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The Punter's Live Golf Blog: The Open Championship

The Open RSS / / 16 July 2011 / 16

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Darren Clarke – Can he hang on?

Darren Clarke – Can he hang on?

“Although it would be a fantastic story, I can’t help thinking Dazzler (currently [4.1] to back) is going to struggle to get the job done tomorrow and the market agrees. Even though he trails by a shot, Dustin Johnson heads the market at [3.80], but would I advocate steaming in at that price? No.”

Popular Irishman Darren Clarke takes a one shot lead into the final day but can he hang on?

23.50 - July 16, 2011

After a fascinating third day's play at Royal St Georges Darren Clarke will enter tomorrow's final round with a one shot lead over Dustin Johnson and we're heading for a thrilling final day but before I look at what tomorrow may bring, I'll just detail today's trading...

I'd written yesterday that a wrong forecast could cause carnage and after play ended today I couldn't help feeling a bit fortunate. The forecast had suggested a pretty foul day with a very slight improvement in conditions as the day wore on. What we actually got was a vast improvement and I couldn't help wondering what a mess I'd have been in had the forecast been even more wrong and the morning had been benign with worsening conditions. It doesn't bear thinking about!

As it is, the way things panned out suited me just fine and I've managed to get myself in a lovely position for tomorrow. I've listed today's in-running bets, and those that were made after play had finished. The upshot of all that activity is that should anyone on a score of +3 or better win tomorrow I'll have a profitable week.

By some distance, my best result would be a win for Rickie Fowler. As detailed in my Top American piece, I rated young Fowler the best value in the field this week and I wasn't alone here at betting.betfair.com. Dan Geraghty highlighted his chances and so did Romily Evans and Paul Krishnamurthy made him one of his Find Me A 100 Winner picks. And he's been knocking so hard at the door with that column that the hinges are definitely buckling!

Rickie put in one of the best Open rounds I've ever seen today
- shooting 68 in just about the worst of the weather. He was also drawn on the wrong side of the draw, so the fact that he trails Clarke by just three is admirable indeed. The groups drawn with an early start on Thursday shot an average of 3.15 strokes more than those that started the event on Thursday afternoon - a big disadvantage.

Although it would be a fantastic story, I can't help thinking Dazzler (currently [4.1] to back) is going to struggle to get the job done tomorrow and the market agrees. Even though he trails by a shot, Dustin Johnson heads the market at [3.80], but would I advocate steaming in at that price? No.

Johnson entered the final round of last year's US Open with a healthy lead and trading at heavy odds on but he failed to break 80! I'm not saying he's necessarily a lay at his current price but I wouldn't fancy backing him at the price.

Fowler hasn't won an event of any sort yet and was atrocious in the mix at the AT & T a couple of weeks back when entering the final round with every chance but I'm not looking to lay him yet. He has to win one sooner or later and boy was he impressive today.

Playing alongside Fowler and also trailing Clarke by three is Bjorn and he looks decent value at [17.0] if you're looking for a final day flutter but he does have a similar profile to Clarke and I do wonder if he had his chance back in 2003. The golfing gods rarely give a second chance.

I've backed Miguel Angel Jimenez, just to ensure a stress-free day, but I can't fancy him and at [20.0] he looks short enough. His playing partner, Lucas Glover, on the same -1 score and trading at around five or six points bigger, looks a much better bet. He played magnificently from tee to green today but putted deplorably. A better day with the flat-stick and he could be bang there tomorrow but I fancy the winner may well come from the two-ball that starts ten minutes before Mig and Lucas...

Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim have a great chemistry together, they make a great Ryder Cup pairing, and they could just feed off each other. They're both on level par and five behind Clarkey but they could yet have a big say in the outcome. And every credit to Dan Geraghty, he highlighted the chances of both before a ball was struck.

I'll be back tomorrow night or Monday with my De-Brief.

15.40 - July 15, 2011

There's no doubt about it, the players drawn late -early have definitely had the advantage. The scoring average yesterday afternoon was 71.21, compared with 72.86 in the morning - a difference of 1.65 shots and with the wind getting up again this afternoon, after a calm morning today, it's not going to be a level playing field at all.

As stated in the preview, my plan was to trade heavily over the first two days to try and get myself a decent portfolio going into the weekend. We're not there yet and I'm obviously still wary of a closer this afternoon but I'm more than happy with things...so far!

The best score of the day is 67 at this stage and with the weather seemingly worsening I can't see too many changes at the very top of the leaderboard today now. Only two winners in the last 15 years (Padraig Harrington 2007 and David Duval 2001) have been more than four shots off the lead at halfway so I fancy the winner is currently under par. After a busy day and a half, I've managed to get most of that bunch onside - all listed below. I also backed Lee Westwood early on but I managed to lay him back soon enough.

I haven't traded as well today and could and should have backed out of a few players as they stuttered. Bubba Watson in particular - I knew it was only a matter of time before he struggled but did precisely nothing about it and I've also taken pretty poor prices about Darren Clarke (tied for the lead at present) and Phil Mickelson.

Just to clarify my position, the selections made vary from being a great result (Charl Schwartzel) to a modest win (Phil Mickelson) and if I don't lay anything back or have the winner in my team I'm in for a poor week indeed.

My theory is that the weather will be so poor over the weekend that very few players will make a run from halfway and that I should be able to pick up any closers easily enough. We'll see. Things have gone to plan so far but a wrong forecast could cause total carnage! If the wind drops now or is benign until the leaders go out tomorrow I'm in big trouble. I could also do with young Rory McIlroy struggling this afternoon.

By the way, if you are trying to trade in-running and weren't aware, Radio Five is ahead of the TV fairly often...

21.00 - July 14, 2011

The event's 6th reserve, Thomas Bjorn, who only got into the event on Monday thanks to David Toms' late withdrawal, did his level best to lay the ghosts of 2003 to rest today. Bjorn had famously and tragically (especially if you were on!) thrown away this great tournament eight years ago here when he took three attempts to extricate himself from the greenside bunker on the 70th hole when holding a two-shot lead.

In by far the worst of the conditions this morning the Great Dane put up a masterful display of links golf to shoot a magnificent five-under par 65 - a total that wasn't matched until 7.20 this evening, when another Tom shot the same score.

20-year-old English amateur Tom Lewis, named after his playing partner Tom Watson, came into the event as a warm favourite to finish the week as top amateur - he's now been matched at just [40.0] to win the whole thing! It's seems we have a new phenom!

I'd written in my preview on Tuesday that the forecast suggested that those drawn late -early would have the advantage and for once the forecast was right. In fact, it was absolutely spot on and if it's right again tomorrow, poor old Bjorn could find himself a long way back by the time he tees off at 12.26. He could also find he's got his work cut out to catch up again because after a calm morning, the wind is due to pick up tomorrow, probably at about 12.26! Bjorn must think the golfing gods have something against him and you couldn't really argue with him could you!

I've had a long and tiring day's trading but it's gone quite well. Tomorrow (morning in particular) will be just as busy but by the time we reach halfway I'll hopefully be in a decent position. I've listed all the bets below. There were a few others that I layed back at around the same price but as I no longer hold the positions there's no point in listing them all.

I really should have gotten Graeme McDowell onside by now but other than that, I'm happy with things at this stage. I still believe, with worse weather forecast for the weekend, that it's absolutely essential to be right up there at the halfway stage and with the morning looking likely to provide the easiest playing conditions I'll be looking to get myself set up by lunchtime.

Pre-Event Selections

KJ Choi @ [65.0]
Rickie Fowler @ [120.0]
Alvaro Quiros @ [120.0]
Bubba Watson @ [130.0]
Y E Yang @ [150.0]
Robert Rock @ [180.0]
Simon Dyson @ [300.0]
Ryan Palmer @ [340.0]
Nicolas Colsaerts @ [350.0]
George Coetzee @ [430.0]
Thorbjorn Olesen @ [440.0]
Joost Luiten @ [48.0]
Gary Boyd @ [580.0]
Kyung-Tae Kim @ [680.0]

In Play trades

Day one

K J Choi Layed back at [60.0]
Thomas Bjorn @ [70.0]
Edoardo Molinari @ [100.0]
Chad Campbell @ [200.0]
Justin Leonard @ an average of [160.0]
Freddie Andersson-Hed @ an average of [200.0]
Tom Lewis @ [95.0]
Martin Kaymer @ [17.0]
Lucas Glover @ [50.0]
Webb Simpson @ [36.0]

In Play trades

Day two

Steve Stricker @ [21.0]
Charl Schwartzel [40.0]
Darren Clarke @ [20.0]
Jung-Gon Hwang @ [220.0]
Phil Mickelson @ [30.0]

In Play trades

Day three

Raphael Jacquelin @ [120.0]
Dustin Johnson @ [8.2]
Phil Mickelson (again) @ [36.0]
Anthony Kim @ [75.0]
Zach Johnson @ [150.0]

Close of play bets

Miguel Angel Jimenez @ [21.0]
Anders Hanson @ [65.0]
Davis love III @ [65.0]
Tom Lehman @ [190.0]
Adam Scott @ [230.0]
Freddie Jacobsen @ [450.0]


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  1. Anonymous | 14 July 2011

    This has to be biggest aftertiming blog in history. Not happy with your mass of pre event selections you then back nine more players who amasingly go on to have good rounds and are shorter in betting than when you backed them. How do you get away with such trash. 23 bets and all your best ones you only yell us about after the round. Rename this the live aftertiming blog

  2. bubba | 15 July 2011

    Tend to agree with the above. When and why did you back bjorn at 70 when you didnt mention him once before hand and by your own admision was on the worst side of the draw. Why do you not list your units staked and your win or loss amount?

  3. Steven RawlingsAuthor Profile Page | 15 July 2011

    Hi Anonymous,

    I’m very sorry to read your comments but please note that the event hasn’t finished yet and although I’m happy with the start I’ve made, there’s a long, long way to go.

    Please also refer to my preview piece where I set out my tactics for this week’s event, which detailed how I would be trading fervently for the first two days.

    That entails not moving from the pc ALL day, whilst simultaneously trying to watch the TV AND listen to five live. It’s not easy but hopefully it’s worth it in the end.

    Good luck with your bets and enjoy the rest of the tournament.

    All the best

  4. Steven RawlingsAuthor Profile Page | 15 July 2011

    Hi Bubba,

    Bjorn was on my long-list from the word go. His Open record prior to the 2003 debacle was fantastic and he’s a brilliant wind player who has already won this season. Once he started charging I wanted him onside.

    I backed him at 09.45, 09.50 and 9.58. Ironically, just before he made bogey!

    I don’t list my units staked or my win or loss amounts because I don’t want to, it’s that simple. I don’t see it as necessary.

    Good luck with your bets.


  5. Joe | 15 July 2011


    As the editor of these pages I'm really saddened to read your comments on Steve's blog. I guarantee you that Steve's blog is an honest account of his betting and accusations of aftertiming are nonsense, to be quite frank. Regular readers know that Steve never hides from his losses, documenting his bad weekends with great honesty.


  6. Alex | 16 July 2011

    As a huge fan and follower of Steve's blog, I think the comments listed above are quite rude...

    Each week Steve provides an excellent preview and most of the time he is right or nearly bang on the money, enabling the punter with excellent trading opportunities.

    In the past couple of months I have massively expanded my skills in golf trading with the help of Steve and various others. I myself took Bjorn in play (albeit at smaller odds of 55/1) because you have to understand how the markets work, what factors will affect it and get a feel for the odds. Believe me it is almost impossible to sort out your own trades and constantly blog at the same time, let alone trying to do anything else in your day!

    Even though I've said it many times before Steve, keep up the excellent work and let's hopefully have a very profitable weekend


    P.S. Yes I managed to get Martin Kaymer matched at 27/1 for a rather large amount so this could potentially be a great one. All the best.

  7. Gary | 16 July 2011

    Steve , what do you think are the best bad weather players ?

  8. Steven RawlingsAuthor Profile Page | 16 July 2011


    Your comments have cheered me up no end, thank you very much. I must admit I was a bit miffed that having set out the plan for the week in my preview and then seen the plan (so far – long way to go) come off, I was really disappointed in the negative comments.

    You’ve more than redressed the balance. Thanks again, and all the very best with Kaymer.


    With this weather in mind, my in-running plays have been on players that I think will handle this weather. Rory and Jimenez for example were ignored because I didn’t fancy they’d handle what’s going to be a war of attrition.

    It’s not been easy the first two days and all the leaders can handle wind but those I expect to hang tough the best today are Clarke and Bjorn.

    A mouth-watering weekend lies ahead and I can’t wait, this is a dozen times better than a dull birdie-fest.

    Good luck on the weekend.


  9. John T | 17 July 2011

    With respect, what is the point to all this. From the bets you have listed there are 38 backs and 1 lay yet within your blog you say you have backed and laid other players. If you are trying to relay an accurate account of your trade to your readers then shouldn't you be listing all your activity, not just the ones that appear to have put you in a good position.

    Whether you think some of the comments on here are rude or not you can't argue with the fact that nearly all of the players you told your readers that you backed during their rounds were all trading at shorter odds when your blog became available to view. That may not be your fault but in gambling you are asking for criticism when you uell people that you have done well after the event. If you are going to do a live blog then do it LIVE and not 12 hours later.

    I take no sides here but I can see why people are vexed at this blog. It's not live, you are not listing all your trades, you have a knack of backing players at bigger odds than they are when you tell your readers, and the whole exercise does seem pointless. Nevertheless I wish you well.

  10. Jay | 17 July 2011

    After knowing Steve for a number of years, I would simply say that I do know of some of Steve's bets and work, and can say that he does not after-time at all. I certainly appreciate the comments that it can look strange, but this is not a tipping column and is a betting blog. To list every bet he makes would be almost impossible, but the point is amde.

    I am just backing up the man's integrity, a given seing that all negative comments can be censored at BF's leisure and haven't been.

    By the way, I follow no tipsters, and don't play much on exchanges so have absolutely no other motive for this comment.

  11. Steven RawlingsAuthor Profile Page | 17 July 2011

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the feedback, and I can see why I’ve received a few negative comments and why you’ve queried the piece. Allow me to try and clarify a bit.

    You ask what is the point to all this? To respond to that first, most weeks I don’t trade anywhere near as heavily as I have this week and with hindsight relaying my movements in the usual way (please see past live blogs) and listing my positions hasn’t worked and looks odd. I changed tactics in my approach this week – as detailed in the preview and I should have changed tactics with this piece.

    Re your point about listing all trades, that would have just filled up too much space. For instance I traded Lee Westwood back and for a few times on Friday before reversing out at no cost. The same happened with a couple of players over the first couple of days.

    As I stated early, if you have the TV on and the radio and you’re prepared to stay put for three or if necessary four days solid, with such a buoyant market and a strong knowledge of the game, acquired over many years, as I hoped to demonstrate more clearly, profits await.

    Given this course appeared to favour front-runners and that the weather forecasted a fairly strong bias my plan was to construct the bulk of the portfolio over the first two days, before tweaking on the weekend. Mercifully the plan has worked well. The huge downside is that I perhaps haven’t communicated clearly and I do understand the accusations of aftertiming.

    I understand how it looks like I’ve got better prices at the time of publish on practically everyone but I’ve not done that well. Look at yesterday for example. The number one player I wanted and needed to get onside yesterday was Dustin Johnson. He traded at well over [20.0] yet I took [8.2]. And then there’s Jimenez, available for most of the day at larger than the [21.0] I took.

    My editor’s away for a few weeks but when he returns we’ll discuss the title. I can certainly see where you’re coming from John.

    Have a great day, and once again, thanks for the comments, they’re all very welcome and it’s feedback that will improve the column.


  12. Steven RawlingsAuthor Profile Page | 17 July 2011

    Thanks for your kind words Jay, have a great day.

  13. John T | 17 July 2011

    Thanks for taking time to reply Steve. I understand fully what you do and how you do it and I will always wish you well but I was trying to explain how other people might be viewing this blog.

    I don't think anyone has intentionally been rude they probably don't understand how trading works and how you appear to have backed so many players at better odds than they were when your blog was able to be viewed, but as you have since pointed out not all those players are big winners for you. I hope you trade well today.

  14. tom | 17 July 2011

    I count 40 bets in all call yourself a golf tipster that's a joke there is No way u can break even with that much staked...time for a new tipster I feel!

  15. Gary | 17 July 2011

    Hi Steve , Well that was hard work for a fairly small profit even though i first got on Big Darren at 90.0 and went green on the field early Saturay morning , its the first time i have done any trading and enjoyed it. If you have more tips on the best ways of going about it would be helpful . Hope you had a profitable weekend and enjoyed the golf .



  16. Paul Jones | 17 July 2011


    love your work, your blog is outstanding. Forget the negatives from the wombats that have no idea what they are talking about.

    Having said that, wonder if Facebook might be an option for the PGA blog ?

    Cheers, PJ.