With the clock ticking down to the start of this year’s second golfing Major, The USPGA Championship, it is time to turn our attention to some of the speciality punts available.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the First Round Leader market. On only one occasion since 2010 have we seen an outright leader on day one of this event come from the PM starter wave and this was Gary Woodland at Bellerive last year. Otherwise, we have either seen an outright leader come from the AM, or a joint leader come from the AM and PM starters.
This year however with cooler May temperatures predicted early in the mornings, coupled with the possibility of the early starters having to deal with some lingering rain on Thursday, it could well be that we see another PM starter take the day one lead.
On this basis, the man who jumps out me as having an ideal tee time is American Joel Dahmen at 90/1.
Regular readers will know that Dahmen did us a big favour when finishing second at the Wells Fargo a couple of weeks ago when we were on at a big each-way price and this performance was the latest in an incredibly strong run of form that he is currently in.
That week at Quail Hollow Joel was fast out of the blocks to share the day one lead and this is a pattern he has developed of late, as his last six starts on Tour have seen him shoot 66 on three occasions on day one.
Currently ranked 21st on tour in Round 1 scoring average, Dahmen is fancied to keep up his recent consistency from his 12.43pm tee time and start quickly once again.
Sticking with the PM starters and I shall bring a second man onside from the afternoon wave, former PGA Champion, Keegan Bradley (100/1).
Like Dahmen, Bradley is another who makes a habit of getting out of the gates quickly and he currently ranks tenth in Round 1 scoring on Tour.
Teeing off at 1.05pm, Bradley’s solid tee to green game makes him a strong fit for Bethpage Black and I can see him getting off to a fast start this week.
Moving on to the top nationality markets and a player who catches my eye in the top South African market, is Justin Harding. Harding has been on fire over recent months and he showed on his debut at Augusta a few weeks back that he has what it takes to compete at a Major.
With Branden Grace seemingly struggling at the moment this looks like a straight fight between Oosthuizen and Harding to me, and I am happy to take my chances with Harding 4/1 on offer.
As is always the case with a Major Championship, we have an opportunity to bet on players to make or miss the cut and looking at the to ‘miss the cut’ market I am drawn to the 23/10 offered for Jordan Spieth to do so.
While it is true there has been some glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel for Jordan of late, particularly on the greens, he is still clearly not the man he was – most noticeably in the long game department.
Last weekend saw Jordan post a top 30 finish at the Byron Nelson, however, it must be noted that for a man struggling to find fairways the wide-open layout of Trinity Forest offered some welcome respite.
This week though waywardness off the tee to the level he has shown this year will not be forgiven and it is easy to picture Spieth, who currently ranks 205th on tour in Driving Accuracy, cutting a frustrated figure come Friday afternoon.
Finally, from one of the most inaccurate players on tour off the tee, I shall move to one of the most accurate and side with Ryan Moore in the ‘Top 40 Finish’ market at 17/10.
10th here at the 2009 US Open and seventh when the Barclays was played here in 2016, Ryan is clearly comfortable at Bethpage.
While in all likelihood the course will prove too long for him to seriously contend, the man who currently ranks fifth on tour in Driving Accuracy should be able to plot his way around to a steady finish and reward us in this market.
* All odds correct at time of posting.