Backing favourites is not the preferred approach to golf tournament betting but bookmakers are correct to have Zach Johnson and Nick Watney at the top of their markets on the winner of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Johnson, who is available at odds of 15.00 with Sportingbet, and Watney, who is trading at odds of 19.00 with BetVictor, are worth serious consideration for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open that takes place at TPC Summerlin in the American gambling mecca known as Sin City, Las Vegas.
It is a cliche but Johnson is on a roll. Before being one of the United States of America’s stand-out performers in its Presidents Cup victory over the Internationals, Johnson had compiled seven top 10s in eight starts, including winning the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club. Johnson has made only one appearance in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open but it was a fine one, finishing 10th in 2008.
Watney is a Shriners Hospitals for Children Open regular and his TPC Summerlin course form reads very well indeed. Watney was 10th in last year’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and, before that, he had placed second in 2011 and sixth in 2010. Three consecutive Shriners Hospitals for Children Open top 10s combined with finishes of 14th, second, 35th and ninth from his last four PGA Tour starts mark out Watney as a golfer whom one should have in their portfolio this week.
The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open third pick is Kevin Na at odds of 46.00 with Stan James. Na’s 2013 has not gone according to the script with the Seoul-born, Las Vegas-based golfer missed a chunk of the year due to a back injury. Na made his comeback in the Frys.com Open last week and, after opening with a 75, he fired rounds of 67, 64 and 64 to end up third, only three strokes behind Jimmy Walker. The Frys.com Open was Na’s first event since the Masters Tournament. Surely flush with confidence following his excellent return, Na looms as a serious threat to the likes of Johnson and Watney in his home city. Na has made the cut in each of his four Shriners Hospitals for Children Open appearances and he won the 2011 edition by two shots.
Bookmakers have done a pretty good job in framing Shriners Hospitals for Children Open match bets that are hard for punters to pick. However, there are a couple of plays that stand out from the crowd, with the golfers to follow in exotic markets being George McNeill and Watney.
Former Shriners Hospitals for Children Open champion McNeill is available at odds of 2.00 with Betfred to beat Chris Kirk. McNeill romped to victory at TPC Summerlin six years ago, posting a 23-under-par total to finish four shots in front of FJ Trahan. McNeill was bitterly unlucky not to win at TPC Summerlin two years later as well, with the American competing against Chad Campbell and Martin Laird in a play-off. Campbell did not get past the second hole but McNeill lost to Laird on the next one. McNeill was seventh in last week’s Frys.com Open so he is in good nick.
Kirk may be a little bit rusty having not competed for a few weeks and his Shriners Hospitals for Children Open record is ordinary having missed the cut in 2007 and placed 36th last year. It is somewhat strange that bookmakers have paired up McNeill and Kirk and even stranger that Betfred and Totesport have decided to favour the latter.
BetVictor has chosen to put Watney against 2012 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open winner Ryan Moore, with the former trading at odds of 1.83. One has made the case for Watney already. Moore is a local resident but his TPC Summerlin record is hit and miss, with his first last year and seventh in 2009 sitting alongside, for example, his 85th in 2006 and missed cut in 2011. Moore has not played since finishing 11th in the BMW Championship last month so he has not had as much recent experience as his head-to-head rival.