Last week our dark horse bet Jhonattan Vegas gave us a fantastic run for our money finishing T2 at the 3M Open. Having placed a bet at +6000 for victory we ended up cashing in a top 5 finish at +1200 returning us a nice profit over the weekend. The main bet Luke List, shot every kind of bogey imaginable to finish in T58, with outright pick Dustin Johnson and long-shot Russell Knox both missing the cut.
This week, attentions turn to the Olympics with many of the worlds best golfers putting aside individual honour in the hope that they can win a gold medal for their respective nations.
The action is due to be held at the Kasumigaseki Country Club and it will host both the men’s and women’s golf events. The course, based 35 miles outside of Tokyo was opened back in 1929 and has been regularly voted in the top 100 golf courses in the world.
The course will measure 7,500 yards for the Olympic competition and has a host of tricky trees and big deep bunkers for the players to contend with. Due to all of the recent rain and inclement weather that has disrupted some of the Olympic scheduling so far, the course should be soft and very accessible so expect a low winning score.
There will be sixty golfers teeing it up this week representing 35 different countries. Unlike regular PGA Tour events, each golfer is guaranteed to play 72 holes as there is no cut line. This week we will be providing three selections, an outright selection, dark horse and long-shot.
Outright Bet – Justin Thomas +1100
I will admit every week that Thomas tees it up I am tempted to make him my outright selection, I love his game and when his game is singing he has the ability to blow out any top-class field. Thomas is currently the third favourite for the gold medal sitting behind fellow Americans Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele. However, he is my favourite, as when Thomas gets the opportunity to represent his country he turns into a different animal.
Although played over a match play format, Thomas’ record in both the Presidents and Ryder Cup is formidable. In two President Cup appearances, Thomas has won seven out of ten total points, in the Ryder Cup he boasts a 4-1 record, becoming the first American rookie to win 4 matches on Ryder Cup debut since Larry Nelson in 1979. It’s not just his wins, but his ability to be the driving force in the team room that makes Thomas in these events so special. This was abundantly clear when Thomas selected himself to go out first in the 2018 Ryder Cup singles where he edged a must-win thriller against European talisman Rory McIlroy.
Thomas thrives when representing his country and I think he is going to relish the opportunity of winning a gold medal for Team USA. Speaking back in March, Thomas explained how it would feel if he were selected for the Olympics,
I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics,”
“I hope they happen and I hope I qualify because I think that would be one of the coolest honours that I’ve ever had. It’s something you don’t obviously get to do too often and it’s probably one of the only tournaments that I would brag about playing in or qualifying for, the fact that I would be able to play for Team USA in the Olympics.
“So I would be honoured to, and I hope I get the opportunity.”
Thomas now has that opportunity and he arrives in Japan with something to prove. Since tasting victory in The Players Championship, Thomas’ form has been patchy, he has recorded finishes of 21, 13, 26, MC, 40, 42, 19 and 40. I am hoping that representing Team USA can reignite his game and I think if he can start well he could be the man to beat.
Dark Horse – Corey Conners +2800
A name that we all have been seeing regularly on PGA leaderboards this season is that of Canadian golfer Correy Connors. Connors has had a fantastically consistent season posting a 3rd place finish in The Arnold Palmer, 7th at The Players, 8th at The Masters, 4th at The RBC Heritage and T15th at The Open.
His stats make for similarly impressive reading with Conners ranked 9th in strokes gained off the tee, 9th in strokes gained in approaching the green and 13th in strokes gained tee to green. He ranks 17th in overall strokes gained and 14th in total birdies. With the soft conditions and wide-open fairways that are set to welcome the players this week, I think he has all the tools to really thrive this week.
The one argument you could throw at the selection is that although Connors has been incredibly consistent he is yet to taste victory on Tour since 2019. I think the Olympics for someone like Connors could be the perfect event.
Although a gold medal brings its own unique pressures, the Olympic golf tournament is a rare and unique event where golfers don’t need to worry about FedExCup points, rankings or prize money and I think that could really benefit a golfer like Connors. Priced at +2800 for victory and +500 for a top 5 finish I think he has a real chance of taking the gold back to Canada.
Long shot – Jhonattan Vegas +7000
Although he was our dark horse pick last week, I think it figures to ride the hot hand and we are backing Vegas to continue his good recent form at the Olympics and at +7000 his odds look far too big. Vegas put in a fine performance last week at the 3M Open where critical bogeys at the wrong time denied him victory.
Vegas’ recent form reads well with the Venezuelan posting three top 10s (2 of which have been top 5) in his last 6 events and he comes into this weeks event as one of the form players.
Vegas has some sort of Olympic form and is familiar with the format as he teed it up in the 2016 Games where he finished a disappointing 50th. Speaking of returning to the Olympics for a second time Vegas stated,
“Everyone dreams about the Olympics. Instead of playing for yourself, you’ve got the whole country behind you. It’s more than just being a golfer playing another event. It’s being part of the Olympics, the biggest sporting event in the world.”
It’s clear that Vegas feels a sense of enormous pride in representing his country and as long as the toll of flying halfway across the world just a few days ago haven’t taken too much of a toll, odds of +7000 for victory, +1200 for a top 5 and +350 for a top 10 are just too big to ignore.