The Punter's De-Brief: Superb Spieth signs off in style

What a year it's been for Jordan Spieth
What a year it's been for Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth has finished the year in fine style with FedEx Cup glory in Atlanta and Thongchai Jaidee has won yet another European Tour title at the age of 45. Read Steve's take on all the action at last week's events here...

“The victory not only secured the FedEx Cup, it also restored Spieth’s position at the top of the world rankings and it took his career earnings up to over $31 million. Not bad for a 22 year old!”

I'd hoped that the finale of the FedEx Cup would be a thrilling affair, befitting of the magnitude of the prize, but in truth, it turned in to a bit of a damp squib. Jordan Spieth began the final round a stroke in front of Henrik Stenson and when he birdied the second hole his lead was soon doubled. The two were briefly tied after Spieth made back-to-back bogeys on five and six but a two-stroke swing on eight, when Spieth birdied and Stenson bogeyed, restored Spieth's lead and he was never in danger after that.

The victory not only secured the FedEx Cup, it also restored Spieth's position at the top of the world rankings and it took his career earnings up to over $31 million. Not bad for a 22-year-old!

The finish at East Lake was a little predictable but the finish to the Porsche European Open in Germany was anything but. Thongchai Jaidee and Graeme Storm stretched away from the remainder and had a real ding-dong battle to the line. Storm, who began the event an unconsidered 500.0499/1 shot (matched at a high of 660.0659/1), hit a low of 1.331/3 when he stood over a short birdie putt on the 16th hole with a one stroke lead but in a matter of moments it was all change. The Englishman missed from around five feet just seconds before Jaidee rolled in a birdie of his own on the 15th. Storm then bogeyed the 17th hole and Jaidee parred in for his seventh European Tour title and his third on European soil.

There was yet more good news for followers of our each-way column too, as Mike Norman's 150/1 shot, Lucas Bjerregaard, tied for fifth. The column, which only began last year, finished 2014 in profit to the tune of £251 but that figure is being eclipsed in style this year, as we're now almost £900 in front in 2015! Can we grab a grand before the year is out?

My Bets

As detailed in the In-Play Blog, I backed both the week's winners in-running at 4.1 and 4.3100/30 so it was a decent week but it could have been considerably better...

At the Porsche European Open, Pelle Edberg, who was backed at 260.0259/1 before the off, was matched at a low of 8.27/1 on his way to finishing third and two other pre-event picks, Mikko Ilonen and Byeong Hun An, both contended and were matched at 5.59/2 and 6.411/2 respectively.

Unfortunately, I didn't manage to lay anything back on any of them and I was particularly disappointed with Ilonen. Having made back-to-back birdies at eight and nine, with two par fives to come in the next three holes, he looked set to challenge for the title but he needed to hole a 20 footer on the par five 10th just to save par and he bogeyed the 11th so the challenge soon fizzled out and he finished the event really poorly, dropping eight strokes over the last five holes.

I hadn't expected too much from Edberg and he showed exactly why he hasn't yet won with the most ridiculous tee-shot on the 13th hole. The Swede sat just two of the lead with just six to play but with everyone else taking an iron off the tee for safety on the short par 4, Edberg boomed a driver in to the rubbish to the right of the fairway and dropped a shot. It was very frustrating because he'd just made three birdies in-a-row and like Ilonen had half an hour earlier, he too looked set to challenge.

Keep Some Powder Dry

Only 29 players lined up at East Lake, and one of those withdrew (Louis Oosthuizen), so finding the winner there was, on paper, considerably easier than finding the winner in a standard event but even there I needed to rely on in-running bets to profit.

There's nothing quite like bagging a bumper priced pre-event winner but as highlighted above, even if you get two or three in-the-mix, it's still not easy to get one across the line or to find the opportune moment to lay back - they're big outsiders for a reason. Getting properly involved once the event is up and running really does make a lot of sense.

As time has gone by, I've changed the ratio of how much I invest before the off and how much I invest in-running considerably. There was a time when the bulk of my stakes were invested pre-event but that's now switched completely and I can't see that changing anytime soon.

What Have We Learned For Next Year?

Concentrating on the first five players in the FedEx Cup standings looks the only way to go at East Lake. With a round to go this year, Spieth, Stenson and Rickie Fowler (brilliantly picked out before the off for FedEx Cup glory by Paul Krishnamurty) sat first, second and third on the leaderboard, having began the week ranked second, fourth and third in the series standings.

Going in to the Tour Championship, the first five in the standings will win the FedEx Cup if they win at East Lake and all the evidence points to that added incentive making all the difference. Spieth was the fourth player in-a-row to win here having ranked inside the first five before the off but backing the leader might not be the wisest move. The last three winners have all been ranked second in the FedEx Cup standings.

The 2015/2016 PGA Tour season kicks off again in a fortnight at the Open so we only have the one event to concentrate on this week but fortunately it's a good one - the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. I'll be back tomorrow with my preview.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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