The Punter's De-Brief: Ruthless Rose blooms in New Orleans

Justin Rose celebrates winning the Zurich Classic
Justin Rose celebrates winning the Zurich Classic

Steve takes a look back at last week's golf action where a win for second favourite, Justin Rose, wasn't as bad as it might have been...

“Time and again Day trades at very short prices without winning and he’s always worth taking on in-the-mix. Yesterday’s final round of 69 was the average score of the field on a day when scoring was exceptionally easy and he’ll know he could and should have performed much better.”

Hao-tong Li came within a whisker of becoming the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event at the Shenzhen International just eight days ago but we didn't have to wait long for that record to break, as Ashun Wi made a mockery of his 400.0399/1 plus pre-event price at the Volvo China Open yesterday, when he held his nerve well down the stretch to beat England's David Howell.

Wu, who plies his trade in Japan, was playing in the event for the eighth time and he'd never before bettered 50th and in 25 European Tour events he'd never recorded a single top-ten so he was a difficult winner to find before the off.

Sometimes someone just falls into the winner's enclosure, thanks largely to other player's mistakes, and sometimes someone just grasps the nettle and wins with absolute authority and that's most certainly what Justin Rose did in New Orleans yesterday. With birdies at the last two holes, Rose set a target of 22-under-par that nobody could match to deservedly win the Zurich Classic.

I don't know whether they were all inspired by St. George this week, but had David Howell played the last five holes in level par instead of two-over, it would have been a cracking week for English golfers, as Lee Westwood beat Chapchai Nirat in a playoff to win the Indonesian Masters for the third time in five years.

Westwood had begun the event as a 2/1 shot and he was matched at very long odds-on in-running but he made his backers sweat for their winnings. Having looked a certainty with three holes to play, the Worksop Wonder finished the tournament with three fives in-a-row before edging out Nirat with a birdie at the first extra hole.

My Bets

As detailed in the In-Play Blog, I felt aggrieved at not being able to lay my stakes back on Alexander Levy on Saturday morning, when he raced to ten-under par after birdying the first four holes of round three, and I finished up losing more than I'd have liked to there.

Had Levy pared in from that point in he'd have won the event by a stroke but he struggled with the firming course in the breezy conditions from that moment on and when I got up yesterday morning (later than I'd intended to) he'd just double-bogeyed the 8th hole and his race was run. My other in-play wager, Hao-tong Li, was also two-over par through seven holes and I was sorely tempted to go back to bed! I did stay up but I didn't have any further wagers, so it was one to forget financially.

It's funny how things turn out sometimes. Given I had two of the four men tied for the lead with a round to go in China I thought I had a decent chance of turning a profit there and I certainly didn't think I'd be out of the game so early on. I looked odds-on to make more of a loss at the Zurich Classic but Rose's win wasn't too bad in the end.

I finished up losing £55 on the event and I was quite happy with that given the way things panned out. I went after the fancied runners before the off and the second favourite won so I could have easily suffered a much bigger loss. And I was out and about for much of the weekend, so trading was severely hampered.

With an unmissable social commitment to attend to yesterday, I didn't get to trade the event until deep into the back-nine so I missed going after Jason Day at really short odds (he was matched at a low of 1.84/5) and I definitely should have layed more on Cameron Tringale at odds-on but the day was saved, thanks largely to Boo Weekley.

I layed Boo at an average of 4.57/2 after he'd birdied the 16th hole and I'm glad I did. I could have gotten really greedy and gone for a bumper win but I'd have been kicking myself if I had. I left Weekley winning me a few hundred pounds and he certainly had a chance of victory. He was matched at a low of 3.02/1 when he had a birdie putt of just nine feet at the 17th to tie Rose, who looked odds-on to make only a par at the par 5 18th. In the end, Boo lost by two as he missed his birdie putt on 17 before paring the last and Rose made his from 14 feet on 18 but it could easily have gone the other way.

Jason Day is Still One to Lay

Brendon de Jonge was matched at just 7.87/1 on Friday before a disappointing weekend saw him slip outside the top-20 and I have to wonder whether he'll ever win on the PGA Tour but he wasn't the only disappointment.

Tringale gave himself a great chance to break his PGA Tour duck, and he hit a low of 1.9210/11, but he played the last seven holes in level par to lose by one, so the wait for that elusive first title continues but the most disappointed man this morning must be Jason Day.

Time and again Day trades at very short prices without winning and he's always worth taking on in-the-mix. Yesterday's final round of 69 was the average score of the field on a day when scoring was exceptionally easy and he'll know he could and should have performed much better.

I'm sure in time he'll learn to be a lot more efficient in-contention, just like Rose has, but for now he's well worth taking on because he's very often too short given his stroke play win ratio and even though I did make him my biggest loser before play started yesterday, I'm a tiny bit disappointed I missed getting him at odds-on.

I very much doubt Day will be sulking for long though, especially as he'll be reminded of his greatest triumph to date this week when he attempts to defend the WGC Cadillac Match Play which starts on Wednesday. I'll try my best to get my preview published today but with the draw not being made until this evening (UK time) that might not be easy.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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