The Punter's In-Play Blog: Are all six leaders vulnerable?

Bubba Watson bogeying the 17th yesterday

Three men are tied at the top at both this week's events with a round to go but the stats say they're all beatable. Read Steve's final in-running thoughts here...

“At the Travelers, history suggests that those in front are vulnerable. Two of the last three winners have trailed by six with a round to go and when Brad Faxon won here in 2005, he overcame a seven-shot deficit. “

09.30 - June 23, 2013
Halfway leader, Ernie Els, has been caught by Alex Noren and Alexander Levy at the BMW International Open and in the States, Charley Hoffman and Graham DeLaet have both collared Bubba Watson at the Travelers Championship. I'll start with events in Germany...

This looks set to be an absolute cracker today, with a couple of intriguing pairings. Old friends Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn will play together in the day's penultimate two-ball and the German pairing of Martin Kaymer and Marcel Siem are sure to take a huge crowd with them when they tee-off at 11.21am (UK and Ireland time).

As highlighted in the preview, the stats suggest the leaders are vulnerable and that winners can come from slightly off the pace. The last three at this venue have come from two, five and three shots back respectfully with a round to go and when Martin Kaymer won here in 2008, he had to beat Anders Hansen in a playoff, having started day four with a six-shot lead. Hansen had began the day eight back!

With pre-event selection, Bjorn, carving his way through the field and with lots of twists and turns throughout the day yesterday, I couldn't have asked for much more and if I don't make money from my book now I'll have nobody but myself to blame. Here's how I stand this morning.

BMW International Open Lay Book
Worst Case Scenario -£261 (Alex Noren)
Best Case Scenario +£1983 (not including Bjorn pre-event bet)

With three tied at the top in Connecticut, it's a very similar story at the Travelers Championship, where again, history suggests that those in front are vulnerable. Two of the last three winners have trailed by six with a round to go and when Brad Faxon won here in 2005, he overcame a seven-shot deficit.

With a seemingly comfortable three-stroke lead with just six holes to play yesterday, Bubba Watson looked as though he was going to coast home and he's been matched at an understandably low 1.51/2 already, but his finish was not a thing of beauty.

There were bogeys at the par 5 13th, the drivable par 4 15th and the tricky 17th and that's given me a chance to sort out what had looked a very messy book. Although Bubba had looked strong early on yesterday, I knew there was a very long way to go and I layed him a few times - once as low as 1.68/13.

With hindsight, I should have hung on a bit longer before laying Hoffman and DeLaet again but that's easy to say now. At one point last night, Bubba was losing me four figures and everyone else was a winner but that's not the case this morning. Here's how I stand right now.

Travelers Championship Lay Book
Worst Case Scenario -£492 (Charley Hoffman)
Best Case Scenario +£1770


Those figures will change before the off as I have lays on Chris Stroud and Nick O'Hern (both one off the lead) yet to be matched.

Yesterday I was pessimistic about the BMW and hopeful of a result at the Travelers, today I've flipped. I know Bubba got nervous yesterday, Hoffman knows how to mess up a winning chance (blew a two-shot lead with two to play here last year) and that DeLaet is looking for his first win, but with Stroud, O'Hern and Ken Duke, the only players within three of the leading trio, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to see one of them get the job done and if that's the case, I'm going to struggle to make much of a profit from here.

Whatever happens, I'll be back tomorrow with my De-Brief.

09.40 - June 22, 2013
We've reached the halfway stage of both the BMW International Open and the Travelers Championship and by this stage I was hoping to be in a far better place with my two books - here's the current positions.

BMW International Open Lay Book
Worst Case Scenario -£312 (Ernie Els)
Best Case Scenario +£765

Travelers Championship Lay Book
Worst Case Scenario -£458 (Bubba Watson)
Best Case Scenario +£731

On the face of it, just looking at the figures above, my book at the BMW International Open isn't quite as bad as the one for the Travelers Championship but I'm far more optimistic of getting out of jail in Connecticut.

I need an awful lot of change to the leaderboard in Germany today and I can't see it happening. The only players currently inside the top-ten that I haven't yet layed are Alexander Levy (tied 2nd) and Tommy Fleetwood (tied 6th) and the chances of that pair trading in single-figures today are very slim to zero. I'm pretty sure it's just going to be a case of making a bad job slightly better and I've resigned myself to a loss in that one, but I'm more optimistic about the Travelers Championship.

Given how far back the winners of this event can come from I'm happy to take on halfway leader, Bubba Watson, at less the 4.03/1 and in contrast to the BMW, I've got a number of players in-the-mix onside.


11.15 - June 21, 2013
Finding an opportune point in time to kick off the In-Play Blog is often tricky and it's doubly so this week, given I'm doing something a little different.

As detailed in my preview for the Travelers Championship, I've decided to try laying at this event instead of backing and I've now done much the same in Germany...

I started out by backing three players - Thomas Bjorn, Morten Orum Madsen and Maximilian Kieffer in the BMW International Open but, as I suggested I might do in the preview, I decided to lay the market leaders there also.

The reasons I went down the laying route in Connecticut are outlined clearly in the Travelers Championship preview but there perhaps not so clear in the BMW International Open one...

As highlighted in the preview, Golfclub München Eichenried has been a difficult place to front run, so I thought there may well be opportunities to lay some players at fairly short odds in-running and I also thought US Open fatigue would be a big factor this week and given that the market leaders were all involved at Merion, I might get off to a good start by laying them. How wrong could I have been!

Having finished a fast-finishing tied 4th at Merion, Ernie Els led in Germany after day one and having given up a golden chance to win his first major, finishing alongside the Big Easy, Hunter Mahan shot 62 at the Travelers Championship! He led for most of the day before being gazumped by Charley Hoffman, who shot a nine under-par 61.

It's fair to say day one didn't go anywhere near as well as I'd hoped for at either event but there's an awful long way to go and I'm certainly not giving up yet.

At the Travelers Championship, before the off I backed a couple of huge outsiders at the last minute, in Stephen Ames and Tim Petrovic, but they're already struggling and my concentration is very much on sorting my book out.

I took the decision last night to lay the front four again - Hoffman, Mahan, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson and as things stand, my worst result is Hoffman, who loses me £451. Those I haven't layed at all stand at +£536 and baring the four I layed again, those I layed pre-event are either small winners or small losers. For example, a victory for John Rollins would see me win £42 and a win for Justin Rose, who recovered quite brilliantly after a slow start, would result in a loss of £36.

My book at the BMW International Open is even worse! I adopted a similar tactic there, laying a number of market leaders before the off and then going in again on the market leaders after round one. Ernie is my biggest loser at -£378 and those that I haven't layed stand to win me £381.

It's not going to be easy to keep this updated and I fancy the easiest way to go is to just keep posting a best case scenario and a worst case scenario figure. The figures quoted do NOT include my pre-event bets listed below.

BMW International Lay Book
Worst Case Scenario -£378 (Ernie Els)
Best Case Scenario +£381

Travelers Championship Lay Book
Worst Case Scenario -£451 (Charley Hoffman)
Best Case Scenario +£536

BMW International Pre-Event Selections:
Thomas Bjorn @ 36.035/1
Morten Orum Madsen @ 150.0149/1
Maximilian Kieffer @ 190.0189/1

Travelers Championship Pre-Event Selections:
Stephen Ames @ 810.0809/1
Tim Petrovic @ 1000.0

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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