Steve Rawlings has trawled the stats in search of a monster-priced winner at this week's USPGA Championship and top of his list is Si Woo Kim. Read who else makes the team and who came close here...
"Both Homa’s wins have come at tough tracks (Quail Hollow and Riviera) that have staged major championships and he’s a player that’s been overlooked this week. He’s a fabulous putter and I like his chances at odds in excess of 200.0199/1."
As highlighted in the preview, the USPGA Championship used to be a cracking tournament for big-priced outsiders.
The three winners between 2001 and 2003 were all huge outsiders and we could very easily have witnessed five longshot successes in-a-row to start the century. Tiger Woods beat Bob May in extra time in 2000 and the 2004 edition was won by Vijay Singh, after he beat big-outsiders Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard in a playoff.
Very few fancied 330.0329/1 chance Y.E Yang in 2008 and Keegan Bradley was a 650.0649/1 chance ten years ago but the only triple-figure priced winner since then is Jimmy Walker in 2016, who was 220.0219/1 shot. Maybe we're due another this week at the Pete Dye designed Ocean Course, Kiawah Island, as we're not short of highly plausible candidates...
Si Woo set to soar
When I looked at the USPGA Championship in detail, four stats stood out.
As many as nine of the last 11 winners were in their 20s, 18 of the last 21 winners had won an event earlier in the season, 22 of the last 35 champions (63%) were breaking their major duck and most importantly, the last 36 major championships (since Bradley won this one ten years ago) were inside the top-50 of the Official World Rankings when they won.
Only two players at a triple-figure price this week tick all four of those boxes, and one comes very close. I've backed all three of them and first up is the one with the strongest claims - Korea's Si Woo Kim.
Ranked at number 50 in the world, Kim looks a great fit. At only 25, he's already won three tournaments on the PGA Tour and he's been beaten in two playoffs.
After getting off the mark at the Wyndham Championship in 2016, he won the Players Championship at the Pete Dye-designed Sawgrass in 2017 before losing a playoff at another Dye-design, Harbour Town, in the RBC Heritage a year later. And back in January this year, he won the American Express, a tournament in which the field play the Dye-designed PGA West twice throughout the week. There aren't many players, if any, that play Pete Dye designs better than Kim.
His 55th in the Byron Nelson last week isn't anything to write home about but seeing fellow Korean, KH Lee, winning the event could be construed as a possible plus and I wouldn't be too concerned about his very recent form given he was 12th in the US Masters last month and ninth in the Players in March.
Hot Homa to enjoy the tough test
Having celebrated his 30th birthday in November, world number 40, Max Homa, doesn't quite tick all four boxes but I'm more than happy to overlook that slight misdemeanour and I really like his chances, despite a missed cut last time out...
Homa's weekend off at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago can be very easily forgiven. He'd won the event two years earlier so given the tournament was cancelled in 2020, he had the pressure of being the defending champion, and that was just days after a disappointing final round at the Valspar Championship.
Homa had entered the final round at the ultra-tough Copperhead track trailing by a stroke but a 74 on Sunday saw him slip to sixth. That could be construed as a negative but he was tied for the lead at the American Express (won by Kim) in January before a poor final round saw him fall outside the top-20 and he picked himself up after that to win the Genesis Invitational four starts later.
Both Homa's wins have come at tough tracks (Quail Hollow and Riviera) that have staged major championships and he's a player that's been overlooked this week. He's a fabulous putter and I like his chances at odds in excess of 200.0199/1.
Back Max Homa 1 ½ u @ 220.0219/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
Brilliant Bez a big price too
World number 41, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, won back-to-back events in his native South Africa at the end of last year but his best result since is a seventh at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March.
We haven't seen 27-year-old Bez since he finished 40th in the US Masters and 33rd a week later in the RBC Heritage, so we're a bit in the dark as far as current form is concerned but he's a quite brilliant scrambler and that looks like being very important this week so I'm happy to chance him at a huge price.
There are another five players inside the world's top-50 in search of their first major that have won this season, trading at 100.099/1 or bigger, but they're all over 30. I've listed them below, together with their world ranking, age, and exchange price at the time of writing.
Billy Horschel WR 18 (34yrs) 230.0229/1
Paul Casey WR 20 (43yrs) 100.099/1
Harris English WR 22 (31yrs) 160.0159/1
Kevin Na WR 34 (37yrs) 480.0479/1
Jason Kokrak WR 35 (35yrs) 160.0159/1
Although not official bets for the column, I've had a few pounds on this year's Sony Open winner, Kevin Na, because he's simply too big to ignore and I've also backed a couple of others that aren't on the list above.
The 2009 Open winner and world number 43, Stewart Cink, has already won twice this season, having claimed the Safeway Open and the RBC Heritage. An event he's now won three times. The stats would suggest he's too old at 47 but the course should suit him. Cink missed the cut at the Ocean Course back in 2012 but he was in terrible form at the time.
And finally, I must mention South Africa's Branden Grace, who I put up ante-post back in December at a shorter price than he trades at today. He's since won on the rarely encountered paspalum grass at the Puerto Rico Open in February (the same grass as the Ocean Course) but at 32, and with a world rankling of only 92, he doesn't quite fit the mould.
Grace is a terrific links exponent, who's best major finish came at the Dye-designed Whistling Straits in 2015 and although, like Cink, he missed the cut here nine years ago, he's also a winner of the RBC Heritage at the Dye designed Harbour Town and he should love the venue.
Despite winning, Grace has drifted since I took 200.0199/1 at Christmas but it's all swings and roundabouts. Viktor Hovland, who was put up at 50.049/1, is now a well-touted 24.023/1 chance.
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STEVE'S 2021 FIND ME A 100 WINNER P/L
Staked: 99 units
Returned: 32.5 units
P/L: -66.5 units