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Golf Betting: Northern Trust – Oosthuizen could finally break his US curse

August 6, 2019January 6th, 2022

IN this year of PGA Tour flux we have yet more change this week as the FedEx Cup Play-Offs become three events rather than four. That means that the first tournament, the Northern Trust at Liberty National GC, witnesses a large cull. The top 125 in the rankings are eligible to play (although just 122 tee it up) and at the end of the week only those in the top 70 will progress to week two.

Winner: Patrick Cantlay 22/1

The course hosted The Barclays tournament in 2013 and there was something notable about the winner Adam Scott and those who finished in a four-way tie for second: they all had spectacular Strokes Gained: Tee to Green stats. A look at this year’s seasonal rankings for that category shows Rory McIlroy at number one, but backing the Northern Irishman to win is proving a costly exercise in recent times. Meanwhile, the man in second (Justin Thomas) continues to struggle on the greens. So, for more value, head a little way down the list at the top of the market and seek out the man currently ranked third.

Since his re-emergence on tour in 2017 Cantlay has been superb with his more recent results proving him to be genuine world class. In the last nine months he has notched three top 15 finishes in the World Golf Championship stroke play events, two top tens in the majors and a stunning victory in the Memorial. This will be his course debut, but in the region (New York and New Jersey) he owns three top tens from just four starts, the course should suit and he’ll be cursing one bad round in his last start which ruined a strong start (he was second at halfway before finishing T12th in the St Jude Invitational). He looks set for another win soon – and a big one.

Each way: Patrick Reed 50/1

This play is all about invoking what makes the notoriously edgy and competitive 29-year-old tick – which means taking on the role of Captain America. Because we’ve seen in the Ryder Cup how energised he is when flying the flag, happily embracing all notions of him being an American version of Ian Poulter. And two years ago he was an integral part of the home team which thumped the Internationals 19-11 at this venue in the Presidents Cup. Reed teamed up with Jordan Spieth to claim three and a half points in the early matches – and memories of that occasion are likely to be flowing through his brain this week.

Don’t discount either, the impact the iconic cityscape (which lies beyond the course) will have on him. The layout is named after its wonderful view of the Statue of Liberty and Reed is just the sort of character to stick his chest out every time he sees it. Above and beyond that is the fact that he’s actually in good form, not finishing outside the top 25 in his last five starts, grabbing tenth at the Open and finishing last week with a blistering lap of 63 for T22nd.

Outsider: Louis Oosthuizen 66/1

It is one of the great curiosities of modern golf that this South African is yet to win in America, not least, of course, because he’s finished second in all three of the U.S. majors (as well as winning and finishing second in the Open). And his performances in the majors is one reason I like his chances of finally getting that monkey off his back this week. Why so? Well Phil Mickelson likens the challenge of hitting into the greens (and then putting on them) at Liberty National to that of Augusta National, where Oosthuizen was a play-off loser in 2012. And others have suggested the green complexes rather resemble the Old Course at St Andrews, host when the 36-year-old thrashed the field in the 2010 Open and lost another play-off in 2015.

What’s more we know he can play the course after he emerged from the 2017 Presidents Cup as the top points scorer for the International team and in his last start (the St Jude Invitational) he ranked top 20 for SG: Tee to Green and Approach, which we’ve established will matter this week. This could be his big week Stateside, but it’s got plenty of potential for him to go close.