Welcome to Virtual Insanity for OTB, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
After a barren spell which included some close calls at the Open Championship, the virtual pot is at €770 from €1000 entering this week's tournament of focus, the Rocket Mortgage Classic on the PGA Tour in Detroit.
This tournament is played at Detroit Golf Club, a flat par 72 designed by Donald Ross that is one of the easier golf courses on the circuit. Four par fives give generous opportunities and this is the fourth year of the event.
In 2019, Nate Lashley won with a score of 25 under par. In 2020, Bryson DeChambeau came home in front with a score of 23 under par and last year's leading score in regulation was 18 under par - Cam Davis eventually won in a play off. This is a tournament which suits big hitters that can attack the small greens.
The event starts at 11.45am Thursday, Irish time.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, SKY Bet, Betfair, Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred and William Hill offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top eight places.
Our headline selection is Taylor Pendrith for €5 each way at 70/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet).
Canadian Taylor Pendrith strikes me as a player completely under the radar right now. He posted eight top tens on the Korn Ferry Tour last season and then squandered an opportunity to win in Bermuda on just his fourth start on the PGA Tour this season. Pendrith then injured his rib at the Players Championship back in March where he tied 13th. The 31 year old returned to the Tour at the Barbasol Championship earlier this month and another tie for 13th was in the offing. He then collected a tie for 11th after a slow start at the Barracuda Championship. Detroit Golf Club should suit a player who is 14th in driving distance and 9th in greens in regulation in the statistics. Pendrith was a birdie machine on the Korn Ferry Tour and I don't feel he's had a chance to show his ability yet. To me, he's over priced and he's the headline selection this week at 70/1.
Our second selection is Cameron Young for €4 each way at 18/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill, SKY Bet).
American Cameron Young is challenging Will Zalatoris for the unwelcome crown of being the best player not to have won on the PGA Tour yet. Young has four second place finishes from 21 starts this season, but what's impressive is that the last of those was at the Open Championship at St Andrews. Young also tied for third at the US PGA Championship and he's traversed the circuit this year playing well at a wide variety of courses. So I am not concerned that he hasn't played in the Rocket Mortgage Classic before. He's a long driver of the golf ball who makes a bunch of birdies, so this track should be right up his alley. A maiden win is just around the corner for Young.
Our third selection is Denny McCarthy for €3 each way at 45/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, William Hill).
This has been a breakout year for American Denny McCarthy, who contended at the US Open, one of three top ten finishes in his last four starts. The former Walker Cup player is regarded as the best putter on the PGA Tour, but it's improvements in his long game which have propelled him to 40th in the FedEx Cup standings. He is currently 33rd in the strokes gained rankings - last season he was 108th in that category. McCarthy shot four rounds in the 60's in this event in 2019, ending in a tie for 21st. He's a much better player now.
Our fourth selection is Danny Willett for €2 each way at 80/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, Paddy Power, Betfair, Betfred, Ladbrokes, Coral, William Hill, SKY Bet).
England's Danny Willett found something at the 3M Open last week, where a tie for seventh in Minneapolis was his best result of the PGA Tour season as he battles to retain his card. Willett tied for fourth in this tournament two years ago, so he does have knowledge of the course. He's a bit of an enigma in that he's won some huge tournaments; the Masters, the BMW Championship and the DP World Tour Championship - but his form has declined since his win at St Andrews in the Dunhill Links Championship last October. I am taking a chance that Willett may string a couple of weeks of hot form together. If he's there on Sunday, he won't back down.
Our final selection is Doc Redman for €1 each way at 250/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places, SKY Bet).
The only reason I am taking a flier on Doc Redman with my smallest virtual stake is his ability to emerge from nowhere and contend - he was second in this tournament on only his eighth PGA Tour start in 2019; he followed that up with a tie for 21st the following year. Redman's recent form has been poor, with seven missed cuts out of eight since he was third in the team event with Sam Ryder in New Orleans. However he did finish inside the top 25 in Kentucky earlier this month and this young, former US Amateur champion may have the ability to surprise - he had three top four finishes on the PGA Tour last season.
So that's €30 wagered virtually on this week's golf. Make sure you bet less at home!
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!