The Punter's Halfway Update: Angel win would send me to seventh heaven

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'The Punter' at Betfair takes a close look at Ben Crane, Angel Cabrera, and Italian Open golf betting:

I'm trying to be positive but whichever way I look at it this week the glass isn't quite half-full. There are positives but there are plenty of negatives.
After two days of the Italian Open, atop of the leaderboard is Argentine Daniel Vancsik, a player I've backed at all sorts of fancy prices recently. He leads by a shot from Gareth Maybin, who I've also backed a few times this year.

With regards to golf betting, both of my pre-event picks have struggled - Benson has missed the cut and Quiros seems to take one step forward and two back. Or to be completely accurate, he's made nine steps forward and seven back. At two under par he's seven shots behind Vancsik after putting poorly.

At the Players' Championship I had a great start. Ben Crane, a player I can't be accused of neglecting, led after round one. I'm a massive fan of Crane's and can see him winning an event or two now that he appears injury-free, but day two was a big disappointment. He started well enough and was two under par through five but it all went pear-shaped after that and to top it all he made a right horlicks of the last hole, making double bogey.

My main pick, Mickelson, came out of the traps like the proverbial scolded cat - birdying three of the first four holes and getting matched at a low of 5.2, but he soon lost his focus.

I've been trading Lefty for many a year and have a sense for when it's not going well and this was certainly one of those occasions - mercifully I had the wherewithal to back my gut feeling and layed the vast majority of my bet back at 7.6.

I've had a few in-running bets at both events and at the Italian Open I started early, backing Ritchie Ramsay after just ten holes of his first round at 60.0. I don't want to make a habit of backing early charging outsiders but Ramsay looked a shade too big at the time, a couple clear after ten holes.

At the close of play on Thursday I backed John Daly at 85.0. It's great to see him back doing what he does best; it's quite easy to forget what a class act he is and as Sky's Steve Beddow said on Thursday 'he's a good ole boy'.

Then after yesterday's second round I backed Molinari @ 11.0. The tactic with Molinari had been to wait, and hopefully beat the 15.0 that he went off at, but his customary slow start never materialised and I'm only now aboard the bus thanks to a sloppy period of play. After a flying start, he dropped to as low as 3.75 early yesterday but a three-putt double bogey on the 1st (his 10th of the day) crudely halted his progress.

Molinari will find it desperately hard to get over the line with all the pressure of playing in front of friends and family weighing heavy but he's playing so well it's hard not to see him there or thereabouts at the end and 11.0 about him in the thick of it after two rounds is a better price than 15.0 before the off, especially when you consider he was a similar price last year and ended up missing the cut.

At the Players' I recycled some of the Lefty stakes on a couple of players. Firstly, Stephen Ames as he made a move on day one at 55.0 and secondly, on Angel Cabrera as he finished up his round yesterday.
Cabrera's had an extraordinary event so far, opening up with a triple bogey and blowing hot and cold after that. I'm not a massive fan and ignored some fancy prices as he cut a swathe through the field yesterday but when he found the tricky 18th in two and had just nine feet for birdie I snaffled up all the 25.0 and 26.0 about him. He made the putt and is now four off the lead.

Whatever happens I'm going to enjoy the Players'. It's set up perfectly with Germany's Alex Cejka leading by two from the bang in-form Ian Poulter, with a host of players two and three shots further back.

Tiger Woods got the very best out of his round yesterday and should never be written off but he has plenty of ground to make up and doesn't look like a betting proposition to me.

It's a big ask for a European to break his American duck in such a big event and I can't have Cejka at all. It would be great to see Poults do it or even the likable Stenson, but they're both a tad short for me.

Cab certainly has the game and the profile to win and I haven't given up on Crane yet. Whatever happens I'll review the weekend on Monday.

Do you agree with The Punter? Who are your top picks for the Italian Open?

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Read about Players' Championship Betting here or take a look at the latest sports betting blogs.
 

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