The morning starters should have the best of the conditions during the first round of this week's OHL Classic says Dan Geraghty, and with that in mind here are our man's four recommended bets...
"Hoffman won this event in 2015, having missed his first two cuts of the season, and he opened with a 66 that year. 80/1 is too big and worth taking a chance on."
Here's your first round leaderboard from last year's event:
- 65 Derek Fathauer
- 65 Shawn Stefani
- 65 Justin Leonard
- 65 Aaron Baddeley
- 66 Numerous
The weather forecast suggests the wind will increase very slightly in the afternoon on Thursday, so all things being equal, and the added bonus of fresh greens, the morning starters should have the best of it. My four picks this week will come from the morning wave, meaning no Patrick Rodgers. However, I'll still be backing him.
After another shaky period, Korean youngster Seung Yul Noh has started the new season in fine form - he's made three cuts from three and he's opened each event with a 67. Noh looks like he has the perfect tee time this week, he's in one of the first groups off at 7am, and he's made the cut on all three occasions he's played here.
As shown above, Shawn Stefani was tied for first round lead here last year and he was among the first round leaders when finishing second in the tournament in 2014. He has a nice early tee time and his game looked in great nick last week at the Shiners Hospitals for Children Open, where he finished 10th.
Charles Howell III has made his usual good start to a PGA Tour season; in the past he's referred to his extensive off-season practice in a bid to catch some of his rivals cold. Howell was 15th last week at the Shriners, where he opened with three straight 67s. The American's strong tee to green game clearly suits this week's course, he's had five top 20's from seven attempts here.
I don't have the stats to hand but I'd wager good money that Charley Hoffman has as many first round leads and places as anyone on the PGA Tour in the last five years. Now, it's true that the flamboyant American has missed two cuts from two to start his season and it's also true that he missed the cut here last year. However, Hoffman won this event in 2015, having missed his first two cuts of the season, and he opened with a 66 that year. 80/1 is too big and worth taking a chance on.
Back Seung Yul Noh @ 100/1
Back Shawn Stefani @ 66/1
Back Charles Howell III @ 66/1
Back Charley Hoffman @ 80/1
*1pt EW on each