The Punter's In-Play Blog: Leaders look vulnerable at Jack's Place

Daniel Summerhays – three clear at Memorial with a round to go
Daniel Summerhays – three clear at Memorial with a round to go

There's a round to go in Sweden and Ohio, at the Nordea Masters and the Memorial Tournament, so read our man's final in-running thoughts on this week's golf action here...

“Third round leaders and co-leaders have a poor record here (only three of the last ten have held on) and since he won ten years ago, Summerhays has held or shared the lead six times and failed every time. He looks worth taking on and so does Matt Kuchar...”

09:30 - June 04, 2017

Despite bogeying his final hole of round three, Joe Dyer's each-way fancy, Chris Wood, will take a one-stroke lead in to today's fourth and final round at the Nordea Masters. Here are the latest standings with prices to back at 9:20.

Chris Wood-9 2.962/1

Renato Paratore -8 8.88/1
Benjamin Hebert -8 9.28/1

Thorbjørn Olesen -7 7.06/1

Jeunghun Wang -6 16.5
Jamie Donaldson -6 23.022/1
Max Orrin -6 38.037/1

Matthew Fitzpatrick -5 17.016/1
Alex Levy -5 24.023/1
Jose-Filipe Lima -5 100.099/1

-4 and 50.049/1 bar

As he'd done on Thursday in round one, my main fancy for the week, Thorbjørn Olesen, ended yesterday's third round with a lost ball and that cost him two strokes, just as it had done on the ninth on Thursday, so it was a frustrating way for the day to end but I'm still hopeful.

Having backed both Chris Wood and Jeunghun Wang yesterday, I'm more than happy with my lot but I have added one more - Alex Levy.

Renato Paratore and Benjamin Hebert are tied for second but I'm happy enough to leave them out at this stage. Both men are seeking their first wins on the European Tour and they're likely to get jittery. Paratore looks a fantastic prospect but he lost his way in-the-mix at the Rocco Forte Open two weeks ago, falling from third to 23rd in round four, and at the Trophée Hassan II in April he fell from second to eighth in round four.

I fancy Hebert is a bigger danger to those I've backed and he was a fairly ruthless closer on the Challenge Tour but I'm happy to see how the final round develops. With Wood, Olesen and Wang covered, I feel as though I have the most likely candidates on my side but Matthew Fitzpatrick and Alex Levy have the class to win form four back.

The defending champion, Fitzpatrick, looks priced about right to me but I thought Levy looked big at 25.024/1 so I've had a small bet on him and left it at that. I'm a bit miffed I didn't get to lay any of my Olesen wager back yesterday. I would have taken some profit if he'd have hit 2.56/4 yesterday but having hit the front, he traded no lower than 2.77/4 before he bogeyed the 14th and the double bogey at the 18th was an obvious hammer blow.

It's been all change at Jack's Place, where the clear halfway leader of the Memorial Tournament, Jason Dufner, slumped to a third round 77. Here are the latest standings with prices to back at 9:20.

Daniel Summerhays -13 3.55

Matt Kuchar -10 5.04/1

Justin Thomas -9 8.615/2
Bubba Watson -9 10.519/2
Jason Dufner -9 11.521/2

Rickie Fowler -8 12.5
Jamie Lovemark -8 36.035/1

Jordan Spieth -7 21.020/1
Kevin Kisner -7 42.041/1
Kevin Streelman -7 80.079/1

-6 and 130.0129/1 bar

I won't beat about the bush here - the two in front look vulnerable and I'm taking them on. Daniel Summerhays is 33 and yet to win on the PGA Tour. In fact, he's yet to win as a professional. His sole victory on the Web.Com Tour, ten years ago in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, came when he was still an amateur.

The last three winners of this event have all been winning their first PGA Tour titles and outsiders have a fair record here of late so it wouldn't be a bizarre result should the pre-event 900.0899/1 chance go on to win but with the course playing so hard and fast anything can happen. Just ask Dufner!

Third round leaders and co-leaders have a poor record here (only three of the last ten have held on) and since he won ten years ago, Summerhays has held or shared the lead six times and failed every time. He looks worth taking on and so does Matt Kuchar...

Kuchar won this event nicely from the front in 2013 when he was at the peak of his powers but the 38-year-old hasn't been great in-contention for a few years now and he's a player I'm always keen to take on. A combined lay of the two at odds of 3.613/5 and 5.14/1 means I'm effectively backing the field at around 10/11 and given the quality of the players in the chasing pack, I like those odds.

I'm chuffed to see pre-event pick, Bubba Watson, back in the hunt after an amazing back nine of 30 yesterday. He looked completely out of it as he turned for home but got on a roll after the ninth. He played the next six holes in six-under par (four birdies and an eagle) and although he made a mess of 16 again, whilst being heckled by a moron who was swiftly ejected, a par on 17 and a great birdie at 18 has put him right in-the-mix.

I'll be back tomorrow with the De-Brief.

09:20 - June 03, 2017

We've reached the halfway stage of the Nordea Masters and Ryder Cupper, Jamie Donaldson, leads by two. Here's the current state of play with prices to back at 09:10.

Jamie Donaldson -8 6.05/1

Renato Paratore -6 15.5

Graeme Storm -5 18.5
Benjamin Hebert -5 38.037/1
Max Orrin -5 40.039/1

Chris Wood -4 13.5
Thorbjørn Olesen -4 14.013/1
Austin Connelly -4 120.0119/1

-3 and 18.017/1 bar

It took Jamie Donaldson a long time to get off the mark on the European Tour but after he'd won the Irish Open at Royal Portrush in 2012 he went on to win again in 2013 and 2014 . And he then won in Thailand at the end of 2015, but he's been badly out of form for a few years now, which explains why he was matched at 310.0309/1 before the off.

He was never an especially strong performer in-the-mix but on the last two occasions he's led or co-led at halfway, at the Czech Open in 2014 and the Thailand Golf Championship the following year, he successfully converted. Prior to that, he'd led or co-led on various Tours on ten occasions but had won just twice on the Challenge Tour having been three and seven clear after 36 holes.

He's bound to be nervous today but I wouldn't want to put anyone off him at around the 5/1 mark. He's an experienced campaigner and a former Ryder Cupper who improved in-contention the more often he put himself there and the past results at Barsebäck suggest it's going to be hard for anyone to win from off the pace...

As highlighted in the preview, in the seven events held here between 1997 and 2009, every winner was inside the top-seven at halfway and only Adam Scott, in 2003, was outside the top-three and more than two strokes back after 36 holes. That suggests, Donaldson's a fair price given his nearest challenger is a 20-year-old rookie and the three men tied for third and three back were all big outsiders before the off.

Graeme Storm won the South Africa Open in January and he telegraphed this week's performance with a very solid sixth last week at Wentworth but he's hardly prolific with just two wins in well over 300 European Tour starts dating back to the last century. Benjamin Herbert, although a six time winner on the Challenge Tour, is yet to win on the European Tour and Max Orin is also looking to get off the mark. Orrin's only 23 though and he won twice on the Challenge Tour in November 2014 and May 2015 so he could surprise those taking him on at such a big price.

If forced to pick one of the leading five, I'd go with Donaldson but I'm worried about how long it's been since he was in this position and I'm happy to swerve him.

My each-way pick, Thorbjørn Olesen, is nicely poised on four-under-par and Joe Dyer's late substitute, Chris Wood, who replaced Alvaro Quiros, is quite rightly the second favourite to win now. He's alongside Olesen and given he won last week's event, the BMW PGA, 12 months ago and next week's tournament, the Lyoness Open, two years ago, he clearly likes this time of year and might be the one to side with now.

Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren are still well-fancied but they have a lot to do given they both trail Donaldson by seven and Jeunghun Wang and Matthew Fitzpatrick make more appeal at the prices from five off the lead.

I thought Wood looked worth adding and I've also had a tiny bet on Wang at 36.035/1.

Over at the Memorial Tournament, Jason Dufner has streaked five clear of the field and I'm leaving the event alone for now.

Having backed Dufner at a big price in each of the last two years at Muirfield, but not this, it's galling to see him odds-on at halfway but the price isn't too short. Since 1996, 18 players have led by five strokes at halfway on the PGA Tour and 14 have successfully converted.

Jason Kokrak made a mess of his five-shot lead in Texas a fortnight ago but Dufner's no dodgepot maiden, he's a seasoned campaigner, a major champion and a multiple PGA Tour winner. He should be odds-on and he should arguably be shorter.

Having jumped in on Spieth yesterday, I've pretty much made my bed and it's not especially comfortable. I made the mistake of not monitoring the situation closely enough yesterday afternoon and I missed Spieth's price drifting as Dufner shot his second successive seven-under-par 65. I don't feel as though I can do much about my miserable lot right now so I'm going to see what today brings.

13:00 - June 02, 2017

The second round of the Nordea Masters is well underway and I'll take a more detailed look at the event at the halfway point - either tonight or tomorrow morning.

It's been a bit of disappointing morning with one of my pre-event picks, Haotong Li, shooting a second-rate 75 that included two bogeys and two double-bogeys. He was nicely poised at three-under-par after round one and he was matched at just 7.413/2 after he'd birdied his third hole this morning to get within one of the lead but he'll have his work cut out now. He's currently only five off the lead but with very little wind forecast, I suspect he'll be further back by the end of the day.

The two big home hopes, Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren, are among the afternoon wave and it will be interesting to see if they can make up ground on the leaders. After the opening round, Stenson trailed by five and Noren by seven.

Over at the Memorial Tournament, pre-event favourite, Dustin Johnson, shot a very surprising six-over-par 78 and that will concern anyone that's taken short odds about him for the US Open in less than two weeks. DJ's been matched at as low as 7.26/1 and I can see him drifting a bit more before the off given he's highly likely to miss the cut here and that he won't be playing in Memphis next week in the St. Jude Classic.

In contrast to Johnson, Jordan Spieth is shortening up for the US Open after an opening six-under-par 66 yesterday around Muirfield that sees him sitting just a stroke off the lead, held jointly by the 2015 winner, David Lingmerth, and Jason Dufner.

Having putted brilliantly last week, when finishing second defending the Dean & Deluca Invitational, the rest of his game caught up yesterday. He ranked number one for Putting Average last week and yesterday he ranked first in the field for Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green so as DJ's stock sinks, Spieth's is on the rise. He's been matched at a high of 16.015/1 to win the US Open but he's now down to 11.010/1.

I was really keen on Tony Finau before the off but he's miles back after a disappointing two-over-par opening round and of my other pre-event picks, two off them, Bubba Watson and Brendan Steele, both double bogied the 16th and bogeyed the 17th to give themselves lots to do but rank outsider, Lucas Glover, has started well. He's just two off the lead after an opening five-under-par 67.

I'm disappointed to see Dufner in the van, given I backed him before the off last year at 75.074/1 and also in 2015 at 65.064/1, but that's the way it goes sometimes. He was matched at a high of 100.099/1 before the off this year so if he goes on to win that'll sting a bit but there's a heck of a long way to go and Spieth may prove hard to beat if he holds his form...

The last time Spieth started this well, and the only time he's been placed inside the top-ten or within four strokes of the lead after round one in an individual stroke-play event this year, was at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. He was tied for the lead after day one there and he won by six. Nobody played better than him over the weekend last week, he looks back in the grove and he looks fairly priced to me at above 3/1.

Nordea Masters Pre-Event Selections:
Haotong li @ 44.043/1
Thorbjørn Olesen @ 50/1
Alvaro Quiros @ 160.0159/1 - Non Runner
Lucas Bjerregaard @ 160.0159/1
Joakim Lagergren @ 270.0269/1

Nordea Masters In-Play Picks
Chris Wood @ 12/1 (Sportsbook)
Jeunghun Wang @ 36.035/1
Alex Levy @ 25.024/1

Memorial Tournament Pre-Event Selections:
Tony Finau @ 70.069/1
Brendan Steele @ 120.0119/1
Bubba Watson @ 120.0119/1
Lucas Glover @ 270.0269/1

Memorial Tournament In-Play Trades:
Jordan Spieth @ 4.3100/30
Daniel Summerhays layed @ 3.613/5
Matt Kuchar layed @ 5.14/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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