Find Me a 100 Winner: Three outsiders to follow at Colonial

Golfer Brian Harman
Brian Harman has a consistent record at Colonial

Paul Krishnamurty looks for value bets among those players trading at 99-1 or better in this week's PGA Tour event and he has three picks for the return of top-flight US action...

"These conditions should be perfect for a player like Brian Harman -accurate with a great short game. In his last six visits, he hasn't finished worse than 31st."

At last, golf is back and happily, with a tournament that we can really get stuck into! Whilst there are obvious known unknowns - for example how active players have been in lockdown or what the effect of playing without crowds will be - but at least at Colonial Country Club, we have many decades of trends and form to analyse.

Accuracy premium likely to increase

For a detailed overview of the Charles Schwab Challenge, be sure to check out Steve Rawlings' comprehensive tournament preview. One particularly relevant point he makes is how the rough won't be trodden down, thus increasing the importance of finding the fairway.

Driving accuracy was already more important at Colonial than most tracks and the new conditions must improve the claims of short, straight hitters (power off the tee has never been important here). Short game excellence is also very important, especially good putting on Bentgrass greens. Dry, firm, fast conditions will likely increase those premiums.

One further positive, specific to this column's task of finding value among the outsiders, regards the presence of Rory McIlroy. There aren't many events where I'd consider him to represent value and that particularly applies here.

Rory's advantage off the tee is largely nullified and, making his course debut, is at a considerable disadvantage. Yet by lining up, everyone else's odds are inflated.

Harman may be better suited than ever

Back Brian Harman 0.5u @ 150.0149/1
Back Brian Harman for a Top 10 Finish 1.5u @ 12.011/1

These conditions should be perfect for a player like Brian Harman - accurate with a great short game. In his last six visits, he hasn't finished worse than 31st and his particular skills-set is expected to be better rewarded this time.

Steve notes an interesting correlation with the John Deere Classic - at which Harman is a former champion among five top-30 finishes there. There's a slight negative in that he wasn't putting at his peak standard before the break, but he's only missed two cuts since last July. Hopefully his touch on the greens has been rejuvenated by a bit of practice during lockdown.

Back Joel Dahmen 2u @ 170.0169/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 14.013/1

My next pick didn't take long to choose. Dahmen has been on my radar as an improving outsider for some time and landed a substantial profit for us when fifth at Riviera. Indeed he started the season strongly with a quartet of top-15s from six starts and, critically, stayed active during lockdown, turning up at Scottsdale.

Numerous indicators point to Dahmen

Moreover, Dahmen scores well on numerous statistical indicators. Among these, he's top-25 for both accuracy and scrambling, 22nd for strokes gained: approach, 11th for par-four performance. He's a better player than when finishing 20th on his Colonial debut in 2018 - a decent number given the disadvantage debutants usually suffer. He's also a former John Deere runner-up.

Back Harry Higgs 1u @ 400.0399/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 15.014/1

Finally, I'm reluctantly overlooking the negative of being a course debutant with Harry Higgs. My logic is that as a Texan, he probably has some experience of Colonial and the odds are frankly huge about this top prospect.

Higgs has registered good numbers across the board during this rookie season, including second at the Bermuda Championship and ninth at Torrey Pines. Notably he ranks 14th for scrambling among these and second for par-four performance. The latter is a particularly important signal around this par-70.

As always, I'll close with some alternatives. Adam Hadwin 160.0159/1 has gone well fresh before and meets a lot of the above criteria. Steve has backed Corey Conners 180.0179/1 - number one for greens in regulation over the past year - and he made my shortlist. Another Texan on my list was Andrew Landry 480.0479/1, who has already won this year at The American Express.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty


2020: -10.5 units
2019: +70.5 units

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