The Punter's De-Brief: Bae over the moon to be back in the winner's circle

Sang-Moon Bae with the Open trophy
Sang-Moon Bae with the Open trophy

Steve takes a look back at last week's golf where the weather produced opportunities that our man missed. Read his weekly look back here...

“Anyone that backed Levy right at the end of round two on Saturday would have been paid out as a winner. That’s a tough break for the layer but there’s no other way to settle the event and I’m a bit cross with myself for not being switched on enough to take advantage of the unusual situation.”

Alexander Levy was declared the 36-hole winner of the weather blighted Portugal Masters yesterday afternoon when the third and final round was abandoned due to yet more horrendous weather. Levy and Nicolas Colsaerts, who trailed the Frenchman by three strokes, played just one hole of round three before play was suspended and then subsequently abandoned.

Levy, who was matched at a high of 80.079/1 before the off, was winning for the second time on the European Tour having claimed the China Open back in April.

Over in the States, Sang-Moon Bae, a 160.0159/1 shot before the event, won the Open by two strokes over Steven Bowditch, despite shooting a scruffy one-over par 73 in round four. It was the Koreans second PGA Tour title - he was also successful at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Texas last May.

My Bets

Having layed almost all the players trading below 100.099/1 before the off, I incurred a small loss at the Portugal Masters and details of how I traded the event are all in the In-Play Blog.

It was a disappointing tournament all round and I won't be the only person feeling flat with the outcome. I feel sorry for anyone that backed Colsaerts - he was by some distance the most likely challenger to Levy had they played a third round, and not getting a chance to see if he'd have caught the Frenchman would have been irritating to say the least.

My each-way selection, Scott Langley, was sitting in a tie for third with a round to go at the Open but bogeys at three of the first four holes soon put pay to his chances so that was disappointing too but I did at least talk myself into having a small bet on Bae before the final round to recover my stakes.

What Have We Learned This Week?

I made two mistakes at the Portugal Masters. Firstly, I didn't look at the weather forecast in detail before the off and therefore didn't give enough credence to driving distance. Big hitters have fared well at the event previously and the rain meant the course would play very long. In truth, I don't think it made a scrap of difference but it was an oversight all the same.

My big mistake was not considering that the event may get curtailed from 54 holes to 36 and I adjusted my book on Friday night when I really should have waited until the completion of the second round. Had I done so, I'd have made a small profit as all wagers placed after the completion of the second round were quite rightly voided.

I layed Levy back, and backed Colsaerts, after Levy had finished his second round and when Colsaerts had just two holes to play. Those bets stood as the second round hadn't been completed but if I'd have waited until Saturday evening and placed the trades they wouldn't have done.

This doesn't happen very often but it's well worth considering. Given the eventual winner had finished his round and that the Belgian had just two holes to play, the prices on Levy and Colsaerts were never going to change much from the point at which I adjusted my book on Friday evening to when the second round was eventually completed.

This has happened before and I recall playing it correctly a few years back. Having backed Dustin Johnson to win the AT & T Pebble Beach Championship in 2009, I waited until the third round had finished before laying him back. As a result, the lays were cancelled when the weather failed to improve and the event was reduced to 54 holes and I got paid out in full. Had I layed Johnson while just a single player was still playing what transpired to be the third and final round the lay would have stood. 

Similarly, anyone that backed Levy right at the end of round two on Saturday would have been paid out as a winner. That's a tough break for the layer but there's no other way to settle the event and I'm a bit cross with myself for not being switched on enough to take advantage of the unusual situation.

At the Open, I fancied the Open graduates might fare well in the PGA Tour's wraparound season opener but only Jon Curran made the top-ten. Zachary Blair played alongside Bae in the final round but the pressure of sitting second with a round to go in his first event took its toll and he tumbled down to a tie for 12th.

The North Course at Silverado proved a sterner test than I thought it might and the winner summed it up well.

"I really like this course because it's a classic. Always classic courses you need really good iron shots. Really narrow, small greens, a lot of undulation."

Two wily old vets, Retief Goosen and Robert Allenby, both made the top-ten and this might just be too trickier a venue for a rookie to succeed. Greens in regulation proved to be an important stat but by some distance, scrambling was the most important stat. Bae ranked third, Bowditch second and Martin Laird, who was one of the five players to finish tied third, ranked first. 

Although Bae wasn't entirely convincing yesterday, bogeying three holes in four on the back-nine, his lead was always just big enough but this looks a venue where we might see much change on the leaderboard going forward - especially if we get any significant wind. The breeze was only really up at all on Sunday and the players reported that it played tough. This is what Hunter Mahan had to say about it.

"The greens were really tricky. The wind was really tricky today. Trying to chip it around the greens was really difficult. A really good test today."

With two par fives and a drivable par 4 in the last three holes, the North Course has a very sporting finish and although we didn't get an exciting finale this year, much can change late on and I envisage trading opportunities aplenty next year. 

Player To Swerve

The market made Matt Kuchar second favourite behind Bae with a round to go but for the umpteenth time in-contention, Kooch was out of it in no time at all, with bogeys at three of the first four holes. He's a fantastic player and an experienced pro but he's nearly always hopeless in-the-mix and he's one to avoid or even take on.


We have a veritable feast of golf to look forward to this week starting with the Grand Slam of Golf which starts tomorrow where Rory McIlroy should take all the beating.

The Volvo World Match Play Championship starts on Wednesday and the Hong Kong Open on the European Tour and the Shriners Hospital for Children Open on the PGA Tour both start on Thursday. I'll be back over the next few days with a preview for each of the last three mentioned.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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