Fans of long-shot betting would have rejoiced on Sunday as a trio of outsiders and unfathomables did the business.
Overall, the bookies would have been delighted at the turn of events, although punters that managed to cop one or more of the unpredictable outcomes would have been cock-a-hoop nonetheless.
It all started at around 18:30 GMT….
If you backed Liverpool to defeat Manchester United 7-0 on Sunday, we salute you.
Surely only soothsaying time-travellers would have seen such a result coming as United, fresh from their Carabao Cup victory the previous week, were squeezed in by punters before the game expecting them to get the better of their bitter rivals.
But how wrong they were. The Reds didn’t even break the deadlock until the 43rd minute – Cody Gakpo curling home a stylish effort, and then two minutes after the half-time break Liverpool doubled their advantage: Harvey Elliott blasting a ball into the six-yard box that Darwin Nunez did excellently to divert home.
Things went from bad to worse for United as a rampaging counter-attack was finished off sublimely by Gakpo, before Nunez added another, Mo Salah chipped in with a brace and substitute Roberto Firmino completed the rout late on.
The United players seemed to lack leadership and calm heads in the second period – perhaps epitomised by Gary Neville branding captain Bruno Fernandes ‘a disgrace’, but even so Liverpool deserve credit for their swashbuckling performance.
Incredibly, at least one punter DID back the 7-0 correct scoreline. A total of just under £6 was matched on a popular betting exchange at odds of 1000.00, leaving the backer(s) feeling very chuffed with their afternoon’s work and the layer(s) rather distraught.
And yet more carnage was to come on the most astonishing of Sunday evening’s….
Best of the Best
In a bid to avoid losing more players to LIV Golf, the PGA TOUR has upped the ante by handing some of their events ‘elevated’ status, which basically means a huge prize pot – $20 million (£16.7 million) in the case of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational – is on offer.
You won’t be surprised to hear that’s piqued the interest of the best golfers on the planet, who have taken the tee in earnest at the Phoenix Open and the Genesis Invitational. Those were won by two of the three best in the business in Scottie Scheffler and Jon Rahm.
More of the same was expected at the API, and so not many punters would have given much hope to 220/1 outsider Kurt Kitayama as the action got underway at Bay Hill Country Club.
But the American, who had never previously won on the PGA TOUR, did not care for reputation as he ascended to the top of the leaderboard – dropped down again on Sunday after an awkward triple bogey – before rising up again to land the £2.5 million winner’s purse with a tap-in on the final hole.
Going for Gold
You couldn’t expect to meet a more unlikely sportsman than Andrew Gilding.
A quiet, unassuming bear of a man, his darts career has been so-so to the point that he’d only previously reached one major semi-final in 20 years of trying.
But ‘Goldfinger’ took advantage of a handy draw at the UK Open – there’s no seedings at the Butlins Minehead extravaganza – to battle through six games and reach a first final against arguably the best in the business: Michael van Gerwen.
Gilding had been playing solidly, if unspectacularly, all weekend, but he came alive in the final against the three-time world champion and completed a thrilling, if highly unexpected, last-leg victory against the Dutchman.
Gilding, ranked 41 in the world, had lost his tour card in 2018, but has since bounced back and will now enjoy the fruits of being a major champion – as will those that had backed him at 200/1 to win the UK Open.
Congratulations if you were on any of them!