Golf Betting: Five players to follow during the Florida Swing

Thorbjorn Olesen looked back to his best during the Gulf Swing
Thorbjorn Olesen looked back to his best during the Gulf Swing

This week's Honda Classic marks the beginning of the Florida Swing - a run of four prestigious annual fixtures on the PGA Tour.Paul Krishnamurty marks your card with five region specialists to back over the next month...

"Olesen's debuts at Bay Hill and Augusta were nothing short of outstanding last year...He certainly has the game for tough, championship courses so Florida could prove fertile territory."

Graeme McDowell
Honda Classic odds: 25.024/1

Perhaps inspired by Adam Scott's dramatic improvement since curtailing his schedule, Gmac's season has only just begun, having opted out of the Race to Dubai's Gulf Swing. That change in approach paid dividends for the former US Open champion last year and on the early evidence, it should do so again. Seventh at Pebble Beach and a quarter-final appearance in the World Match Play represented a solid start and, as laid out in our each-way column, he looks bound to be on the premises again at PGA National. 

The positive vibes don't end there either. Gmac will doubtless be confident about both next week's WGC-CA Championship, where he's twice finished top-six previously and later Bay Hill, where he's twice been runner-up. Moreover, with Woods, McIlroy and Scott in opposition at these events, punters can be assured of decent odds about him.

Keegan Bradley
Honda Classic odds: 34.033/1

Results in Florida events during Bradley's short PGA Tour career place him among the very best performers in this region, finishing top-12 in five out of seven events since his rookie 2011 season. Notably the two failures came at Sawgrass, which does not come around until May. 

It's been a while since the former PGA champion contended, but there were positive signs during the West Coast Swing. He's actually become more consistent of late, repeatedly making top-20s, and could easily find the necessary slight improvement back in more favourable conditions. Often outstanding on the greens, Bradley's recent putting stats have been below par, so it may well transpire that he needs Bermuda greens to be seen to best effect. Bradley is a big-runner for the Honda this week, where he was fourth last year.

Rickie Fowler
Honda Classic odds: 42.041/1

Fowler is another young gun with pedigree in the region and, after last week's markedly improved form to at the World Match Play, is right back in the frame for big events. His previously poor form was due to working out swing changes so, if they are indeed beginning to pay dividends, we can expect to see this top prospect begin to fulfil his universally recognised potential.  

Fowler can't match Bradley's consistency in Florida, but his best performance in each of the last two seasons came here, when third at Bay Hill and runner-up at Sawgrass. He's also got a fair record at this week's PGA National venue, finishing 13th and seventh in the last two renewals.

Thorbjorn Olesen
Honda Classic odds: 140.0139/1

Speaking of awesome potential, Olesen is an eyecatching bet at 140.0139/1 for the Honda. It is only a month since consecutive top-fives in world-class company during the Gulf Swing, since when he's missed one cut and lost a close contest at the World Match Play to the eventual champion. Presumably the market rates him to be just another decent European player who can't really cut it in the States but any such assumption would fail to stand up. Olesen's debuts at Bay Hill and Augusta were nothing short of outstanding last year, pointing towards a career at the very highest level. He certainly has the game for tough, championship courses so Florida could prove fertile territory.

Roberto Castro
Honda Classic odds: 160.0159/1

While respectable, there's nothing particularly special about Castro's early Florida results, but I think these tough courses will suit his game. Long-game accuracy is at a premium on these courses and there were very few better in that respect during the second half of 2013. He was consistently impressive during the FedEx Cup, again on tough courses, and when 12th in his first major at the PGA. He's also started 2014 well, with a trio of top-25s. Now in his third season, Castro strikes me as an imminent improver with the perfect 'first-time winner' profile. In addition to the win bet recommended in my Find Me a 100 Winner piece, 12.5 about a Top-Ten finish at the Honda rates excellent value.

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