USPGA Championship 2019: Outright and two-ball tips for round three

Golfer Jason Kokrak
Jason Kokrak has become a model of consistency
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With Brooks Koepka running away with the USPGA, Paul Krishnamurty focuses on the betting without him and recommends a quartet of two ball picks...

"Kokrak has become very consistent - making every cut in 2019 and bettering 70 nine times out of 12 in round three...His form is in another league to top prospect Champ."

Back Jason Kokrak to beat Cameron Champ 5u @ [1.83] (Starts 14.50)

There is still fully half of the USPGA Championship to play but, according to the betting, the result is almost certain. After another imperious round, this time 65, Brooks Koepka leads by seven strokes as he bids for a fourth major title in less than two years.

Koepka very hard to oppose

I would never tip a golfer at [1.31] but, in truth, this does look an easy way to quickly earn 29% profit after commission. Koepka is those odds because we all know how quickly golf can change, with just a bad hole or two, but there is absolutely no indication of him collapsing.

Instead, Betting Without Koepka is a much more open betting heat. Thirty-five players are within five of the lead - the perfect 'Moving Day' leaderboard. Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott lead on -5, with Dustin Johnson the most notable among the quintet on -4.

Three picks without the favourite

My plan is to follow some of the contenders I most fancied pre-tournament. One of whom is Scott, whose long game is tailor-made for Bethpage and has been coming into form.

Considering that catch-up golf is difficult around here, and that co-leader Spieth has been anything but reliable recently, 15/2 about the 36-hole leader seems perfectly fair.

In addition, let's try Louis Oosthuizen and Patrick Cantlay each-way at 33-1 and 40-1. They are respectively on -2 and -1, tied for ninth and 18th in this market.

Oosty has a fine Bethpage record and is regularly placed in majors. Cantlay is a superb ball-striker with the right skills for this, and made many a new fan with his late charge at the Masters.

Betting Without Brooks Koepka

Back Adam Scott 4u @ 15/2
Back Louis Oosthuizen 1u each-way @ 33/1 (1/5 odds, four places)
Back Patrick Cantlay 1u each-way @ 40/1 (1/5 odds, four places)

Two ball betting

Another profitable set of three-ball bets yesterday takes the week's 18-hole betting profits to 12 units. Today's four are mostly off early, offering some betting interest before the principals go out.

Back Justin Harding to beat J.T. Poston 4u @ [2.04] (Starts 13.00)

Justin Harding deserves another chance to vindicate my pre-tournament optimism regarding his suitability for Bethpage Black. He blew any outright hopes and our bet on day one with 74 but managed to sneak into the cut line.

The South African is generally consistent and makes few mistakes. Poston's recent form - three missed cuts in six - reads inferior, and he isn't as powerful as Harding.

Back Ryan Vermeer to beat Adam Long 2u @ [3.3] (Starts 14.00)

Regular readers will know I love a two-ball outsider and this is just the ticket. Sure, we are backing a club pro who is unlikely to set much of a standard but the favourite has very few of his own credentials.

Since landing a [1000.0] upset at the Desert Classic, Long has made only two cuts and broken 70 four times. That, for me, makes odds of [1.56] very hard to justify.

Back Thorbjorn Olesen to beat Rory McIlroy 2u @ [3.35] (Starts 14.30)

Similarly, it makes no sense to take very short odds about a big-gun who has lost all chance of winning. McIlroy is not always the most focused of players and, while he may well thrive with the pressure off, he may also make mistakes on a punishing course.

Olesen is world-class on his day and it is worth noting he finished tied with Rory at the Masters.

Consistent Kokrak rates a solid bet

Back Jason Kokrak to beat Cameron Champ 5u @ [1.83] (Starts 14.50)

Finally the nap. Kokrak was on many a shrewd shortlist for Bethpage, due to his ball-striking brilliance. He has become very consistent - making every cut in 2019 and only missing three top-25s. He's bettered 70 nine times out of 12 in round three.

Kokrak's form is in another league to top prospect Champ, who burst to prominence last autumn. He's missed eight of his last ten cuts with 28th at Pebble Beach his only respectable result.


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Paul Krishnamurty,

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