While we wait for Saturday's USPGA 2-ball line-up, Paul Krishnamurty weighs up the halfway leaderboard and updates the promising in-play bets advised yesterday...
"Given the strength of the leading pack, I could not recommend the favourite at such short odds...Any of the chasers could do what Matsuyama did yesterday, or last weekend."
As golf becomes ever more competitive, labels such as the 'best in the world' or even the 'man to beat' are almost meaningless, as they become outdated almost immediately.
Wind the clock back just three weeks and Jordan Spieth was the one, as we all marvelled over his Open heroics and potential Grand Slam bid. Or remember the narrative going into the Masters, when Dustin Johnson seemed totally dominant.
By Monday morning, there's a high chance that a new name will be in the frame. Fresh off his runaway Firestone victory, Hideki Matsuyama is poised for a breakthrough major title. Sharing the halfway lead with Kevin Kisner, following a magnificent 64, the best player ever to come out of Japan is a [2.82] chance to win the USPGA Championship at Quail Hollow. Excellent news, therefore, for both Steve Rawlings and Dave Tindall, who tipped him pre-tournament.
From an in-running trading perspective though, this is not ideal. Normally on 'Moving Day', I'd be looking five, six or further off the pace for a chaser at big odds. That seems futile, however, given Matsuyama's rock-solid credentials. He isn't going to collapse and, even if he did fall back, the principal challengers are very strong. Beyond the nine players within five of the lead, the only one I give any chance to is Brooks Koepka.
However given the strength of the leading pack, I could not recommend the favourite at such short odds. That aforementioned fickleness of the golf formbook can also be applied to Matsuyama's challengers.
When winning this title two years ago, Jason Day was top dog. His reasons for falling back - injury and personal - are wholly legitimate and he's on the way back. Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas are potential world number ones. Louis Oosthuizen a major winner and repeat contender at this level. Paul Casey one of the best yet to win one. Any of these could do what Matsuyama did yesterday, or last weekend.
Of course I haven't mentioned the co-leader yet. Kevin Kisner wasn't on my radar pre-tournament and is very much the weak link, but cannot be written off by any means. He's a multiple PGA Tour winner and precisely the type of home grown player that has historically broken through in this major.
Regarding betting advice, yesterday's positions on Day, Oosthuizen and Casey are now looking very promising and we need to start thinking about cashing some of them out. The plan is to set the following lay orders on each of them, thus at least doubling our initial layout if any of them shorten to the target.
Recommended bets - updated advice on yesterday's trades
Place order to lay Jason Day 20 units @ [4.0]
Place order to lay Paul Casey 20 units @ [4.0]
Place order to lay Louis Oosthuizen 20u @ [6.0]
Back Paul Casey 4u @ [28.0]
Back Jason Day 4u @ [29.0]
Back Louis Oosthuizen 2u @ [75.0]
Due to the rain delay, the 2-ball line-up is yet to be confirmed. When they are, I'll have a look through and update.
Having an each-way bet on the golf this week? Make sure you're up to speed with our dead heat rules so you know what your payout will be in the event of players finishing in a tie on the same score.