The Punter's De-Brief: Cream rises to the top on both tours

Golfer Justin Rose
A jubilant Justin Rose on the 18th green at Torrey Pines

Steve Rawlings takes his traditional look back at last week's golf action where there were wins for the favourite in Dubai and the second favourite in California. Read our man's recap of all the action here...

“It hasn’t been a pleasant week. Pre-event 200.0199/1 pick, Lucas Herbert, hit the front in Dubai after two rounds but was given a two-stroke penalty on the third hole on Saturday and things pretty much went downhill from there.”

In stark contrast to the week before, when we had a 100.099/1 winner on the European Tour, in the shape of Shane Lowry, and an utterly implausible victor in the States, with 1000.0 shot, Adam Long, winning the Desert Classic, the layers took a hit last week with the highest ranked player in each event comfortable winning on both tours.

Bryson DeChambeau cruised to a record-breaking 24-under-par total at the Emirates Golf Club to win the Dubai Desert Classic by fully seven shots, having began the week as the 10/1 favourite and Justin Rose rubber-stamped his position at the top of the world rankings with a dominant display at Torrey Pines, where the pre-event 18/1 chance went on to win the Farmers Insurance Open by two over a resurgent Adam Scot.

As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, DeChambeau began the final round leading by a stroke and trading at just a shade of odds-on. Matt Wallace, who eventually finished alone in second, birdied the first to suggest he might put in something of a challenge and he was matched at a low of 6.86/1 but the result was never in doubt after DeChambeau opened up with three straight birdies.

Justin Rose had been matched at as short as 1.192/11 as early as Saturday but his second double-bogey of his third round at the 14th hole was followed by a dropped shot at the last and he entered the final round trading at around 1.51/2.

The Englishman started round four fairly slowly and when he failed to birdie the par five sixth, despite finding the green in two, his price spiked to 2.56/4 and having got to within a stroke of Rose, Jon Rahm's price dipped to just 2.915/8. Rose has wobbled numerous times in-the-mix and markedly so recently at the BMW Championship, so I thought it might be game on but the world number one soon kicked on. Birdies at seven, nine and ten, re-established his sizable advantage and just when it looked like Scott could put some real pressure on, right at the end, Rose calmly drained this birdie putt on the 16th to provide some welcome breathing space.

My Bets

It hasn't been a pleasant week. Pre-event 200.0199/1 pick, Lucas Herbert, hit the front in Dubai after two rounds but was given a two-stroke penalty on the third hole on Saturday and things pretty much went downhill from there.

What was particularly frustrating about the Dubai result was that I very nearly backed the winner before the off and had I noticed that he'd drifted back out to 12.5 before the off on Wednesday I would have backed then. As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, I thought he was the value after round one at 6.86/1 and I thought he was unopposable before the final round and yet I let him go unbacked.

Laying Rose at halfway ultimately proved costly but I have no regrets on that one. You win some, you lose some, and I thought he was worth taking on given all the stats against him at the time and given how vulnerable in-contention he's been in the past.

One could argue that I was daft not to dilute my losses or even eradicate them completely when he and Rahm were just a stroke apart after six holes of round four but it never really crossed my mind at the time. I was quite confident that Rose would continue to perform somewhat shakily and that he may well get beat. Oh well.

Rules Infringements Back in the News

Harsh and non-existent penalties dominate the post-tournament narrative and it seems the European Tour have shot themselves in the foot in Dubai.

Paul McGinley was just one of a host of players and ex-players to berate the ET for issuing a two-stroke penalty for an infringement of the new rule stopping caddies from lining up their players, and he looks to have appoint.

Meanwhile, plenty of others are quite rightly asking why the winner in Dubai, Bryson DeChambeau, wasn't once even approached about his inability to get close to the 40 seconds that the new rules now deem a stroke should be played in.

Controversially, the European Tour visits Saudi Arabia for the first time this week with the inaugural Saudi International, while the PGA Tour hops to Arizona for the ever-popular Waste Management Phoenix Open and I'll be back tonight or tomorrow with the previews.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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