OHL Classic Tips: Lahiri can land first win

Anirban Lahiri looks primed to make breakthrough
Anirban Lahiri looks primed to make breakthrough

Dave Tindall looks for more profits in this week's PGA Tour event in Mexico...

"The Indian, who finished runner-up at Memorial earlier this year, had to settle for T51 in Las Vegas on Sunday but prior to that he’d recorded three straight top 10s."

Main Bet: Back Anirban Lahiri @ 40/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 7 places

Main Bet: Back Anirban Lahiri e.w. @ 40/1

Anirban Lahiri has yet to win on the PGA Tour but I think he has a golden chance to cross the line first in this week's OHL Classic in Mexico.

The Indian, who finished runner-up at Memorial earlier this year, had to settle for T51 in Las Vegas on Sunday but prior that he'd recorded three straight top 10s.

That burst started with T9 in the BMW Championship in September and T10 at the CIMB Classic and T4 at the CJ Cup in October.

It's the middle result in that trio that interests me most as the CIMB Classic is played at TPC Kuala Lumpur which features the rarely-used Paspalum greens.

Those are the putting surfaces at El Camaleon this week and Lahiri clearly likes them. He finished a healthy 13th in Putting Average at the CIMB this year and topped that stat when taking third at the Malaysian event in 2016.

In short, it's pretty easy to make an intelligent guess that the 30-year-old would shine at El Camaleon and we already have evidence that he does from his performance here last year.

Twelve months ago, Lahiri opened 69-67-66 to sit 14th with a round to go before slipping back to 28th.

He ranked in the top 20 for Putting Average that week so took to these particular Paspalum greens pretty well and there's every reason to believe that, in his current form, he can really kick on and make a title push this time.

Basically, we're looking at a very in-form player heading to a course which suits and the opposition isn't that great. All in all the 40/1 could look very good on a golfer starting to come into his prime.

At the front of the market I can't say I'm rushing to back Rickie Fowler at a single-figure price on a course where he won't be able to just keep thrashing driver.

And I can't quite get my head around seeing Pat Perez at 12/1. I know he's the defending champion and a recent winner but even so!

Next Best: Back Kevin Streelman e.w. @ 50/1

As this isn't the week in, week out test on the PGA Tour, I do think course form at El Camaleon counts for plenty.

And that's what leads me to Kevin Streelman at an attractive 50/1.

The American was T28 in debut in 2008, closed with a 64 to take third place in 2009 and, since the tournament moved to a November slot, he's posted T34 in 2015 and fourth last year after a 64, a pair of 65s and a costly 73 on day two.

"Great first, third and fourth rounds, just struggled there on Friday which cost me winning the tournament," he said.

Asked if thought the course suited, Streelman replied: "I do. I consider my driver one of my best assets of my game and you've got to drive it straight out here.

"But if you do drive it straight out here, you have a number of wedges and a number of other clubs you can attack with. That's what I was able to really do. I only had one bad drive really today that got me out of position.

"If you can do that out here, you're going to have a lot of looks at birdie, which I did this week."

Streelman, like Lahiri, didn't do much in Las Vegas last week but he showed up well in two early-season events last month with T13 in the Safeway Open and T10 at the Southern Farms Championship.

In the Safeway, he was 5th for Driving Accuracy and 7th for Greens in Regulation while at the Southern Farms, the two-time PGA Tour winner ranked 20th for DA and 1st for GIR.

Having won the 2014 Travelers with seven closing birdies in Sunday's final lap, Streelman can really get on a roll and his round scores here reflect that ability to rack up the par breakers.

With six top 20s in his last 12 PGA Tour starts, the 39-year-old is clearly playing some consistent golf and past course form at El Camaleon suggest this could be the week when he takes it up a notch.

Sticking to course horses, Russell Knox very much comes into that category after a second (2015) and a third (2016) in the last two years.

He loves this type of test but has shown nothing for months apart from an out-of-the-blue top five at Firestone.

Charles Howell at 45/1 has each-way potential.

The notorious non-winner has six top 20s here in his last seven visits and two of the last four were a sixth and a seventh.

He's in decent nick too after T19 at the CJ Cup in South Korea and T15 in the WGC-HSBC Champions but, of course, you don't get paid out for finishing in the top 20 so he'd have to be downgraded to someone to look at in a side market.

Next Best: Back Ollie Schniederjans e.w. @ 40/1

Ollie Schneiderjans certainly doesn't have course form after shooting 74-77 on debut in 2016.

That might be enough to put many off and give the conclusion that this just simply isn't his track.

I don't really know what went on that week but he arrived in Mexico after missed cuts at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and Safeway Open.

Three of his four rounds in those events were 75, 77, 77 so clearly he was in poor form.

That's not the case this time as a more mature Schniederjans has just racked up three straight top 25s.

That started with T17 in the Safeway Open, T23 at the CIMB Classic and T19 in the CJ Cup.

One obvious question to ask is "how did he do on the Paspalum greens in Kuala Lumpur?"

The answer is the one we want - 8th for Putting Average and 6th for Putts Per Round.

We can also build his case by looking at other courses where he's done well.

The best results of his fledgling career so far were second place in the Wyndham Championship and third at The Heritage.

That should set off another klaxon as those two short, strategic courses have much in common with El Camaleon.

Graeme McDowell is a winner at Hilton Head (2013) and landed this event in 2015, Brian Gay has triumphed at both courses too and there's no end of other correlating course evidence between the two par 71s.

G-Mac is certainly another to consider this week given his T10 in Las Vegas on Sunday.

But it's Schniederjans I like best as the next young gun to break through following Patrick Cantlay last week.

When he got pipped at the Wyndham in late August, the 24-year-old did so despite closing with a 64.

"No regrets from today. Played as hard as I could and met all my goals mentally and I would have taken 64 to start the day and liked my chances of winning.

"So, lot of positives, obviously, and thrilling to be there in the mix on Sunday and form like that."

That certainly bodes well for when he gets in contention again and hopefully it's here.

He seems to do well in low-scoring events and shot a 61 when winning with 17-under on the Web.com Tour last season.

The OHL has been won with -21, -18, -17 and -21 the last four years.

No-one leaps out at a three-figure price this week although that's okay as four of the last five winners here were between 25s and 66s and that's where Lahiri, Streelman and Schniederjans fall.

Dave's 2017/18 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £150
Returned: £675
P/L: +£525

(After the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open)

P/L: +£1179.89

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