The Punter

The Punter's In-Play Blog: Chasers worth chancing at Copperhead

Golfer Adam Schenk
Adam Schenk in action in round two

There's just one round to go at the Valspar Championship and with 15 players within four strokes of the lead, it's still a wide-open affair according to Steve...

  • Schenk still leads the Valspar
  • Spieth heads the market in Florida
  • Riley can bounce back and gain redemption

10:15- March 19, 2022

Weather delays and a lack of TV coverage have badly hampered the SDC Championship where 240.0239/1 chance, Matthew Baldwin, looks like winning his first DP World Tour title.

At the time of writing, he's already been matched at a low of 1.041/25 and he leads by six with just 10 holes to play, but I'm going to concentrate on the Valspar Championship, where a birdie at the 18th hole in round three saw Adam Schenk maintain his lead. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices available to back on the Betfair exchange at 10:10.

Adam Schenk -8 6.411/2
Jordan Spieth -7 4.1
Tommy Fleetwood -7 4.84/1
Taylor Moore -6 13.012/1
Webb Simpson -6 14.5
Cody Gribble -6 29.028/1
Wyndham Clark -5 20.019/1
Matt Wallace -5 34.033/1
Patton Kizzire -5 40.039/1
Davis Riley -4 46.045/1
J.T Poston -4 55.054/1
David Lingmerth -4 60.059/1
Chad Ramey -4 90.089/1
Michael Thompson -4 110.0109/1
Zac Blair -4 140.0139/1
-3 and 48.047/1 bar

With just one round to go, only three players trade at a single-figure price and all three look opposable. This is still a wide-open event.

Adam Schenk has led or co-led after every round, and he's gone about his business in impressive fashion but he's led with a round to go twice before (once on the PGA Tour and once on the Korn Ferry Tour) and he's failed to convert on each occasion and as highlighted below, one-stroke 54-hole leaders on the PGA Tour don't have the greatest of records.

Jordan Spieth, who's been matched at a low of 2.3611/8 already, still heads the market but I'm happy to swerve him.

Spieth began his roller-coaster third round with an eagle three at the par five first before five birdies were cancelled out with five bogeys and although he's the correct favourite, I'm in no hurry to side with him at 3/1.

Tommy Fleetwood impressed yesterday with a bogey-free two-under-par 69 but on the last 16 occasions that he's began the final round within three of the lead he's been beaten and he's still in search of his first win on the PGA Tour.

Fleetwood has a similar profile to Paul Casey. He's a very high class player who commands plenty of respect but like Casey, he's not always brilliant in-contention and he can get in his own way at times but I've deliberately compared him to Casey as the fellow Englishman won this title back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

Fleetwood can and should draw inspiration from Casey's victories and it would be great to see him win but he'll be doing so without any of my cash onboard.

Casey won his second title from the front but he trailed by five in a tie for 11th in 2018 and the 2016 winner, Charl Schwartzel, another player that one could argue is inconsistent in-contention, even in his pomp, also won from off the pace. The South African sat eighth, trailing by five.

Casey and Schwartzel have clearly demonstrated that it's perfectly possible to make up ground here so I've not given up on pre-event pick, J.T Poston, or Find Me a 100 Winner selection, David Lingmerth, who both trail by four, and given the wide-open nature of the leaderboard, I'm happy to chance a couple more chasers...

Last year's runner-up, Davis Riley, who shot 62 in round three 12 months ago, could be poised to bounce back today after his disappointing one-over-par 72 yesterday, that saw him fall from third to 10th, and I've also thrown a few pounds at Patton Kizzire at 40.039/1.

The 37-year-old is in search of his third PGA Tour title and he's just the sort of streaky player that could get hot with the putter and post a target.

07:20- March 18, 2022

We've reached the halfway stage of the Valspar Championship and pre-event 150.0149/1 shot, Adam Schenk, leads but the 2015 winner, Jordan Spieth, still heads the market. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 07:10.

Adam Schenk -7 10.519/2
Kramer Hickok -6 13.012/1
Jordan Spieth -5 6.05/1
Tommy Fleetwood -5 9.417/2
Davis Riley -5 13.5
Cody Gribble -5 65.064/1
Wyndham Clark -4 20.019/1
Stephan Jaeger -4 22.021/1
Taylor Moore -4 27.026/1
J.T Poston -4 28.027/1
Matt Wallace -4 48.047/1
Justin Thomas -3 12.011/1
-3 and 48.047/1 bar

Last year's playoff protagonists, Sam Burns and Davis Riley, sat third and sixth at halfway, trailing by three and six strokes, but three of the four previous winners had either led or were tied for the lead at this stage, suggesting up with the pace is the place to be but I'm far from convinced...

K'J Choi led by a stroke at halfway before going on to win his second title here in 2006 but between Choi's win in '06 and Adam Hadwin's victory in 2017, all ten winners were trailing at halfway.

Spieth sat second, trailing by just one, in 2014, but we've seen winners come from six, seven and even eight strokes back so the tournament is clearly still wide-open and nobody can be discounted.

Spieth didn't hole the putts he holed on Thursday, but he scrambled well again yesterday, as demonstrated perfectly on the 18th hole.

He looks a fair price at 5/1 but I'm more than happy to let him go unbacked.

The leader looks a reasonable price too. With the birth of his first child (a son) a month away, Schenk is playing for the tenth week in-a-row so he ticks the 'Nappy Factor' box, as well as the course correlation one.

He's played the John Deere Classic four times and having missed the cut on debut in 2018, he finished sixth and fourth in his next two visits to Deere Run before withdrawing after round one last year.

Copperhead is a tough course and this is still a wide-open event so I'm going to sit on my hands for now.

Pre-event pick, Adam Hadwin, was a big disappointment yesterday, missing the cut after being a 20/1 chance after round one and that highlights nicely how easy it is to tumble out of contention here if you're not on your game.

Having shot a bogey-free, neat and tidy 69 to sit tied for 12th on Thursday, the 2017 winner slipped away with an error-strewn five-over-par 76 yesterday but it's very easily done here.

My other pre-pick, J.T Poston, is still in-the-mix, and having made 28 of 28 putts inside seven feet over the first two days, I'm hopeful he can hang around today.

Poston looks a fair price at 28.027/1 given he trails by just three and I haven't given up on Find Me a 100 Winner picks, David Lingmerth and Michael Kim. Anyone teeing it up today is still in it and caution is most definitely advised but I have had one other wager...

It's very rare that I forage in the two and three ball markets, but I always like to look to oppose Tommy Fleetwood when he's in-contention and Cody Gribble looked a fair price to better his score today at 3.412/5.

Gribble, who won the Sanderson Farms Championship back in 2016, has been in the wilderness for a while but having finished seventh at the Puerto Rico Open last time out, he's played nicely here over the first two days too, ranking fourth for Greens In Regulation, 11th for Scrambling and first for Strokes Gained Putting.

20:55- March 17, 2022

Adam Schenk leads the Valspar Championship after a two-over-par 69 in round two this morning and with the course firming up and the wind proving to be problematic, he's highly liking to be the 36-hole leader but I'll be back tomorrow with a look at that event, once they've reached the halfway stage.

The SDC Championship in South Africa should have reached the halfway stage by now but high winds caused a cessation in play today and they'll return to the course in the morning to finish up round two with some players still having as many as 17 holes to play!

Frenchman, Julien Brun, who's finished his second round, leads by a stroke on -8 but I wouldn't be in a hurry to side with him at just a shade over 4/1 given we're a long way from reaching the halfway point.

I'll have another look at the event tomorrow evening and it looks like a tournament to treat with kid gloves but I'm happy to chance Justin Harding at an average price of 28.027/1.

Justin Harding at the SDC Championship.jpg

The South African has only played seven holes of his second round so there's a chance he can eat into the Frenchman's lead first thing tomorrow and he appears to be playing nicely. He's three-under-par for round two and four off the lead.

11:15 - March 17, 2022

The second round of the SDC Championship at St Francis Links is well underway and I'll be back later today with a look at that event once they've reached the halfway stage but for now, I'm going to concentrate on the Valspar Championship, where Ryan Brehm is tied for the lead with Stephan Jaeger and Adam Schenk, thanks largely to his ace at the 17th yesterday morning.

I've had a tiny bet on Brehm at 120.0119/1. He's no bigger than 80/1 on the High Street and that looks a sporting price.

He won the Portland Open on the Korn Ferry Tour wire-to-wire back in 2016 and having sat third and just a stroke off the lead after round one, he led after rounds two and three before going on to win the Puerto Rico Open by six last year so the market could be underestimating him somewhat.

A stroke behind the leading trio in a tie for fourth on -4 is another threesome containing Lucas Glover, Maverick McNealy and the 2015 winner, Jordan Spieth, and the latter named now understandably heads the market.

Spieth didn't drive the ball well yesterday, but he still ranked 15th for greens hit and first for both Scrambling and Strokes gained Putting.

It was one of those typical Spieth rounds that we became accustomed to when he was at his most prolific between 2015 and 2017. He missed a birdie putt from inside nine feet at the first hole (his tenth of the round) but other than that he could not have scored any better.

Spieth at the Valspar 2023.jpg

He holed a birdie putt at the 15th from almost 60 feet and he made another from outside of 30 feet at the sixth. There were a number of clutch par saves and I do just wonder if he can kick on from here or not.

He's the correct favourite but as highlighted in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, a slow start can be easily overcome here and with as many as 57 players within five strokes on level par and better, it's a wide open event still.

Jordan's big pal, Justin Thomas, is the current second favourite. He sits alongside the hattrick seeking Sam Burns, the 2017 winner, Adam Hadwin and last year's beaten playoff protagonist, Davis Riley, in a tie for 12th on -2 so as expected, course form has come to the fore again here.

I'll be back tomorrow with a look a the state of play at halfway but in addition to the small wager on Brehm, I've also backed Glover at 50.049/1.

John Deere Classic winners have a very strong record at Copperhead so I couldn't ignore the presence of the 2021 JDC winner on the leaderboard.

Putting is usually the 2009 US Open winner's big weakness but in addition to ranking as highly as second for Greens In Regulation, Glover ranked fourth for Putting Average yesterday, so I was happy to get him onside at 50.049/1 given he's no bigger than 40/1 on the High Street.

Valspar Championship Pre-Event Selections:
Adam Hadwin @ 32.031/1
J.T Poston @ 80.079/1

In-Play Picks:
Lucas Glover @ 50.049/1
Ryan Brehm @ 120.0119/1
Davis riley @ 46.045/1
Patton Kizzire @ 40.039/1

SDC Championship Pre-Event Selection:
George Coetzee @ 34.033/1
J.J Senekal @ 85.084/1

In-Play Pick:
Justin Harding @ 28.027/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Back 2u Ockie Strydom @ 100.099/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

Back 2u David Lingmerth @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

Back 2u Trey Mullinax @ 160.0159/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

Back 1u Michael Kim @ 320.0319/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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