The new PGA Tour schedule gets under way with the Frys.com Open and there are three golfers who appeal as winner bets in what can only be described as a B-grade opening event.
The best bet at the prices is Jamie Lovemark, who is trading at odds of 111.00 with Bet365 and that is even in spite of an early gamble. Lovemark does not have the most impressive PGA Tour statistics – he has missed the cut in 25 of his 42 appearances – but he has excellent form at the CordeValle Golf Club, which has been the home of the Frys.com Open since 2010. Lovemark was a regular in amateur tournament staged on the California course and he finished a creditable 30th when the CordeValle Golf Club hosted the Frys.com Open for the first time in 2010. Lovemark has developed into a better golfer over the following three years and, fully fit after a series of injuries blighted his first few steps on the PGA Tour, he is well over the odds. Lovemark finished eighth on his last start in the Web.com Tour Championship two weeks ago so he is in good form and ready to attack a layout that he likes and knows better than most golfers.
Russell Knox is another big-priced Frys.com Open contender, with BetVictor dangling odds of 81.00 in front of one’s eyes. Knox, who shot an incredible round of 59 on the Web.com Tour four months ago, is back on the PGA Tour full time, although he fared well on partial status last term. Knox has two PGA Tour top 10s on his record, the first of which occurred in the 2012 Frys.com Open, and he finished sixth in the Web.com Tour Championship last time out.
Finally in terms of Frys.com Open win bets, the favourite Gary Woodland merits support at odds of 21.00, with Betfred, one of the bookmakers laying that price. Woodland was one of the late-season stars of the PGA Tour, winning the Reno-Tahoe Open and running second in The Barclays. Woodland made his Frys.com Open debut last term and he finished inside the top 10 so his course form is solid. Woodland deserves to be at the top of the market.
Bookmakers have framed a large number of Frys.com Open match bets but only a couple of options appeal in what is a fairly low-quality competition. First, Knox is available at odds of 1.95 with Boylesports to get the better of Morgan Hoffmann. Admittedly, Hoffmann has some handy CordeValle Golf Club course form from his college days but it is certainly no better than that of Knox in last season’s Frys.com Open against the big boys. Furthermore, Knox’s recent form is a notch above that of Hoffmann, whose last outing resulted in a missed cut in The Barclays. Hoffmann is a golfer on the rise but the odds make this bet, with Knox deserving to be the slight favourite rather than the slight underdog.
Woodland features in a large number of Frys.com Open matches and William Hill has decided to pair up him with the golfer who finished last term’s Web.com Tour campaign with a run of five top fives, John Peterson. It is impossible to pot the recent form of Peterson – he posted one second, three thirds and one fifth between late August 2013 and late September 2013 – but he missed the cut on his Frys.com Open debut in 2012, firing rounds of 76 and 69 to fall four strokes shy of making the weekend. Woodland is trading at odds of 1.73 with William Hill and they look worth snapping up. One gets the feeling that William Hill’s golf compilers wanted to put Woodland and Peterson together, irrespective of the odds that they ended up framing. It is not a level match.
For the record, the Frys.com Open titles handed out at the CordeValle Golf Club have gone to Rocco Mediate in 2010, Bryce Molder in 2011 and Jonas Blixt in 2012. Mike Weir (2007), Cameron Beckman (2008) and Troy Matteson (2009) won the tournament before it moved to the CordeValle Golf Club.