The Punter's De-Brief: Paul Casey wins again and Haas fits the Bill in Bethesda

Paul Casey – Irish Open Champion 2013

Steve looks back on a poor week, where a day laying the leaders yesterday didn't work out well at all. Read his tale of woe here...

“Suffice to say I’m not feeling too chipper this morning and my fingers, despite several hours under the metaphorical cold tap, are still sore!”

Paul Casey, a 70.069/1 pre-event shot, won his first event for two years yesterday when he romped to victory at the Irish Open. His last victory had been at the Volvo Golf Champions event at the Royal Course in Bahrain - another Colin Montgomerie design and it's quite ironic that his last two wins have come on Montgomerie designs, given that Monty controversially left him out of the Ryder Cup back in 2010.

Whilst in the States, Bill Haas, matched at a high of 60.059/1 but generally a 44.043/1 shot, held his nerve superbly to win the AT & T National by three strokes.

My Bets
Casey's victory was a major irritation and Bill Haas' was even worse. Yesterday was not a good day.

I took the decision to lay the leaders in-running in Ireland and in no time at all, third round leader, Joost Luiten, was in the book at just 2.285/4 and Robert Rock and Pablo Larrazabal were both layed at 4.67/2. If I'd left it like that and let the event roll, I'd have made a small profit, but leave it at that I didn't.

When Jose Maria Olazabal went on a run and traded in single-figures it made perfect sense to get him layed too - at a fraction under 8.07/1. My game-plan changed at that point and that was when it all went wrong. The plan went from sitting back and seeing if I got a result from off-the-pace to laying anyone hitting a short price. What my plan hadn't factored in was Paul Casey birdying four in-a-row and five in six holes in atrocious conditions as everyone struggled to make pars.

I layed Casey at 8.07/1, 6.05/1, 3.814/5, and finally 2.0811/10. He went from being a cracking result to the worst but I still felt they'd be plenty of opportunities to get the others layed again and to level things off but it just didn't happen. I had envisaged the lead changing and the market also but with his rivals flapping, Casey just pulled away and despite bogeying the 15th and 16th holes, nobody ever threatened.

Fresh off the disappointment of the result in Ireland, what I should have done in hindsight, is go for a walk and just ignore events across the Pond but when Bill Haas went odds-on with still nine holes to play I felt compelled to take him on.

Haas is a mercurial character in-contention and more often than not he gets in his own way, but not yesterday, yesterday he was superb. He missed the par 3 13th green but managed to get up-and-down and he missed the 14th green but got lucky as the ball inexplicable bounced out of the greenside rough and rolled to 11 feet, from where he made birdie, but that was as close as he got to throwing it away.

Suffice to say I'm not feeling too chipper this morning and my fingers, despite several hours under the metaphorical cold tap, are still sore!

What have we learnt for next year?
Swerve the Irish at the Irish Open but get with the Brits. As Mike Norman highlighted in his Irish Open Fixed Odds preview, the record of the home contingency is not good but British players have a great recent record -Casey was the sixth Brit to win in-a-row!

I'm not sure where the event will be played next year, I did hear it mentioned that they may stay at Carton House but use the O'Meara Course instead but if and when they come back to the Montgomerie, ignore all the inevitable talk about the importance of driving accuracy. Casey ranked 41st for fairways hit and although runner-up Luiten topped the DA stats, the leaderboard was littered with players that struggled to find the short grass off the tee. The rough was wispy and although it was possible to get a bad lie, very often missing the fairway wasn't much of a handicap.

At the AT & T National, all seven winners now have been high-class. All winners have won majors, WGC events, or the FedEx Cup and Justin Rose, at 35th, is the highest any of them ranked in the Official World Rankings at the time of their wins. Outsiders haven't yet got a look in.

Form at The Players Championship is a plus but by some distance, the event to look at is the Memorial Tournament. Tiger Woods, K.J Choi and Justin Rose all won at Muirfield Village before going on to win at Congressional and this year, Bill Haas won having finished tied 4th in Jack's event.

And finally, I can't explain it at all but for some reason, Koreans seem to like Congressional. Choi won the inaugural AT & T, Anthony Kim, American born with Korean parents, won the following year, Y.E Yang was Rory McIlroy's closest challenger for much of the 2011 US Open at Congressional and then yesterday, D.H Lee holed just about everything he looked at to shoot 64 and set the clubhouse target of -8.

I'll be back tomorrow with my previews for this week's two events - the Open de France and the Greenbrier Classic.

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