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Michael Taylor 20th Oct 2010 - 17:02

Hunter the sexy back in Justin Timberlake Open

Let's not make a song and dance of it, the Justin Timberlake Open doesn't boast a top quality field, however three names stand out who you may just want to buy, buy, buy.

The Justin Timberlake hosted event at the TPC at Summerlin in Las Vegas, Nevada hardly boasts a roll call of future Hall of Famers amongst its winners but this shouldn't detract from the pros trying to claim a Tour win this year.

Top of the list for people to follow is Hunter Mahan who'll be aiming to bring his golf back to the forefront following the emotional scenes he provided in the post Ryder Cup press conference.

After his competition deciding loss to Graham McDowell his rivers of tears showed a man at breaking point, even the most ardent European had to feel for the youngster, especially given the unbelievable four day battle that had gone on.

His teammates came to his defence, calling him a true professional, one of the bravest around - well this week it's up to him to prove these compliments were born from fact and not sympathy.

We know he has the nerve necessary to wrap things up given his two big victories at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational this year but I also believe this will be a course that can play to his strengths.

Firstly the Summerlin track is just about as easy as it gets on the Tour, coming in as the easiest par 71 of the year, so on many holes pars are tantamount to a bogey such is the amount of ground you lose.

Mahan, when on his game, is a birdie machine regularly getting into streaks that range from a few holes to an entire 18 - it's no real surprise given how solid every aspect of his game is.

The issue is whether he can get hot enough up against a field of even more streaky players such as John Senden, Kevin Na and past winner George McNeill, the guys who will miss cuts as frequently as contending.

Personally though after seeing Mahan both before the Ryder Cup and then at Celtic Manor he comes across as one of the most determined and consistent around and he'll be more determined than ever to show what he's made of in his return.

That's why at 14/1 he's my best bet this weekend even with the red-hot Rickie Fowler installed as the 10/1 favourite.

In fact due to Fowler's inability to land a title this year I'm ignoring him this week, unlike Mahan he doesn't seem to have developed that killer instinct yet.

My second of three picks isn't the most original however it makes perfect sense given the way he performed in the FedEx Cup playoffs and that's Charley Hoffman.

Right up until the final weekend of the TOUR Championship Hoffman was in contention for the big $10m winner's cheque until Jim Furyk eventually claimed the win, but even then the Las Vegas resident managed a solo 6th at East Lake.

Basically he's in the form of his life and when you add in that he's performed well at the JT Open in the past and he makes a tonne of birdies then it's perfect sense that you'd have a little nibble at 16/1.

Finally, a bit of an outsider but I'm tempted by Troy Matteson, the 2006 winner.

Matteson is suffering through his worst year since joining the Tour in 2006 having broken the top ten in just two events (from 26) while seeing his official golf world ranking drop to 202.

His case hasn't been helped by a freezing cold putter but the fact of the matter is Matteson has played far better golf than his numbers suggest this year, he hasn't been able to put it all together for a four day span though.

If you look at his past seasons and the way he thrived around Summerlin in 2006 then you get the picture of a man who gets it right sporadically at best but generally manages it at least once a year.

So at 80/1 he represents great value, although don't shoot the messenger if his weekend plans have been made by the close of play on Thursday!

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