The Punter's In-Play Blog: Could Max be the answer at Silverado?

Golfer Max Homa
Max Homa after his win at Riviera

There's just one round to go at the Dutch Open and the Fortinet Championship and the two events are set up very differently. Read Steve's final in-running thoughts ahead of today's final rounds here

“Homa has already won twice on the PGA Tour at two fabulous venues – Quail Hollow and Riviera – and I’m not surprised to see his price holding up this morning.”

10:30 - September 19, 2021

Sweden's Kristoffer Broberg, who had begun the week trading at between 330.0329/1 and 450.0449/1 (matched at a high of 570.0569/1), looks impossible to oppose at the Dutch Open.

The 35-year-old began the third round leading by a stroke but he played his first six holes in six-under-par and after a mini wobble, he came home in 30! After six birdies in seven holes, he stood on the 18th tee needing an eagle three to shoot the second 59 on the European Tour but after a wayward drive, he had to settle for a par and an 11-under-par 61!

Broberg's 54-hole 23-under-par total equals the European Tour record through three rounds and with an eight-stroke lead, victory looks assured.

I've looked back at all Tours over the last 25 years and I can't find an instance of anyone losing an eight-stroke lead and he's the fifth to go into round four leading by eight on the European Tour this century. Ernie Els held on to win by one at the Heineken Classic in 2004 but the other three all cruised to victory and it looks like we're going to experience one of those rare weeks on the European Tour when only one player trades at odds-on.

Broberg trades at 1.141/7 and that doesn't look too short but there's a Winner W/O Kristoffer Broberg on both the exchange and the Sportsbook for anyone that wants to get involved.

Over at the Fortinet Championship, we have a far more congested leaderboard to assess. Here's the current state of play with prices to back at 10:25.

Maverick McNealy -14 3.7511/4
Jim Knous -14 9.617/2
Max Homa -12 10.09/1
Mito Pereira -12 11.010/1
Troy Merritt -12 14.5
Beau Hossler -12 21.020/1
Scott Stallings -12 21.020/1
Talor Gooch -11 22.021/1
-10 and 30.029/1 bar

This looks like a minefield.

Sang Moon Bae converted a four stroke lead at Silverado on the first occasion the event was staged here but he shot 74 in round four and Cameron Champ held on to win by a stroke in 2019, having led by three after 54 holes but the other five winners all came from off the pace.

Brand Snedeker failed to convert a three-stroke lead in 2018 (traded as short as 1.081/12 on Sunday) and the two leaders look vulnerable.

Maverick McNealy rallied brilliantly yesterday having looked to have lost his way. The 36-hole leader drifter out to 20.019/1 after he played the front nine in a nervy two-over-par but he birdied the 13th and the last three holes to join Jim Knous at the head of affairs and Knous looks very hard to fancy.

Playing on a medical exemption, after missing his last three cuts on the Korn Ferry Tour, Knous was matched at a 1000.0 before the off and it's really difficult to envisage him holding his nerve under the circumstances.

Of the group tied for third and two off the lead, Max Homa, looks the one to beat should the leaders struggle. Homa has already won twice on the PGA Tour at two fabulous venues - Quail Hollow and Riviera - and I'm not surprised to see his price holding up this morning.

Talor Gooch is the only player on -11 and three off the lead but there are ten players tied for ninth and I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised to see one of them take the title.

With the leaders not teeing off until 22:00 UK time, and with a head cold and sore throat developing at a rapid rate, I'm not quite sure how to attack tonight's final round. I'm tempted to get some sleep early on and get up to trade the back-nine as this looks set-up perfectly for late drama. My big concern is just how late the drama is!

I'l be back tomorrow with the debrief and my Ryder Cup preview.

10:40 - September 18, 2021

Here are the two leaderboards with prices to back at 10:30.

Dutch Open
Kristoffer Broberg -12 11.010/1
Thomas Detry -11 4.67/2
Marcus Helligkilde -11 10.519/2
Max Kieffer -10 12.5
Niall Kearney -10 14.013/1
-9 and 20.019/1 bar

Fortinet Championship
Maverick McNealy -12 4.216/5
Mito Pereira -10 8.27/1
Beau Hossler -10 23.022/1
Will Zalatoris -9 7.413/2
Troy Merritt -9 21.020/1
Bronson Burgoon -9 29.028/1
Harold Varner -8 18.5
Russell Knox -8 29.028/1
Matt Kuchar -8 42.041/1
-7 and 30.029/1 bar

The Dutch Open is made harder by the fact that we're seeing the venue - Bernardus Golf - for the first time.

It's a lovely course and the pros have really raved about it. We're back again next year so it's worth getting to know but we have no previous stats to consider so picking the winner isn't going to be easy.

The 36-hole leader, Kristoffer Broberg, won four times in nine starts on the Challenge Tour back in 2012 but his 2015 BMW Masters victory in China remains his sole success on the European Tour to date.

It very much looks like Broberg's leading thanks to an unsustainably hot putter, given he ranks number one for Strokes Gained Putting. That's going to be tough to keep up but he's a tempting price at 11.010/1 and I'd rather play him at double-figures than Thomas Detry at 4.67/2.

The Belgian knows the venue as it's somewhere he plays regularly and he's most certainly the class act amongst the leaders but he's still in search of his first win on the European Tour and he can be infuriating in-contention.

This is a trappy heat and a very hard one to call but I'm more than happy to follow Matt Cooper in with Denmark's Marcus Helligkilde.

Matt's 100/1 pre-event each-way selection ranks sixth for Greens In Regulation and seventh for Scrambling so far this week and although he's sitting tied for second, the flatstick's holding him back. At the halfway stage, he ranks 75th for SGP and 72nd for Putting Average suggesting he's hitting his irons nicely without reward.

If he can keep up the good work on approach and start to hole a few more putts he may well be the one they all have to beat. I thought 11.010/1 was fair.

Over at the Fortinet Championship, the two-stroke 36-hole leader, Maverick McNealy, is the warm favourite but there's plenty of golf to be played yet at Silverado and we're yet to see a halfway leader go on and win.

We've had just seven renewals of the Fortinet Championship at Silverado but we've already seen winners come from as far back as six, eight and even nine strokes back at halfway so I'm in no rush to dive in on the leaders.

I'm frustrated to see the 26-year-old Chilean, Mito Pereira, bang in-contention at halfway. He was trading at 90.089/1 on Monday and I was hoping he'd drift to a triple-figure price for the Find Me a 100 Winner column but he shortened up after that and was generally a 75.074/1 chance at the off.

Maybe I should have backed him at that price anyway, but he looks a bit on the short side now at 8.615/2 given he ranks only 114th for Scrambling and that's been a key stat over the years here.

In search of his inevitable first PGA Tour title, Will Zalatoris is a very fair price given he ranks third for Greens In Regulation and first for Scrambling at halfway. He was very well-fancied before the off and with the likes of Jon Rahm and Kevin Na missing the cut, he's the only one of the pre-event market leaders in the thick of it going into the weekend.

I was happy to have a small wager on him at 7.613/2 and I've also played the veteran, Matt Kuchar, who reminds me of last year's winner, Stewart Cink.

Kuchar has a solid record at TPC San Antonio - the course that appears to correlate best with Silverado - and he's also a winner of the Sony Open - which is another tournament that links nicely to this one. I thought he was fractionally over-priced at 44.043/1.

09:15 - September 17, 2021

The second round of the Dutch Open (previewed here) is underway and it's a tournament I'm largely happy to swerve at this stage.

Having opened-up with a seven-under-par 65, pre-event 120.0119/1 chance, Niall Kearney, led by a stroke after round one but it's Belgium's Thomas Detry that's making a big move this morning. The pre-event 24.023/1 chance played his first four holes of round two in three-under-par and he's already been matched at just 4.77/2.

Matt Cooper's each-way fancy, Martin Hellingkilde, has also began his second round nicley and he's currently tied for the lead with Max Kieffer - one ahead of Detry.

I've had a small wager on the young German, Matthias Schmid, who I considered carefully before the off for the Find Me a 100 Winner column, but other than that, given we're all still getting to grips with the fabulous new venue, I'm happy to sit on my hands and see what today brings.

Over at the Fortinet Championship, Dave Tindall's each-way fancy, Chez Reavie, shows the way after the first round following a seven-under-par 65 on day one.

This is the eighth time the tournament has been staged at Silverado and we've already seen two first round leaders go on to take the title. Both the 2014 winner, Sang Moon Bae, and the 2017 champ, Brendan Steele, were tied at the top after round one before going on to win.

Reavie is the 12.011/1 favourite this morning ahead of round two so it's clearly a wide-open event still and you certainly don't need a super-fast start at Silverado. Of the seven winners of this event here to date, three have trailed by five after round one and last year's victor, Stewart Cink, was four adrift after day one.

My sole selection, Kevin Na, started OK yesterday with a three-under-par 69 to sit tied for 24th but my three Find Me a 100 Winner selections were underwhelming.

Brendon Todd and Brendan Steele are certainly not out of it yet, but Steele was particularly disappointing given he stood over a seven-foot birdie putt to get to -4 after nine. The two time Fortinet Championship winner was matched at a low of 23.022/1 last night but he ended the round on -2.

I'm going to leave this event alone for now and take another look at halfway.

Dutch Open Pre-Event Selection:
Branden Grace @ 21.020/1

In-Play Picks:
Matthias Schmid @ 70.069/1
Marcus Helligkilde @ 11.010/1

Fortinet Championship Pre-Event Selection:
Kevin Na @ 25.024/1

In-Play Picks:
Will Zalatoris @ 7.613/2
Matt Kuchar @ 44.043/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Back 2 u Brendan Steele @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 2 u Brendon Todd @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back 1 u Joshua Creel @ 430.0429/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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