Dan Roebuck’s Frys.com Open preview: 80/1 Ishikawa the boy

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The opening event of the PGA Tour’s first ever wrap around season kicks off with the Frys.com Open at the Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed CordeValle Golf Club in California.

The change is designed to enhance what were just end of season events only important to those looking to make sure of their tour card for 2014 – as no Fedex Cup points were awarded.

That has now changed as any money earned will count toward the 2014 standings. However, the big names have still stayed away this week, with world number 80 Gary Woodland the 16/1 favourite as far as the Ladbrokes odds compilers are concerned.

Woodland shook off an injury-hit season to win the Reno Tahoe Open back in August, but as that tournament was held at the same time as the WGC Bridgestone Invitational; it’s not as if he had that much to beat. Ah, you may argue, but he hasn’t in San Martin, and that’s true.

However, this week is all about putting – and that’s something Woodland has, by and large, struggled with.

This is the third renewal of the event at CordeValle and so far every one of the champions at the 7,368-yard, par 71 layout has ranked either top or second in putting average on the week.

Billy Horschel ranked 28th in strokes gained putting on the 2013 PGA Tour and after an inevitable dip in form following his first tour win in April, there were signs of a return to form late in the season with 18th in the BMW Championship and seventh in the Tour Championship – both against much better opposition that he’ll face this week, giving his 20/1 status genuine appeal.

Horschel has teed it up in both of the last two renewals of this event at CordeValle, where in 2011 he finished 68-65 to claim seventh spot.

They’ll be plenty of punters backing Web.com Tour graduates John Peterson (33/1) and Chesson Hadley (50/1) – the former finished the 2013 season campaign on the secondary tour with five straight top five finishes while the latter won the Tour Championship at that level and topped the putting stats in the key 5-10 feet category. However, they are both short in the market given their rookie status.

So take a chance that Ryo Ishikawa at 80/1 can pick up where he left off last term (form figures of 5-7-8) and that Brendon Todd at 66/1 can continue his spectacular play with the flat stick.

The Georgia-born professional ranked first or second for putting average in two of his last three starts in September. Both look overpriced in an ultra competitive market.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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