Find Me a 100 Winner: A trio of outsiders to follow in Detroit

Golfer Harry Higgs
Harry Higgs is enjoying a fine rookie season

Paul Krishnamurty is on the hunt for value among the outsiders at this week's PGA Tour event. Check out his preview here...

"For my money, Hoge is ideally suited to a low-scoring affair, as proved when finishing runner-up at last year's Greenbrier Classic"

Back Tom Hoge 1u each-way @ 125-1 (1/5 odds, eight places)

Following three events on the rescheduled PGA Tour that involved much stronger fields than in previous years, this week feels more normal. The second renewal of the Rocket Mortgage Classic is pretty much the same standard as the first.

The fact it was dominated by a 500-1 outsider in Nate Lashley, with several other outsiders in the frame, bodes well for this column's purposes. So too does the fact this is expected to be a very low scoring affair, requiring stacks of birdies.

Par-four performance could be a key indicator

One notable stat from that inaugural renewal was the importance of par-four performance, using the course compatibility measures at Those holes made a considerably greater impact on scoring than would normally be the case for a par-72. For the full, detailed lowdown on Detroit Golf Club, check out Steve Rawlings' comprehensive preview here.

Back Maverick McNealy 0.5u @ 140.0139/1
Back Maverick McNealy for a Top 10 Finish 1.5u @ 11.010/1

I'll start with a player whom I'm sceptical should be within our triple-figure odds range. Maverick McNealy is an excellent prospect and was making strong headway prior to the break. On returning to action he hasn't excelled but made both cuts and hit a pair of 66s at the Heritage.

McNealy has now made 13 of his last 14 cuts and recorded top-15 finishes in stronger fields at the Honda Classic, Farmers Insurance Open and Pebble Beach, where he was fifth. The last two are a good signal, as both involve courses with small greens.

His stats read pretty well too. Amongst these, he ranks 15th among these for birdie average, 14th for strokes gained putting, 17th for par-four performance. Just the ticket for this course. So too eighth for bogey avoidance, given that the rough is reportedly more penal and the inevitability of missing greens here.

Is Hoge creeping back to form?

Back Tom Hoge 1u each-way @ 125-1 (1/5 odds, eight places)

Tom Hoge took a couple of weeks to get back into the groove but last week's effort - 37th after falling back in the final round - was more respectable. Could we now see a return to the form shown before the break, which entailed a quartet of top-15s in stronger company?

On that basis he looks under-estimated at these odds. True, he missed the cut last year but that was during a dire run. For my money, he is ideally suited to a low-scoring affair, as proved when finishing runner-up at last year's Greenbrier Classic - which Steve argues offers a useful guide.

Stats-wise among these, Hoge ranks 15th for par-four performance, 13th for proximity and, most impressively, ninth for strokes gained: approach.

Back Harry Higgs 1u @ 340.0339/1
Place order to lay 15u @ 16.015/1

Back Harry Higgs for a Top 10 Finish 1u @ 16.015/1

Higgs is another emerging talent whom I'm keen to keep onside, and usually available at huge odds. The 28-year-old is only 18 starts into his PGA Tour career, which begun with a top-20 finish at the aformentioned Greenbrier. He's made 13 cuts, six top-25s including ninth at Torrey Pines (small greens) and Houston.

The statistical angle here is par-four performance - only Webb Simpson and Bryson Dechambeau rank higher among this field. Higgs also ranks top-16 for both scrambling and putting average among these, so good news for converting birdie chances and saving pars.

Stallings is first reserve in case of withdrawals

Regarding alternatives, I'm very keen on Dave Tindall's headline each-way pick Scott Stallings at 120.0119/1. He's first reserve. A couple of Steve's outsiders also made my list - Patton Kizzire and Ryan Armour - but their odds have fallen somewhat.

Mark Hubbard makes some appeal on the basis of his consistent results that belies odds of 240.0239/1. Finally Talor Gooch 400.0399/1 made the top-20 on debut last year and remains a player to follow.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty


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