a respectable 22nd in Abu Dhabi amongst stronger company. Can he putt these Papsalum greens? Well, returns of 39/24/39 from three Shenzhen attempts are fairly typical by his standards but he did top the putts per round stats in the 2016 renewal. The place part of this bet - 20/1 about a top-six - especially appeals.
Given his previous exploits, Dantorp is worth considering around [140.0] on the exchange and Lucas Bjerregaard [110.0] also won a Challenge Tour event here in 2013. The other outsider on my shortlist is the massively talented yet still very inconsistent Callum Shinkwin at [130.0], whom I see is also one of Steve's picks.
In-form outsiders are perfect for trading at Riviera
With Potter-esque miracles on our mind, the Genesis Open has produced some enormous shocks in recent years, including the unlikeliest play-off ever when [800.0] chance John Merrick saw off Charlie Beljan in 2013. Two years later, James Hahn produced another massive upset and as Steve notes in his detailed preview, one of the runners-up last year started at [910.0].
I'm not looking anywhere near those odds, however, because there are so many more realistic types within our price range to choose from. Such is the competitiveness of the PGA Tour nowadays that even major-winning course specialists like Adam Scott are available to back above 100-1.
Part of the reason behind Cabrera-Bello's dismissive odds is the fact he's making his Riviera debut. In light of some of those recent shock contenders here, that doesn't deter me and I reckon Rafa should love the place. This is a sometimes major venue where major champions consistently thrive, and the Spaniard has the game for them. Augusta is generally the best guide to Riviera and a very hard place to debut so Rafa's 17th there in 2016 read very well at the time.
He's since made rapid progress and become a regular contender on both main tours. Though yet to win over here, he's recorded a series of excellent placed-efforts in top events, including the Players Championship. More recently he's been top-six in a WGC event, the Hong Kong Open and Dubai Desert Classic. I reckon further progress is to come in 2018 and he's a must-trade whilst still available at these sort of odds.
Back Austin Cook 2u @ [260.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [25.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [10.0]
Place order to lay 20u @ [3.0]
Likewise this high-class debutant is simply overpriced on recent form. Does [260.0] sound like the right price about a guy who won on the PGA Tour only six starts ago, has since been a 54-hole leader and also notched a decent top-20 at the Sony?
Cook is clearly a top prospect. In just 19 starts on the PGA Tour, he's made no fewer than 12 top-25s and won already. His game stats are equally impressive - ranking third for greens in regulation and sixth for scrambling amongst this elite field over the past 12 months. As with Cabrera-Bello, that sort of golf will inevitably create plenty of chances in contention, and is perfect for pre-tournament trading purposes.
Given the choice on offer, my initial shortlist for Riviera was very long. At [200.0], Kyle Stanley is another who looks well overpriced on recent form. J.J. Spaun [280.0] didn't disgrace himself when carrying our cash last time and is playing well tee-to-green. Fourth place last year kick-started Wesley Bryan's great run and, although his form has gone off the boil, [330.0] is eyecatching.