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The Punter's In-Play Blog: Van Rooyen still well placed for breakthrough win

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Justin Thomas looks a certainty from six ahead
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Paul Krishnamurty has some promising positions on both events heading into Sunday's final round. Check out his thoughts and plans here...

"Erik Van Rooyen starts three back but only one off third place so well-positioned if the leaders stall. Although yet to win, he's the class act on this leaderboard. Very much overdue."

Back Erik Van Rooyen 4u @ [12.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [4.0]

10:00- August 17, 2019

Czech Masters Leaderboard

-16 Thomas Pieters [2.78]
-15 Adri Arnaus [5.3]
-14 Edoardo Molinari [12.0]
-14 Rikard Karlberg [15.0]
-14 Robert Karlsson [16.5]
-14 Hugo Leon [21.0]

Of today's two tournaments, there's no question which one is a more competitive betting heat. With 15 players within five shots of final round leader Thomas Pieters and within three of third place, the Czech Masters has plenty of scope for final day drama.

However before taking on the leaders, check the past stats for the Albatross Course. They offer a very clear signal.

In five renewals, every winner started the final round either first or second. Moreover, every player to finish first or second started the round in either position.

This is evidently not a catch-up friendly layout, although one could assume otherwise given the very low scores out there. I reckon -18 is the minimum required - so somebody like my 100 Winner pick JC Ritchie on -11 could still get there with 65. I'm entitled to carry on dreaming for another hour or two.

Yesterday's two bets are still very much alive. Adri Arnaus hasn't quite shortened to the [4.0] target that will cover all the outright risk. I'm confident he will and wouldn't deter anyone from a bet now at [5.4].

Pieters is a strong favourite, on a course he evidently loves. He led going into the final round here in both 2015 and 2016, converting the first time. He is erratic though, and ranks 74th for driving accuracy this week. He failed to convert his last three chances holding a final day lead so the [2.78] makes no appeal at this stage.

I'm having one bet - Erik Van Rooyen at [12.0]. The South African starts three back but only one off third place so well-positioned if the leaders stall. Although yet to win, he's the class act on this leaderboard. Very much overdue.

Perhaps he's already thrown in the bad round on Friday and coming from off the pace may help. The plan is a back-to-lay, again setting an order at [4.0] to bank a profit.

Recommended bet

Back Erik Van Rooyen 4u @ [12.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [4.0]

Already advised

Back Matthias Schwab 4u @ 14.5
Back Adri Arnaus 2u @ 24.0
Place order to lay both players 10u @ 4.0
Back Bernd Wiesberger 4u @ [13.0]
Place order to lay 10u @ [10.0]

BMW Championship Leaderboard

-21 Justin Thomas [1.19]
-15 Patrick Cantlay [17.0]
-15 Tony Finau [21.0]

I'm not planning to cash out of yesterday's bet on Justin Thomas for the BMW. What a remarkable round that was last night and a joy to watch.

JT's 61 - including a bogey and a penalty stroke - was one of the rounds of the season and ever in a FedEx play-off. There's no question about his bottle or temperament in front so, whilst the immediate chasers are also elite class, a six shot lead looks too much to overturn.

Rather than looking for a bet, I intend to sit back and cheer a winner.

Already advised

Back Justin Thomas 5u @ [7.4]
Back Xander Schauffele 2u @ [16.0]

10:30- August 17, 2019

BMW Championship Leaderboard

-12 Hideki Matsuyama [6.2]
-11 Patrick Cantlay [6.2]
-11 Tony Finau [8.8]
-10 Justin Thomas [7.4]

For various reasons - starting the week late following a break, simultaneously following the Ashes and the other golf event in Prague - I find myself in the very rare position of having literally no bets going into the weekend of an elite PGA Tour event.

That is no bad thing! To be completely honest, I find pre-tournament betting at this level very hard in this ultra-competitive era. How to separate 15 world-class market leaders, all capable of producing an unbeatable performance on any given week? It is arguably better to wait for the early rounds to winnow that number down.

At halfway, I'm confident we can restrict calculations to the 20 players within five of Matsuyama's lead. Moreover given their class, the top-four will take plenty of beating.

Nothing has shifted my view that Medinah is the sort of championship course - favouring power and great iron play - where the cream rises to the top. Outsiders for once don't really interest me.

In fact, while the likes of McIlroy and Rahm are naturally respected from off the pace, I'm focused on those higher up, on -9 or better. Scoring is excellent so, to be in the mix tomorrow, players will need to get to around -14 tonight.

There's likely to be a lot of pressure around, given the importance in relation to the FedEx Cup. That counts as a negative for Tony Finau and, more controversially, Patrick Cantlay, on the basis of their dire conversion ratios.

Granted, everybody knows what a prospect Cantlay is in particular, and the way he delivered in the final round of The Memorial suggests he's a different animal nowadays. Nevertheless, I prefer to back a pair with proven pedigree in contention.

Proven multiple winner preferred

Justin Thomas has looked like a winner-in-waiting of late, since fully recovering from a wrist injury. He would have probably been my number one pick at [17.5] pre-tournament so [7.4] from this position is perfectly reasonable.

Second, from the batch on -9, [16.0] about Xander Schaufelle appeals. This guy knows how to win - four times in a short PGA Tour career - and specifically to peak in the biggest events. Combined, I'm confident this pair can set up a nice trading position for Sunday.

Recommended bets

Back Justin Thomas 5u @ [7.4]
Back Xander Schauffele 2u @ [16.0]

07:00- August 17, 2019

Czech Masters Leaderboard

-12 Edoardo Molinari [5.5]
-10 Thomas Pieters [5.5]
-9 Matthias Schwab [14.5]
-9 Sam Horsfield [21.0]
-9 Hugo Leon [34.0]
-9 Robert Karlsson [30.0]

At least in theory, everyone who made the weekend cut in Prague can still win the tournament. Only nine strokes separate them, with only seven between second and last. Paul Peterson won from eight back at halfway in 2016 and very low scores are available - we've already seen numerous 65s and a 64.

A perfect scenario for a Moving Day turnaround? Maybe but, as explained yesterday, front-runners also have a good record at The Albatross. And today's final group does not lack pedigree.

Molinari preferred in leading group

Both Edoardo Molinari and Thomas Pieters are multiple winners and, at their best, were Ryder Cuppers. The former has been in eyecatching form of late and has always been a likeable type in contention. I certainly wouldn't lay him at [5.5] because he looks sure to be in the Sunday shake-up.

Pieters is less reliable. He is world-class at best and has a win and a second to his name on the course, but hasn't enjoyed a good summer and is very erratic. In this case I am inclined to take him on at short odds but, rather than laying in the outright market, prefer to back Molinari at 15/8 to win their 2-ball. Much too big over 18 holes in my view.

Karlsson expected to fall away

I also like the penultimate 2-ball, where the consistent Matthias Schwab is 5/6 to get the better of veteran Robert Karlsson.

Karlsson hasn't made a top-20 for a year and, with the field so bunched, is far from certain to achieve that despite sitting third at halfway. Whereas the Austrian, for my money, is a big contender.

So far as the outright betting is concerned, I don't want to look too far down the leaderboard. I'm expecting a winning score of around -18 and the leaders are pretty strong, so am restricting calculations to the 13 players within four of Molinari's lead.

That means discounting yesterday's pick Bernd Wiesberger. Obviously he can win from there but there is a lot of traffic, so I'll be retrieving the four unit stake if he shortens to [10.0] to set up a small 'risk-free' position. He's currently available at [18.5] so this isn't a huge ask.

Trade these would-be first-time winners

The two trades I like here are Schwab at [14.5] and Adri Arnaus at [24.0]. These are both very likeable prospects. I've been backing Schwab regularly at big odds for a year or so with some trading success, but he still hasn't converted from several weekend opportunities.

His fortunes, and to some extent temperament, in contention are bound to improve with all that experience and his odds can trade a lot shorter than this.

As for Arnaus, he's got the power to do damage on this course as yesterday's 66 demonstrated. He's already been twice runner-up in this rookie season.

The plan is to place lay orders on both players at [4.0], for ten units - equivalent to the entire in-play outright stake so far.

Recommended bets

Back Matthias Schwab 4u @ [14.5]
Back Adri Arnaus 2u @ [24.0]
Place order to lay both players 10u @ [4.0]

**Updated position - Place order to lay Bernd Wiesberger 4u @ [10.0] - already advised 4u @ [13.0]

Back Matthias Schwab 6u @ [1.9] (vs Karlsson) (Starts 13.10)

Back Edoardo Molinari 3u @ [2.84] (vs Pieters) (Starts 13.20)

Favourites have winning pedigree to prove

Though a multiple winner in Asia, Green has yet to break through in Europe and the same can be said of co-favourite Eric Van Rooyen. The South African is a superb prospect but has imploded in front on multiple occasions and can't seem to put four good rounds together.

It isn't hard to envisage either playing a big part over the weekend but, for those reasons, both are happily swerved at single-figure odds. It is too early and there's no shortage of alternatives.

It isn't clear whether the Albatross particularly favours front-runners or catch-up golf. As Steve explained in his tournament preview, we've seen leaders dominate but also a miraculous comeback from eight back at halfway.

From that perspective it is too early to write off any of the ninety players under par, but I do think catch-up will be hard because there will be so much traffic. Best, at this stage at least, to stick to the 15 players within three of the lead.

Wiesberger looks sure to contend

A large share among that bunch are either non or rare winners. Those with course pedigree - Thomas Pieters or Lee Slattery - have generally been struggling.

The name that stands out is Bernd Weisberger. Bang-in-form with two recent wins, consistent, certain to carry market respect if anywhere near the lead on Sunday. A must for the weekend book.

The Austrian also very much fits the stats for this challenge. Amongst these, he's second for par-five performance and third for strokes gained: approach.

I'll be back tomorrow with a look at the BMW Championship.


Recommended bets

Back Bernd Wiesberger 4u @ [13.0]


18:00- August 15, 2019

Czech Masters Leaderboard

-8 Gavin Green [7.0]
-7 Eric Van Rooyen [7.0]
-7 Lee Slattery [16.0]
-6 Edoardo Molinari [23.0]
-6 Callum Shinkwin [25.0]
-6 J.B. Hansen [32.0]
-6 Hugo Leon [60.0]

History repeated itself in Prague today as Gavin Green claimed the first round lead, shooting 64. He did exactly the same 12 months ago en route to finishing third. Coming off a spate of high finishes, the Malaysian looks sure to remain a factor from here.

Favourites have winning pedigree to prove

Though a multiple winner in Asia, Green has yet to break through in Europe and the same can be said of co-favourite Eric Van Rooyen. The South African is a superb prospect but has imploded in front on multiple occasions and can't seem to put four good rounds together.

It isn't hard to envisage either playing a big part over the weekend but, for those reasons, both are happily swerved at single-figure odds. It is too early and there's no shortage of alternatives.

It isn't clear whether the Albatross particularly favours front-runners or catch-up golf. As Steve explained in his tournament preview, we've seen leaders dominate but also a miraculous comeback from eight back at halfway.

From that perspective it is too early to write off any of the ninety players under par, but I do think catch-up will be hard because there will be so much traffic. Best, at this stage at least, to stick to the 15 players within three of the lead.

Wiesberger looks sure to contend

A large share among that bunch are either non or rare winners. Those with course pedigree - Thomas Pieters or Lee Slattery - have generally been struggling.

The name that stands out is Bernd Weisberger. Bang-in-form with two recent wins, consistent, certain to carry market respect if anywhere near the lead on Sunday. A must for the weekend book.

The Austrian also very much fits the stats for this challenge. Amongst these, he's second for par-five performance and third for strokes gained: approach.

I'll be back tomorrow with a look at the BMW Championship.


Recommended bets

Back Bernd Wiesberger 4u @ [13.0]

Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Paul Krishnamurty,

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