The Punter's In-Play Blog: Bryan a juicy price at the John Deere

Wesley Bryan – a juicy price at [42.0] according to The Punter
Wesley Bryan – a juicy price at [42.0] according to The Punter

With just a round to go at both this week's tournament, our man takes a look at the state of play in Rio and Illinois. Read Steve's final in-running thoughts of the week here...

“Almost by default, Moore isn’t a bad price at odds-against given his two closest rivals and that stops me from taking him on. I don’t want to back him at just a shade over evens either though so in a tournament that is as close to a no bet heat as it gets, I’ve taken a tiny chance on Wesley Bryan at 42.041/1.”

11:10 - August 14, 2016

Having edged clear of all but Marcus Fraser, England's Justin Rose and Sweden's Henrik Stenson look certain to get a medal in Rio and it's very hard to pick which one gets the gold. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 10:50.

Justin Rose -12 2.166/5

Henrik Stenson -11 2.3411/8

Marcus Fraser -9 19.018/1

Bubba Watson -6 55.0054/1

-6 and 100.099/1 bar

The last time Henrik Stenson went clear of the remainder with only one obvious danger with a round to go we were treated to some of the best golf ever witnessed. He and Phil Mickelson served up the most brilliant final round at the Open last month and if today's gold medal scrap is anything close to that terrific tussle at Troon we're in for a real treat.

I've never been the most patriotic of individuals and if cash is involved it goes out of the window completely so I'll be cheering on the Swede to get the job done today and I fancy his chances. With the one stroke advantage, Rose has to be favourite and the market looks about right to me but I might yet play Bubba Watson at more than 4/1 to win a medal. After a slow start, the American has shot a pair of four-under-par 67s, despite the incredible mishit birdie putt yesterday at the par three 14th below.

Over at the John Deere Classic, my hunch that Zach Johnson might struggle yesterday came to fruition and he has absolutely no chance of winning after two level par rounds yesterday. Ryan Moore shows the way and he's already been matched at a low of 1.855/6. Here's the leaderboard with prices to back at 10:55.

Ryan Moore -18 2.166/5

Ben Martin -17 4.77/2
Morgan Hoffman -17 5.39/2

Johnson Wagner -14 26.025/1

-13 and 42.041/1 bar

Moore's record when out in front is fairly solid. He's led or co-led seven times and he's converted on three occasions, although it's worth highlighting that two of those wins were at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. In PGA Tour events on American soil, his strike rate is only one from five.

We've had 44 John Deere Classics to date and 20 third round leaders have won
so looking at Moore's figures and the tournament history, his price looks about right but my instinct says take him on. Especially given he could well be a little fatigued today after having to play 36 holes yesterday. Ben Martin and Morgan Hoffman, who sit tied second and just a stroke behind Moore, both shot nine-under-par 62s in round three and so with the course clearly vulnerable, if Moore's going to convert, tired or not, he'll need to keep up the momentum.

The trouble with wanting to take Moore on is that his nearest rivals, the aforementioned Martin and Hoffman, don't look the most capable. And they both have to back up a really low round - something that's notoriously hard to do.

Martin is a PGA Tour winner - he won the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in 2014, after a third round 62 saw him take a two stroke lead into the final round - but he was awful when he sat second at the Barracuda Championship with a round to go last month and Hoffman, who's looking to win for the first time, has so far been disappointing whenever he's been this close to the lead.

Almost by default, Moore isn't a bad price at odds-against given his two closest rivals and that stops me from taking him on. I don't want to back him at just a shade over evens either though so in a tournament that is as close to a no bet heat as it gets, I've taken a tiny chance on Wesley Bryan at 42.041/1.

Having finished his second round on Friday, Bryan shot a very disappointing one-under-par 70 yesterday and he trails Moore by fully five strokes but I can see him performing much better today. I've seen many a halfway leader bounce back in round four after a poor third round and the in-form youngster can go low today. He'll need help from those above him on the leaderboard, and from Moore in particular, but I thought there was a bit of juice in his price at 42.041/1.

10:30 - August 13, 2016

Marcus Fraser still leads the way in Rio at the halfway stage but Belgium's Thomas Pieters is within a stroke and pre-event favourite, Henrik Stenson, is now just two adrift. Those three will feature in the day's final three-ball at 15:09 UK and Ireland time and I'm sticking with what I have. Stenson, who I backed yesterday, has firmed up at the head of the market and he's very much the man to beat still, and my other in-play pick, Gregory Bourdy, sits tied for fourth and four off the lead.

Over at the John Deere Classic, my sole selection, Zach Johnson, didn't get to hit a stroke yesterday after poor weather delayed the resumption of play by five hours. He'll return today (weather permitting!) at 07:00 local time (13:00 UK and Ireland time) and he'll have to get his skates on as he's already half a dozen shots behind.

The big story of the tournament so far has been the terrific start by Wesley Bryan, who has only just been promoted to the PGA Tour after three wins on the Tour. Following his third win last week at the Tour's Digital Ally Open, Bryan has taken to the PGA Tour like a duck to water and having missed just one fairway and two greens in his second round yesterday, he now leads on 12-under-par.

I'm a little wary of what Zach will do today, as he has to keep going forward, and had I had a bigger bet, I'd have been laying a bit back this morning. Even in perfect rain-softened conditions, it's all too easy to press too hard too early and fail when a low round is essential and he looks plenty short enough at around 4.57/2. He had a long day hanging around yesterday and he'll have an even longer one today. He's a consummate pro but at 40-years-old, all the delays and all the extra golf today can only hinder his chances. I'm going to leave things alone but I certainly wouldn't be diving in now on Zach.

I'll be back tomorrow morning with another look at both events.

11:00 - August 12, 2016

The USA may be in their customary position atop of the Olympic medal table but it doesn't look as though they'll be adding to their tally after the Men's Golf. Despite their lofty positions in the world rankings and the pre-event betting market, three of their four representatives have struggled quite badly in Rio. Matt Kuchar managed a two-under-par 69 but the other three - my pick, Patrick Reed, and Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler - all shot over-par rounds. Reed is nine shots off the pace, set by Australia's Marcus Fraser; Bubba is ten strokes adrift and Rickie 12!

Given the course was described as having an Aussie Sand Belt feel to it, maybe it's not surprising that Fraser shot such an impressive opening eight-under-par round but his fortunes vastly differed to those of his fellow countryman, Scott Hend. The big-hitting, in-form Hend began the event well and he was matched at a low of 27.026/1 as he made the turn in three-under-par but a disastrous ten on the par five tenth completely derailed him and he's now out with the washing with the bulk of the American contingent.

As expected, the wind picked up in the afternoon yesterday so given he played in the final three-ball, pre-event favourite, Henrik Stenson, shot a quite brilliant opening five-under-par 66 to sit alongside Canada's Graham DeLaet in a tie for second. The bang in-form Swede has shortened up to 3.412/5 after his smooth start to the tournament and that isn't too short. He has a more favourable tee-time in round two and I wouldn't be surprised to see him catch and even pass Fraser today.

The market considers Justin Rose the second most likely winner at this stage and that's perfectly reasonable. Like Stenson, the Englishman played late in the day yesterday and his four-under-par was also a very good start - aided considerably by the first ace at the Olympics at the par three fourth. He tees off at 13:03 today, 11 minutes before Stenson, and I wouldn't want to put anyone off backing him at 8.415/2 either.

Frenchman, Gregory Bourdy, who sits alongside Rose on four-under-par, has a nice early start and he looks over-priced at 38.037/1. I can see him starting well today and trading quite a bit shorter so in addition to backing Stenson at 3.412/5, I've had a very small bet on him.

Over at the John Deere Classic, a three and half hour weather delay has put the event behind schedule. Some of the players have only played six holes of round one and I suspect today's afternoon starters will be pushed to get done today.

Andrew Loupe leads on eight-under-par but he has an eight foot par save on 15 to negotiate on return to the course this morning. It's not a shock to see Loupe start well and there has to be scope in backing him to lead after round one every week. If he keeps his nose in front here it will be the fourth time this year that he's led or co-led after round one but before you go piling in on him winning the event, a word of warning, he led after day one last week at the Travelers but missed the cut!

My sole selection, Zach Johnson, opened up with a neat and tidy six-under-par 65 and he's now trading at around 4.47/2. I'm happy to be on and that doesn't look too short given the start but I wish I'd put a few lay back bets in in the top-five market. Somewhat bizarrely, he's already been matched there at 1.061/18, 1.051/20, 1.041/25 and even 1.021/50!

Olympics Pre-Event Selection:
Patrick Reed @ 18.5

Olympics In-Play Bets:
Henrik Stenson @ 3.412/5
Gregory Bourdy @ 38.037/1

John Deere Classic Pre-Event Selection:
Zach Johnson @ 8.415/2

In-Play Bet
Wesley Bryan @ 42.041/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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