Eight of the top players in the world are over in Turkey playing in the World Golf Finals, but the early-week start to that cash-grab event made it to tough to preview in a timely fashion here at Doc’s Sports. So this week it’s again a PGA Tour Fall Series preview with the Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif. It’s the first official Tour event in that state since the U.S. Open, and the Fall Series will conclude back East with events in Georgia and Florida.
Last week in Vegas I liked Vijay Singh to win the Justin Timberlake event, and Singh looked good after opening with back-to-back 66s. But he faded to T36. Vegas native Ryan Moore was the 14/1 co-favorite with fellow Sin City resident Nick Watney, and I wrote it was hard to bet against either of those guys and that I loved both if there were Top-10 props offered at Bovada, but there weren’t (at least when I wrote the story). Moore won and Watney finished T10. I was, however, 2-for-2 on head-to-head props in taking Justin Leonard (T33) over John Daly (71st) and Singh over Tim Clark (missed cut).
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This week’s field again is pretty weak, although Singh is playing again as is Leonard. Ernie Els also will tee it up. Perhaps the most interesting name is Davis Love III (100/1 to win). Of course, he was the captain for Team USA at the Ryder Cup two weeks ago and has taken the blame for the shocking loss. Love recently said he thought playing would be a good distraction from the fallout of the Ryder Cup loss, which he admits he’s still not over.
Here’s an interesting stat from the PGA Tour: Only six tournament champions this season have been first-time winners, and all of the past 13 event champs had at least one previous win. The site says it’s the longest drought without a first-time winner since the 2003 season started with 13 straight. Last year at the Frys.com Open, Bryce Molder beat Briny Baird (they tied at 17-under 267) in a six-hole playoff for his first career win. Molder was the 14th first-time winner of 2011 and would be the last. (In trying to get his game in form and get ready for last year’s Presidents Cup, Tiger Woods played in the 2011 Frys.com Open but wasn’t a factor.) Molder is 50/1 to repeat.
Birdies should be plentiful again this week with a manageable course and expected perfect weather. The winner in the five years of this event has always been double-digits under par.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Frys.com Open Favorites
Nicolas Colsaerts has two distinctions this week: He is the co-16/1 favorite on Bovada and the only member from the Ryder Cup competition at Medinah to be playing here. If you are wondering why the Belgian is playing, it’s because he is hoping to earn his full PGA Tour card for next year. Colsaerts, a wild-card pick for Team Europe by Jose Maria Olazabal, must finish inside the Top 125 on the money list to earn his card. He got a sponsor exemption this week and currently is No. 123 in money ($652,885.90) despite having played just eight Tour events. His best finish was a T7 at the British Open and Wyndham Championship. Colsaerts has never played this event, and he might not get into the final two Fall Series events, so this could be his final shot to get well into the Top 125.
Els is also at 16/1. He played here last year for the first time and finished T4 at 14-under. The South African last played at the Tour Championship and finished near the bottom of the 30-man field. Since his British Open win, Els hasn’t had a Top-25 finish.
The Top-5 favorites are rounded out by Bud Cauley, Singh (both 18/1) and Jonas Blixt (22/1). Cauley also played this event for the first time last year and was T3. He hasn’t played since the BMW Championship and was T56 at the FedEx Cup’s third playoff event. This will be Singh’s first visit here. He hasn’t missed a cut since the U.S. Open. Blixt co-led after 36 and 54 holes last week on the way to a third-place finish. The Swede, playing this tournament for the first time, is looking for his first Tour victory.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Frys.com Open Picks
Bovada isn’t offering Top-10 finishes again (at least as of this writing) but does offer several 72-hole match bets between players. I love Singh (-115) over Els (-115). Also take Blixt as the top European at 4/1 but an American at -250 as the winning nationality.
My value pick this week to win is Brendan Steele at 50/1. The northern California native finished T7 at 11-under last year and co-led the field in greens. He’s No. 109 on the money list so certainly isn’t assured of a Top-125 finish. The American played pretty well last week with a T13 finish and was T8 a few tournaments ago at the Reno-Tahoe Open.
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