Catch Xander in the Lake!

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Anyone who thinks I have stopped seething yet clearly doesn’t know me that well – to be beaten in a play off AGAIN is almost too much to take, even if we did land the place part of our bet, and worse still Bryson played pretty much as I predicted (blowing hot and cold) with just one too many “chilly” holes to bring home the bacon.

This week we move on to the finale with the Tour Championship, but be warned before we go any further – we won’t be finding anything at a huge price as we are talking about a 30 player field as opposed to the usual 150 plus – but a winner is a winner and as always, I will do my research and do my best.

Off we head to the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Fed-Ex Cup Series end-game, though it all gets a bit complicated thanks to the Fed-Ex Starting Stroke Index that sees the number one ranked Patrick Cantlay starting the tournament at -10, though most of us, bookmakers included, find all that a bit daft and you will be delighted to know the prices we will find are based on scores for the 72 holes without any “handicap” being included. What we do have is an issue with the mental game – how will those players starting on evens (for example) cope with giving 10 shots away before they hit a ball – will they see it as a challenge, or will they just play their golf and see where they finish? Will they feel pressurised in to risky shots early on in an attempt to claw back the leads, or will they give up before they start and just turn up for their share of the prize pot? This could get messy….

7,346 yard await the players on this Par 70 course but accuracy is key more than length off the tee – and with $15 million up for grabs, we are assured of a festival of golf – damn that handicap system that puts a spanner in the works.

Selections with reasoning:

***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around – and make sure you only partake non-runner no bet – covid has seen last minute withdrawals all season and we don’t want to be throwing money away. DO shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value, and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here as they differ by the minute. *** Note 2 – I am looking for players to finish in the top 5 over 72 holes scored – do be careful not to bet in the handicap market where the prices are very different as are our chances of collecting!***

1pt each way Xander Schauffele 12/1 Betfred, top 5 places

I am pretty keen on my chances of a place at least here with the American posting thew lowest 72 hole  score last year with 15 under par – so we know he loves the course! His ratings in all the most important statistics stand out here with a third for Strokes Gained this season, fourth for Strokes Gained with his putter, and a second for Strokes Gained putting here last season as well as eight top-five finishes this season  – nice work if you can get it. I’ll admit it – I am swayed by his overall form at the course and I’ll be surprised if he isn’t thereabouts as they stroll up to the par 5 18th on the final day.

1pt Each Way Rory McIlroy 11/1 Betfred, top 5 places

Horses for courses may seem more relevant to my other job and Ron’s as well, but trust me, it works in golf (well, sometimes). Rory starts with very little pressure here on two under for the handicap, but he has an outstanding record here and can relax and play his natural game. Second here in 2014, he followed that with a seventh in 2018, a win in 2019, and a seventh last year – not perfect by any means, but enough to suggest he won’t be far away if in the mood. He putts on these Bermuda greens as well as anybody on the tour and looked to be getting back to his very best with a fourth last weekend, all very promising, hopefully. His driving is back to somewhere near his best after a spell in the doldrums, as is his approach play, and if he ties them all together like he used to, he won’t be far away either.

1pt each way Harris English 35/1 Betfred top 5 places If I had a vote I would seriously consider Harris as the most improved golfer on the tour for 2021 with his meteoric rise, and he may well be able to cap it off with a good performance here. His success in the Travelers Championship  stands out (at a very similar course, by the way), and in recent months his short game has been simply outstanding – and that may be his saving grace here where the wedges and the putter really do rule the roost. Admittedly, he should have won the St Judes before coming home fourth after being in total control, but he has earned a big win and maybe this will be his day, you never know!

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