The Punter's In-Play Blog: Is Cink a certainty?

Golfer Stewart Cink
Stewart Cink in action in round three

Stewart Cink takes a five stroke lead into the final round of the RBC Heritage but is a he a good think to convert at long odds-on?

“Since 1996, 28 players have led by five strokes with a round to go on the PGA Tour and only four of them failed to convert.”

13:10 - April 18, 2021

Having sat five clear at the halfway stage of the RBC Heritage, Stewart Cink edged it around Harbour Town in two under-par yesterday to maintain his lead nicely and he's going top take some catching now. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 13:00.

Stewart Cink -18 1.51/2
Collin Morikawa -13 6.25/1
Emiliano Grillo -12 25.024/1
Sungjae Im -11 34.033/1
Matt Wallace -11 46.045/1
-10 and 50.049/1 bar

As highlighted in the In-Play Tactics section of the preview, this isn't a great venue for frontrunners and Webb Simpson, who was tied for the lead through three rounds last year, was the first 54-hole leader or co-leader to win here since 2012.

World number one, Dustin Johnson, led here through three rounds in 2019 and he finished 28th and we've seen winners come from miles back. Both the 2011 winner, Brandt Snedeker, and the 2018 champ, Satoshi Kodaira, trailed by six and the man that leads by five today, Cink, sat tied for 22nd and nine shots off the lead when he won the event for a second time in 2004!

That may go some way to explain Cink's fairly generous looking price today because the stats suggest he should get the job done now.

Since 1996, 28 players have led by five strokes with a round to go on the PGA Tour and only four of them failed to convert.

That suggests the 1.51/2 available about the two-time winner are very generous and I'm regretting laying him yesterday.

10:15 - April 18, 2021

We didn't see an awful lot of change on the leaderboard during round three of the Austrian Golf Open. South Africa's Justin Walters fell away but with a round to go, four of the top-five at halfway sit inside the top-four with a round to go. Here's the latest standings with prices to back at 10:10.

Martin Kaymer -9 2.982/1
Alejandro Canizares -9 5.49/2
Max Kieffer -8 6.86/1
John Catlin -7 8.88/1
Joost Luiten -6 12.5
Jacques Kruyswijk -6 20.019/1
Daniel Gavins -6 65.064/1
Nicolai Von Dellingshausen -5 80.079/1
-4 and 46.045/1 bar

The last two winners of this event were in front with a round to go, and four of the ten course winners to date have been leading or tied for the lead through 54 holes but we have since plenty of drama here too.

We've seen winners come from as far back as four (twice) five and even six strokes adrift with a round to go so there's definitely scope for an off-the-pace winner today.

Martin Kaymer is the favourite to win but like the man he's tied with at the top, Alejandro Canizares, he's looking to win for the first time in seven years, and the man sitting alone in third, Max Kieffer, is seeking his first European Tour win. All three could struggle today.

Alone in fourth and just two off the lead, John Catlin looks fairly priced given he won twice last year on the European Tour, and he can take heart from the way he finished round three but I like a few places lurking even further back.

Matthias Schwab looked a poor price before the off given he too is yet to win but I thought he was worth chancing at 46.045/1 this morning. Trailing by five, he has a mountain to climb and he'll probably need a bit of help from the leaders but he's more than capable of following up yesterday's six-under-par 66 with another low round and being off the pace will suit him.

Alongside Schwab, South Africa's Garrick Higgo, who won the Open de Portugal last year, is another highly-talented young player capable of great things and I thought he too was worth chancing at a big price.

I'll be keeping an eye out for anyone else making a move from deep today and if either of the leaders go odds-on early on I'll be looking to take them on too.

I'll be back with a look at the RBC Heritage shortly.

11:15 - April 17, 2021

Dave Tindall's each-way pick, Stewart Cink, has shot a pair of eight-under-par 63s to go five clear of the field as he attempts to win his third RBC Heritage title in his 22nd tournament start. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 11:05.

Stewart Cink -16 2.6213/8
Corey Conners -11 7.26/1
Emiliano Grillo -10 18.017/1
Collin Morikawa -9 10.09/1
Cameron Smith -9 16.015/1
Sungjae Im -9 19.018/1
Billy Horschel -9 23.022/1
-8 and 36.035/1 bar

This is the first time Cink has led an event on the PGA Tour since he sat tied at halfway before going on to win the Travelers Championship back in 2008.

He's led or been tied for the lead at this stage eight times in his career to date and that win at the Travelers was his third success when in front at halfway.

That's a very fair strike-rate and the record of five-stroke 36-hole leaders, both on the PGA Tour and worldwide over the last 15 years suggests he's too big at odds in excess of 6/4.

Having layed everyone trading at 60.059/1 and below before the off, I've had a decision to make this morning, and after much deliberation I've decided to lay the leader too.

As a result, if I do nothing further with the event from now on in I'll incur a small loss but I suspect I'll do more trading tomorrow and as it stands now, I still have five of the top-ten running for me, with Emiliano Grillo and Billy Horschel my best hopes of a result.

I've made the decision to get Cink in the book because this is a tough place to make the running and since 1996, only four halfway leaders have gone on to win. Admittedly, the vast majority have either been tied at the top or they've held only minimal advantages but the only two players to hold wide margin leads have both been beaten.

Troy Merritt finished third having led by four at halfway in 2015 and ten years earlier, Darren Clarke failed to convert a six-stroke advantage.

It's a tough decision to make. If Cink holds his head today and maintains his advantage, I'll be kicking myself for getting him in the book too early but if he flaps about today and comes back to the field, I'll be asking myself what on earth I was playing at not getting him in the book.

Had I been around this evening to monitor the action then I'd probably wait and trade the event in-running but after a full-on week at Augusta last week, I'm going to crack open a beer or two and watch the F.A Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Manchester City, previewed here by Alan Dudman.

I'll be back again in the morning to take a look at the state of play before round four at both this event and the Austrian Golf Open.

18:00 - April 16, 2021

The second round of the RBC Heritage is well underway but I'm going to leave the event alone for now.

As highlighted in the preview, I started the tournament by laying everyone trading at 60.059/1 and below at a combined price of 4/5 so it was always going to be a case of just letting the tournament develop before taking stock before round four.

As highlighted below, I did add four picks at huge prices after the preview had been published but my primary focus will be on the lay book.

Over on the European Tour, Alejandro Canizares leads the Austrian Golf Open at the halfway stage but it's a tight leaderboard and a tough one to call. Here's the latest standings with prices to back at 17:55.

Alejandro Canizares -7 8.27/1
Martin Kaymer -6 4.84/1
John Catlin -6 5.95/1
Justin Walters -5 14.013/1
Max Kieffer -4 22.021/1
Jacques Kruyswijk 16.5
SSP Chawrasia -4 42.041/1
Richard Mansell -4 42.041/1
Joost Luiten -3 14.013/1
-3 and 40.039/1 bar

We've had ten previous renewals of the event at the Diamond Course and three halfway leaders have gone on to win but we've seen a couple of winners trailing by four, two trailed by five, and when Dylan Frittelli took the title in 2017, he sat tied for 13th and six adrift, so it's been a mixed bag.

The leader hasn't won since 2014 but he went eight years between his first and second European Tour titles and he won the second of the two, at the Trophee Hassan II, wire-to-wire. On that occasion, he led by a stroke after rounds one and two before he shot six clear in round three.

The 38-year-old Spaniard has led after rounds one and two this week but given the cold, tough conditions, it's hard to see him repeating the feat here tomorrow. He's led or co-led at halfway four times in his career and his win in Morocco was the only occasion he went on to win.

Sitting just one off the lead, pre-event 30.029/1 chance, Martin Kaymer, is clearly the man they all have to beat but it's also seven years since he last tasted success and he's not been remotely reliable in-contention since he threw away a ten-stroke lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship back in 2015.

Kaymer traded at a low of 1.341/3 before finishing third at the UK Championship at the end of August last year and he was second to John Catlin a week later in the Andalucía Masters at Valderrama, where he was matched in-running at just 1.261/4.

This time ten years ago, the likable 36-year-old German was the number one player in the world but he's tumbled down the rankings and he sat outside the top-100 last week. It would be brilliant to see him win again to reignite his career but given how poor he's been in-the-mix, he looks readily opposable.

It's condensed field and we could witness one or two players muscling in on the action from off the pace but Matt Cooper's each-way fancy, Catlin, who got the better of Kaymer in Spain, looks the value at halfway.

The 30-year-old Californian played himself into contention twice last year and he carried off the trophy on both occasions. Odds of around 6.05/1 look more than fair.

Austrian Golf Open Pre-Event Selections:
Sam Horsfield @ 28.027/1
Masahiro Kawamura @ 70.069/1
Ashun Wu @ 85.084/1

In-Play Picks:
John Catlin @ 6.05/1
Matthias Schwab @ 46.045/1
Garrick Higgo @ 95.094/1

RBC Heritage Selections (added after preview published)
Robert Streb @ 770.0769/1
Andrew Landry @ 780.0779/1
Brian Gay @ 980.0979/1
Hudson Swafford @ 1000.0

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Austrian Open

Back Richard McEvoy 1 ½ u @ 220.0219/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.26/5

RBC Heritage
Back J.T Poston 2u @ 160.0159/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
Back Patton Kizzire 1 ½ u @ 220.0219/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1
Back Graeme McDowell 1u @ 450.0449/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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