The Punter's De-brief: Simple for Sullivan as he notches the hat-trick

Andy Sullivan – with his third European Tour trophy
Andy Sullivan – with his third European Tour trophy

Steve looks back at last week's golf where Andy Sullivan won in a canter and Emiliano Grillo edged out Kevin Na in a cracker. Read our man's look back at all the action and market moves here...

“I’m beginning to think I’m missing something with Emiliano Grillo, who many a shrewd judge is touting as a huge prospect for the future. Having watched him for years on the European Tour, where he’s often been far from convincing in-contention, and where his record reads zero wins from 90 starts, I’m very surprised to see him win so soon on the PGA Tour – especially given how poorly he putted.”

England's Andy Sullivan won his third European Tour title of the year in emphatic style in the Algarve, trouncing the field by nine strokes at the Portugal Masters but it was a far tighter affair Stateside, where Emiliano Grillo got the better of Kevin Na in extra time at the Open.

With lots of rain forecast over the weekend, the Portugal Masters had looked unlikely to go the full distance but shotgun starts on both Saturday and Sunday, great endeavour from the green-keeping staff and a bit of lady luck when it came to the weather, all contributed to getting in four rounds. The result wasn't in much doubt after two.

Sullivan, who went off at around 50.049/1, was three clear at the halfway stage and five in front through three rounds and he never looked like getting beat but it was a very different story at the Open...

Grillo trailed by as many as six strokes at halfway in California but he was in front after six holes of round four. The 50.049/1 shot was far from convincing after that birdying three holes and bogeying three and he needed to hole a 23-footer on the 72nd hole to post his 15-under-par target.

There was plenty of drama in the playoff when the Argentinean was matched at just 1.071/14 as he stood over a birdie putt to win of around three-feet but he pulled the attempt and it nearly missed the hole completely. He looked a bit rattled and when Na found the fairway off the tee, on the second playoff hole, and Grillo the sand, Na was matched at 1.51/2.

Grillo layed up to a nice distance but he was just off the fairway and Na looked to be in command but the often jittery American attempted to hit driver off the fairway and pulled it hard left in to a horrible spot, behind a tree and left of the green, from where he failed to make par and Grillo was left with two putts from around ten feet for the trophy. He took just one.

My Bets

I've made a small profit on the week and I shouldn't even begin to complain given I was away for a couple of days and couldn't trade but it felt like a week of opportunities missed...

I really should have layed Rory McIlroy in both the Top 5 and Top 10 markets before the off at the Open and had I been around I'm sure I'd have got Sullivan onside in Portugal on Friday. With the prospect of a reduced event highly likely, I'd written in the In-Play Blog how anyone making a big move on Friday would be worth siding with and when I saw Sullivan going clear and trading at around 4.03/1, I should have backed him but didn't.

Thomas Pieters, backed before the off in Portugal, was Sullivan's closest rival at halfway but was a disappointment over the weekend and I could have layed the leader more aggressively at the Frys...

As highlighted in the In-Play Blog, I was keen to take on Brendan Steele, who eventually finished tied for 17th, but my lay bet at 1.75/7 in the Top 5 market didn't get matched and I really should have layed him for more in the Top 10 market at odds of just 1.282/7. And just to finish off the moan, not laying Justin Rose in-running was also a mistake...

Feeling tired, I went to bed with no intention of getting involved but it soon became apparent that opportunities were going to arise so I traded the event on my phone as I watched on Sky Go - not something I'd recommend!

The delay is substantial on Sky Go and the market is quite some way behind the coverage anyway but with lots of players trading below 4.03/1 at various stages, I managed to make a decent profit despite dropping off twice and despite not laying Rose at less than 4.03/1!

What Have We Learned For Next Year?

With three tough holes (13, 14 and 15) preceding three easy finishing holes, there's all sorts of scope for trading at Silverado and had I prepared properly, the final round would have been much more lucrative than it was.

The event didn't finish until after 2:00 am and I wasn't sharp enough to make the most of it but I'll be better prepared next year - especially if the event is anywhere near as tight as it was this year.

I know we've only had two renewals here so far but it looks like a venue where winning from off the pace will be perfectly possible.

How Good Is Grillo?

I'm beginning to think I'm missing something with Emiliano Grillo, who many shrewd judges are touting as a huge prospect for the future. Having watched him for years on the European Tour, where he's often been far from convincing in-contention, and where his record reads zero wins from 90 starts, I'm very surprised to see him win so soon on the PGA Tour - especially given how poorly he putted...

Incredibly, Grillo ranked 61st for Strokes Gained Putting last week - highlighting just how good the rest of his game is - but I do wonder if someone that putts poorly on a regular basis can mix it with the very best.

I wouldn't say he was a lucky winner yesterday - that would be ridiculous - but a number of players will feel they should have done better and he was fortunate to get a second bite of the cherry after that missed putt at the first playoff hole.

He's now won his last two tournaments and is clearly a quality player and I could be wrong but I think this is more a purple patch by a decent player than an emergence of a superstar.

The PGA Tour moves on to Vegas this week for the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open and the European Tour heads for the Hong Kong Open. I'll be back this evening or tomorrow with my previews.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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