World number two, Jon Rahm, was far from convincing at times over the weekend but the pre-event 6.05/1 chance ground out a gutsy one-stroke win at the Mexico Open at Vidanta, as his closest challengers drifted away in round four.
One of my pre-event picks, 60.059/1 chance, Cameron Champ, who was matched at a low of 2.962/1 on Saturday when he hit the front on the back-nine, looked the biggest danger to the Spaniard early on in round four but after back-to-back birdies at six and seven, he triple-bogeyed the eighth and that was that.
Another pre-event fancy, Davis Riley, was matched at a low of 9.08/1 as he briefly threatened and my 240.0239/1 Find me a 100 Winner fancy, Kurt Kitayama, was matched at just 3.55 after he'd drawn alongside Rahm thanks to birdies at one, six and seven.
Kitayama and Rahm went to the par five 14th tee tied at the top on 16-under-par but Rahm holed from 11 feet for a birdie four as Kitayama three-putted for bogey and it was Rahm's to lose after that.
Rahm kept his cool nicely after the birdie at 14 and he parred his way in to win by a stroke over Kitayama and two players that flew from off the pace - Brandon Wu, who was matched at low of 7.26/1, and Tony Finau, who hit a low of 10.09/1. Both men fired eight-under-par 63s to climb from tied 17th to tied second.
I'd written in the In-Play blog yesterday that if he continued the pattern of the first three days, when he shot rounds of 64, 66 and 68, it might not quite be enough but his two-under-par 69 was just enough.
Over on the DP World Tour, the final round of the Catalunya Championship was an entertaining affair... until it went to extra time.
South Africa's Oliver Bekker, a pre-event 70.069/1 chance, had began the final round with a two-stroke lead but he was caught and passed by the halfway leader, Laurie Canter, very quickly yesterday.
The 32-year-old Englishman, who was generally a 46.045/1 shot before the off, birdied the first two holes before he produced this bit of magic on the par five third.
Canter's priced dipped to a low of 1.794/5 but he'd been unconvincing in-contention on numerous occasions previously and it was no surprise to see him follow the eagle at three with back-to-back bogeys at four and five.
Canter parred his way to the turn before a double-bogey at the 10th put him firmly behind the eight-ball and Bekker looked far and away the most likely to lift the trophy after that.
The 37-year-old Pretorian played far from convincingly but he looked to have enough in hand and he was matched at a low of 1.211/5 before pre-tournament 50.049/1 chance, Adri Arnaus, who was generally a 200.0199/1 shot with a round to go, put in a ridiculously good finish.
Trailing by seven with a round to go and seemingly too far back to threaten, Arnaus was matched at 1000.0 in-running before an eagle at the par five 12th put him within touching distance of the lead and back-to-back birdies at 15 and 16 saw him really apply the pressure.
The Spaniard was matched at a low of just 1.3130/100 when in the clubhouse and tied for the lead after Bekker had bogeyed the 16th and found trouble off the tee on 17 but to his credit, the South African made this quite brilliant up-and-down for par and when he also parred the last, we were into extra time.
The market could barely split the pair before the playoff, with Bekker just favourite at a shade of odds-on, but after one of the most boring playoffs ever witnessed, which saw the two par the somewhat dull par four 18th five times, Arnaus finally took the title with a par four at the 17th.
Taking on the odds-on shots in Europe pays off again
Jon Rahm was the only player to go odds-on in Mexico but yet again, we witnessed three players trading at odds-on in a DP World Tour event.
It's very rare to see someone trade as short as Lawrie did, as early as he did, and they just kick on and win on this Tour and taking them on often pays dividends.
Obviously, you have to accept the losses if they do just dominate and take the title but it's so often the case that the nerves kick in when the line is so far off and if you get to lay someone else at odds-on your in profit.
Obviously, you have to accept the losses if they do just dominate and take the title but it's so often the case that the nerves kick in when the line is so far off and if you get to lay someone else at odds-on you're in profit.
Fast finishing Finau catches the eye
A fast finish can be a bit misleading but it was hard not to be impressed by Tony Finau's performance last week. He's been under something of a cloud since winning his second PGA Tour event - The Northern Trust last August - with a tied seventh at the Hero World Challenge in December his only top-10 since - but he hit the ball superbly last week and would have won the event comfortably with just an average week on the greens...
Finau ranked first for Strokes Gained Tee to Green, gaining a whopping 14.76, and he ranked second for Strokes Gained Approach to the Green (8.16), but he lost almost two strokes to the field on the dancefloors, ranking 60th for Strokes Gained Putting (-1.985).
He's going to be a very interesting contender at the Wells Fargo Championship this week given the tournament switches to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm - a venue that's rewarded elite tee-to-green play in the past.
I'll be back later today or tomorrow with my previews for that event, as well as this week's DP World Tour event - the British Masters.
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