OHL Classic – a tough one to call

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Ryan Moore, the CIMB Classic winner and current leader of the new 2013-14 US PGA Tour Money list, is the bookmakers’ favourite this week as the Tour heads down Mexico Way – and more specifically to the Maya River and the ancient land of the Maya civilisation

But there is not too much unanimity among them.

Some like Sky BET see him as their 12/1 favourite to win this week’s OHL Classic at El Camaleon Golf Club in Mayakoba, Mexico, while others, like Ladbrokes, only rate him as a 20/1 shot along with second favourite, Harris English.

Behind them come Charles Howell III (22/1), Brian Gay (25/1) Matt Every (28/1) and Charley Hoffman (30/1) – bringing with it even more confusion as to who the likely winner is going to be.

This because Gay, the 2008 OHL Classic champion who is also the second highest earner of all PGA Tour events ever played at El Camaleon and who also happened to tie for 4th at Seaside on Sunday, is the clear favourite of other tipsters like the PGA Tour.com’s Rob Bolton.

The in-form veteran journeyman Briny Baird, who was only just edged out of his first Tour victory at the McGladrey Classic on Sunday and South Africa’s Tim Clarke, who closed with a sizzling 62 to snatch a share of second place with Baird in the same event, are other Bolton favourites who seem to have gotten the cold shoulder from the bookies.

And this despite the fact that their conservative, solid games both fit in well with the tough El Camaleon course.

Baird is some way down their list at 50/1 while Clarke has been given odds of around 25/1 – possibly because this will be his first visit to El Camaleon and it has been well documented that the Mayakoba layout, when stretched to its full 6,987 yards, is regarded as one of the PGA Tour’s toughest.

Last year it averaged out at 71.651 to establish itself as the fifth-most difficult par 71 course on the US schedule.

The fact that this year’s OHL Classic is being staged for the first time in November and not in February as it has in the past, may, however, nullify, to some extent, the advantages that past El Camaleon champions like Gay (2008), Mark Wilson (2009), Cameron Beckman (2010), Johnson Wagner (2011) and John Huh, the defending champion, might otherwise have had over first-timers like Clarke.

The course conditions could be very different at this time of year when rain has been forecast for each of the four days of play.

There is also the possibility that with 63 Tour winners and 12 major champions in the stronger-than-ever field of 132, including Masters winners Angel Cabrera and Trevor Immelman, former US Open champion Lucas Glover, British Open winners Darren Clarke and Ben Curtis and PGA winners YE Yang and Davis Love III, the El Camaleon course may be made to look a little less difficult than it has in the past.

It is perhaps no wonder then that there seems to be no standout favourite to win in the mysterious land of the ancient Maya civilization in what will be the last of the full-field PGA Tour events this year.

The next event on the schedule, the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne, Australia, is an international team event contested by the two best available players of each competing nation and the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club which follows in early December is a limited-field invitational restricted to just a handful of top-level professionals..

THE BOOKMAKERS’ TOP 20

And here were the top 20 favourites being quoted by Sky Bet on Tuesday morning. For all the bookmakers odds you should go to Oddschecker.com

Ryan Moore 12/1
Harris English 20/1
Charles Howell III 22/1
Matt Every 28/1
Charley Hoffman 28/1
Brian Gay 25/1
Tim Clark 25/1
Luke Guthrie 33/1
Chris Stroud 40/1
John Huh 33/1
Daniel Summerhays 33/1
Briny Baird 33/1
Brooks Koepka 50/1
John Senden 40/1
Robert Garrigus 40/1
Kevin Stadler 40/1
J J Henry 50/1
Jeff Overton 50/1
Scott Brown 40/1.

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