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The Punter's De-Brief: Points causes another stateside shock

D.A Points embarks on a spot of ‘Dufnering’ after winning the Shell

"After a slow start to 2013, I’d enjoyed a fair bit of success over the last month but I hit the buffers hard this week."

D.A Points rolled in a 13 foot par save to win in Houston and Marcel Siem won wire-to-wire in Morocco but what have we learnt for next year. Read Steve's final thoughts on last week's action here...

It was a case of agony following ecstasy for Germany's Marcel Siem yesterday. His brave wire-to-wire win at the Trophee Hassan II looked to have secured him a place in the US Masters in two weeks time but then Russell Henley climbed up the Shell Houston Open leaderboard with a final round 68 to cling on to 50th place in the Official World Rankings, meaning Siem failed by the tiniest of margins to gain a spot in the world's top-50.

A poor final round from Henrik Stenson would also have granted the German his place at Augusta but that was never going to happen. The Swede shot 66 to tie Billy Horschel for second place and it would have been enough for a playoff had D.A Points not holed a 13-foot par save on the 72nd hole to win by one.

I don't know whether it's too late for Marcel to get an invite or not but surely he deserves his place in the field. Having won last year's Open de France, he's now won two titles in the last nine months and I'd love the the organisers to see sense and offer him a place in the line-up.

My Bets
After a slow start to 2013, I'd enjoyed a fair bit of success over the last month but I hit the buffers hard this week.

Siem, matched at 60.059/1 before the off, was never even close to consideration in Morocco and Points was impossible to fancy. Matched at 1000.0n/a before the off, he came into the event with no form at all and with only one previous PGA Tour win to his name.

The unheralded Points was the 14th American winner in-a-row on the PGA Tour and he was every bit as hard to unearth before the off as recent winners, John Merrick (Northern Trust Open), Michael Thompson (Honda Classic) and Kevin Streelman (Tampa Bay Championship). Thank heavens for Tiger Woods I say, the punters only respite in the States of late.

As detailed in the In-Play Blog, I made a rare foray into the two-ball markets yesterday, opposing Finland's Mikko Ilonen with Spain's Pablo Larrazabal at just 1.9620/21. Ilonen had suffered a bout of food poisoning overnight and I thought he was well worth taking on but they do say beware the injured golfer!

Ilonen flew out of the traps, was the only man to put pressure on Siem and it was soon obvious I was going to do my dough. He understandably ran out of steam on the back-nine and having led Larrazabal by four strokes through ten holes, they were tied with two to play but unfortunately for me, the Finn birdied the last and my man made bogey.

At the Shell Houston Open, I placed a couple of in-play bets last night, which both just made a bad week worse. I took a small chance on Dustin Johnson at 55,054/1, after he'd posted a target of 14 under-par, and then when Henrik Stenson bettered that score by one, with a birdie on the final hole, I backed him at 6.611/2.

It looked highly likely that Stenson would get into a playoff but you had to admire Points' finish. He made two great up-and-downs at the final two holes for par and he thoroughly deserved his win.

What have we learnt for next year?

I will again look very closely at the venues mentioned in this week's Trophee Hassan II preview - especially East London and Oitavos Dunes. A number of players upheld the theory this time around and I'm definitely on the right lines there.

At the Shell Houston Open, Points' win muddies already cloudy waters and I'll be taking t easy before the off next year.

I'd mentioned in the preview that the majority of winners had been well-known multiple winners, with the exception of Johnson Wagner, but Points has messed that up now.

Although a long track, Driving Distance isn't essential - Points ranked 61st this week. Hunter Mahan and Wagner are other winners not renowned for their length and yet in other renewals, the big-bombers have held sway. So there are no clues there either.

Points was ranked tied 10th for Greens In Regulation and that is one angle in we can look at but getting involved in-running looks the way to go.

Prior to yesterday, every winner at Redstone had either been placed 1st or 2nd with a round to go. Points was tied for third after 54 holes but only trailed joint-leaders Stewart Cink and Bill Haas by one. It looked an extremely open looking affair after three rounds but yet again, coming from off the pace proved impossible.

Concentrate on the US Masters
Angel Cabrera, Bill Haas, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, to name but a handful, all shortened-up considerably in the US Masters market this week as they played well at the Shell. Concentrating on building a nice book for Augusta instead of trying to find the winner in Houston, may prove a more worthwhile tactic. Getting Lefty onside for the years first major at an average price of just under 16.015/1 was certainly the highlight for me this week and I can't see how Matt Kuchar can get any bigger than the 42.041/1 he currently trades at...

The Texan will be teeing it up in his home-state tournament on Thursday and if he performs anything above poorly he looks sure to shortened-up.

Everybody's Dufnering!

Away from the golf itself, the big story this week has been the latest viral internet craze - Dufnering. It all started when a picture emerged of Jason Dufner looking, well, looking like Jason Dufner on a school visit.

The deadpan Dufner always looks a bit vague and occasionally nonplussed but this latest photo took the disinterested look to a whole new level and according to Geoff Shackelford, it's landed him in trouble too! Nice try Geoff.

I'll be back tomorrow with my preview of the week's only event, the Texas Open.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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01 April 2013

The Punter

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