After banking a full each-way return on 45/1 Charley Hoffman last week, Dave Tindall seeks more profits with three tips for the annual trip to Muirfield Village...
"Cantlay ranked 5th for Approach and 11th Tee To Green at Kiawah Island. He was also 2nd Off The Tee so those numbers were back to the levels of early season on the West Coast when he was second at The American Express and third at Pebble Beach."
Main Bet: Patrick Cantlay each-way @ 21.020/1
Last year's Memorial Tournament worked out well for us at 20/1 tip Jon Rahm landed a three-shot win from Ryan Palmer.
There was no great rocket science involved although it did pay to dig down an extra layer when looking at Rahm's stats.
In that preview and, probably in most other Memorial previews, I made reference to it being a second-shot course, the standout feature of all Jack Nicklaus designs.
The Workday Charity Open had been played at Muirfield Village just the week before and the first three home - Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Viktor Hovland - had ranked 3rd, 2nd and 1st for SG: Tee To Green and 6th, 5th and 1st for SG: Approach.
Rahm had only ranked 24th and 22nd in those two categories when finishing tied 27th but in his closing round, a superb 64, he'd gained 4.313 strokes on Approach and 6.288 Tee To Green. It seemed Rahm had found something.
Thankfully it panned out that way. On the way to victory seven days later, the Spaniard backed the theory up by ranking 1st for SG: Tee To Green, picking up a whopping 15.462 strokes. He also ranked 10th in Approach.
The other stat I focused on was Par 5 Scoring and, again, Rahm followed the script nicely. He played Muirfield Village's long holes in a combined 9-under, ranking joint-second for the week on the Par 5s.
So, the obvious plan of attack is to look for this year's Rahm.
Ideally, there is a very strong fit: Patrick Cantlay.
Rahm had gone into that event on the back of rather iffy form of MC-33-37-27.
Cantlay's has been even worse: missed cuts in his last four strokeplay events before a tied 23rd in the PGA Championship.
This is where drilling down becomes interesting as Cantlay ranked 5th for Approach and 11th Tee To Green at Kiawah Island. He was also 2nd Off The Tee so those numbers were back to the levels of early season on the West Coast when he was second at The American Express and third at Pebble Beach.
And if he's going to showcase his return to form with another big finish, Muirfield Village is a perfect candidate.
He won this event in 2019, was fourth in 2017 and also seventh in the Workday Charity Open last year. He was ninth after 54 holes of the following week's Memorial but had a final-round shocker to finish tied 32nd.
On the way to victory in 2019, he said: "I like this golf course a lot. It's in great shape. And puts a serious premium of driving the ball in the fairway, which is one of my strengths. I feel comfortable around here, and it's nice to be here. I feel like I know the lines and what to expect.
"There's a lot of hole locations out here that you need to know where to feed the ball in from. And I'm starting to do it almost second nature now."
Finally, Cantlay is 31st for Par 5 scoring this year so let's play him at 20/1.
Next Best: Corey Conners each-way @ 34.033/1
A big part of the test at Muirfield Village is putting well on the super-quick greens.
Here's Jordan Spieth: "As different as it looks, it plays pretty similar to Augusta. Unless you're in the right spot where you're attacking, you have to take your medicine. Where on other courses you can knock in a 15-footer, here you have to play defensive because these greens are as fast as we see all year."
As at Augusta National, it's not always the best week-in, week-out putters who come to the fore here; rather, it's those who can perform solidly enough on the slick surfaces to make the most of their strong iron play.
Corey Conners would fall into this camp. The Canadian ranked third for Greens In Regulation at Augusta this year but was also a decent 20th in Putting Average. That solid all-round play helped him finish in a tie for eighth.
Like Augusta, Muirfield Village can take some learning and Conners seems to be making the right notes judged by the progression of his results.
The 29-year-old was 65th on his Memorial debut, 39th in last year's Workday and, a week later, 22nd in this event.
Conners has picked up at least five strokes on Approach in his last three events and he's been in the top 15 for Tee To Green in each of his latest three measured tournaments.
That all comes as no surprise so the question is this: does he putt well enough for a punt at 33/1?
If this tournament was all about the flatstick, probably not.
But Rahm was only 28th last year and take a look at recent runners-up as one of them was Byeong-Hun An! The Korean, who struggles badly on the greens, was 43rd for SGP that week while 2019 runner-up Adam Scott was 37th.
Perhaps the best evidence for the 'can't putt' brigade was Jason Dufner in 2017: he won the tournament with negative SGP figures.
Conners picked up 3.690 strokes on the field when leading round one of the PGA and recorded positive returns in two of his final three rounds when tied 20th at the Charles Schwab Challenge last week so let's not get too down on his putting.
Long game takes you far at Muirfield Village and that's why I'll happily play him each-way at 33/1.
Final Bet: Tony Finau each-way @ 29.028/1
For a final bet, I looked at some longer shots with good recent Approach numbers but couldn't really settle on anyone.
Keegan Bradley at 45s is an each-way option, as are 55/1 Gary Woodland and 50/1 Kevin Streelman.
Sam Burns is particularly interesting. He has some fantastic figures but withdrawing from the US PGA is a red flag. If it was purely bad back, that's a worry; if there was a case of "5-over-after-9-holes-itis" that suggests he's a bit mentally frazzled after the highs of recent weeks which climaxed with a first win.
But if Kiawah is ignored, 40/1 is interesting.
Former course winner Hideki Matsuyama at 22/1 could go well here again as the dust starts to settle on his breakthrough Masters win but I'll end by making a lot of you reel by backing Tony Finau at 28/1!
We all know the elephant in the room but one day Big Tone will jump aboard and ride it into the winner's circle. And Muirfield Village is a good candidate.
Let's join some dots which hopefully trace out the picture of Finau hoisting the trophy.
For starters, he's a big fan of this place. Four of his six starts have resulted in top 15s and they're bookended by tied eights on debut in 2015 and again last year when he, er, had a chance to win but didn't.
Finau was the leader after 18 and 36 holes, while he was second with a lap to go before his final-round stumble. Three of his previous four final rounds here were 67, 68 and 67 so that's worth a mention even if the obvious response is that he wasn't in contention ahead of those.
After a rocky patch, the Utah resident has found his mojo again with a pair of top 10s in the last two majors (T8 at Augusta and T10 at Kiawah Island) and a top 20 at Colonial last week.
He ranked third for SG: Tee To Green and put down his best Approach numbers since finishing runner-up at Riviera. Notably, his best Approach figures were recorded in round four (2.376).
The putting is something of a concern but we've already addressed that skill on this course and committed Finau followers will shout that he was third for Putting Average on lightning greens at Augusta.
In addition, Finau ranked 1st for PA in last year's Memorial so there's reason to hope that he'll perform much better with the putter this week. He's also 24th for Par 5 Scoring this season.
There's enough there for an each-way punt at 28/1 and imagine the thrill and kudos of saying you were on Finau when he did finally win again!
Dave's 2020/2021 P/L
2019/2020 P/L: +£13.83
2018/2019 P/L: -£338.25
2017/2018 P/L: +£362.84
2016/2017 P/L: +£1179.89