Find Me a 100 Winner: Outsider picks for the Travelers

Golfer Charley Hoffman
Charley Hoffman has the course form to bely enormous odds

The rescheduled PGA Tour moves onto River Highlands and an event Paul Krishnamurty describes as one of the best on the calendar for backing outsiders...

"Ryder is a capable type who has gone close before, in low scoring events. I reckon his best chances are at tracks like this with a premium on good approach play."

Back Sam Ryder 0.5u @ 800.0799/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 15.014/1

In normal circumstances, the Travelers Championship is one of this column's favourite events on the entire golfing calendar. A leveller from the outset and, as Steve Rawlings lays out in his comprehensive preview, a great tournament to trade in-running.

River Highlands offers prime conditions for upsets

River Highlands is a layout that brings short-hitters and veterans into the equation, while offering up plenty of birdies. Optimum conditions for an upset.

All that still applies but a vastly superior field to what we are used to in the old slot, following the US Open, is a gamechanger. This field is much stronger than usual and the market leaders look extremely formidable, especially given rain softening the greens.

Nevertheless, the odds reflect that strength up top. There are players on my shortlist going all the way up to the maximum odds of 1000.0 and dozens of classy proven winners at 100.099/1 plus.

Course experience bound to offer an advantage

Moreover, we have a vast bank of previous form to study and it should count for plenty. The great record of veterans and course specialists at River Highlands indicates that debutants and rare visitors will be at something of a disadvantage. Certainly on the greens, where a very hot putter is required.

Back Keegan Bradley 0.5u @ 210.0209/1
Back Keegan Bradley for a Top 10 Finish 1u @ 12.5

I'll start with one of the players tied for second last year. Keegan Bradley has made nine cuts from nine here and that was his second top-ten finish. Not all that surprising given the strength of his long game - the former PGA champion ranks 34th for strokes gained: tee to green.

Bradley returned with a respectable enough effort, finishing 32nd at the Charles Schwab having recorded four sub-70 rounds. He was 13th for strokes gained: putting at Colonial - a positive that makes me think he might putt better than usual this week, as required.

Hoff overpriced given course record

Back Charley Hoffman 1u @ 450.0449/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 15.014/1

Back Charley Hoffman Top-10 0.5u @ 20.019/1

There were fewer positives to take from Charley Hoffman's pair of missed cuts since the return, but these enormous odds look an over-reaction. Again, he has a fine course record - top-30 in seven of his last nine visits to River Highlands, thrice top-seven, twice top-three. Eyecatching numbers given these place odds.

The lack of immediate recent form is forgiveable here, because Charley has never been all that consistent and more a 'horses for courses' type. Before the break he missed several cuts but equally, top-13 finishes in classy company at Bay Hill and Torrey Pines read well enough.

Back Sam Ryder 0.5u @ 800.0799/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 15.014/1

Back Sam Ryder for a Top 20 Finish 1u @ 14.5

Here's a player who often strikes me as well-suited to the trading purposes of this column, because he has a tendency to do his best work at the start of a tournament before fading. That was the case when 11th at halfway last week, when third at the same stage of the Sony Open and couple of times previously in the autumn.

Nevertheless Ryder is a capable type who has gone close before, in low scoring events. I reckon his best chances are at tracks like this with a premium on good approach play. He enjoyed a fair debut here in 2018, finishing 26th and, according to Future of Fantasy, has a much better record when putting on Bentgrass.

Munoz rated best value among rest

The importance of course form led me to overlook a trio debutants who otherwise would tick several boxes. Doc Redman 310.0309/1, Matthew Nesmith 410.0409/1 and Harry Higgs 440.0439/1 all nevertheless are at eyecatching odds.

First reserve is Sebastian Munoz 350.0349/1 - a good putter with better numbers than the odds suggest. Carlos Ortiz also made the shortlist at 290.0289/1. On wider numbers beyond this course, 730.0729/1 about Mark Hubbard looks too big.

Finally with reference to previous course form, the maximum odds of 1000.0 about two-time champion Stewart Cink make some appeal, considering he was second (his fifth top-five finish) last year.

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty


2020: -21.5 units
2019: +70.5 units

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