The Punter's In-Play Blog: Drama expected at Green Eagle

Golfer Paul Casey
Paul Casey - the favourite in Germany with a round to go

There's just one round to go at the Porsche European Open and after a poor third round by halfway leader, Robert McIntyre, it's tight at the top. Read our man's final in-running thoughts on the event here...

"We’ve witnessed all sorts of drama here in the last two renewals and I suspect this one is poised for yet more. Alex Levy traded at 1.011/100 before losing a playoff two years ago and Bryson DeChambeau hit a low of 1.21/5 last year before imploding late on. Whether we’ll witness anything quite so dramatic today is debatable but there’s bound to be plenty of twists and turns."

10:00 - September 08, 2019

Here's the 54-hole leaderboard at the Porsche European Open, with prices to back at 9:55.

Robert McIntyre -9 3.7511/4
Bernd Ritthammer -9 7.87/1
Paul Casey -8 3.1511/5
Matthias Schwab -7 8.615/2
Pablo Larrazabal -7 12.5
Ben Evans -6 50.049/1
Guido Migliozzi -5 46.045/1
Jeff Winther -5 65.064/1
Bernd Wiesberger -4 55.054/1
-4 and 240.0239/1 bar

Halfway leader, Robert McIntyre, had to wait until the 18th hole to register his one and only birdie yesterday and after his disappointing two-over-par 74 third round, his four-stroke lead has disappeared but he is still in front, tied with Germany's Bernd Ritthammer, and that's a positive given the two previous winners here, Jordan Smith and Richard McEvoy, were both in front with a round to go. Many a winner bounces back after a poor third round and McIntyre playing much better today and winning his first title wouldn't be a surprise but this is a tough one to call.

As highlighted in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, we've witnessed all sorts of drama here in the last two renewals and I suspect this one is poised for yet more. Alex Levy traded at 1.011/100 before losing a playoff two years ago and Bryson DeChambeau hit a low of 1.21/5 last year before imploding late on. Whether we'll witness anything quite so dramatic today is debatable but there's bound to be plenty of twists and turns.

Trailing by a stroke, Paul Casey is quite rightly heading the market and he certainly sounds confident.

Casey isn't the most straightforward conveyance in-contention though and I'm happy to continue to oppose him. Like McIntyre and Ritthammer, Schwab is looking to win on the European Tour for a first time and looking at the main contenders this morning, Pablo Larrazabal arguably represents the best value on offer given he's a four-time winner on the European Tour and that he's putting very well this week but I'm happy to stick with what I have for now and to trade the event in-running.

I wasn't around yesterday so I didn't get to monitor the play closely but I did manage to lay pre-event pick, Guido Migliozzi, back for a couple of units at 7.87/1, so that helps the lay book, although I see that he was matched at a low of 6.05/1. Going into the final round, now that Thomas Pieters has fallen away, Casey and Schwab are my only losers and the plan is to trade the event intensively today and to lay anyone that goes odds-on, including Casey and/or Schwab, in a the hope that I can get the book all green before the trophy's lifted.

I'm going to monitor the early play and refamiliarize myself with the holes but I'll certainly be looking at the par four fourth as a pivotal hole. So far this week it's averaging 4.4 and playing as the second hardest on the course (averages here) and it caused havoc in round four last year. The eventual winner, McEvoy, was the only player in the last three groups not to find water!

I'll be back tonight or tomorrow with a look back on how today transpires with the De-brief.

10:00 - September 07, 2019

Here's the 36-hole leaderboard at the Porsche European Open, with prices to back at 9:50.

Robert McIntyre -11 2.226/5
Bernd Ritthammer -7 24.023/1
Paul Casey -5 6.05/1
Matthias Schwab -5 13.5
Guido Migliozzi -5 23.022/1
Bernd Wiesberger -4 19.018/1
Alexander Bjork -4 30.029/1
-3 and 18.5 bar

We've had just two renewals of the Porsche European Open and one Challenge Tour event staged at the Green Eagle Golf Course and all three tournaments were won by someone up with the pace and within two strokes of the lead at this stage. Andrea Harto won the ECCO Tour Championship in 2010 after he'd sat tied for seventh and two adrift at halfway, Jordan Smith was also two back, and tied for fourth, when he won this event in 2017 and Richard McEvoy sat second and just one off the lead 12 months ago.

What limited evidence we have suggests we need to be concentrating hard on the leaders but as highlighted in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, the three men to finish tied for second behind McEvoy last year trailed by four, six and seven strokes after the third round so it would be daft to assume nobody can win from off the pace. That said, the leader looks hard to oppose and he's a very fair price to win.

Since 1996, 35 players have led a 72 hole European Tour event by four strokes at halfway and 19 of them went on to win. Those stats alone would suggest McIntyre's price of 2.226/5 is fair but if we then consider that his nearest challenger, Bernd Ritthammer, was a 1000.0 shot before the off, that he's still available to back at 24.023/1, and that McIntyre is six clear of the remainder, and his price starts to look very fair.

There is nothing in the young Scotsman's demeanour to suggest he's likely to put in a shaky performance over the weekend and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him go on to convert. If I was entering the market for the first time this morning, given all the evidence, I'd be more than happy to side with McIntyre at odds against and I've adjusted my lay book to reflect this.

Having layed both Paul Casey and Matthias Schwab after the opening round, I was too hasty yesterday to add to my book and I layed both McIntyre and Thomas Pieters after they'd began their second rounds. I opposed Pieters at an average of 8.27/1 and he's now trailing by nine and trading at 36.035/1 and both Casey and Schwab are trading at much bigger than I layed them at but I first took on McIntyre at 6.05/1 so I had to adjust things as the third round progressed by trading him back and fore to get him onside.

Given I was aware of the birdie chances coming in (McIntyre played the course conventionally yesterday) and that he was likely to lead by at least five, I thought he was far too big in-running as he finished his third round. As it transpired, Ritthammer, who had begun his second round at the 10th, unexpectedly birdied both the sixth and seventh holes to finish his second round really nicely so McIntyre's price didn't shorten as much as I had expected it to do but I certainly don't regret making the adjustments.

The upshot of all the trading is that I've effectively layed McIntyre for three points at an average of 4.67/2 and backed him for four points at an average of 2.77/4. The outcome of all that means that McIntyre is a very small winner and that Casey, Schwab and Pieters are my only losers. The rest of the field is onside and my pre-event pick, Guido Migliozzi, is still in the thick of it so all in all I'm happy with my lot. For now.

I'm off to the Etihad this afternoon for the women's Manchester derby so I'll probably just leave the event alone today and take another good look after the third round. I'll be back tonight or in the morning with my final in-play assessment.

19:00 - September 05, 2019

As detailed in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, we witnessed plenty of drama at both previous editions of the Porsche European Open at this venue and both previous course winners were slightly off the pace after round one so it makes sense to go after the two leaders after round one - especially given their respective records.

Paul Casey, who leads after an opening six-under-par 66, is notoriously tricky to get across the line and the man in second, Matthias Schwab, is still in search of his first victory.

Casey has led or been tied for the lead after round one on 12 previous occasions and his strike-rate is poor. He won a playoff at the TCL Classic in China way back in 2005 but that's the only time he's gone on to win. Admittedly, he hasn't been in front after round one since the Sony Open in 2015, when he went on to finish 30th, and he's arguably a better player and closer now but I'm quite happy to take him on at less than 2/1.

I backed Schwab at 150.0149/1 last week when he finished tied for eighth, having led on the back-nine in round three, so it would be frustrating to see him go on to win here and it would be even worse now that I've layed him but he too looks a bit short at around 7/1.

There' plenty of trouble here and there's a very long way to go so I'm more than happy to take those two on tonight and see where that takes me.

For clarity, I've used units to demonstrate the weight of the lays.

In addition to the lays, I also backed Max Rottluff, who's now tied for third on -4, in-running this morning. I thought he looked a little over-priced with five holes to play (including a couple of scorable par fives) but he played then in level par.

Pre-Event Selections:
Guido Migliozzi @ 120.0119/1
Kalle Smooja @ 150.0149/1
Lorenzo Gagli @ 180.0179/1
Max Schmitt @ 350.0349/1

In-Play Trades:
Max Rottluff backed @ 140.0139/1
Paul Casey layed for three units @ 2.8815/8
Matthias Schwab layed for one unit @ 7.613/2
Thomas Pieters layed for one unit @ 8.27/1
Robert McIntyre layed for three units @ 4.67/2
Robert McIntyre backed for four units @ 2.77/4
Guido Migliozzi layed for two units @ 7.87/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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