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Jason Day leads at the half way stage

| 13.04.2013

Tiger Woods remains favourite and the world number one is lurking ominously three back from the Australian but odds of 3/1 are too skinny at this stage. My advice is to hold back on Woods because his price will drift significantly assuming he does not start the final round in the lead.

If you decided to back the players from the preview on Wednesday then you will be in a decent position with 36 holes to go. Phil Mickelson was a major disappointment and Keegan Bradley has struggled to get any momentum but the other three are right in contention.

Brandt Snedeker is just two back and has brushed aside any concerns over his form and fitness coming into the year’s first major. Snedeker has 11 birdies already and his exceptional short game and putting is ideal for this course. Anyone who didn’t take the 40/1 should pile in on quotes of 10/1 each way available now.

Angel Cabrera was also on the list and the big hitter has surged into the title picture after a brilliant run of five birdies in his last six yesterday. The two-time major winner, who starts today on the same score as Snedeker, already has a Green Jacket from his win in 2009 and this experience is certain to help him over the weekend. Odds of 100/1 are long gone but I cannot understand why he is as big as 25/1 so would encourage punters to back him if not already on the Argentine.

South African Charl Schwartzel is also still in with a chance sitting four shots off the lead but the 2011 champion will need to hole more putts, after a number of misses yesterday, to close the gap on the front runners.

Looking at the leader, Day is an undoubted talent and finished second here on his debut two years ago. But the record of 36 hole leaders here is not particularly good and with only one win to his name, there are reasons to oppose him.

It is hard to make a convincing case for veteran Fred Couples and unheralded Aussie Marc Leishman to win it while Rory McIlroy still has plenty to do at 12/1 from four off the pace. In my mind, Snedeker and Cabrera rate as two of the strongest contenders with Woods and would expect them to feature heavily tomorrow.

In the match betting for today’s tee times, Steve Stricker looks a good shout at evens to beat Dustin Johnson. Stricker has battled back superbly from being five over par early on to one under for the tournament. Conversely, Johnson imploded yesterday after taking the lead as he dropped six shots in his last five holes.

Justin Rose has been one of the most consistent players in the world for the last year and the Englishman looks a good thing to beat KJ Choi at 4/6. Rose is a much steadier player than Choi and keeping mistakes to a minimum should be enough to win their match.

Simon Mail 



Ben Woodward