Sam Horsfield won the Celtic Classic and 1000.0 chance Jim Herman was victorious at the Wyndham Championship. Steve Rawlings looks back at the two tournaments...
“Herman was a 50.049/1 chance after three rounds and this is most definitely an event for outsiders – he’s the third 1000.0 chance to win in the last 11 years following Arjun Atwal in 2010 and Davis Love III in 2015.”
From the moment he rolled in his eagle putt on the 18th green on Friday, pre-event 30.029/1 chance Sam Horsfield looked the most likely winner of the Celtic Classic. Horsfield, who won the Hero Open two weeks ago, eventually sealed victory at Celtic Manor by two strokes.
Thomas Pieters took up the running in round three and he was matched at as short as 1.794/5 but he triple-bogeyed the driveable but dangerous par four 15th and bogeyed the 16th and it was pre-tournament 100.099/1 shot, Connor Syme, who took the slenderest of leads into yesterday's fourth and final round.
That lead had gone after the Scotsman bogeyed the first and Horsfield was never headed after he rolled in a lengthy birdie putt on the third. There was a break in play due to lightning and the only thing likely to scupper the cool Englishman's serene passage to victory was the descending darkness.
Over at the Wyndham Championship, pre-event 42.041/1 chance, Si Woo Kim, led by two with a round to go and he traded at a low of 1.855/6 early in round four but a lost ball on the sixth hole led to a double-bogey six that stopped him in his tracks.
After picking up five strokes in five holes from the fourth hole, pre-event 38.037/1 shot, Billy Horschel, looked the man most likely to capitalise on the Korean's misfortune and he was matched at a low of 1.292/7 but a bogey at nine stopped the run and 1000.0 shot, Jim Herman, who had sat tied for 36th and fully five strokes off the halfway lead, was the man to come through and take the title.
Herman came into the event in seemingly poor form and this was only his second top-25 finish in the last two seasons. His last top-25 was his win at the Barbasol Championship last July so he's ruthless in-contention. As you'll see below, his 61-63 on the weekend was a record-equalling effort.
Jim Herman: 124 on the weekend ties the lowest closing 36-hole total in @PGATOUR history by a winner (Stuart Appleby, 2010 Greenbrier)? Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) August 16, 2020
Not only did he go ridiculously low over the weekend, he also birdied three of his last four holes on Friday when he wasn't even certain to make the cut!
As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, I backed Horsfield at halfway at 4.77/2 and it was another profitable week. But yet again it felt like a week that could have been so much better.
Pre-event pick, Andrew Johnston threatened to challenge more ardently at Celtic Manor all weekend but he never traded below 7.26/1 and I didn't lay any of my modest wager back. And the result in the States was very disappointing.
Having backed Kim after round one at 22.021/1, I was quite hopeful that he'd convert from the front and if he failed, then I had pre-event 120.0119/1 pick, Doc Redman, waiting in the wings.
I layed some of my Redman wager back during the third round and I again layed him last night at as low as 3.814/5 so both tournaments were nicely profitable. But given he's the third triple-figure pre-event pick to trade short and get beat in the last three weeks, following 200.0199/1 chance Brendon Todd and 300.0299/1 US PGA Championship pick Cameron Champ, it was disappointing to get a third in-a-row come up short, having hit a low of 3.613/5.
Is a Home Game Easier With No Fans?
There's often a debate as to how much advantage someone has playing at their local course, in their home state, or even just their own country. Very often someone playing at their local track is bet down to a price that doesn't represent value and they usual fail to perform.
The course being set up differently to how it ordinarily plays could be one reason locals often fail to perform but the presence of family and friends, and their expectations, is another very plausible reason for underachievement. The obligation to sort tickets, to be sociable, and the hassle of being recognised constantly must all be distracting. So it's perhaps not surprising that we've witnessed a number of players performing well in their home states or countries since the restart without fans.
On the European Tour, following Sam Horsfield's win yesterday, an Englishman has won the last three events - two in England and one next door in Wales - and the last couple of results in the States have also seen the locals thrive.
At last week's Wyndham Championship, numerous Carolinians contended strongly and the US PGA Championship was won by Californian, Collin Morikawa with fellow Californians, Matthew Wolf, Xander Schauffele and Cameron Champ all inside the top-ten.
Finding the Fairways is the Key to Sedgefield Success
The first and second ranked tied first for Par 4 Scoring, which is always a key stat at Sedgefield, and Herman holed a ridiculous footage of putts over the weekend to win but finding the fairways is arguably the most essential aspect of anyone's game. The rough is awkward to play from and getting within birdie range is nigh on impossible if you stray from the cut and prepared. The first six players home on Sunday ranked fourth, fifth, first, eighth, 13th and 17th for driving Accuracy.
Since returning to Sedgefield the in-running stats at the Wyndham are just weird. There have been 13 renewals so far. We've seen eight 54-hole leaders win, one player won from three back and after Herman's success, we've had four winners come from four back. Herman was a 50.049/1 chance after three rounds and this is most definitely an event for outsiders - he's the third 1000.0 chance to win in the last 11 years following Arjun Atwal in 2010 and Davis Love III in 2015.
The European Tour stays put this week, with the Wales Open, just like last week's Celtic Classic, being held at Celtic Manor and on the PGA Tour, the FedEx Cup Playoffs kick off in Boston with the Northern Trust Open. I'll be back later today or tomorrow with the previews.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter
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