Will Zalatroris led the pack after two rounds of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, and that was probably not a big surprise to many, considering that he is a player very much on the rise. But BetOnline customers may not have expected the runner-up as of closing on Friday.
Mito Pereira, a native of Chile who played a year at Texas Tech and was playing on the Korn Ferry Tour (development level) as recently as last June, found himself in second spot, just a shot back, after shooting a second-round 64.
Here are odds on some of the leaders as we roll into Saturday's action:
Will Zalatoris +215
Justin Thomas +350
Mito Pereira +600
Rory McIlroy +800
Bubba Watson +2000
Cameron Smith +2000
So what about the situation regarding Tiger Woods, you may ask? We know it may have seemed miraculous enough that he came back so soon from his car accident, which left a leg injury that was so bad that even amputation was contemplated. He went to Augusta and looked pretty good in the first two rounds of the Masters, then finished up 78-78 to come 47th.
A winner of four PGA titles, including one at Southern Hills in 2007, he came into the festivities saying he felt much stronger, although the physical signs were not good as the Masters was winding down. He was just a little slow getting around toward the end. It was known that he wanted to play in the British Open, but his decision to compete in the PGA was somewhat surprising to many.
After shooting 74 in the first round, and looking like he might not be around for the weekend, he birdied two of the last five holes and finished with a 69, which saved him.
Most expert observers were not expecting that Woods will win the PGA; in fact, as of Thursday he was just +6000 at BetOnline to snag the Wanamaker Trophy. The more pertinent conversation involved whether he can make the cut. And customers cashed in at a -150 price for him to make it.
The +275 price to finish in the top 20 looks like it is off the table, however, although he's just a few strokes away from moving into position for a top 40 finish, which had been priced at +120.
Among Saturday's third round head-to-head matchups, Zalatoris is a -147 favorite over Pereira (+122) and Justin Thomas is -115 over Rory McIlroy (-105).
Dustin Johnson, Scottie Scheffler, former PGA champion Y.E. Yang and Lee Westwood (apparently headed to the Saudi league) ended their Friday session at +6, and did not make the cut. Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, and Rich Beem, who has continued to come back to play despite not really being an active pro any more, were all at +7.
And then there's John Daly.
The enormously popular competitor, still a long hitter at age 56, won the 1991 PGA title and thus gets invited back year after year. He came in at 2000-1 for this event, and didn't look too bad in the first round, as he shot a 72. But he followed that with a 76, which took him to +8 and out of the running.
A reporter, who apparently had nothing better to do, tracked Daly throughout the second round on Friday, and said that he saw Daly smoke 21 cigarettes (which means he had to break open a second pack), eat six packs of peanut M&M's and drank a dozen Diet Cokes. No doubt some reader has said "Isn't that what all the top athletes do?"
We'll see Daly next in the British Open at St. Andrews, as he gets an invite as a past champion. Get those over-unders ready.
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