Outlaw Tour Betting Guide: Odds and Preview for the Arrowhead Classic
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Allow me to start this preview column with an admission: Just a month ago, I’d never even heard of the Outlaw Tour, one of dozens of mini-tours around the globe which offers a stepping stone to the next level for up-and-coming young pros, journeymen still chasing a dream or any other golfer – professional or amateur – who strives for top-flight competition.
Based in the Scottsdale, Ariz., area, the Outlaw isn’t any more competitive than most others of its kind, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it has emerged as the most pervasive for a singular reason: It remains one of the few still conducting tournaments.
And so here we are: The PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA and nearly every other sanctioned circuit is currently suspended while the Outlaw continues, playing in groups of three, walking, with flagsticks left in the holes and way more social distancing than your local grocery store.
You can bet on it.
No, that’s not some aphorism. I mean it literally. You can now wager on Outlaw Tour events, which feature virtually no players that even the most diehard fans know. And last week, DraftKings got in the action, offering DFS in its showdown slates for each of the three rounds, which will again be the case for this week’s Arrowhead Classic.
Carson Roberts might be the perfect poster-boy for this tour.
Last week, the 24-year-old posted scores of 63-64-66 to win the Orange Tree Classic by six strokes, the first professional victory of his career after “three or four” runner-up results.
“I’m sort of a late-bloomer,” he told me.
He’s not kidding. Roberts didn’t break into the lineup of his Conway (Ark.) High School team until his senior year. He chose to play collegiately at Washburn University, a Division II school in Topeka, Kan. – golf trivia buffs will recall Washburn as the starting point for the college basketball career of reigning U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland – but didn’t play regularly until his junior season.
Last year, he earned a half-dozen starts on the Mackenzie Tour, a PGA Tour-sanctioned circuit based in Canada, but failed to make the cut in any of ‘em.
Feeling a bit burnt out on the game, Roberts took three months off at the end of last year, but returned to Arizona for a second straight winter, focused mostly on playing Outlaw Tour events, which have regular entry fees of $725 for members and $825 for nonmembers.
All of which means you could be excused for bypassing Roberts on your betting card or in your DFS lineup last week, though he and other competitors are well aware of their current status in this world without any major tours being conducted.
“We were all joking about it, like, ‘What are people doing betting on mini-tour golf?’” he said with a laugh. “They can look up our profiles, but most people don’t know much about us. Everyone thought it was funny.”
They also understand the irony between what they’re earning and what other might be earning on them.
“We joke around about it,” said Roberts, who cashed $4,500 for his win. “We could put more money on ourselves and win more picking ourselves than we can in the tournament.”
That joke, though, remains one – he maintained he doesn’t know of any fellow players who have bet on themselves or even filled out a lineup.
For now, they’re all just thankful to be playing somewhere.
“I’m just fortunate to be playing golf, because I don’t know what I’d be doing if I couldn’t,” Roberts said. Asked if he’ll do anything special with his latest winnings, he didn’t hesitate. “It goes straight into the bank account. With everything going on, we don’t know when things could be canceled. There’s just so much uncertainty.”
It feels pretty certain, at the very least, that this week’s Arrowhead Classic will be played, a three-round event beginning on Monday, with a cut after the second day.
Seeking an edge, I asked my Arizona-based mini-tour expert buddy (and former pod partner) Drew Stoltz if he could offer some tips on this week’s host course.
“Bro, I won a Gateway at Arrowhead,” Sleeze texted back. “Back when there were dudes.”
Among those dudes when he collected a cool $16,000 for winning a Gateway Tour event in 2009 – an ensuing afterparty that I’ll just assume was epic – was Tony Finau and Nate Lashley, each of whom would’ve been competing in the Masters if it was held this past week.
(He beat James Drew and Brady Schnell by three that week. When we looked it up, we found this report from Schnell’s hometown region, which fails to mention Sleeze until the fourth paragraph. I thought that was much funnier than he did.)
Alas, all of the course diligence went for naught when we realized that he’d won at a course in Glendale called The Legend at Arrowhead Golf Club, while this week’s Outlaw event is being held in Glendale at a course called Arrowhead Country Club, which is exactly 2.4 miles down the road.
Asked for one final comment before I deleted his number, Sleeze insisted, “No great champions have won at Arrowhead CC. All the greats have been crowned at The Legend at Arrowhead.”
Luckily, I’ve got another mole in the Valley of the Sun who did one better who could offer better than a course breakdown: He named names.
Using some of the players I was told about and a few others I’ve researched, here are a handful of names to watch for this week’s tournament.
Outlaw Tour Arrowhead Classic Betting Preview
Alex Cejka (+650)
To Cejka or not to Cejka: That is the question. If you only know one name on this week’s entry list, it’s undoubtedly Cejka. He’s made 408 career PGA Tour starts, earned more than $12 million and once finished fourth at a major championship (the 2003 PGA Championship).
Just as Chris Couch is rapidly racking up wins in mini-tour events in Orlando, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 49-year-old Cejka show these youngsters a thing or two. Whether you’re betting or playing DFS, the first question you’ll have to ask yourself is whether or not you can afford to fade the biggest name in the field.
Riley Wheeldon (+950)
The current money list leader, Wheeldon now owns seven top-10s in nine starts, including a solo fifth last week. Besides Cejka, he’s the only player with a headshot next to his name on DK. As one of my astute buddies pointed out, “If you can see his picture, he must be pretty good.” Can’t argue with that logic.
Carson Roberts (+1200)
Come on, you can’t read everything above and still fade this guy. For a player who didn’t start until his senior year of high school, junior year of college and took three months off late last year to reassess, his recent victory was the culmination of hard work, but here’s hoping he can keep it going this week.
Ryan Porch (+2500)
If you’re doing your research for this week’s event, I commend you on your studies. But I’ll also warn you about some inefficiencies: Porch is currently listed at 16th on the Outlaw money list … and 54th … and 67th. Assuming those aren’t three different players named Ryan Porch, then his earnings should wholly put him in sixth place overall.
Jimmy Gunn (+800)
A native of Scotland, he’s a Korn Ferry Tour regular, who owns a half-dozen top-10 finishes on that circuit over the past four seasons. While gusts up to 12-13 mph in Scottsdale over the first few days of this event aren’t much, I’ll give an advantage to a Scotsman in anything more than a wee breeze.
Jeremy Paul (+2000) and Yannik Paul (+2500)
Identical twins who usually draw double-takes from playing partners who can’t tell them apart, both of the Paul boys, who are from Germany and played collegiately for Colorado, have shown flourishes of solid play on the Mackenzie Tour. That said, if you’re giving an edge to just one of them, Jeremy – the “older” twin – has been more consistent during his career.
Andrew Yun (+1000)
When I informed a mini-tour buddy of mine – a Florida-based player, not one competing on the Outlaw Tour – that DFS lineups were available last week, he looked over the entry list and immediately identified Yun as the best of the bunch. “I played lots of junior golf against him,” he told me. “He’s really solid.”
Nicolo Galletti (+2000)
Fresh off a runner-up finish last week, this Arizona State product also enjoyed a runner-up on the competitive PGA Tour Latinoamerica circuit last year, though it was his only top-30 result, indicating he might be a boom-or-bust pick.
K.K. Limbhasut (+800)
Still near the top of the board even after a disappointing T-16 finish in his second Outlaw start of the season last week, the Thailand native is a graduate of Cal who was ranked inside the world’s top-50 as an amateur before turning professional last year.
Jake Staiano (+2000)
I originally wrote here that he’s yet to make a cut this year, but like Porch, he’s listed multiple times on the money list and I’d missed the entry that included his victory. At 10th on that money list, he’s still a solid play, just not as much of a darkhorse as I’d thought.
Odds via Golfodds.com.