The Punter's In-Play Blog: Charley shows the way in Canada but is he there to be shot at?

Kevin Chappell - the value ahead of the fourth round says The Punter
Kevin Chappell - the value ahead of the fourth round says The Punter

Charley Hoffman has hit the front at the RBC Canadian Open and the stats suggest it's hard to win from off the pace at Glen Abbey but is our man backing the Hoff? Read Steve's final in-running thoughts for the week here...

“Chappell took his time to get off the mark on the PGA Tour but he looks to have learnt how to contend now. He did very little wrong when losing a playoff at the Tour Championship last September and he won the Texas Open from the front in April. I’ve not gone mad by any means but at 5.49/2 he represents a bit of value given the course stats and who’s in front.”

09:50 - July 30, 2017

For the second time this week, pre-tournament favourite, Dustin Johnson, dipped below 2/1 on the Exchange yesterday as he played his first nine holes in five-under-par. The world number one looked poised to have a big say in the outcome of the RBC Canadian Open but he found water with his approach on the par four 11th hole, where he recorded a double-bogey six, and that stopped his charge completely. DJ now trails Dave Tindall's pre-event pick, Charley Hoffman, by five strokes and with 15 players ahead of him, he looks to have too much to do. Here are the latest standings with prices to back at 09:45.

Charley Hoffman -17 3.45

Kevin Chappell -16 5.49/2

Gary Woodland -15 9.28/1
Robert Garrigus -15 15.5

Tony Finau -14 13.012/1
Jhonattan Vegas -14 25.024/1
Brandon Hay -14 40.039/1
Sam Saunders -14 40.039/1
Ryan Ruffels -14 42.041/1
Andres Gonzales -14 48.047/1

-13 and 26.025/1 bar

Anyone that followed Dave in is more than happy to be on the Hoff at 25/1 but he looks too short now at around 3.55/2. Charley often appears a bit jittery in-contention and all four of his PGA Tour wins were gained from off the pace. He's led or co-led with a round to go on the PGA Tour three times and he's yet to convert.

Last year's winner, Jhonattan Vegas, swooped late from five off the pace, so DJ fans have something to cling to, but the chances of it happening again are slim and the stats suggest we should be concentrating hard on the leaders.

Nathan Green sat tied for fourth before winning here in 2009 but he only trailed by a single stroke and the other eight course winners and beaten playoff protagonists at Glen Abbey since 1999 all sat first or second with a round to go.

He's hardly prolific, with just one PGA Tour title to his name, and he messed up the 18th yesterday to throw away the lead but those stats were enough to tempt me in on Kevin Chappell at 5.49/2, who's no bigger than 4/1 on the High Street.

Chappell took his time to get off the mark on the PGA Tour but he looks to have learnt how to contend now. He did very little wrong when losing a playoff at the Tour Championship last September and he won the Texas Open from the front in April. I've not gone mad by any means but at 5.49/2 he represents a bit of value given the course stats and who's in front.

08:10 - July 30, 2017

With yet more wet weather in the forecast around Hamburg today, the fourth and final round of the Porsche European Open has already kicked off and stopped again! The leaders were due to tee-off as early as 08:20 UK and Ireland time and the event is live on Sky Sports at 09:00 but play has already been suspended due to the threat of thunder and lightning. An announcement on a possible restart is due at 08:30 UK and Ireland time.

Bath's Jordan Smith takes a two-stroke lead in to the final round and he could very easily claim his first European Tour title. The 24-year-old played well enough back in January when he failed by a stroke to get in to the playoff at the South African Open (won by Graeme Storm) and he won twice on the Challenge Tour last year.

Smith has every right to head the market but he's too short for my liking and I'm happy to have pre-event pick, Alexander Levy, onside. Levy sits alongside 33-year-old maiden, Jens Fahrbring, in a tie for second and as many as six players start the final round tied for fourth and only three off the lead so we could get quite a finale but picking one of those six to take the title is tough.

Four of the six are looking to get off the mark on the European Tour and the other two, 35-year-old Richard Sterne and 41-year-old Johan Edfors, haven't been in-the-mix in many a moon. Sterne has struggled with back issues throughout his career but he has managed to win six times on the European Tour and Edfors won three times in 2006.

Sterne has won just once in the last nine years (the 2013 Joburg Open) and Edfors has never added to his 2006 tally. They may be multiple winners but they'll be rusty today and the one I like now is Dan Geraghty's each-way fancy Julian Suri.

The 26 year-old American has been flying on the Challenge Tour this year and the last time he had a sniff of a chance on the European Tour he finished well to claim second behind Matt Wallace at the Open de Portugal. I've added him at 15.014/1.

I'll be back later with a look at the RBC Canadian Open.

11:50 - July 29, 2017

Nothing spoils a golf tournament like rain and this week we're faced with the task of evaluating two tournaments that have had more than their fair share of the wet stuff.

The Porsche European Open suffered a long delay yesterday, when play had to be suspended due to waterlogging, and the second round has had to be completed this morning. And over on the PGA Tour, scoring is so easy at the RBC Canadian Open that three-under-par through two rounds wasn't good enough to make the cut and the halfway leader, Martin Flores, has already got to 12-under-par - the score Jhonattan Vegas reached in four rounds when winning the title 12 months ago.

Both events are very difficult to assess and still wide open and I'm going to stick with what I have for now. We have very little to go on in Germany and I just don't like the look of the Canadian event.

The North Course at Green Eagle was used for the ECCO Tour Championship on the Challenge Tour back in 2010 but that's all we have so I'm being cautious at the Porsche European Open. My pre-tournament pick, Alex Levy, returned to the course to play three holes this morning and disappointingly, he played them in one-over-par but he still only trails 36 hole leader, Ashley Chesters, by two strokes and Levy heads a wide open market at around the 6/1 mark. The defending champion won the Portugal Masters three years ago on a sodden track so we know he won't mind the conditions.

Charl Schwartzel, on -6, is adjudged to be Levy's biggest danger and Patrick Reed, courtesy of an albatross at the final hole this morning, is also back in-the-mix on five-under-par but as an indication of how open this tournament still is, Reed is one of ten players tied for 19th on five-under-par and just four off the lead.

I toyed with backing Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who is in the penultimate three-ball with Levy and England's Jordan Smith at 12:40 but I've decided to stick with Levy for now and see what today brings.

In contrast to the Porsche European Open, Glen Abbey, the venue for the RBC Canadian Open, has been used numerous times before but with conditions as they are, I'm not convinced looking back is going to serve much purpose. For the record, the last four course winners have trailed by five, four, eight and two strokes but this week's softer conditions should make closing from off the pace tricky. Concentrating on the leaders looks the way to go here but I can't find a bet amongst them...

Gary Woodland is the eye-catching name at the top of the leaderboard - he sits one behind halfway leader, Martin Flores, alongside a resurgent Matt Every and the rookie Brandon Hagy - and he's the one I came closest to backing but he just doesn't quite represent value at 9.08/1 given how poor he can be in-the-mix. He was on my radar before the off as he showed up until halfway at the Open last week and if you scratch hard enough, he has form at the course that correlates best with Glen Abbey - Torrey Pines. I didn't think he was a big enough price at 70.069/1 before the off and I still feel he's fractionally too short now.

The leader, Flores, is still looking for his first PGA Tour victory, but he won a low scoring event on the Tour 12 months ago (his only win to date) so it's not inconceivable that he can just keep going but I'm happy to leave him out too.

Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell, the winners of the last two editions of the Texas Open, are lurking but again, they're not prolific winners and they don't represent any value at this stage so I'm going to leave the tournament alone and just cheer on DJ.

Given he trails by four and that he has 13 players ahead of him and 13 alongside him, he's going to have to get a shift on today to give himself a chance tomorrow but it's certainly not beyond the world's number one ranked player.

10:00 - July 28, 2017

Rain-softened courses in Germany and Canada have resulted in lower than expected scoring at both the Porsche European Open and the RBC Canadian Open and I'm going to wait until the halfway stage before analysing either event in depth.

The second round of the Porsche European Open is well underway and live on Sky Sports and it's an event that looks like it might turn in to a really competitive one. Dan Geraghty's each-way pick, Julian Suri, and England's Richard McEvoy set the early pace with six-under-par 66s yesterday and at the time of writing, six-under still leads but with the likes of Charl Schwartzel, Patrick Reed and my man, Alexander Levy, all within one or two strokes starting out this afternoon, it's quite possible that we might get a halfway leaderboard featuring a number of the pre-tournament favourites.

Over at the RBC Canadian Open, a weather delay meant the first round didn't quite get finished yesterday but the placings for the first round leader market won't be affected by the conclusion of the first round and Dan Geraghty's 66'/1 pick, Ollie Schniederjans, is one of five men to have shot a seven-under-par 65 to tie for the lead.

As many as 32 players are within two of the lead at Glen Abbey and waiting a bit longer before getting involved in-running looks the only sensible course of action. The pre-tournament favourite, Dustin Johnson, is one of those tied for 17th and just two adrift and he's now trading at just 4.84/1.

DJ is one of those with an early tee time today so how he fares will have a big bearing on what the market does. It's never easy to predict what DJ will do and he dropped two shots immediately after the weather delay yesterday, at holes 10 and 11. He soon recovered with a birdie at 12 and an eagle at 13 though and I wonder whether he might have been at least a couple of shots better had the weather delay not occurred.

Porsche European Open Pre-Event Selections:
Alexander Levy @ 32.031/1
Marcel Siem @ 110.0109/1
Alexander Knappe @ 200.0199/1
Sebastian Heisele @ 500.0499/1

In-Play Pick:
Julian Suri @ 15.014/1

RBC Canadian Open Pre-Event Selections:
Dustin Johnson @ 8.415/2
J.B Holmes @ 55.054/1
Scott Stallings @ 75.074/1
Harris English @ 85.084/1
C.T Pan @ 180.0179/1
Ben Crane @ 230.0229/1
K.J Choi @ 330.0329/1

In-Play Pick:
Kevin Chappell @ 5.49/2

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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