The Punter's De-Brief: Rory and Scotty show their class

A happy Rory after winning at Wentworth
A happy Rory after winning at Wentworth

Our man looks back at a fantastic week's golf where both events finished in dramatic fashion, but was either result any good for Steve and what have we learned for the future?

"Yesterday was entertaining to say the least and if you didn’t get a thrill from watching either or both events then you’re watching the wrong sport."


Thomas Bjorn started what transpired to be a thrilling final round of the BMW PGA Championship with a five shot lead, and after a steady start he was matched at just 1.21/5 before Shane Lowry took up the running himself to lead by three. He hit a low of 1.511/2 but it was fellow Irishman, Rory McIlroy, who timed his run to perfection and with five birdies in the last nine holes he won his first European Tour event in 18 months. 

There were a couple of turning points for Rors. His eagle putt on the 4th took several seconds to drop and only did so with the help of a gust of wind and then after bogeying the 9th he hit a poor tee-shot on 10 but chipped in for birdie.  

Over in the States, on what was an incredibly congested leaderboard, the cream rose to the top in round four of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, with Adam Scott eventually getting the better of Jason Dufner at the third extra hole. Like Rory, Scott had been well-fancied at the start of the week but with no previous course form and after a dreadful start, which saw him play his first nine holes in four-over-par, the world number one was matched at an incredible high of 470.0469/1.  

The win not only cemented Scott's place at the top of the world ranking but it also gave him the Texas Slam, something he had clearly been targeting. He's now won all four PGA Tour events staged in the Lone Star State, having previously won the Shell Houston Open in 2007, the Byron Nelson in 2008 and the Valero Texas Open in 2010.

Previous event winner Dufner had entered the week in fairly poor form and was matched before the off at a high of 65.064/1, although he was generally a 55.054/1 shot. He was matched at a low of 1.351/3 when he stiffed his approach shot at the second extra hole but Scott was able to bravely match his birdie there.


My Bets

For the second week in-a-row on the European Tour, a fancied player has won and for the second week in-a-row it's been a fancied player that I've disregarded too readily before the off. I didn't fancy Jimenez last week as Spaniards have a poor record in the Open de España and his event record was especially poor and that was the sole reason I didn't fancy Rory. He'd missed three of six cuts at Wentworth, including his last two, and so the Irishman's victory was a poor result for yours truly. And I dismissed Scotty for the same reason. His Colonial Country Club figures read 64-65.

In-running wise, I didn't get too involved at Wentworth and things seemed to contrive against me last night at the Crowne Plaza Invitational but I did eventually make a very small profit in that one. 

As detailed in the In-Play Blog, I backed Chad Campbell at halfway at 55.054/1 and when he opened up his final round with two birdies to take the lead I was soon laying some of my wager off. I put myself into a position to break even on the week when I layed him back at an average of 6.05/1 but when eventual playoff protagonists, Scott and Dufner, simultaneously messed up, I backed him back again at an average of 7.413/2

Scott double-bogeyed the 9th at almost the exact same time as Dufner missed his par putt on the 11th from less than three feet and I was feeling chipper that I'd made my position on Chad stronger without laying out any extra cash but it soon all went pear-shaped...

Campbell missed a par putt from 8 feet on the 5th but I wasn't too perturbed. The 5th is the hardest hole on the course and a bogey there isn't the end of the world. I was confident that my man would trade lower again and profits would come but much to my annoyance he made a complete and utter mess of the 6th hole before I had a chance to lay him back again and when he followed that disastrous double-bogey at 6th with another at the 7th, I knew I'd missed my chance. 

I managed to claw my stakes back on the event right at the end by backing Dufner at a shade under 3.02/1 when he birdied the last. That put me in a decent position to trade the playoff and improve what looked like being a bad week but sometimes it's not all about the money.  Yesterday was entertaining to say the least and if you didn't get a thrill from watching either or both events then you're watching the wrong sport. 


What have we learned for next year?

Although I dismissed Rory on account of his poor course form, he had finished 5th at Wentworth in 2009 and the first 11 home yesterday had all finished at least 12th there previously.  Only three of the 11 - Marcel Siem, who was 7th two years ago, Henrik Stenson, 8th in 2007, and Larrazabal 12th last year - hadn't recorded a top-five finish previously so clearly course form counts for plenty and debutants are up against it. 

The Irish hadn't won the PGA for over 50 years but with Rory winning and Shane Lowry finishing 2nd, they've broken the hoodoo in style and so the stat now reads that since 1995, other than in 2003, when Spain's Ignacio Garrido, beat South Africa's Trevor Immelman in a playoff, someone from Britain or Ireland has finished 1st or 2nd. 

The result in Texas was a strange one for a couple of reasons. Although the weather was never especially wild, for the first time this century nobody was able to get to double-digits under-par and that allowed class-act Scott to make up the lost ground. With his opening 71, he became only the second winner this century to take the title after failing to break 70 on day one. Rory Sabbatini shot 70 in 2007 before he too prevailed in a playoff. Scott sat in a tie for 64th, six adrift, after round one and was still six back at halfway!

I'll be back later today or possibly in the morning with my previews for this week's two events. The Race to Dubai moves to Sweden for the Nordea Masters and on the PGA Tour we've an absolute cracker to look forward at the Memorial Tournament


*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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