The Tour returns to Hartford this week with a pretty strong field considering it is after a major championship. Here’s a look at the field:
Hunter Mahan: Also known as the resident Tiger Woods this week. Mahan is coming off a top-5 finish at the U.S. Open and has consecutive finishes of 2-1-2 in the Travelers Championship. Mahan is usually underrated and he was my second look at the Open, but the prices out there right now definitely make Mahan overrated. Judging by the movement in his line, which seems not to happen too much at smaller events Mahan is very popular this week.
The best player in the field this week. Garcia has never played in this tournament before and if our luck holds he will withdraw before it tees off. Garcia has not played well on US soil this year, but a tee-time aided 10th at the Open, and 13th in the European Open could be signs that he is ready to return to his form of late last year.
Vijay has a strong course history here as well and a big name which means he may be priced a little too high. 3rd best chance of winning for the 14th player in the field by my rankings seems a bit high. Singh has played in Hartford the past two seasons and finished inside the top-5 both times. It seems like he should be matched up with Mahan this week.
Curtis is the fourth ranked player in the field this week. I probably would have overlooked Curtis is not for one thing, hearing someone on TV say “Will Glover fit into the category of Trevor Immelman, Todd Hamilton and Ben Curtis as one shot lucky major winners.” That just got me mad. Curtis is not the great ball striker that I typically like, but he is a good putter for a change and on a course that won’t be overwhelmingly long I think he stands a pretty good chance. He does have two top-15 finishes here too.
Yes, I am still a little disappointed that Marino lost out on a nine man playoff to get to the U.S. Open. He would have been a great look last week. This week, not so much. Marino seems to play well for a few weeks, get a lot of attention, then fall off for awhile and return to being a decent look. By my rankings Marino is the 10th best player in the field this week, and its not surprising that the books are protecting a little against a guy who has made 9 straight cuts, with some impressive finishes.
I would never advocate a guy coming off a United States Open Championship as a great play, but Glover is not horrible. I think there must be a fair amount of people realizing how good Hunter Mahan is/upset that Glover beat sentimental favorite Phil last week, because +165 against Hunter Mahan is just straight absurd. I will make the case to anyone that listens that Glover is at least in the top-30 of the world unlike Hamilton or Immelman or Cabrera, for that matter.
Matthew Goggin/DJ Trahan:
I always look at these guys. Goggin in particular should be helped out on the smaller layout. He is a great ball-striker. DJ at 125-1 is still too high for how he has played over the past year and as another good ball striker, he is hard for me to ignore. Why was he using a Driver to putt last week?
PP has disappeared somewhat since a win at the Hope. Since then, he only has 2 finishes better than 35th(4th at Arnold Palmer). However, I have a crazy out of left field feeling that this could be a course that suits PP’s game well. The last time he played here he tied for 36th, but a 76 on Sunday disguises three other rounds in the 60s
Ben Curtis +4050(.25)
Ben Curtis +805(1.1)
Curtis is now sitting at 20-1 at the Greek, which I promise was not my doing. Obviously, that is too steep a price. This was kind of a first reaction bet because of Curtis’ relative anonymity for a guy who is a three time winner on Tour and member of US international teams. Curtis has a strong history on the course. Even at 40, as I thought more about this, this was somewhat marginal considering Curtis is not the great ball striker I usually prefer. Still I got a great price on the 4th best player in the field, and it saves me from DJ for a week. Honestly, I think PP or DJ are the way to go now that Curtis is no better than 33-1.
Sergio +115 v. Mahan
Glover +165 v. Mahan
Kim +105 v. Vijay
PP +130 v. Michael Letzig
Sergio -125 v. Vijay
Judging by those lines, Mahan is getting absolutely hammered this week. I really can’t leave out the Sergio play, although his overrated top-10
is a small knock on that one, definitely not big enough for a pass. Sergio as a favorite against Vijay seems more borderline to me, but my numbers would have to disagree. So I asked myself, the two most important questions lately, “Whats the upside?” and “Do I need to play this?” I think Sergio definitely has the upside edge on Vijay considering age and recent results. I’m still not sure if I need to play this, so that one is getting postponed.
They could have picked any player in the field to go up against Perez and he is +130 against Michael Letzig? I’m not sure how popular Letzig is, but three straight finishes of t-23 or better and a top ten here last year seems fadeable to me. If this was -110, I would probably shake it off, but I can’t resist the chance to
Kim at +105 v. Vijay is another +number with the better player, with more upside and going against course history. Still not convinced I need to make that one.
Finally, Glover. +170 at the Greek is incredibly tempting, but I’m just going to say no. Something about the principle of taking someone who just won the US Open and has been taking pictures on the top of the Empire State Building all week.
Here’s what I went with:
Sergio +120 v. Mahan(1)
Kim +105 v. Vijay(1)
PP +130 v. Letzig(1)
Sergio -120 v. Vijay(1)
For the first round only:
Sergio +110 v. Mahan(1)
PP +120 v. Letzig(1)
It’s somewhat amazing how I can look at the US Open and find nothing intriguing, then come up with a full list of leans for the Hangover Championship. BMW Picks up later.