Odds-on Kuchar stumbles in round three
Favourites falter on Moving Day
Canadian fancied to record his third PGA Tour win
07:15 - November 5, 2023
The 2018 World Wide Technology Chanmpionship winner, Matt Kuchar, looked to be running away with this year's renewal when he stood on the 15th tee at El Cardonal Golf Course yesterday with a colossal six-stroke lead.
At ten-under-par through 14 holes, the 45-year-old needed three more birdies to break 60 on Moving Day in Mexico but having been matched at a low of just 1.222/9, he brought plenty of players back into the event with a quadruple-bogey eight on the par five 15th after an errant drive led to a lost ball and two failed attempts to chip up on to the green.
Somewhat discombobulated after the horror show at 15, Kuchar followed the eight there with a bogey four at the 16th and following two pars at 17 and 18, he goes into the fourth and final round tied with the 36-hole leader, Camilo Villegas. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 7:10.
Matt Kuchar -19 3.613/5
Camilo Villegas -19 6.86/1
Erik Van Rooyen -18 5.14/1
Justin Suh -17 9.08/1
Will Gordon -17 11.521/2
Mackenzie Hughes -17 12.011/1
-15 and 46.045/1 bar
Stephan Jaegar and Ludvig Aberg were trading at single figure prices yesterday morning but after a fast start, Jaegar dropped away to shoot three-over-par and Aberg failed to recover after back-to-back double-bogies at four and five.
Jaegar was matched at a low of 4.03/1 after he played his first six holes in three-under-par and Aberg was matched at a low of 5.04/1 but both are out of it now as we head in to round four.
Kuchar and South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen dominate the market, with Villegas trading as third favourite, but the man that strikes me as a bit of value this morning is last year's Sanderson Farms Championship winner, Mackenzie Hughes, who shot a nine-under-par 63 to move up 23 places in round three.
Tied for fourth and trailing by just two, the 32-year-old Canadian looks a decent price at 12.011/1 if he can follow up yesterday's hot round.
09:40- November 4, 2023
There are still a couple of players yet to finish their second rounds at the World Wide Technology Championship as darkness fell just too early for the second day running but it makes no odds to the leaderboard or the cut line which will be set at -5.
After a desperately disappointing two-over-par 74, on -5 is where yesterday's favourite, the world number 17, Cameron Young, sits and having been matched at a low of just 4.77/2, he's now been matched at as high 920.0919/1 as he trails by 11.
Pre-event 1000.0999/1 chance, Camilo Villegas, birdied his last three holes yesterday to post back-to-back eight-under-par 64s to ease two clear of 2018 winner, Matt Kuchar, but it's still a wide-open affair as we head into the weekend. Here's the latest standings with prices to back at 9:30.
Camilo Villegas -16 8.88/1
Matt Kuchar -14 7.87/1
Stephan Jaeger -13 8.07/1
Justin Suh -13 9.89/1
Erik Van Rooyen -12 16.015/1
Chesson Hadley -12 19.5
Will Gordon -12 27.026/1
Kramer Hickock -12 55.054/1
Ludvig Aberg -11 8.415/2
Doug Ghim -11 36.035/1
Michael Kim -11 38.037/1
Matti Schmid -11 38.037/1
-11 and 40.039/1 bar
Having missed eight of his last 12 cuts, 11 of which were on the Korn Ferry Tour, Villegas contending is something of a surprise.
The 41-year-old plays on the lesser Tour now, picking up whatever starts he can get on the PGA Tour, so winning this week and getting a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour would be a big deal for the Columbian.
His only previous clear 36-hole lead on the PGA Tour was way back in 2009 when he finished third at the Buick Invitational and he led five times at halfway on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2005 but to no avail.
As highlighted yesterday, when scores are this low, it's almost impossible to make up much ground but the pressure of trying to regain his card and his poor record when leading make Villegas an unattractive proposition at 8/19.00.
Kuchar heads the market narrowly over Ludvig Aberg and Stephan Jaeger and my preference is with the latter named.
Kuchar doesn't have a spectacular record when contending and Aberg is just short enough given how much traffic is ahead of him.
This is a really tough tournament to call but at this stage, the two most likely winners are Aberg and Jaeger, and I was happy to add Jaeger to the portfolio at 8.27/1.
As highlighted in the preview, I felt Total Birdies might be a stat to focus on and Jaeger sits second behind Eric Cole on that list. The German absolutely loves a birdie-fest and he's not frightened to go low.
The 34-year-old is yet to win on the PGA Tour but the first of his six wins on the Korn Ferry Tour came at the Ellie Mae Classic in 2016 when he got to a staggering 30-under-par, having shot 58 in round one!
Sitting at 58 in the FedEx Cup standings, he has no card worries to bother him and he can just freewheel over the weekend.
I certainly haven't given up on my two pre-event picks, Cameron Champ and Aksay Bhatia. Trading at 60.059/1 and 70.069/1 respectively this morning, they're still in with a squeak but trailing Villegas by seven, they're going to need help from the leaders and two sensational rounds to figure at the finish.
Yesterday's in-play pick, Michael Kim, finished his second round disappointingly but he's still there on -11 and my Find Me a 100 Winner pick, Chesson Hadley, is very much on the premises in tied fifth so fingers are crossed that he can at least hit the first lay back target of 10.09/1.
09:30- November 3, 2023
It looked for a short while that yesterday's first round leader pick, Chesson Hadley, may just deliver the goods on day one of the World Wide Technology Championship in Mexico. But having been matched at a low of 6.05/1 to end round one in front, he stumbled on the front-nine (his back-nine) with bogeys at four and six.
As it transpired, he'd have needed to match his first nine holes just to tie the lead with Australian veteran, Cameron Percy, who could conceivably have gone even lower than 10-under-par 62 given he parred four of his last five holes.
Play was suspended for fading light with 10 players yet to finish but none of them are going to get close to Percy.
It was generally felt beforehand that the Tiger Woods designed El Cardonal Golf Course would be fairly easy with no wind to defend it. That's exactly how it turned out with more than half the field shooting in the 60s.
The average score on day one around the par 72 layout was 69.5 and with no wind to speak of over the next three days, the field are going to continue to rip it up so we should probably focus on the leaders.
It's never easy to make up ground when scoring is super low so it's not surprising to see the well-rested pre-event second favourite, Cam Young, trading as a firm 11/26.50 favourite after yesterday morning's seven-under-par 65.
The 26-year-old, who's been a runner-up on the PGA Tour six times, is still in search of his first victory and the wait may continue despite the fast start.
After a break of 10 weeks, he's clearly well refreshed and playing nicely. I'm in no rush to side with him, however, after his poor showing at the weekend at the John Deere Classic in July when he fell to tied sixth, beaten by five, having led by two at halfway.
Although a completely different type of test to this, Deere Run, home of the JDC, isn't a tough track either and more often than not, the winner shoots somewhere in the 20s under-par. In fact, it's a former JDC winner that I like this morning.
Michael Kim romped to an eight-stroke victory at the JDC back in 2018, posting a tournament record total of 27-under-par and he looks a fair price this morning at 19.018/1 to do something similar here. Kim is one of four players tied for second on -8.
Both Kim and Young may drift as the day wares on if the leader, or many other morning starters, post super-low scores, and I wouldn't put anyone off the leader at odds of around 20/121.00.
The 49-year-old sounds very relaxed and happy with his lot so another low round can't be ruled out. But I'm happy to give Kim a go given he's no bigger than 14/115.00 on the High Street and he's already shown he can keep the pedal down.
Kim shot 63-64-64-66 to demolish the opposition at Deere Run in 2018 and something similar is going to be needed here this week.
10:30 - November 2, 2023
I'm clearly not alone with my two pre-event fancies this week - Akshay Bhatia and Cameron Champ.
They've been well-tipped up throughout the week and Dave Tindall also fancies their chances here.
Dave's also looked at the First Round Leader market here and he's the man to follow having tipped up Scott Jamieson last week in Qatar but I'm going to throw my hat in the ring with one of my Find me a 100 Winner picks - Chesson Hadley.
There's no wind to speak of today so the chances of a draw bias are slim but the greens will be at their very best first thing, so I wasn't disappointed to see Hadley drawn in the first group out off the 10th hole this morning, at 13:25 UK time.
Hadley has finished day one in front in two of his last ten starts on the PGA Tour and he was seventh last time out at the Shriners Children's Open after a slow start.
Another speedy start can't be ruled out and I thought he was worth chancing at 90.089/1 in the 1st Round Leader market.
WW Technology Championship Pre-event Selections:
Akshay Bhatia @ 42.041/1
Cameron Champ @ 60.059/1
First Round Leader Selection:
Chesson Hadley @ 90.089/1
Michael Kim @ 19.018/1
Stephan Jaeger @ 8.27/1
Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
2u Brandon Wu @ 100.099/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
2u Chesson Hadley @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
1.5u Troy Merritt @ 180.0179/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
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