The PGA ‘wrap-around’ season starts again tomorrow with the Safeway Open in sunny California and, as ever, there will be a number of ‘rookies’ dreaming of that big breakthrough in the coming weeks and months.
We have picked out three to follow, all starting off at tasty prices and all with the potential to achieve great things in the most competitive tour of all.
Patrick Cantlay is our starting point.
At the ripe old age of 25, young Mr Cantlay has already been through the personal mill but has come out the other side unscathed and this could just be his year.
He holds the record for successive weeks as World No 1 Amateur (54) which not even Tiger Woods could match and when he turned professional in 2012 the world appeared to be his Rolex. However, a stress fracture of the back in 2013 put a temporary end to his career and he also suffered the trauma of being alongside his best friend and caddy when that unfortunate was killed in a ‘hit and run’ incident.
Unsurprisingly, a long time passed before he made his reappearance, using 11 entries under the medical exemption rule. He played only 13 events in the season just finished, but showed that his potential and prowess were completely undiminished by making it all the way through to the Tour Championship and achieving a ranking of 69.
The future now looks as good as it did back in 2012, so he must be followed.
Luke List is a bit of a slow burner.
He joined the PGA Tour in 2013, lost his card but got it back in 2015 and has now worked his way up to 59 in the rankings. Last season was by far his best, with a 2nd in the Sanderson Farms and a 3rd in the Shell Houston Open, before falling at the last hurdle in the Fedex Playoffs. Now 32, he can out-drive most players and has achieved a consistency that was previous lacking. Quick out of the blocks for the new season, he is best price 66-1 for the Safeway which is not the strongest event, with all the very best players sitting this one out, so an instant return is possible.
Chasson Hadley completes our portfolio.
Strictly speaking, this guy is not a ‘rookie’ as he won the Puerto Rico Open in 2014 and was voted ‘rookie of the year’, but then it all went wrong and he found himself back on the Web.Com satellite tour, licking the wounds of over-confidence.
Now, however, he’s back, having topped the money list on that tour and having been awarded full PGA playing rights for the forthcoming season. This time he could be for real and this 6ft 4ins 30-year-old is good enough to make his presence felt, hopefully starting tomorrow, when he is available at 55-1.
Standard each way terms for these events are ¼ odds first five, but top ten finish odds are also available, so we recommend a staking plan as follows:
Win – 1pt
e/w (5 places) – 2pts
e/w (10 places) – 3pts
Although we hope for an early return on our investments, bear in mind this is a season long recommendation, which, hopefully, will generate rich rewards over the course of the year.