Steve looks back on an eventful and successful week's golf for the BB team, with Paul Krishnamurty striking gold with Andrew Dodt in Thailand...
“In 2012, 51.2% of leaders or co-leaders through 54 holes went on to win on the European Tour. In 2012 it fell to 42.9%; in 2013 only 38.2% converted and last year the percentage fell further with just 34.4% of third round leaders or co-leaders going on to win.”
Paul Krishnamurty's Find Me a 100 Winner and 101.0100/1 each-way selection, Andrew Dodt, came from off the pace to win the True Thailand Classic on the European Tour and 27.026/1 shot, Brandt Snedeker, powered to his second AT&T Pebble Beach National title in three years on the PGA Tour. Snedeker won by three strokes over Nick Watney with a record breaking 22-under-par total.
Although I made a profit on the week, thanks to laying back my pre-event pick, Scott Hend, at an average of 2.0421/20, it was still a week to forget. Hend was bitterly disappointing at the death in Thailand and pretty much threw the event away but I suspect Thongchai Jaidee backers are saying the same thing and I really shouldn't moan. At least he traded low enough for me to make a profit.
I hadn't liked the AT&T Pebble Beach from the moment I first looked at it and it turned into a miserable event all round. My halfway wager, Billy Horschel, went two clear early on in round three and was matched at just 5.14/1 for over a grand but he came home in an ambulance - playing the last ten holes in five-over par and he was out of it before round four even began. And there was further heartache yesterday...
I backed Pat Perez at 85.084/1 prior to round four and when he made his fifth birdie of the round on the 8th, he actually tied the lead but he capitulated thereafter. He hit a low of 6.05/1 at that point and given his fiery temperament I really should have layed him there and then but tired and hopeful, I tried to push my luck. I thought I was due a bit but I wasn't.
It was also pretty galling watching Snedeker win. He was a selection last week at the Farmers Insurance Open and I'd had a fair bet on him to finish inside the top-ten but he never really got going at Torrey Pines.
What Have We Learned For Next Year?
Course form appears to stand up really well at Black Mountain, home of the True Thailand Classic, so concentrate on those familiar with the place and keep a very close eye on the weather. We didn't get much wind there last week but it was still a factor and if the wind blows it could get really tough.
Australians are notoriously good wind players and they didn't just fill the first two places - six of the top-24 came from Down Under.
With very little rough to speak off and little in the way of danger off the tee, this is definitely a place for big-hitters and if you're betting in-running, expect much change late on. The par 4 17th is drivable and the final hole is a reachable par 5.
Over in the States, Brandt Snedeker was the archetypical AT&T winner. In-form Americans are the ones to concentrate on here. As already detailed, Sneds was disappointing last week, finishing tied for 17th at Torrey Pines but his stats were really impressive the week before when he finished 10th at the Phoenix Open. And multiple event winners are common too - Sneds is the fourth man this century to win the title more than once.
Players To Swerve
Nick Watney birdied the first four holes to go two clear yesterday but he soon lost his way after that. He looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights and his in-contention play appears to be worsening and Jim Furyk simply has to be avoided. He has now failed to convert a third round lead nine times in-a-row and after yesterday's dreadful effort I doubt he'll ever win from the front again. He didn't go any lower than 2.915/8 in the win market but thousands were lost in the top-5 finish market, where he was matched at a low of just 1.251/4.
Keep Taking On the Odds-on Shots on the European Tour
In last week's De-Brief, I wrote about how many odds-on shots have been beaten on the European Tour this year and we can now add both Hend and Jaidee to the list. The big-hitting Aussie was matched at 1.635/8 and Jaidee hit a low of 1.68/13. Branden Grace was tied for the lead after 54 holes in Qatar and Rory McIlroy was in front in Dubai but the other four winners in 2015 have come from some way off the pace - Andy Sullivan was trailing by seven at the South African Open with a round to go, Gary Stal won in Abu Dhabi having been eight back, Anirban Lahiri trailed by five last week and Dodt was four back before yesterday's final round.
Sky Sports put up a stat this week, that read 44% of third round leaders since 1972 have gone on to win on the European Tour but being off the pace appears to be more advantageous than leading just lately and things have been changing rapidly. In 2012, 51.2% of leaders or co-leaders through 54 holes went on to win on the European Tour. In 2012 it fell to 42.9%; in 2013 only 38.2% converted and last year the percentage fell further with just 34.4% of third round leaders or co-leaders going on to win.
I couldn't help but reflect on yesterday's final round in Thailand and wonder how Dodt would have fared if he'd have been leading after 54 holes and whether Hend would have benefited from being outside the final group. Maybe it would have merely meant that Dodt would have won even more easily but I have my doubts.
The standard on the European Tour is certainly not improving and nerves play a massive part come Sunday afternoon. I got too wrapped up with my Hend wager to profit as much as I should have done yesterday but I'm not too disappointed, I doubt we'll have long to wait for more to-ing and fro-ing in round four on the European Tour.
We're off to India on the Race to Dubai for the Indian Open and it's the Northern Trust Open in the States. I'll be back tomorrow with my previews.
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