The Punter's In-Play Blog: Will DeChambeau or Cantlay end the odd run?

Golfer Jon Rahm
Bryson DeChambeau - the favourite to win the BMW with a round to go

There's just a round to go on the European and PGA Tours so our man's back with his thoughts and all the stats ahead of the final day's action...

"We haven’t seen a third-round leader or co-leader convert on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson converted a one-stroke lead at the USPGA Championship way back in May."

09:00 - August 29, 2021

A troublesome wind at Crans caused havoc for the leaders at the Omega European Masters yesterday with the final three-ball shooting a combined 10-over-par. As a result, the leaderboard is much changed and for the second Sunday in-a-row, Sean Crocker will start the final round with a great chance to get off the mark on the European Tour.

The American, who sat tied for 96th after the first round, moved up from tied 22nd to tied first yesterday thanks to the best round of the day - a six-under-par 64 - and having hit the front on the back-nine at the Czech Masters last week, before back-to-back bogeys put the skids under his challenge, Crocker has a chance of immediate redemption. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 08:50.

Sean Crocker -10 5.95/1
Renato Paratore -10 7.413/2
Matthew Jordan -9 11.010/1
Jorge Campillo -9 14.013/1
Ross McGowan -9 20.019/1
Dean Burmester -8 11.521/2
John Catlin -8 12.5
Adrien Saddier -8 48.047/1
Bernd Wiesberger -7 18.017/1
Andy Sullivan -7 19.5
Shubhankar Sharma -7 32.031/1
Marcel Siem -7 36.035/1
Benjamin Hebert -7 50.049/1
Robin Sciot-Siegrist -7 75.074/1
-6 and 48.047/1 bar

As many as six of the last seven Omega European Masters have been settled by a playoff and looking at the 54-hole leaderboard this morning, there's every chance of more extra time this time around, although the stats suggest we need to be concentrating on the leaders...

The last edition of the Omega European Masters, in 2019, was won by Sebastian Soderberg who, trailing by four in a tie for ninth, was trading at 100.0099/1 before the final round, but the four players he beat in the playoff had all began round four ahead of him and we have to go all the way back to 1997 to find the last victor to be outside the top-four places with a round to go.

Since Constantino Rocca shot 62 to win from five adrift 25 years ago, and prior to Soderberg's victory, only three other winners have trailed by four strokes and all three won because a clear leader performed poorly on Sunday.

Having backed the co-leader, Renato Paratore, and John Catlin, who trails by two in a tie for sixth, yesterday, I'm quite happy with my lot and I'm sitting on my hands for now but watching the early play is imperative if you want to trade in-running.

So far this week, holes one to four have ranked as the second, fifth, third and first hardest so anyone that plays them in level-par or better will make ground up on the rest. The four holes combined are averaging 0.99 over-par so an early bogey won't be a disaster.

Over on the PGA Tour, both Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau performed poorly on the back-nine in round three of the BMW Championship.

This year's US Open champion, Rahm, looked uncomfortable and grumpy as the day drew to a close, dropping the F word several times on the par five 16th, which was one of the three holes he parred after a birdie at the par five 12th. He bogeyed the other three!

The 2020 US Open winner, DeChambeau, was matched at just 1.574/7 after he'd birdied the 11th and found the fairway on the par five 12th but he's been far from solid in contention of late and once again, the world number six lost his way with the lead, finding water on 12 and 13.

DeChambeau played the last five in one-under-par and he'll begin the final round at the head of the market and tied at the top with Patrick Cantlay. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 08:55.

Bryson DeChambeau -21 2.546/4
Patrick Cantlay -21 2.915/8
Sungjae Im -18 16.5
Rory McIlroy -17 19.018/1
Abraham Ancer -17 30.029/1
Sam Burns -17 30.029/1
Sergio Garcia -17 40.039/1
Jon Rahm -16 23.022/1
-15 and 120.0119/1 bar

We haven't seen a third-round leader or co-leader convert on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson converted a one-stroke lead at the USPGA Championship way back in May.

As many as 17 players have been beaten having led or co-led through three rounds but it's long odds-on that - that crazy run comes to an end today.

With a gap of three strokes to the rest, it's very hard to envisage anyone outside of the front two winning but it's another tournament I'm happy to leave alone for now. DeChambeau's recent wobbles are a concern and I've never been convinced by Cantlay in-contention.

An early charge from someone from off the pace is a distinct possibility and there's a fair probability that Rahm could get hot early after yesterday's woeful finish but he has plenty of ground to make up and I'm far from convinced he's a great price at just 23.022/1.

09:20 - August 28, 2021

If low scoring birdie-fests are your thing, then the BMW Championship has been a delight.

The 2020 US Open winner, Bryson DeChambeau, a pre-event 21.020/1 chance, missed a six footer for birdie at the 18th in round two yesterday to record a 13-under-par 59 and had to settle for 60!

Bad weather caused a delay and a number of players will need to come back early today to reach the halfway stage so it's a messy event to assess.

This year's US Open champ, world number one Jon Rahm, is one of those that needs to return to the track this morning and he'll resume his round with a 15-foot birdie putt on 16 to tie the lead. Here's the mini leaderboard with prices to back at 09:10.

Bryson DeChambeau -16 3.55
Jon Rahm (thru 15 holes of round 2) -15 2.727/4
Patrick Cantlay -15 5.79/2
-12 and 30.029/1 bar

The last two US Open winners and Dave Tindall's each-way fancy, Patrick Cantlay, have opened-up a bit of a gap on the rest and with scoring this low, it's hard to envisage anyone else getting a look in over the weekend.

Rahm's passed up a number of chances to win since his major success at Torrey Pines in June but as the market suggests, the defending champ is the one to beat.

DeChambeau has been somewhat haphazard in-contention for some time now and it's hard to see Cantlay keeping up his incredible run with the putter but I'm going to leave the event alone for now and continue to hanker after last year's renewal...

Rahm and Dustin Johnson fought out an unforgettable finish at Olympia Fields with the Spaniard eventually prevailing in extra time after both men had shot four-under-par for the week. It was an intriguing and memorable tournament but I'm not sure I can say the same about this one.

I much prefer a sterner test for the world's best but I'm not complaining, not when we have an intriguing tournament at a stunning setting to enjoy on the European Tour. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard at the Omega European Masters with prices to back at 9:15.

Dean Burmester -11 5.39/2
Andy Sullivan -10 6.25/1
Thomas Detry -10 6.411/2
Renato Paratore -9 22.021/1
Justin Harding -8 12.5
Matthew Jordan -8 30.029/1
Jorge Campillo -8 46.045/1
Ross McGowan -8 90.089/1
John Catlin -7 27.026/1
Jamie Donaldson -7 30.029/1
Min Woo Lee -7 30.029/1
Sebastian Soderberg -7 50.049/1
Robin Sciot-Siegrist -7 120.0119/1
-6 and 28.027/1 bar

As highlighted in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, up with the pace is usually the place to be at Crans.

Only three winners since 1997 have been any further than three off the lead at halfway and you generally need a fast start. In the 21 editions since 1999, nine halfway leaders have gone on to win and two have been beaten in playoffs. That's a strike rate of 43% for 36-hole leaders, suggesting anyone siding with Dean Burmester at around 5.04/1 is getting a fair price.

The 32-year-old South African won his second European Tour event, and his first outside of his homeland, at the Tenerife Open in May, so like a number of players in-contention this week, he's a fairly recent winner.

The two players tied for second, Andy Sullivan and Thomas Detry, rank first and second for Putting Average so far this week but Burmester ranks fourth and the three rank second, sixth and seventh for Strokes Gained Putting so it's quite clear why they're where they are.

The concern with all three, and with the leader especially, is can they keep rolling in the putts? Burmester only ranks 73rd for Greens In Regulation but third for Scrambling at halfway so his stats suggests he's saving himself nicely on and around the greens but he surely has to improve his approach play over the weekend to win.

Sullivan is a very obvious danger given he ranks 14th for GIR and 11th for Scrambling. In comparison with those around him, the Englishman is playing the least stressful golf but he's hard to get across the line at times and I'm happy to pass him by at the price.

Nobody has hit more greens so far than Paratore and if he finds a few more fairways and some form with the putter the rest could be in trouble.

The 24-year-old Italian looks a fair price at 22.021/1 given how impressively he won the British Masters last year and I was happy to chance him and the prolific American, John Catlin at 28.027/1.

Catlin has won three European Tour titles in the last 11 months and the first of those victories came at Valderrama - a course that appears to correlate nicely with Crans.

Pre-event pick, Andrew Johnston, who's currently tied for 14th and five off the lead, is one of a number of players in-contention this week with form at Valderrama (won the Open de Espana there in 2016) and that was one of the reasons I backed him.

09:00 - August 27, 2021

The second round of the Omega European Masters (previewed here) has just begun, and James Morrison is showing the way after an impressive 10-under-par 60 yesterday morning.

I'm going to leave that one alone for now and take another look at halfway but I have got involved at the BMW Championship where Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Sam Burns are tied at the top after a steamy hot first day in Maryland.

At 3.814/5, Rahm heads the market, as he did for much of last week's Northern Trust, but I'm happy to look elsewhere and I'm also happy to oppose the other two co-leaders.

Rahm has converted just one of six first round leads on the PGA Tour (the 2018 CareerBuilder Challenge), Sam Burns has only led once previously - at the Genesis Invitational in February - where he finished third after leading by five at halfway and Rory has a very poor record when leading after round one.

Since taking this title, having co-led after an opening round of 64 in 2012, Rory has led or co-led after round one 16 times, and he's only gone on to win once - at the Open Championship back in 2016.

My sole pre-event pick, Dustin Johnson, has started nicely enough to trail by three in a tie for seventh and I'm adding one of the 11 players currently sitting alongside him - the Olympic Champion Xander Schauffele.

I was tempted to side with last week's winner, Tony Finau, who's also on -5 and tied for seventh, as it's quite common to see players win back-to-back during the FedEx Cup Playoffs series, but it looks a wide-open affair so I'm happy to just add Xander at this stage.

Omega European Masters Pre-Event Selections:
Danny Willett @ 46.045/1
Andrew Johnston @ 70.069/1
Sebastian Soderberg @ 170.0169/1

In-Play Picks:
Renato Paratore @ 23.022/1
John Catlin @ 28.027/1

BMW Championship Pre-Event Selection:
Dustin Johnson @ 26.025/1

In-Play Pick:
Xander Schauffele @ 24.023/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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