Find Me a 100 Winner: A trio of outsiders to follow in Oman and at the Honda

Golfer Grant Forrest
Grant Forrest enjoyed a productive Gulf Swing
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Here's Paul Krishnamurty's analysis of the best outsider value in this week's two events. Check out his trio of picks and numerous alternatives...

"The Scot has prowess going back to his amateur days on links and tends to save his best results for exposed layouts."

Back Grant Forrest 0.5u @ [140.0]

Whether or not it pans out that way, this feels like a better week for backing outsiders than most we've encountered so far in 2020. Encouragement can be found in the rollcall of former winners, and as importantly places, in both the Oman Open and Honda Classic.

Links exponents trusted in Oman

First to the Gulf, where the European Tour schedule resumes. As always, check out Steve Rawlings' comprehensive tournament preview for the full lowdown but I'll simplify what we're primarily looking for here - players with pedigree on links, or very exposed courses. Power off the tee is also a notable advantage around a course with wide fairways.

Back Grant Forrest 0.5u @ [140.0]
Back Grant Forrest for a Top Ten Finish 1.5u @ [14.0]

This feels like an ideal opportunity to back Grant Forrest for a breakthrough. The Scot has prowess going back to his amateur days on links and tends to save his best results for exposed layouts - fourth place in Mauritius and sixth at the Trophee Hassan were his best results of 2019. Those events should correlate well.

Forrest's power should be a plus

Forrest hits it miles and has been putting excellently of late. He also enjoyed a relatively productive start to the Gulf Swing, making all three cuts, with top-30s in Dubai and Saudi. The negative is glaring - he struggled very badly on both previous visits to Oman. I'll forgive that, on the grounds that he is an erratic type and lighter winds should mean less penal conditions this year.

Back Matthew Jordan 0.5u @ [160.0]
Back Matthew Jordan for a Top Ten Finish 1.5u @ [13.0]

Much of that also applies to my second pick. Hailing from North-West England, Matthew Jordan produced his best amateur golf on links courses. Upon graduating to the main tour, his best performances came in tests that should correlate.

Jordan's best result is fifth among elite company in the Dunhill Links. He was also a respectable 25th on an exposed layout in the Portugal Masters and opened with a superb 63 when finishing an excellent 15th in the British Masters.

Crocker is first reserve

Several alternatives are worth a mention. Three of our five each-way selections are available at 99-1 plus on the exchange - Stephen Gallacher, Sebastian Heisele and Alexander Bjork.

My first reserve is Sean Crocker at [150.0]. The Zimbabwean should like the course (finished top-20 last year) and returned to my radar with a strong start to the Saudi Invitational.

The Honda Classic used to be one of this column's favourite events for outsider-punting but most recent winners have been predictable. Previewing the event, Steve Rawlings runs through some of the massive shocks we've had in the past and I'd also note several to have contended or been placed.

McNealy looks ready to breakthrough

Back Maverick McNealy 0.5u @ [190.0]
Back Maverick McNealy for a Top Ten Finish 1.5u @ [14.0]

I'll take a chance on a top prospect - formerly the number one ranked amateur in the world. Maverick McNealy definitely looks on the up. He arrives off ten straight cuts, with best finishes of fifth place at Pebble Beach and 15th Torrey Pines. Two courses and elite fields, where the cream generally rises to the top.

Moreover he ticks the correct statistical boxes for this particular challenge. Steve emphasises the importance of scrambling around PGA National - McNealy ranks 15th on that measure, while 35th for bogey avoidance is also respectable, and probably important around such a tough course. He was runner-up on his last visit to Florida, on the Kornferry Tour.

Others on my shortlist included Kyoung-Hoon Lee at [130.0], on the basis of his fine seventh on debut last year, plus some promising recent results. Matt Jones [170.0] also boasts both course and recent form. Finally Sam Burns [160.0] finished eighth on his 2019 debut, has played well twice this year and has a better record on Bermuda greens.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty


2020: -1.5 units
2019: +70.5 units

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