12:45 - July 31, 2022
After a bogey at the par four 13th in round three of the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the halfway leader, Taylor Pendrith birdied four of his last five holes to regain a share of the lead but it's last week's 3M Open winner, Tony Finau, that trades at odds-on with just 18 to play. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 12:35.
Tony Finau -21 1.865/6
Taylor Pendrith -21 2.962/1
Cameron Young -17 11.521/2
Stephan Jaeger -16 80.079/1
Patrick Cantlay -15 42.041/1
-14 and 220.0219/1 bar
This is a fantastic opportunity for Tony Finau to back up last week's off the pace win in Minnesota and at a shade of odds-on, he's a perfectly fair price.
As highlighted yesterday, on the only occasion that Taylor Pendrith led on the PGA Tour through three rounds he was disappointing, throwing away a three-stroke lead at the Bermuda Championship in October - finishing fifth after a 76 on Sunday.
He may well have learnt from the experience, but this is a stronger event and I'm more than happy to swerve him.
Finau looks the one to beat but this is the sixth time he's led or been tied for the lead with a round to go on the PGA Tour and he's yet to convert from the front. All three of his titles have been won from outside of the lead with a round to go.
All things considered, I'm happy to take a tiny chance on the bang-in-form Cameron Young, who's highly likely to go low again today.
Young opened the event with a lacklustre one-under-par 71 but that wasn't a huge surprise given this is first start since finishing runner-up to Cameron Smith in the Open Championship.
He's backed that up with rounds of 63 and 65 and another low one can be expected. If the front two faff about in front Young will have the belief to capitalise and the 11/1 on offer with the Sportsbook is a sporting price.
8:50 - July 31, 2022
A chip in eagle at the par five 18th in round three of the Hero Open moved the halfway leader, Sean Crocker, two clear of the field and he's now a warm favourite to win his first DP World Tour event. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 8:40.
Sean Crocker -18 2.8615/8
Jens Dantorp -16 6.05/1
Adrian Otaegui -15 7.613/2
David Law -15 8.615/2
Eddie Pepperell -14 18.5
Victor Dubuisson -14 18.5
Louis De Jager -14 34.033/1
Oliver Farr -14 40.039/1
Wilco Nienaber -13 48.047/1
Ross Fisher -13 55.054/1
Oliver Hundeboll -13 85.084/1
-12 and 100.099/1 bar
Having finished runner-up three times already on the DP World Tour, Sean Crocker's chip-in eagle has given him a great chance to get off the mark, but he looks short enough given what's on the line and that's he's yet to win at any level.
Crocker led the Kazakhstan Open on the Challenge Tour by a stroke with a round to go back in 2018 but shot 71 in round four to finish third and on the only occasion he's led through 54 holes on the DP World Tour he finished fourth. He shot 70 on Sunday at last year's European Masters having been tied at the top with a round to go.
Course winner, Adrian Otaegui, looks a fair price at in excess of 6/1 and Eddie Pepperell and Victor Dubuisson have both won multiple DP World Tour events but the one I like this morning is Wilco Nienaber who should feel comfortable playing with Ross Fisher again.
The pair were drawn together for rounds one and two and Ross was very impressed with the young South African's 61 on Friday in the tougher afternoon conditions.
It's never easy to back up a super low round so yesterday's one-under-par 71 wasn't a big surprise but at 50.049/1, I thought he was a fair price to bounce back and give it a run today.
11:00 - July 30, 2022
We've reached the halfway stage of the Rocket Mortgage Classic and the co-first round leaders, Taylor Pendrith and Tony Finau, still dominate. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 10:50.
Taylor Pendrith -15 4.216/5
Tony Finau -14 2.77/4
Lee Hodges -12 21.020/1
Cameron Young -10 13.5
Russell Henley -10 24.023/1
Stewart Cink -10 55.054/1
Patrick Cantlay -9 15.5
Adam Scott -9 36.035/1
Sahith Theegala -9 40.039/1
Si Woo Kim -9 48.047/1
Scott Stallings -9 48.047/1
Stephan Jaeger -9 170.0169/1
-8 and 180.0179/1 bar
Trailing by just a stroke, last week's winner, Tony Finau, who won the 3M Open from off the pace last week, quite rightly heads the market.
Vastly more experienced than the leader, Finau is clearly the man to beat but there are reasons to think he might be worth taking on. All three of his PGA Tour wins have come from slightly off the pace and winning back-to-back is tough.
It's also perhaps worth highlighting that he's led or been within a stroke of the lead 13 times previously on the PGA Tour and only once did he go on to win.
Admittedly, that victory came on the last occasion he trailed by a stroke at this stage - at the Northern Trust almost a year ago - so one could easily argue that he's a far better player in the mix than he once was but even so, there are enough question marks for me to think he's one to swerve at the price.
At first glance, Taylor Pendrith looks a fair price at in excess of 3/1, especially if Finau fades, but the 31-year-old Canadian is yet to win on the PGA Tour and he was pretty poor at the Bermuda Championship in October on the only previous occasion he's led at this stage on the PGA Tour.
A second round 61 saw Pendrith hit the front and to his credit, he stretched his lead to from one three with a solid 65 on Saturday but having been matched at a low of 1.68/13, he capitulated tamely with a 76 on Sunday to eventually finish fifth and that efforts a bit off-putting.
He may make for a great back-to-lay trade if he manages to go low again today given he's three clear of PGA Tour rookie, Lee Hodges, and five ahead of the remainder, and that all three previous event winners were up with the pace at this stage, but I'm happy to swerve the leaders and look a bit further down the leaderboard and the one I like is Si Woo Kim at 48.047/1.
Kim played nicely at the Open Championship last time out and he was on the radar before the off given his excellent record at next week's Wyndham Championship venue, Sedgefield Country Club, which is another Donald Ross design.
Kim won the Players Championship from six back at halfway and he's been beaten in two playoffs having trailed by plenty at halfway.
He was beaten in extra time at the Barbasol Championship in 2016 after he'd made up 13 strokes over the weekend with rounds of 65 and 63 and he was one of six to make the playoff at last year's Wyndham having sat tied for 23rd and eight back at this stage.
08:10 - July 30, 2022
I'm taking a cautious approach to the Hero Open, where the third round begins very shortly and the leaders are out as early as 10:20 UK time. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 8:00.
Sean Crocker -15 6.611/2
Scott Jamieson -14 8.27/1
Adrian Otaegui -13 8.27/1
David Law -13 10.519/2
Jens Dantorp -13 13.012/1
Ross Fisher -13 16.015/1
Jonathan Thomson -13 34.033/1
Romain Langasque -12 15.014/1
Jorge Campillo -12 21.020/1
Wilco Nienaber -12 24.023/1
Oliver Farr -12 46.045/1
Aman Gupta -12 90.089/1
-11 and 34.033/1 bar
Low scoring affairs on links layouts tend to favour the frontrunners but there's enough evidence to suggest siding with either of the front two here might not be wise.
We witnessed two super-low rounds yesterday when Ewen Ferguson moved up 124 places with an 11-under-par 61 in the morning before Wilco Nienaber matched his brand-new course record to climb 100 spots into a tie for eighth.
Saturdays are traditionally called 'Moving Day' and last year's winner, Grant Forrest, epitomised the saying when he shot 62 in round three to go from tied 17th and seven off the lead to tied first.
Add a little wind into the equation and the fact that Crocker is yet to win and that the man sitting second, Scott Jamieson, has won just once on the DP World Tour (a weather-reduced 36-hole affair ten years ago), and we may well see plenty of change today.
I've had a small bet on Ferguson at 85.084/1, who still trails by five, but other than that I'm going to sit back and see what today brings.
I'll be back shortly with a look at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
11:10 - July 29, 2022
The wind picked up in Detroit yesterday afternoon and the first-round leaderboard at the Rocket Mortgage Classic is dominated by the day one early starters.
Last week's winner, Tony Finau, is tied at the top with the big-hitting Canadian, Taylor Pendrith, after the pair shot matching eight-under-par 64s and like the two pacesetters, the six men tied for third and two strokes further back, all began the event yesterday morning.
The scoring differential between the AM and PM starters was only 1.25 strokes but only five players inside the top-21 teed it up yesterday afternoon.
Given the low-scoring nature of the event, making up ground is going to be tough and the first two winners were always up with the pace.
Nate Lashley won the inaugural event wire-to-wire and the 2020 winner, Bryson DeChambeau was always inside the top-four but I definitely wouldn't rule out a slow starter.
Matthew Wolff led by three strokes with a round to go when DeChambeau won having sat tied for 46th and four off the lead after the opening round. He shot back-to-back 64s on Friday and Saturday and last year's winner, Cam Davis, sat tied for 21st and five off the lead after day one.
The defending champ trails by only four in a tie for 22nd this time around and alongside him is the in-form Mark Hubbard, who was responsible for one of the ugliest aces I've ever seen yesterday.
They're clearly still in-contention but the advantage this morning is going to be with the players that survived yesterday's breezy afternoon as the forecast suggests the earlier you start today the better.
It doesn't look like it will be quite as blustery as it was yesterday afternoon but the draw may level up somewhat, so I've looked closely at the early starters today and the one I like is the bang-in-form Kurt Kitayama, who sits tied for eighth on -5.
The putts didn't drop for Kitayama yesterday, but he ranked seventh for Driving Distance, third for Driving Accuracy, second for Greens In Regulation and first for Scrambling so it's fair to say he's still running hot after his fine fortnight in Scotland.
I thought 42.041/1 looked reasonable.
Over at the Hero Open, the second round is well underway, and Fairmont St Andrews is again proving an easy enough test.
In contrast to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, the afternoon starters made hay at the Hero yesterday and they averaged 1.22 strokes less than their morning counterparts.
Afternoon starter, Sean Crocker, looked like he might threaten to break 60 when he played his first seven holes in six-under par!
He parred the next two and bogeyed the tenth but he rallied to birdie four of the next five and he's in front and bogey-free this morning with just four to play.
I'll look at the state of play there at halfway.
Hero Open Pre-Event Selections:
Andy Sullivan @ 70.069/1
Justin Walters @ 75.074/1
Ewen Ferguson @ 85.084/1
Wilco Nienaber @ 50.049/1
Rocker Mortgage Classic Pre-Event Selection:
Scott Stallings @ 80.079/1
In-Play Picks: Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:Back 2u Daan Huizing @ 130.0129/1
Kurt Kitayama @ 42.041/1
Si-Woo Kim @ 48.047/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4½ U Jonathan Caldwell @ 600.0599/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4Back 2 u Kevin Streelman @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4Back 1 ½ u Trey Mullinax @ 200.0199/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
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