The Punter's De-Brief: Wall and Knox take the titles but Mr 58 steals the show

Jim Furyk with his historic scorecard
Jim Furyk with his historic scorecard

An Englishman has won in Scotland, a Scotsman has won in the States and Jim Furyk has made the headlines with a sensational record-breaking 58. Read our man's look back at all last week's action here...

“I tried to give myself a bit of a week off and it almost backfired. It was one thing to let the Paul Lawrie Match Play tick along without much involvement, I was never going to come to any harm there, but trading the Travelers on my phone on Saturday afternoon while cleaning out the filter on my koi pond and sorting out rubbish in the garage was not a smart move!”

After going two up after two holes in yesterday's final, Sweden's Alex Noren was matched at just 1.21/5 to win the Paul Lawrie Match Play but the pre-event 15.014/1 shot was soon pegged back by long shot Anthony Wall and the Englishman, who was matched at a high of 120.0119/1 before the tournament began, held firm once he'd established a lead at the 11th. The two finalists halved the remaining seven holes and Wall collected his second European Tour trophy 16 years, 204 days and 431 starts after he'd won his first! Unsurprisingly, that is a record gap between first and second European Tour wins. The previous longest gap was 276 set by Christy O'Connor Jnr.


Over at the Travelers Championship, third round leader Daniel Berger wilted under the pressure and pre-event 60.059/1 shot, Russell Knox, scrambled over the line with this 12 foot par save on the 72nd hole.



Knox may have won the tournament but the big story of the week belonged to Jim Furyk who playing earlier in the day, became the first player to shoot 58 on the PGA Tour. And it could very easily have been even lower.

"Late in that front nine I had a special feeling and when you turn in 27 you can't help but think about it, especially on a par-70 golf course," Furyk told The Golf Channel. "Then to turn around and make the putts at 10, 11, 12 and already be 11-under par with six to play, then it just became a little bit of a mental game."

He also became the first player to break 60 twice on the tour as he was the last to shoot 59 back in 2013, at the BMW Championship, and this quote made me smile. "I've got like 300 pictures at home with 59 on 'em. Gotta throw all that crap away now."


My Bets

I barely got involved at the Paul Lawrie Match Play and I'm quite pleased I didn't and I don't quite know what to think about the outcome of the Travelers.

As detailed in the In-Play Blog, I went into round four staring at a loss of almost £500 and when I went and layed the third round leader again at 1.84/5 before he'd teed off, the potential loss was up to nearer £600. I resigned myself to the fact that Berger could outclass his rivals and canter to the line and if that had been the case I'd have taken my medicine and moved on but it didn't pan out like that fortunately.

Despite hitting a low of 1.4840/85, it was apparent that Berger wasn't playing to the same level he had in round three and when he bogeyed the par five sixth hole I could see I had a chance of getting a result.

To cut a long story short, Russell Henley hit a low of 2.111/10 and his charge really helped me but in addition to him, I also layed numerous others and by the time the final two-ball reached the par five 13th hole I'd levelled everything off. It was tempting to leave it alone at that point but as Knox birdied the 13th and went odds-on I saw the prospect of profit.

I layed Knox a couple of times at long odds-on and I was right to do so. He came perilously close to finding water off both the 15th and 16th tees and had he done so I'd have made a healthy profit but as it transpired, after laying the runner-up, Jerry Kelly, who I always kept as a decent winner, I ended up losing just shy of £50.

After Knox had holed his par save on 18 to win, I momentarily regretted not laying Kelly for more but it's easy afterwards. Had Knox missed and the event gone to extra time I would have levelled everything off again and made a small profit but given where I was this time yesterday, I'm not going to complain.


What Have I Learned This Week?

I tried to give myself a bit of a week off and it almost backfired. It was one thing to let the Paul Lawrie Match Play tick along without much involvement, I was never going to come to any harm there, but trading the Travelers on my phone on Saturday afternoon while cleaning out the filter on my koi pond and sorting out rubbish in the garage was not a smart move!

Berger shooting the lights out on the back-nine clearly didn't help the situation and had he stumbled late on in round three I'd have thought nothing of it but with hindsight, I took a far too casual stance to the whole tournament and that's why I've ended the week behind instead of in front.

As for the tournament itself, changes to the course (which I wasn't even aware of this time last week) didn't appear to make much difference. Bunkers have been moved to be brought into play more and run off areas around the greens made for trickier scrambling but it didn't feel like a different River Highlands and the event panned out much like many other renewals.

Despite how easily the course played, three of the first four on the leaderboard with a round to go shot over-par and it remains a place to take on the front runners. This was the seventh renewal in eight years that the third round leader or co-leaders had been beaten and Berger was the third 54 hole leader to lose a three-stroke lead this century. Kelly was arguably unlucky not to get into a playoff and he'd begun the final round eight strokes off the lead. Anything can happen here and it's a great tournament to trade.

I'm not sure it's even relevant and it could be merely coincidental but I couldn't help but notice a possible correlation between this event and the Honda Classic. Henley, who will feel he let this one slip, won the 2014 Honda Classic, beating Knox in a playoff, and Berger was beaten in a playoff by Padraig Harrington at the 2015 Honda.

This is clearly a tournament that two-time winner Bubba Watson loves and he'll be back on the radar again next year but I'm going to be far more wary of him when he's defending any title in future. He started brightly enough this year with a disadvantaged afternoon draw on day one but he was very disappointing after that and his form figures when defending now read 38-13-18-50-14-38-35-25.

There's no European Tour action this week but I'll be back later today or tomorrow with a preview for the Men's Olympic Golf Tournament and John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour.


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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