After a disappointing round by Gary Stal yesterday, Steve's leaving the Lyoness Open alone now but he's taken a detailed look at the St. Jude Classic where he fancies the leaders may just be worth taking on. Read his final in-running update of the week here...
“Going back to 1996, nobody has won from outside the top-ten with a round to go and only Len Mattiace has won from any further than three strokes back so the stats suggest we should concentrate on the top-six but I’m not convinced”
12:20 - June 14, 2015
Live coverage of the final round of the Lyoness Open has begun on Sky and halfway leader, Gregory Bourdy, still holds sway, but only just. He was matched at long odds-on after re-establishing a three-stroke lead with a birdie at the 1st but he followed that with a double-bogey at the 2nd hole and now only leads by a stroke.
My in-play pick, Gary Stal, started really well yesterday and was matched at just 6.411/2 but he lost the plot after birdying three of the first four holes and is now too far back to figure but I haven't completely given up on pre-event pick, John Hahn, who was also Dan Geraghty's each-way selection. He's up to a tie for 4th and only five back after Bourdy's hiccup and there's still a very long way to go. I haven't gotten any further involved with this one, choosing instead to concentrate on the St Jude Classic...
After a disappointing one-over -par 71, my in-play pick in Memphis, Brooks Koepka, has slipped out of the lead. It looks extremely hard to call now with breezy conditions again forecast and with 14 players within four of the lead. Here's the current leaderboard with prices to back at 12:00.
Fabian Gomez -9 6.86/1
Greg Owen -9 7.413/2
Brooks Koepka -8 3.953/1
Scott Brown -8 6.411/2
Matt Jones -6 15.5
Austin Cook -6 36.035/1
Ryan Palmer -5 22.021/1
Camilo Villegas -5 36.035/1
David Toms -5 46.045/1
Chad Campbell -5 50.049/1
Tom Hoge -5 120.0119/1
Tim Wilkinson -5 120.0119/1
Chris Smith -5 130.0129/1
Arjun Atwal -5 150.0149/1
After a tricky third round, a number of experienced campaigners have come to the fore, with 44 year old Englishman, Greg Owen, tied at the top with 36 year old Argentine, Fabian Gomez. Whether they can stay there is quite another matter though...
Gomez has never won on the PGA Tour but he has won once on the Web.com Tour and he has won numerous times on lesser tours outside of the States, so he does know how to win. Greg Owen has only ever won once in his lengthy career - the British Masters in 2003 - and he's very hard to fancy.
Alongside my man, Koepka is Scott Brown, who won the 2013 Puerto Rico Open, and if he were to go on and win I'd be somewhat miffed. Regularly readers will know I'm a big fan of Brown and I've backed him in events of this nature umpteen times but not this week. I did try. I put in a bet at 250.0249/1 which proved to be far too optimistic. Rather stupidly, I thought below 200.0199/1 was too short before the off and I think his current price of 6.411/2 is short enough too. He's been within two strokes of the lead eight times but he's only converted once.
Going back to 1996, nobody has won from outside the top-ten with a round to go and only Len Mattiace has won from any further than three strokes back so the stats suggest we should concentrate on the top-six but I'm not convinced...
Koepka looks a fair price still at around 4.03/1 and he's definitely the man to beat on a leaderboard crammed with pre-event outsiders but he struggled to read the wind yesterday and although I'm sticking with him, I don't want to go topping up.
This is really tricky to call and although the stats suggest the top-six are the ones to concentrate on, I can help but think those on -5 and four back could yet have a stay so for very small stakes I've backed former winner, David Toms and the experienced pair of Camilo Villegas and Chad Campbell.
I'll be back tonight with my US Open preview and again tomorrow with the De-Brief.
10:45 - June 13, 2015
The third round of the Lyoness Open is well underway with the leaders due to tee off just before noon, UK time, when the live coverage on Sky Sports begins. Here's the leaderboard with prices to back at 10:30.
Gregory Bourdy -12 2.47/5
Chris Wood -8 5.79/2
Gary Stal -8 11.010/1
Rafa Cabrera-Belo -7 10.09/1
Carlos Pigem -7 44.043/1
-6 and 42.041/1 Bar
The big question here is will Gregory Bourdy get the job done from a very commanding position? Let's look at the stats.
On the European Tour since 1996, 30 players have led by four strokes in 72 hole strokeplay events and 17 have won, suggesting Bourdy should arguably be odds-on but if we look at the Frenchman's record in front it's enough to put anyone off completely!
Although he's never led by any more than two strokes at this stage, Bourdy has held at least a share of the lead eight times at halfway and he's converted three times. That's not a bad return at all but it's his recent record that spooks me.
He was tied for the lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa in 2012 but rounds of 74 and 72 saw him well beaten and when he led by a stroke at the Irish Open and the Open de España early that year, on both occasions he shot 80 in round three! Needless to say, he was very well beat then too.
On that evidence, I really don't want to back Bourdy at a shade of odds-against but alternatives look few and far between so I'm happy to stick with Gary Stal, who I backed after round one. I'm not a massive fan of either Chris Wood or Rafa Cabrera-Bello - neither of them wins as often as they perhaps should and I can't see anyone a bit further back that I'd like to get with.
I may not like the favourite in Europe but the one in the States looks rock solid.
At the halfway stage of the FedEx St. Jude, Brooks Koepka leads Austin Cook by a stroke, Steve Alker by two and a group of seven players, who all bar one were huge outsiders before the off, by three strokes. The only exception is PGA Tour maiden, Russell Knox, who was a pre-event 55.054/1 shot.
A total of 13 players have held a clear advantage at halfway here since 1996 and seven of them went on to win. Koepka is the class act on the leaderboard, has already won this year - at the Phoenix Open - and looks a very fair price to me at anything over 2/1. I managed to get matched at 3.711/4 last night but I'd happily take 3.39/4 this morning.
I'll be back tomorrow morning to review the state of play with a round to go at both events.
22:45 - June 11, 2015
Over £90,000 was traded on Bernd Wiesberger to win the Lyoness Open before the off and most of it was at less than 6.05/1 but backers knew their fate soon after they'd finished their breakfast this morning! The home favourite played very poorly and after a seven-over -par 79, he looks destined to miss the cut.
In stark contrast, Frenchman, Gregory Bourdy, played brilliantly to end the day in front. He ranked number one for Driving Accuracy, Greens In Regulation and Scrambling and 4th for putting and all that meant he skipped round the Diamond Course in a scintillating seven-under-par 65, which was two strokes better than anyone else.
Hot on his heels is pre-event second favourite, Chris Wood and the red-hot German, Maximilian Kiefer, who Mike Norman selected for the each-way column. None of my pre-event picks have impressed but it's still early days and I've not completely given up on any of them yet. I probably should leave the event alone for now but given he's a few ticks bigger on the exchange than he is on the High Street, I thought I'd back the man I quite fancied for the event last year - Gary Stal...
The Frenchman was ranking high on all the stats I liked for the event 12 months ago but when I checked them all before the off this time around he wasn't ranking anywhere near so well for any of them. Following his win in Abu Dhabi, he was understandably trading at half the price he was last year so I felt I had to reluctantly leave him out. His round was a bit scrappy today but given he's only three behind Bourdy, I thought 25.024/1 was more than fair.
Wiesberger looks a lost cause in Austria but at least he's still playing! Dustin Johnson, the pre-event favourite at the FedEx St. Jude, has already called it a day - withdrawing from the event due to illness after nine holes and that's not just bad news for his backers this week. Johnson was trading at around 21.020/1 for the US Open at Chambers Bay next week but he's understandably eased three or four points now.
I'll take a more detailed look at this one tomorrow, at the completion of round one, but the man to beat could be Ryan Palmer, who's still playing his opening round. He's already been matched at just 4.57/2 after racing to the lead after just 11 holes and he's featuring quite prominently in the live coverage on Sky right now.
Lyoness Open Pre-Event Selections:
David Horsey @ 70.069/1
Michael Hoey @ 100/1 each-way (Sportsbook)
Mikael Lundberg @ an average of 130.0129/1
John Hahn @ 180.0179/1
Gary Stal @ 25.024/1
FedEx St. Jude Pre-Event Selections:
Brian Harman @ 90.089/1
Will Wilcox @ 120.0119/1
Johnson Wagner @ 320.0319/1
Mark Wilson @ 550.0549/1
Brooks Koepka @ 3.711/4
Camilo Villegas @ 38.037/1
David Toms @ 46.045/1
Chad Campbell @ 50.049/1
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