08:20 - August 28, 2022
It looked for much of Friday that Scottie Scheffler was going to run away with the Tour Championship. The world number one led by seven at one stage and he was matched at a low of 1.330/100 before Xander Schauffele finished nicely to make it more competitive.
Schauffele finished round two birdie-birdie-eagle to get within two of Scheffler on Friday afternoon and after just three holes of round three yesterday the pair were tied after Schauffele birdied the second and third holes.
Having hit a high of 22.021/1, Xander hit a low of 2.1411/10 but having made just two bogeys over the first 39 holes, he dropped shots at four and five but it's not all about the front two now...
With the leading pair stuttering, Sungjae Im fired a five-under-par 30 on the front nine, Rory McIlroy got his skates on and having teed off much earlier in the day, both Justin Thomas and Sepp Straka have made big moves.
A second suspension in play put pay to the day's play and the third round will resume at 9:45 local time (14:45 UK time) so here's the current state of play with prices to back and holes played in round three at 8:10.
Scottie Scheffler -19 2.265/4 (thru 12)
Xander Schauffele -18 3.211/5 (thru 12)
Sungjae Im -16 12.011/1 (thru 14)
Rory McIlroy -15 13.012/1 (thru 16)
Jon Rahm -14 30.029/1 (thru 13)
Patrick Cantlay -14 44.043/1 (thy 14)
Justin Thomas -14 48.047/1 (thru 17)
Sepp Straka -14 150.0149/1 (thru 17)
-13 and 300.0299/1 bar
Although the leaderboard has bunched up, the front two still dominate the market and so they should. Neither man was firing on all cylinders yesterday, but they now get to finish off round three this morning and with holes in hand, they're more likely to stretch their advantage than see it reduced further.
As highlighted yesterday, Xander's record on the back-nine here is exceptional and having backed him before the off I'm hopeful that he can kick on again when they return today but I've also had a small bet on Thomas at 48.047/1.
Thomas won the US PGA Championship from seven strokes adrift through 54 holes in May and he will return to the course this morning to tap in a birdie putt on 18 from two feet.
If the front two don't kick on again when they return to the course Thomas is going to be within three, four or possibly five with a round to go and 48.047/1 looks a sporting price.
22:40 - August 27, 2022
With the 54-hole leader, Alejandro Canizares, misfiring around Crans in round three, shooting a disappointing three-over-par 73, Matt Cooper's each-way fancy, Thriston Lawrence, has taken control of the Omega European Masters. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 22:30.
Thriston Lawrence -17 1.9110/11
Matt Wallace -14 6.611/2
Richard Mansell -13 11.010/1
Scott Jamieson -13 15.5
Adri Arnaus -12 17.5
Masahiro Kawamura -12 40.039/1
Alejandro Canizares -12 75.074/1
-11 and 48.047/1 bar
Following his three-under-par 67 on Saturday, Lawrence is now bidding to become the third Omega European Masters debutant to win in as many years and he's also bidding to become the fifth player in-a-row to convert a three-stroke 54-hole lead on the DP World Tour.
The stats for three-stroke 54-hole leaders on the DP World Tour suggest Lawrence is a fair price at a shade of odds-on given we've seen 136 players lead by three since 1996 and 96 of them went on to win.
That's a 71% strike-rate but clear leaders at Crans haven't fared quite so well. Only one of the last six men to take at least a one-stroke lead into the final round here has gone on to win (Matt Fitzpatrick in 2017) and only 10 of 21 have converted.
We've seen two men lead by three - Scott Hend in 2017 and Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2010. Hend was beaten in a playoff but Jimenez comfortably converted.
We've also seen two players lead by four through 54 holes here this century and they both got beat. Rory McIlroy, when in search of his first win on the DP World Tour in 2008, and Patrick Sjoland in 1998. Both were beaten in a playoff.
Matt Wallace is the most obvious danger to the leader after he finished his third round with back-to-back birdies and the stats suggest we probably shouldn't look beyond the two players tied for third - Richard Mansell and Scott Jameson - given nobody has won here from any further than four adrift this century but it's certainly not inconceivable that a closer pinches the title.
Costantino Rocca won here from five back in 1998 and Jamie Spence sat tied for 20th and ten adrift before beating Anders Forsbrand in a playoff in 1992! Spence shot 60 on Sunday as the 54-hole five-stroke leader, Colin Montgomerie, shot 71 to miss out on the playoff by a stroke.
The last two winners - Rasmus Hojgaard and Sebastian Soderberg - came from four back with a round to go and although I'm happy to stick with the leader, having backed him at halfway, I've also added another of Matt's picks - Spain's Adri Arnaus - who trails by five.
The 27-year-old Spaniard won on the Alps Tour having trailed by five with a round to go back in 2017 and he won the Catalunya Championship in May having trailed by seven through 54 holes.
He's straight out of the top drawer and more than capable of going low and if anyone's going to collar Lawrence from off the pace, he could be the one.
11:20 - August 27, 2022
With the man in third place in the FedEx Cup standings as we headed to East Lake, Wil Zalatoris, withdrawing before the off with a back injury, Scottie Scheffler began the Tour Championship with a two-stroke lead over Patrick Cantlay and a four-stroke lead over Xander Schauffele, and the world number one looked like he may just stroll to victory during his front nine yesterday.
Cantlay has struggled with his putting over the first two days and the man in fifth before the off, and in receipt of five strokes, Sam Burns, looks cooked (shot +4 yesterday!), so although Jon Rahm put in a charge from off the pace, Scheffler led by seven strokes at one stage yesterday and he's already been matched at a low of 1.330/100.
Scheffler was still six clear after he and his playing partner, Xander Schauffele, made matching par threes at the 15th hole yesterday and we looked set for a rather dull weekend but with a fabulous finish, Xander has at least kept it interesting.
Birdie threes at 16 and 17 closed the gap to a more manageable four and when Scheffler hit an errant drive on the par five 18th, Schauffele stepped in to take full advantage with this brilliant eagle three.
Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 11:05.
Scottie Scheffler -19 1.9520/21
Xander Schauffele -17 2.982/1
Jon Rahm -13 14.5
Patrick Cantlay -12 29.028/1
Sungjae Im -12 50.049/1
Joaquin Niemann -11 110.0109/1
Rory McIlroy -10 60.059/1
-9 and 350.0349/1 bar
Rahm looks menacing. He's made more birdies than anyone else so far this week and having suffered on the greens for months, he's putting beautifully, ranking third for Putting Average and second for Strokes Gained Putting.
On the evidence of the first two days, he looks all set to give it an almighty go over the weekend to bridge the gap and anyone siding with him at in excess of 12/1 may get a terrific run for their money, but I can't help but think the gap is too wide over just two rounds given how well the leaders are playing.
Having played so nicely, it's very hard to imagine that both Scheffler and Schauffele will come back to the field and having backed Xander before the off, I'm happy to stick with what I have.
Max Homa was the only man to better Xander's seven-under-par 63 yesterday and although that was his best round to date around East Lake, the Californian's record there is incredible and after 22 spins around the Donald Ross layout, he's yet to shoot an over-par round. And he's especially good on the back-nine...
Over at the Omega European Masters, after yesterday's weather delay, the second round resumed nice and early this morning and we've now reached the halfway stage so here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 11:10.
Alejandro Canizares -15 6.411/2
Thriston Lawrence -14 3.45
Matt Wallace -12 6.05/1
Louis De Jager -12 10.519/2
Eduardo De La Riva -12 42.041/1
Nacho Elvira -10 30.029/1
Marcel Siem -10 40.039/1
Richard Mansell -9 20.019/1
George Coetzee -9 30.029/1
Scott Jamieson -9 42.041/1
Jorge Campillo -9 50.049/1
Adri Arnaus -8 28.027/1
-8 and 55.054/1 bar
As highlighted in the preview, in the 22 editions since 1999, nine halfway leaders have gone on to win and two have been beaten in playoffs. A strike rate of 41% for 36-hole leaders is pretty impressive and it suggests that Canizares is a decent price at over 6.05/1 but I prefer the chances of Lawrence.
Canizares does have a couple of titles to his name. The 39-year-old won the Russian Open way back in 2006 and he was an impressive five-stroke winner of the Trophee Hassan II eight years ago but he's not one to go to war with.
Matt Wallace is a big danger to the front two, and now it looks like he'll keep his card on the PGA Tour, he'll be running free over the weekend.
Wallace only finished 136th in the FedEx Cup standings but it looks highly likely that he'll shuffle high enough up the rankings to retain his playing privileges once the next wave of LIV defectors has been confirmed.
Wallace burst onto the scene five years ago, winning the Open de Portugal in May 2017 before adding three more titles in 2018 but he hasn't won since, and he's thrown away a couple of gilt-edged chances. Most notably at the British Masters in 2019 and at the Hero Open in 2021.
Lawrence looks a fair a price at around the 5/2 mark and I'm happy to play him modestly and I've also thrown a few pounds on Jorge Campillo at 50.049/1, who trails by six in a tie for eighth.
Campillo eagled the ninth this morning (his final hole of the day) to put himself within range and if he can carry that momentum forward, he could get nearer to his fellow countryman by the close of play today.
20:05 - August 26, 2022
A lengthy weather delay has disrupted the Omega European Masters and when play was suspended for the day, the very last groups out still had ten holes of round two to play.
Outsiders, Nacho Elvira and Marcel Siem, both posted back-to-back five-under-par 65s to show the way but the first round leaders, Alejandro Canizares and Triston Lawrence, have picked up from where they left off yesterday and having played 13 and 14 holes respectively, both men have reached 13-under-par with Canizares ending the day in fine style.
The advantage is slightly with the Spaniard given he's playing the front-nine and that holes six, seven and nine are decent birdie opportunities but Matt Cooper's each-way fancy, Lawrence, is the warm favourite as we head into the weekend, despite having the tougher finish to round two. Although he didn't find it tough when he birdied 16, 17 and 18 yesterday!
Scottie Scheffler looks like he's running away with the Tour Championship (leads by seven and matched at a low of 1.351/3 after four holes of round two) but I'll be back in the morning to take a look at the tournament at halfway.
Play will start early in Switzerland tomorrow (7:40 local time) and it will be interesting to see how far clear either or both of the two leaders are through 36 holes.
09:35 - August 26, 2022
The second round of the Omega European Masters is well underway and Spain's Nacho Elvira has caught and passed the first round leaders - Alejandro Canizares and Thriston Lawrence - who both tee off this afternoon.
Lawrence, who was one of Matt Cooper's three each-way selections, is the current favourite, but another of Matt's picks, Adri Arnaus is flying this morning and I'll take a detailed look once we've reached the halfway stage.
Over at the Tour Championship, on a day of low scoring yesterday, with preferred lies in operation, only Matt Fitzpatrick and Joaquin Nieman shot a better round than the FedEx Cup leader, Scottie Scheffler, who now leads by five strokes after an opening five-under-par 65 around East Lake.
Having begun the week on -10, thanks to the ludicrous handicap now in place, he now leads my sole selection, Xander Schauffele, by five, Fitzpatrick by six and Nieman and Patrick Cantlay by seven.
Scheffler has already been matched at a low of 1.715/7 and if he can back up yesterday's smart start, the tournament could be all but done and dusted heading into the weekend.
Trading at 1.9310/11 this morning, the leader is a fair price for anyone that doesn't mind backing a shortie but I'm happy to leave the event alone and just cheer on Xander.
I'll be back this evening or first thing tomorrow with a look at the Omega European Masters at the halfway stage.
Omega European Masters Pre-Event Selections:
Danny Willett @ 48.047/1
Renato Paratore @ 75.074/1
Thriston Lawrence @ 3.613/5
Jorge Campillo @ 50.049/1
Adri Arnaus @ 18.017/1
Tour Championship Pre-Event Selection:
Xander Schauffele @ 9.617/2
Justin Thomas @ 48.047/1
Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
Back 2u Ashun Wu @ 130.0129/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
0.5 u Mike Lorenzo-Vera @ 130.0129/1 (Exchange)
1u each-way Mike Lorenzo-Vera @ 100/1 (Sportsbook)
1u each-way Mike Lorenzo-Vera FRL @ 80/1 (Sportsbook)
Back 0.5 u Ross McGowan @ 480.0479/1
Back 1 u Ross McGowan @ 40.039/1 Top 10 Finish
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4
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