US PGA Championship Longshots

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Time after time the Major Championships produce some long-priced contenders and the odd winner - the US PGA Championship possibly being the most likely of all 4 to produce a 3-figure winner. The last few years have produced the following outsiders, each of whom finished in the top 6 at least:

The list goes on: Shaun Micheel won at 300/1 in 2003; Rich Beem was 200/1 in 2002, David Toms 100/1 in 2001 - all in all, it's Majors like this where it can often pay to look a little further down the field in terms of the betting! Most of the mainstream bookmakers have extended their EW places this week to give us an extra chance of grabbing that long-priced payout, at the time of writing only William Hill, Coral and Skybet remained at 5 places EW - however do check carefully before placing your bet, plus the EW terms will inevitably change once the tournament is in-play. The other option with outsiders is to trade them on Betfair - for more details on how Betfair works on golf read our Golf Trading article. Here's my pick of the best outsiders:

David Toms 1pt EW 125/1 with Boylesports Free Bet Bet £/€20 get £/€20 via this link plus 6 places Each Way: Boylesports Free Bet

Toms isn't long enough to compete at Kiawah, I hear you shout! With 6 tee boxes on every hole it's fair to say that the organisers won't make the course play its full length every day, instead they'll adjust tee positions to cater for the forecast wind direction and speed in order to make the holes play as intended, plus of course they'll mix it up a bit to make some holes more risk-reward on certain days. That said, it's of course still a long venue and that's about the only negative I can find when it comes to David Toms who already has a PGA Championship title to his credit, coming at last year's venue when it was previously played in 2001.

Ernie Els proved to the 40-somethings that Major Championships aren't just reserved for the young bucks of World golf and, at 45, David Toms is still capable of competing at the top level as proven by an excellent victory at Colonial last season as well as a playoff defeat at the Pete Dye-designed TPC Sawgrass. 4th in this event last season (7,467 yards par 70 - clearly that wasn't too long for Toms), 4th at the US Open in June and 8th at Firestone last week (another 7,400 yard par 70) suggests that his on/off back problems are OK for the time being and with his positive St Jude & Mayakoba records - where we see putting surfaces that aren't dissimilar to how this week is expected to play - I'm excited at the Louisiana native's chances of making the top 6 here this week. His accurate game will see him attacking the large greens mainly from the fairway (albeit with long irons on many holes) and his ability to shape shots will be critical in any windy spells. His excellent short game and dependable putting under pressure could well see Toms in contention again this week at Kiawah. RESULT: T42

Robert Garrigus 1pt EW 100/1 with Paddy Power Free Bet NEW GBS OFFER! bet £10 get £20 in free bets plus 6 places Each Way, get it here: Paddy Power Free Bet

Now Garrigus definitely is long enough to tackle the Ocean Course when it's extended to its full length, however there's far more about the 34 year old Scottsdale resident's game than just bombing it 310 off the tee as he proved with an excellent 3rd place finish behind Rory McIlroy at Congressional in 2011 for his best ever Major finish. His single PGA Tour victory could easily be 3 or 4 if he'd been able to hold his nerve at the critical point in proceedings, however you have to be good enough to put yourself into position in those top-class events and 3 runners-up finishes in 2012 alone shows that Garrigus has both the class and ability to get himself into the mix.

Should he find himself at the head of affairs this week you could be excused for rushing off to lay him at any price, however at the business end of a Major he won't be the only one feeling the pressure coming down the stretch should he find himself in position. As with Toms, Garrigus has a strong record at St Jude and with his last 2 events producing a form line of 4/25/2 and 31-under par he's got to fancy himself for a good run this week on a course setup that should play to his strengths. RESULT: T21

Paul Lawrie 1pt EW 175/1 with Bet365 Get £200 in free bets via this link plus 6 places Each Way: Bet365

Scotland's finest has been good to us in 2012 and I think there's scope for more profit before the season's finished. Lawrie chose to skip the US Open in favour of resting ahead of a string of key European Tour events that he felt offered him a better chance of accumulating the Ryder Cup points to force himself onto Jose Maria Olazabal's team. Although he's not really fired on all cylinders since Wentworth, he now sits comfortably in the automatic qualification spots safe in the knowledge that a decent finish here will cement his position in his first Ryder Cup team since Brookline in 1999 and fulfil his primary objective for this season.

Lawrie isn't the longest off the tee by any stretch, however he's put plenty of contending performances together on lengthier tracks including 2nd at the Earth Course in Dubai last December (7,675 yards), 8th in Abu Dhabi (7,600 yards) and 3rd at the Volvo Match Play played at the long Finca Cortesin course. The wind is likely to be a factor here as see breezes and tidal changes make conditions quite unpredictable - alongside a reasonably breezy forecast for the area in general - and Lawrie is an expert in creating the shot-shape required to conquer the elements, as he did at a perennially windswept Qatar earlier this season. After acclimatising himself to the US in Akron last week, I'm expecting a far more prominent performance this week from Lawrie. RESULT: T48

Alternative Markets

Vijay Singh 0.5pts EW 125/1 First Round Leader (5 places) with Ladbrokes Free Bet NEW OFFER! Get a £50 free bet via this link: Ladbrokes Free Bet

Despite being on the verge of eligibility onto the Champions Tour, Fiji's greatest ever sportsman is still one of the fittest players in professional golf and the former PGA Champion has made a habit of getting out of the blocks quickly in recent times. The PGA Championship is Vijay's most successful Major with 2 victories and 4 more top 10s and whilst it may be a stretch to expect him to win a 3rd title here, and a 4th Major in total, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him shoot a decent first round in the afternoon on Thursday once the breezes associated with high tide start to abate. An opening 65 in Canada on his last start put him in a tie for 5th after the first day; before that a first round 63 at Old White TPC gave him a clear lead on Thursday. Sandwiched between those 2 was an opening 70 at Lytham which was hardly disastrous. It's not inconceivable to me that Vijay rolls back the years on Thursday and posts a decent score to reward first round leader punters at a nice price. RESULT: Lost

Pablo Larrazabal 0.5pts EW 200/1 First Round Leader (5 places) with Boylesports Free Bet Bet £/€20 get £/€20 via this link: Boylesports Free Bet

I'm a big fan of Larrazabal as followers of my selections will know, however whilst I don't think he's got the minerals to win a Major at this stage of his career, he certainly does have a low round or two in him and he's putting like a man possessed at the moment. Pablo loves a par 72 where he can open his shoulders and let rip - all the more surprising then that he performed so well in Austria on his last start where he finished 10th after powering to an opening 64 to share the lead after day 1. The Diamond CC should be a tad too tight for Pablo - as it proved ultimately - however his putter was in scintillating form on the perfect Austrian greens and he showed that when he keeps the ball in play he can score very heavily. In the first round, with no real expectations on his shoulders, I can see the Spaniard putting together a decent shift to finish the day in a prominent, if surprising to many, position on the leaderboard. RESULT: Lost

Davis Love III 2pts Top 20 Finish 8/1 with Coral £30 free bet, get it here: Coral

America's Ryder Cup captain resides a little further down the Coast on St Simons Island, however the 48 year old will be one of the most accustomed to the conditions and style of play required to conquer the Ocean Course. The 1997 PGA Champion has 5 top-20s from 22 starts in this event over the years in this event and although he's not won on Tour since 2008, I think that a top-20 here is well within his grasp having achieved that level 4 times already in 2012, including 3rd at St Jude. On a course where long-iron approaches are going to be critical, it's encouraging to see Davis sitting 11th on Tour for proximity from approaches over 200 yards and 17th for 3-putt avoidance which is always an important element on greens this large. I'm not suggesting that Love III will win this (although our top 20 selections have been on fire this season with Kuchar at the Players and Els at the Open both winning outright!) however at 8/1 for a top 20 I'm willing to take a punt. RESULT: MC

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:15BST 7.8.12 but naturally subject to fluctuation

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