The Reno-Tahoe Open, the PGA Tour event for those golfers who did not made the
World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational party list, would have to be one of the most difficult golf betting puzzles of all time, which explains why bookmakers are offering odds of around 34.00 the field.
With the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational stripping the Reno-Tahoe Open of more than 70 potential participants and the second-tier tournament scored using a modified Stableford system – eagles are worth five points, birdies are worth two points, bogeys result in the loss of one point and double bogey cost three points – it is little wonder that the bookmakers cannot find a hot favourite.
The Reno-Tahoe Open equation is complicated further by the fact that, while the Montreux Golf and Country Club has been its venue since its inaugural edition in 1999, a modified Stableford system was used for the first time in 2012. So punters have course form on which to base their betting decisions but most of it is in conventional scoring.
For what does one look in a golfer competing in a modified Stableford event? Well, it makes sense to delve into the PGA Tour statistical charts and the table that makes the most sense is the one pertaining to par breakers. Unsurprisingly, most of the PGA Tour’s top par breakers received calls to attend the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational but eight of the top 40 are in the Reno-Tahoe Open field and some of them make more appeal on various levels than others.
Of the eight – Rory Sabbatini, Kevin Stadler, Andres Romero, Matt Every, John Rollins, Vaughn Taylor, Davis Love III and James Hahn – the three that stand out are Stadler, Romero and Taylor because they have decent course and recent numbers as well as a high ranking for par breakers.
Stadler is 14th in the par breakers chart having had 250 under-par holes out of 1,134 this year. Stadler was 11th in last year’s Reno-Tahoe Open and, before the tournament made the switch to a modified Stableford system, he posted two top-five finishes at the Montreux Golf and Country Club. Stadler does not have Tiger Woods-like recent form figures but no-one in the Reno-Tahoe Open field does. Stadler has made the cut in three of his last four events, placing 27th twice and 51st once. At odds of around 51.00 with Paddys and Coral to win the tournament, Stadler is one of the best bets available.
Romero is one of the most aggressive golfers on the PGA Tour so it is not surprising that the Argentine is ranked 18th for par breakers as a consequence of scoring either birdie or eagle on 214 of his 990 holes this year. Romero finished third behind JJ Henry 12 months ago and that result, added to his impressive PGA Tour statistics when it comes to going under par, mean that he warrants a bet at odds of around 41.00 with 888Sport. Romero is a golfer who will not die wondering.
At BetVictor Sportsbook Taylor is trading at odds of around 67.00 and he is worth a nibble as well. Taylor missed the cut in the 2012 Reno-Tahoe Open but he lit up the Montreux Golf and Country Club in 2004 and 2005, taking out the title in both years. Taylor’s par breakers numbers suggest that he could go well in a modified Stableford event and that it may be worth ignoring his underwhelming performance 12 months ago. The home of the Reno-Tahoe Open is a hard track – very few non-major venues ranked tougher – so Taylor’s ability around the Montreux Golf and Country Club has to be worth something.
The Reno-Tahoe Open honour roll reads like a Who’s That of golf but there are some notable golfers among this year’s field, including 10 major champions. Padraig Harrington is one of the star names and others include Trevor Immelman, Lee Janzen and Mike Weir. Former US Amateur title holder Peter Uihlein, a winner on the European Tour in 2013, is worthy of respect. Harrington, who won the Open Championship in 2007 and 2008 and the PGA Championship in 2008, and Uihlein are two of the golfers vying for favouritism.
Reno-Tahoe Open exotics are few and far between because bookmakers are, understandably, focusing on the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. However, trend punters who are not afraid of taking short odds may be interested in the 1.25 with Stan James about the United States of America maintaining its grip on the tournament.