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Roebuck’s Puerto Rico Open Preview: Joint-favourite fancied

| 05.03.2014

The Puerto Rico Open is the secondary event on the PGA Tour this week, as those not qualified for the WGC shindig in Florida hop across the Caribbean to Trump International Golf Club.

Course form is key, it seems, when trying to predict the winner at the Rio Grande layout, as all of the past four champions placed in the top 15 in the previous year’s renewal, with the last two claiming an each-way payout berth.

Top of the adjusted scoring average over the past eight weeks on the worldwide circuit teeing it up in Puerto Rico is Chris Stroud, who vies for favouritism with half a dozen others at 20/1.

There are a number of European Tour regulars who have also made the field via one route or another, and while they have caught the odds compiler’s eye, punters should be wary of taking shorter than usual prices about golfers just because they may be a little more familiar. It’s worth pointing out that all of the champions of this event have been American.

Stroud has got a brilliant chance of justifying his current quote. He was 12th in the Honda Classic on Sunday against much better opposition and was 18th at Trump International 12 months ago.

He has saved his best efforts in recent months for events staged outside of the States, claiming third place in both the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and the OHL Classic in Mexico.

He has said in the past that he doesn’t like playing too many events in a row, and the fact that he had three weeks off prior to his top dozen finish at Palm Beach on Sunday will surely stand him in good stead.

George McNeill won this tournament in 2012 a year after finishing fifth at Trump International and his last two starts of sixth (in the Northern Trust Open) and 12th (Honda Classic) have to put him on punters’ staking plans, also at 20/1.

His scrambling has been excellent recently – the top up-and-downer has claimed an each-way payout place in three of the last five Puerto Rico renewals – and he could easily become the second player behind Michael Bradley to win this event twice.

Lastly, recent Colombia Championship winner Alex Cejka (40/1) might be worth a speculative punt. The German’s Web.com Tour victory two weeks ago reminded everyone of his talent and it is worth noting Cejka was 13th at this week’s venue in 2009.

My three to follow – Stroud, McNeil and Cejka.

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

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Dan Roebuck