Business as usual for over 50s
The US PGA Tour might be all over after being wrapped-up at East Lake on Sunday, but the over 50s Champions Tour still has a way to go.
It’s only set to conclude with its Tour-closing Charles Schwab Cup Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco on Sunday November 3, but in the meantime it will be business as usual with Kirk Triplett defending his Nature Valley First Tee Open title at Pebble Beach Golf Links this week.
Actually, it’s not quite business as usual. The First Tee Open is not your every day, run of the mill tournament.
It is, in fact, a global showcase for The First Tee organization, which promotes golf among the young and needy, and every year brings junior participants, Champions Tour pros and select amateurs together in a Pro-Am format hosted by the Monterey Peninsula Foundation.
German icon Bernhard Langer is the clear cut favourite this week.
And why not?
He tops the Champions Tour money list right now, is second to ‘youngster’ Kenny Perry on the Charles Schwab points standings and with his third-place finish in Hawaii last week, he took his number of top 10 finishes in his last nine events to eight.
The bookmakers have him as the joint-favourite with Fred Couples at 8/1 with Corey Pavin just behind on 9/1 and Tom Lehman next best at 14/1.
The defending champion Triplett, who closed with a sizzling six-under 66 in the First Tee championship last year to beat Mark McNulty by two shots, has been pegged at 18/1 along with David Frost, who is currently in third place on the Charles Schwab points list.
Somewhat surprisingly Mark Wiebe, who became a two-time 2013 winner when he beat Corey Pavin in Hawaii last week, this after winning the Senior British Open with a playoff victory over Langer at Royal Birkdale in July, is not among the bookie’s top 20 favourites.
With the odds on him ranging between 40 and 66 to one, he looks to be as good a bet as anyone, especially in view of the fact that some of the Champions Tour’s most clued-up observers see him as one of the top three favourites.
It might also be worth taking a hard look at Pavin, who comes to Pebble Beach having shot 11 straight rounds in the 60s, a streak that started in July at the Senior British Open.
His playoff loss in Hawaii was his third straight runner-up finish and the fifth consecutive tournament in which he’s finished either second or third.
The bookmakers winning odds
Following are Bet365’s top 10 favourites. You can get all the bookies winning odds if you click here – http://www.oddschecker.com/golf/first-tee-open/winner
Bernhard Langer 8/1
Fred Couples 8/1
Corey Pavin 9/1
Tom Lehman 14/1
Duffy Waldorf 16/1
John Cook 16/1
David Frost 18/1
Kirk Triplett 18/1
Jeff Sluman 22/1
Tom Pernice Jr 22/1
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