The Punter's In-Play Blog: Mitchell worth taking on

Golfer Keith Mitchell
Keith Mitchell in action in round three

There's just one round to go at the Valspar Championship so Steve's back with his latest in-running thoughts ahead of today's fourth and final round...

  • Leader too short in the Top 5 market

  • Is a former winner poised to pounce?

  • Champ a fair price now paired with buddy

11:00 - March 24, 2024

Jesper Svensson has come from off the place to win the Singapore Classic, beating Kiradech Aphibarnrat in a playoff at the third extra hole, and I'll be back tomorrow with a detailed look at what transpired to be an exciting finish on the DP World Tour but for now I'm concentrating on the PGA Tour action in Florida.

After three tricky days, only one man has reached double-digits under-par at the Valspar Championship - Keith Mitchell - and that was all down to his incredible finish.

Birdies at 16 and 17 were followed by this hole-out eagle two at 18 and Mitchel is the first to play the infamous stretch of holes called the Snake Pit in four-under-par.

It was a truly remarkable end to his round, and it sees him going into today's final round with a two-stroke lead. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 10:45.

Keith Mitchell -10 2.8615/8
Mackenzie Hughes -8 9.08/1
Seamus Power -8 9.617/2
Peter Malnati -8 15.5
Cameron Young -7 9.28/1
Brendon Todd -7 15.5
Chandler Philips -7 36.035/1
Adam Hadwin -6 24.023/1
Adam Svensson -6 42.041/1
Cameron Champ -6 50.049/1
Rico Hoey -6 80.079/1
Kevin Roy -6 100.099/1
-5 and [110.0 bar

The last two winners of the Valspar were trailing by two and three strokes respectively after three rounds and the 2016 and 2018 winners, Charl Schwartzel and Paul Casey, were both five off the lead with a round to go, so this is definitely a course where winning from off the pace is possible.

This is only the fourth time Mitchell has led or co-led through three rounds and he's yet to win so he looks well worth taking on.

He was tied for the lead through 54 holes on the Latinoamerica Tour in 2015 and at the Portland Open on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2017 and he finished second and sixth, and he finished third at the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship, having led by two.

He birdied the first hole in round four of the Wells Fargo but he lost his way after that and two man had passed him by the time he reached the turn.

Given the event stats and Mitchel's previous in-contention form, he looks a bit short at less than 2/13.00 and he looks well worth taking on at long odds-on in the Top 5 Finish market.

With as many as 11 players within four of Mitchell, if he does have an ordinary day today, there's every chance he slips out of the top five and odds of around 1/41.25 look very short.

In addition to laying the leader in the Top 5 Finish market, I've taken a small chance on a couple of the chasers - the 2017 winner, Adam Hadwin, and the three-time PGA Tour winner, Cameron Champ.

Multiple Valspar winners are common so Hadwin looks worth chancing at 25.024/1 and Champ is paired with his less-experienced college buddy, Chandler Philips, which may well help both.

12:30 - March 23, 2024

Darkness put a halt to the action again at the Valspar Championship yesterday with six groups yet to finish their second rounds.

The first-round leader, Kevin Streelman, shot a one-over-par 72 but it was far from catastrophic and he's still in front, although he's now tied with four others.

There are nine players tied for sixth and just one stroke off the lead and it looks like an event to steer clear of with more windy weather set to hit today.

Over on the DP World Tour, there's just one round to go at the Singapore Classic, where pre-event 350.0349/1 chance, David Micheluzzi, leads by a stroke. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with price to back at 12:20.

David Micheluzzi -13 5.59/2
Andy Sullivan -12 7.06/1
Sam Bairstow -12 7.613/2
Shubhankar Sharma -11 16.015/1
Paul Casey -10 10.09/1
Ewen Ferguson -10 15.014/1
TK Ratchanon Chantananuwat -10 32.031/1
Matthias Schwab -10 34.033/1
Matthieu Pavon -9 19.018/1
Jordan Smith -9 26.025/1
Sebastian Soderberg -9 34.033/1
Kiradech Aphibarnrat -9 42.041/1
Shane Lowry -8 28.027/1
-8 and 80.079/1 bar

The front three on the leaderboard were all priced up at triple-figure prices before the off and they all look vulnerable.

Although he's won four times in his native Australia in the last three years, on the only occasion that the leader, Micheluzzi, was tied for the lead with a round to go, at the Victorian PGA Championship back in 2019, he finished seventh, beaten by seven, following a 73 in round four.
David Micheluzzi in Singapore.jpg

Andy Sullivan, who dropped five strokes around the turn in round three, has been quite poor in-contention of late and Sam Bairstow needs to pick himself up after a really disappointing back-nine in round three.

The 25-year-old Englishman was matched at a low of 2.68/5 after he played his first ten holes in six-under-par, but he played his last eight in two-over!

Tucked in behind the leaders are some quality players and the likes of Paul Casey, Ewen Ferguson, Matthieu Pavon, Jordan Smith, Sebastian Soderberg, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, and the pre-event favourite, Shane Lowry, will all fancy their chances.

Last year's winner, Ockie Strydom, sat tied for 11th and four off the lead after 54 holes and another off the pace winner looks probable.

Pre-event pick, Casey, looks the most likely to capitalise should the front three struggle and I've had a very small bet on Soderberg, who was on my shortlist before the off.

07:50 - March 22, 2024

Yet again on the Florida Swing, darkness has prevented the entire field from completing their first rounds.

The last group off the first on day one of the Valspar Championship, and the last group off the tenth tee, have one hole left to play when they return to the course this morning and they're going to be finishing off in much harsher conditions.

Overnight rain will have softened the Copperhead circuit, but high winds are going to cause havoc and it's a tournament to be wary of.

Poor weather creates changeable leaderboards, and this is already a venue at which it's perfectly possible to come from off the pace.

Kevin Streelman leads this year's renewal following a seven-under-par 64 but he sat tied for 70th and eight off the lead after round one when he won the title 11 years ago and that's not the furthest someone's trailed by after round one before going on to win!

Kevin Streelman at the Valspar 2024.jpg

Mark Calcavecchia trailed by ten in a tie for 112th before winning here in 2007 and since Streelman's victory in 2013, we've seen winners trailing by three, four, five and six strokes. And Patrick Reed lost a playoff in 2015 having sat tied 80th and seven back after round one.

With all that in mind, this is either an event to swerve for now and see what today brings (more bad weather forecasted for Saturday) or one in which we can throw a few darts. I've opted for the latter.

On two-under-par and trailing by five, Matt Wallace and Sami Valimaki are interesting candidates given they're both excellent wind exponents and I thought they were worth chancing modestly at 150.0149/1 and 170.0169/1.

Over on the DP World Tour, the second round of the Singapore Classic is well underway and live on Sky Sports, and the leaders are bunching up.

The pre-event second favourite, Paul Casey, is making a move and now on his back-nine, he's within two of the lead.

It's an enjoyable watch but a tough event to weigh up so I'm going to leave that one alone for now and reassess after round three.

If I do have a change of heart, and I back someone in-running before then, I'll be sure to update the blog but I won't be getting up at silly o'clock to trade the tournament tomorrow morning so I'm happy to sit on my hands for now.

11:15 - March 21, 2024

Jordan Smith, Gavin Green, and Kiradech Aphibarnrat are tied for the lead after the opening round of the Singapore Classic.

The in-form Englishman, Smith, now heads the market with the two favourites before the off, Shane Lowry and Paul Casey, trailing him by five and four shots respectively following their three and four under-par openers.

Jordan Smith at Glendower.jpg

Both men are certainly close enough and with 19 players within three of the lead, it's the wide open event we'd all expect after just one round.

My Find Me a 100 Winner pick, Matteo Manassero, was pretty hopeless, firing a two-over-par 74 that sees him struggling to make the cut, but I've backed someone this morning that might just be inspired by the Italian's return form the wilderness.

There had been a gap of 3,942 days between Manassero's fourth and fifth DP World Tour titles when he won the Jonsson Workwear Open a fortnight ago, where fellow Italian, Andrea Pavan, finished tied for 11th.

Although not quite so dramatic or long, Pavan has also endured a sustained spell of poor play after his two DP World Tour wins - at the Czech Masters in 2018 and the BMW International a year later - but he's starting to show signs of life at last.

Sitting just two off the lead following a six-under-par 66 today, Pavan could be going in the right direction and inspired by Manassero, he might just kick on and contend. The 66/167.00 available on the Sportsbook looks fair.

The Valspar Championship, previewed above, kicks off within the next half an hour so you'll need to be quick but there's still time to place a bet on the 1st Round Leader market, which Dave Tindall has previewed here.

Singapore Classic Pre-event Bets:
Paul Casey @ 16.015/1
Bernd Wiesberger @ 75.074/1

In-Play Picks:
Andrea Pavan @ 66/167.00
Sebastian Soderberg @ 36.035/1

Valspar Championship Pre-event Pick:
Jordan Spieth @ 22.021/1

In-Play Picks:
Matt Wallace @ 150.0149/1
Sami Valimaki @ 170.0169/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Taylor Montgomery @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
Matteo Manassero @ 110.0109/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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