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Northern Trust Open: Avoiding field’s stars will pay generously

| 18.02.2015

A year ago, Bubba Watson strung together a pair of weekend 64s at the Riviera Country Club in California to pip Dustin Johnson for a two-shot victory at the Northern Trust Open.

As the PGA Tour returns to the course for the 2015 edition of the tournament, those two long-drive lovers sit on the top of the betting to win once again. DJ is favoured, at 10/1, with Bubba just two points further back.

The field for the tournament first played in 1926 is as strong as ever before. Three of the tour’s last five winners are all teeing it up, while prominent players in the world game, like Sergio Garcia and Jim Furyk, continue to ease back into the season.

With names big enough to fill a household running through the entry list, it will be easy to overlook one of the most in-form, but unglamorous, men in the tournament.

JB Holmes, an understated yet successful professional, has both the relevant recent and course acumen to figure at the sharp end of the leaderboard this week, but rates as an astounding 33/1 chance to win the tournament with Ladbrokes.

The 32-year-old lost out in a playoff to Jason Day at the Farmers Insurance Open two weeks ago and washed it down with a tie for 10th at the AT&T National Pro-Am most recently.

Kentucky’s own is certainly priming himself for a photoshoot with a trophy and it could be a return to Riviera that provides him the opportunity.

Between 2008 and 2012 Holmes’ finishes at this tournament read T7, T6, T3, T12 and T8. Although final positions in the 50s on his last two visits there aren’t ideal his recent run of good play indicates a return to the better end of proceedings approaches.

Backing Holmes each way with Ladbrokes will see a return on your investment should he finish in the top five, with the bookie paying out at a quarter of the odds.

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

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.