TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF
-16 FREDDIE JACOBSON
-15 BRYCE MOLDER
-13 JAMES DRISCOLL
-12 RYAN MOORE
-12 JOHN ROLLINS
-12 BLAKE ADAMS
-12 ANDRES ROMERO
-12 WEBB SIMPSON
-12 NICK WATNEY
-11 six players
This leaderboard is packed with players who do not know how to win, cannot win or subconsiously do not want to win !
Lets take a quick look at each....
Freddie J we discussed recently, he is very gifted, but just cannot get it together on Sunday when in contention, he has not dropped a stroke all week long, but what will happen today when he does ? He has hit relatively few greens in regulation , but putted and scrambled like a dream, which cannot continue indefinitely. He is a three times runner up on tour and has yet to win in the US at all, or anywhere for eight years.
Molder has not dropped a stroke on the back nine all week and putted and driven the ball well, but he has missed 10 of 13 cuts and has very little experience at the business end of tournaments, he has only one top ten finish all season at Pebble Beach where he was firmly in contention going into the final day ( second overnight) but faded in Round 4.
Driscoll is not a winner, he has one solitary Nationwide win and that came seven years ago, he has played the closing holes the worst of all the major contenders this week and his solid looking 2010 Round 4 stats are a little misleading, with most low rounds coming when out of contention.
Moore is talented, he could win ( finally, we have found one ! ), on the downside his only previous tour success came in 2009, but at least that came in a playoff after a closing 65 and this could again be close.
Rollins wins every three years or so, so will be due sometime in the next 12 months, he has really struggled over the front nine holes this week, but if he could get it together over the opening holes today has a chance, but he has posted just two top ten's in the last 18 months and is "in contention" rusty.
Adams is basically a 35 year old rookie, with only one top ten finish to his name and has never won a professional tournament anywhere.
Romero has a single tour win at the Zurich Classic in 2008, but can also claim eight worldwide wins and now that he has passed that all important 30th birthday ** ( see below), he could be ready to go in again, he is capable of going ultra low on sunday and has several times shot sub 64 in Round 4.
Simpson has played well this season and the 25 yo already has $2m + in the bank, mainly courtesy of two second place finishes, he has yet to make the big breakthrough, but like many others, it might be easier to do so from off the pace .
Watney is the class act on the leaderboard and is a three time winner on tour, including one already in 2011, that was especially worthy of note as he broke the rule and won a month before his 30th birthday which is very rare, he came from off the pace that day and is very solid when in contention, however, he has had one bad hole on the back nine each day ( a seven at the 13th yesterday) and his driver has been letting him down this week. If he can get it going off the tee and keep his focus and any big numbers off his card, he could win a close tournament with 15 players within five strokes of the lead.
Where does this leave us ? The guys who are most likely to keep it together and win this thing are a little off the pace, but there are a number of them and someone even way off the pace could go low today and snatch this. The two leaders are bound to be nervous and despite his talent, we have seen little from Freddie J in the last decade or so to leave us to believe that he will hold on. We could lay both him and Driscoll at circa 2.84 and 5.80 on the exchanges, meaning that we have every other player going for us at a shade of odds against, which I feel is fair value. Nick Watney have five top 6 placings in just 10 PGA starts this year, or five from 8 in which he has made the cut and played the weekend, so is a solid enough pick at 2.10 for a top five finish on the exchanges, a little bigger for small money and that just about looks the best option on the golf today.
Romero is available at circa 4.0 in this market ( top 5) and that looks a shade too big about a guy I feel is getting ready to win again, he is 24.0 to win and if you twisted my arm to pick a winner, at the odds offered I guess he would be my pick.
Tough last day and I expect the leaderboard to be spinning like a fruit machine, a day to keep stakes small.
** Many golfers, like humans in general, struggle in the months leading up to these milestone birthdays 30, 40 , 50, they tend to underperform just before and then relax and play better once the birthday has passed and they realise that life carries on, little changes and it is not so bad after all, being just one year older ! They also tend to play better immediately following the birth of a child, especially their first.