Two tied at the top in Spain
Otaegui chanced to make a successful defence
In-play trading may well pay dividends
08:50 - October 22, 2023
There's an early start in Spain today with the 54-hole leaders at the Andalucia Masters teeing off within the hour (live on Sky at 9:30) so please excuse the brevity of this morning's post. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 8:45.
Matti Schmid -14 3.412/5
Jeff Winther -14 3.613/5
Adrian Otaegui -12 5.49/2
Jeong weon Ko -11 27.026/1
Adrian Meronk -10 14.013/1
Nick Bachem -10 25.024/1
Richard Mansell -10 26.025/1
-9 and 65.064/1 bar
Pre-event 130.0129/1 chance, Matti Schmid, is in search of his first victory on the DP World Tour and 200.0199/1 shot, Jeff Winther, has had such a bed spell that he considered giving up the game so although they hold a two-stroke lead over the remainder with just one round to go, both look opposable.
The defending champ, Adrian Otaegui, looks the most obvious alternative and he's a fair price at around the 9/25.50 mark, although Poland's Adrian Meronk looks menacing from four off the lead.
I've had a tiny play on Otaegui, but I'll be looking to trade the event in-running.
The wind is up, and scoring is tough so we could be set up nicely for plenty of in-running shenanigans. Anyone posting a score early from off the pace may well be worth siding with and anyone going odds-on with plenty of holes to play will be worth opposing.
We very often see two or more players trade at odds-on and get beat on the DP World Tour and today could be one such occasion if the conditions are as bad as the early scores suggest it is.
11:55 - October 21, 2023
The leaders are about to tee off their third rounds at the Andalucia Masters, where Adris Arnaus has made a big move this morning, and I'll be back later today or tomorrow morning with a look at that one with a round to go but for now I'm going to concentrate on the ZOZO Championship on the PGA Tour...
Pre-event 150.0149/1 chance, Justin Suh, finished his third round with a pair of fives today but he still leads by a stroke with a round to go. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 11:45.
Justin Suh -9 4.67/2
Eric Cole -8 4.67/2
Beau Hossler -8 4.94/1
Collin Morikawa -7 4.84/1
Emiliano Grillo -6 16.5
Satoshi Kodaira -6 46.045/1
Kurt Kitayama -5 36.035/1
Cam Davis -4 44.043/1
JJ Spaun -4 80.079/1
Ryo Ishikawa -4 140.0139/1
-3 and 200.0199/1 bar
The first-round leader, Collin Morikawa, looked done and dusted when, after a poor second round, he began round three with a double-bogey at the opening hole and a bogey at four.
The world number 20 was matched at a high of 60.059/1 and had I not been fast asleep, having backed him at halfway, I wouldn't have given up on him, but he rallied superbly after that.
The pre-event 16.5 shot birdied three in-a-row from the sixth before birdying five of his last six holes after a bogey at the 12th and with the front two dropping a shot each late on, he's firmly back in the argument with a round to go.
Morikawa has been streaky all week long so it's impossible to know what to expect tomorrow but with those ahead of him all in search of their first victories on the PGA Tour, he may well be the most likely winner with 18 to play.
If the front three do get jittery with their first wins in sight, and Morikawa has a poor round again, last year's fourth, Emilino Grillo, looks close enough to pounce and I was happy enough to add him to the portfolio at 17.016/1.
21:25 - October 20, 2023
With ten players within two strokes at the top of Andalucia Masters leaderboard as we head into the weekend, none of whom were strongly fancied before the off, this week's DP World Tour event is a tough puzzle to solve. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 21:15.
Adrian Otaegui -9 5.95/1
Louis de Jager -9 9.89/1
Jeong Weon Ko -9 18.5
Daniel Hillier -8 11.010/1
Nick Bachem -7 21.020/1
Matti Schmid -7 21.020/1
Jason Scrivener -7 24.023/1
Jeff Winter -7 25.024/1
Mike Lorenzo Vera -7 29.028/1
Jeremy Freiburghaus -7 100.099/1
Marcus Helligkilde -6 21.020/1
Richard Mansell -6 32.031/1
Will Besseling -6 60.059/1
-5 and 27.026/1 bar
The defending champion, Adrian Otaegui, has taken to the new venue nicely enough and he's the man to beat at halfway.
Between 2013 and 2018, Otaegui led or co led four times at halfway, once on the Challenge Tour and three times on the DP World Tour, and he finished fifth, sixth, seventh and 10th but on the last two occasions that he's been tied at the top at halfway - at the Scottish Championship in 2020 and in this event 12 months ago - he's gone on to win by four and six strokes respectively.
Those comprehensive victories will give him plenty of confidence over the next two days and he's a perfectly fair price at almost 5/16.00 given he's no bigger than 4/15.00 on the High Street.
The pre-event 46.045/1 chance is the man to beat but we definitely can't rule out an off the pace winner and the two I like are Ewen Ferguson and the prolific South African, Thriston Lawrence, who both trail by five in a tie for 19th.
Ferguson has been creeping into form of late, ahead of his title defence in Qatar next week, and Lawrence was trailing by five at the halfway stage of the BMW International Open in June before going on to win his fourth DP World Tour title.
Both are more than capable of making a big move tomorrow and neither should be trading as big as they are.
17:15 - October 20, 2023
Breezy conditions took their toll at the ZOZO Championship in round two and the leaderboard looks very different today.
The first-round leader, Collin Morikawa, shot a three-over-par 73 to slip to eighth on -3, while Beau Hossler handled the conditions much better to shoot a very impressive five-under-par 65. He now leads on -7.
Trailing by three in a tie for fourth, the pre-event favourite, Xander Schauffele, is the most obvious danger to Hossler and he and the leader are both trading at around 4/15.00.
I didn't get to see any of the second round and as I've no intention of getting up to watch round three, I was going to leave the event alone for now, but I couldn't resist a small bet on the first-round leader, Morikawa.
Looking at the stats, he's definitely struggled off the tee - hitting just 10 of 26 fairways - so he'll need to improve that aspect of his game, but he could very easily get back on track after an overnight reset.
There's a stroke between Schauffele and Morikawa but the latter name is eight ticks bigger at 12/113.00 and that looks like a slight overreaction.
The second round of the Andalucia Masters is still ongoing and the tournament is looking wide open. I'll be back later tonight or in the morning with a look at the state of play there at halfway.
20:30- October 19, 2023
The first day's play at the Andalucia Masters is over but the opening round hasn't been completed yet.
High winds caused mayhem as the day progressed and fading light caused a suspension of play as early as 19:22. Those yet to complete their opening rounds will restart at 9:10 local time tomorrow morning.
James Morrison shows the way after an eight-under-par 64 this morning and the leaderboard is dominated by the early starters.
The wind picked up considerably as the day wore on and so far, there's a draw bias in favour of the AM-PM wave of almost two strokes.
The pre-event favourites - US Open winner, Wyndham Clark, and the bang-in-form Kiwi, Ryan Fox - trail by six and seven shots respectively, despite starting the tournament this morning and the defending champ, Adrian Otaegui, who trails Morrison by two, is the new favourite. And he's much easier to fancy than the leader, who's never fared well after a fast start...
The Englishman led once on the Challenge Tour after round one way back in 2008 and he's been in front after day one four times previously on the DP World Tour. His finishing positions are regressive, reading 5-8-10-13-27 and he looks like one to oppose.
A word of warning though... I wrote the exact same thing last week about Matthieu Pavon before he went on to win the Open de Espana wire-to-wire!
I was going to leave the event alone and see how it developed tomorrow but alone in second, Germany's Nick Bachem, is just too big to ignore at 13.012/1.
The 24-year-old was an impressive winner of the Johnson Workwear Open in South Africa in March and he's generally an 8/19.00 chance on the High Street.
A reason for his weakness in the market may come to light but I was happy to take a small chance at 13.012/1.
11:40 - October 19, 2023
The opening round of the ninth edition of the Andalucia Masters is underway at its brand-new venue - Real Club de Golf Sotogrande - but the opening round of the ZOZO Championship in Japan is done and dusted. The 2021 Open Champion, Collin Morikawa, leads after an opening six-under-par 64.
Starting on the 10th, the pre-event 17.016/1 chance began very well, birdying five of his first eight holes before the wind picked up fractionally in the afternoon. Morikawa now heads the market at 4.3100/30 and that's no surprise given this is far and away his best start at Narashino Country Club .
On each of his last three visits he's opened with a one-over-par 71 so this is the first time he's given himself a decent shot at the title after round one.
Tiger Woods won the inaugural edition in 2019 wire-to-wire, and all three event winners here have been inside the top-three and within two after the opening round, so it's hard to make a case for laying the leader at above 3/14.00. But he hasn't won for almost two years.
That's not the most damning stat but he's had a few wobbles in-contention since his glorious victory at Royal St George's and his last success, at the DP World Tour Championship in November '21, and with windy weather forecast for tomorrow, I'm happy to look elsewhere.
Having only backed 200.0199/1 chance, Mackenzie Hughes, for the Find Me a 100 Winner column before the off, I could very easily have sat on my hands a little longer, but I was happy to take a tiny chance on Joel Dahman, who won't mind how hard the wind blows.
Dahman won the Corales Puntacana Championship in 2021 at the Corales Golf Club where only exceptional wind players prosper and he caught the eye last week when finishing seventh at the Shriners Children's Open.
I thought 70.069/1 was fair given he only trails by three after round one.
Andalucia Masters Pre-event Selection:
Robert Macintyre @ 42.041/1
Nick Bachem @ 13.012/1
Ewen Ferguson @ 85.084/1
Thriston Lawrence @ 140.0139/1
Adrian Otaegui @ 5.49/2
ZOZO In-Play Picks:
Joel Dahman @ 70.069/1
Collin Morikawa @ 13.5
Emiliano Grillo @ 17.016/1
Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
1u Mackenzie Hughes @ 200.0199/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
2u Pablo Larrazabal @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
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