Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
After such a great week at the Texas Open for this feature, the Masters was disappointing. Jon Rahm was placed, but headline tip Patrick Cantlay flamed out and missed the cut, while Matthew Fitzpatrick, Paul Casey, Shane Lowry and CT Pan all failed to contend. As for the tournament itself, it was great to see Hideki Matsuyama win for Japan.
So there's no loss being made this year right now, but the virtual pot is at €1005 from €1000 entering this week's tournament of focus, the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour in South Carolina.
The Harbour Town Links course is a beautiful old fashioned venue, a par 71 with tree lined fairways, small greens, water and wind as a defence. Length isn't a prerequisite here, but accuracy and good scrambling abilities are. Buzzed by the Masters the preceding week, I have watched this tournament for years. It suits tidy tee to green specialists that can build momentum on the greens.
The tournament starts at Noon Thursday, Irish time.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, BoyleSports, SKY Bet and William Hill offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top eight places.
Our headline selection is Patrick Cantlay for €4 each way at 18/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
I have been betting on golfers since the 1997 US PGA Championship, so I have seen a few things in my time. I have made five figures from one golf bet and I have also had my fingers burnt. I called last week's tip of Patrick Cantlay at the Masters a 'shocker' and apologised to my followers on Twitter about it (the handle is @johnduggansport if you want to follow). So I can take two approaches now. The first is to become the walking definition of insane by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The second is to keep the faith. I have gone with the latter approach and I am keeping the faith in American Patrick Cantlay, who is a world class player. In four of the last ten renewals, a player has missed a cut at the Masters and gone on to win at Harbour Town the following week. The course suits Cantlay's eye and his three appearances have yielded finishes of tied third, tied seventh and tied third. I may be the only one, but I am backing him to bounce back and win this week.
Our second selection is Christiaan Bezuidenhout for €3 each way at 60/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
It's always worth figuring out the golfers that know how to win, and South African Bezuidenhout has that knack. Now inside the top 40 in the world, he closed off 2020 with back to back European Tour victories in his native country. He possesses a good long game and has made giant strides on this side of the pond. The 26-year-old was 7th at Bay Hill and shot four rounds in the 60's on his first look at Harbour Town last year. Ranked first on Tour in strokes gained around the green, he will be one of the Masters starters who will have been thrilled to taste Augusta. With those good feelings still flowing and a professed enjoyment for this course, I believe he can contend on Sunday.
Our third selection is JT Poston for €2 each way at 90/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
On two visits to Harbour Town, American JT Poston has finished tied 8th and tied 6th. His form has been solid if unspectacular in 2021 with three top 25's. A winner on Tour at the 2019 Wyndham Championship in neighbouring North Carolina, the 27-year-old is a good putter and he may ride decent Harbour Town course memories towards the top end of the leaderboard on Sunday.
Our fourth selection is Doug Ghim for €2 each way at 125/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
One would wonder how Doug Ghim feels about Will Zalatoris finishing second at the Masters. They were teammates on the victorious USA Walker Cup team of 2017. Also on that team were Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler. Formerly the best college golf player in America, Ghim is now finding his groove on the PGA Tour. A tie for fifth at the American Express was a sign; then Ghim had chances to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players Championship. Respective rounds of 81 and 78 put paid to those dreams, but he would have learned a great deal from playing with eventual champion Justin Thomas at Sawgrass. Ghim is making his first Heritage start, but he's not a player to leave out of calculations, because I do think he is capable of winning a tournament before long.
Our final selection is Doc Redman for €2 each way at 125/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
I noticed Doc Redman play a lot better at the Texas Open on his last start, but he couldn't get it going on the weekend. He is back hitting the ball well and shot 15 under par for his last three rounds at the Heritage last year. Only 23, this former US Amateur champion was close to winning in Bermuda back in November. Ball striking is his thing and I believe Harbour Town is the right flavour for him.
So that's €26 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home! A euro each way will do!
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!