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Michael Taylor 14th Oct 2009 - 14:23

Outsiders are the favourites in Vegas

As the PGA Tour heads to Las Vegas for a little bit of pro-am action, it seems that pinpointing a few outsiders could be the recipe for success in traditionally one of the years' less competitive events.

The Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open doesn't only boast one of the most preposterous tournament names in world sport it also has a reputation for seeing virtual unknowns landing the big prize money.

Names ranging from Andre Stolz to Wes Short Jr have lifted the coveted trophy in recent years and, if you're looking for the last big name to take the title, then you have to go all the way back to last century when Jim Furyk won it in 1999.

So you may all be wondering whether there is any money to be made in what looks like a potential lottery and I think the answer to that is yes.

Firstly, with the exception of the 2007 event, this event always seems to involve a close leaderboard with a handful of players all capable of winning when hitting the turn on day four.

Last year's champion Marc Turnesa carded four supreme rounds to end the week on a tournament record aggregate 25 under par, yet he still only pipped Matt Kuchar by one shot.

It's a common story, with 2003 winner Stuart Appleby, 2004 champ Andre Stolz and 2006 victor Troy Matteson all sharing the honour of nicking the title by just a single shot.

If history is to repeat this year, as it so often does, then you have to be looking at the 5/2 about a 1 shot margin of victory as an extremely tempting bet, while 12/5 about a play-off again could be of big interest.

If you're looking for a long shot then you may find a few more problems though - it might not be a lottery but I do see a fair few characteristics that have brought success in the past.

One thing you cannot help but notice about all recent winners is that they're mid-range guys off the tee, with good all round games' but not particularly special in any aspect of the game.

I mean I've rarely sat looking at player stats while studying a starting field to a PGA Tour event but it surely cannot be coincidence that of the past four champions all four were exactly six foot tall.

Ok, so I may be going slightly mad, but I still like the looks of 2006 runner up Daniel Chopra (125/1 outright) and Harrison Frazar (66/1).

However my favourite outsider for this week has to be former winner, and runner up Stuart Appleby who can be had at a brilliant 80/1 or 16/1 to place in the top five - although he does scale at a massive 6'1''.

The 38-year-old Aussie has been to made a long time for a tenth Tour title, and despite only managing one ten finish all year he could still yet prove to be a contender over the coming week.

He loves the TPC at Summerlin venue and will see this event as a way of guaranteeing himself a Tour card for at least the next year - he definitely looks to have the attributes to make it another great week in Nevada.



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