Welcome to Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
Last week was frustrating from a tipping perspective, with Mackenzie Hughes third in the Dominican Republic, long shot Kelly Kraft not far out of the frame in the same event and Lucas Herbert tied seventh at the Irish Open. A bit of virtual gold was salvaged, but it could have been a lot more bountiful.
The pot is at €737 entering this week's tournament of focus, the Sanderson Farms Championship on the US PGA Tour in Mississippi.
Played at the par 72 Jackson Country Club, scores are often low in this tournament, so the drives will need to be smashed, the irons sharp and the putting as good as radar. It's acceleration all the way.
This week's event starts at 12.45pm Irish time on Thursday.
Be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power, Betfair, William Hill and Boylesports offering 1/5 the odds for your pick to get into the top 8.
Our first selection is Patrick Rodgers for €6 each way at 50/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
There was once a time when American Patrick Rodgers was ranked as the best amateur golfer in the world. Still only 28, he's waiting for his maiden victory on the PGA Tour. Rodgers is a fine driver of the golf ball and a good putter. He's been on my map for a while because of a number of consistent performances. He was tied 11th in the Corales Championship last week and holds previous form in Jackson, with two top 20's. He's shot 64 at the course, so it doesn't hold any fear. Rodgers has finished second on the PGA Tour circuit three times. A win is in his range. I think he's a value each-way bet and I took my own advice first thing Monday morning.
Our second selection is Charl Schwartzel for €5 each way at 70/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
If the saying 'form is temporary and class is permanent' is true, then major champions should always be at the back of your mind when factoring an assessment of a golf tournament. The most recent example is Stewart Cink and his win at the Safeway Open. At 569 to 1 on the Betfair Exchange! There was no fluke about Charl Schwartzel's capture of the green jacket at the 2011 Masters, but he's not been a prolific winner. Still, he has game, and after recovering from injury, he finished tied for third at the 3M Open back in July. A top 25 at the Safeway Open on the South African's last start was steady and he has form on Bermuda greens from his second at the St Jude Invitational in Memphis. Overlooked by the market and overpriced.
Our third selection is Doc Redman for €4 each way at 33/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
Redman is a former US Amateur champion and represented his country at the 2017 Walker Cup. On his team back then was current PGA Champion Collin Morikawa. Only 22, Redman is brilliant off the tee and possesses a calm temperament. He looks to have a big future ahead of him and nearly won the Wyndham Championship last month. He followed that up with a 62 in the final round of the Safeway Open for another top three placing. He shot 68 in the final round of the Sanderson Farms Championship last year to finish in a tie for 52nd. I think that result can be discarded, as he missed cuts at the Wyndham and Safeway before those noteworthy displays. Doc Redman is a prodigious talent who is going to win on the tour. Soon.
Our fourth selection is Byeong Hun An for €3 each way at 33/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
Course form is always an important component in the selection process, and South Korean Ben An, as he's known, was third in the Sanderson Farms Championship last year, shooting two rounds of 66 at the beginning of the week. An finished in the top 25 in nine of his 22 starts last season. It's five years since he won the most prestigious tournament on the European Tour, the BMW Championship, blitzing the field at Wentworth by six shots. A couple of runner up finishes on the PGA Tour is probably below his expectations, but a breakthrough is likely. Maybe this week.
Our final selection this week is Robert Streb for €2 each way at 200/1. (1/5 the odds the first 8 places).
Thinking of course form, American Robert Streb could be an interesting outsider. A winner on the PGA tour back in 2015, he finished 8th in this event that year, when admittedly he was playing better than he is now. Nevertheless, he's posted two top 25's in his last two appearances at Jackson County Club and was tied 21st at the Corales Championship last week. Maybe he has found a sliver of his old form that could allow him to make the frame at a tasty price.
So that's €40 wagered 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!