Monday, 21 July 2014

M2M Russian Open 2014 - Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club

We have a very weak field assembling this week 40 km north of Moscow for the Russian Open to be played for the second successive year at the Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club, a Jack Nicklaus design which by all accounts is a super course. The 7,400 yard par-72 hosted twelve months ago when Michael Hoey ran out a 4 shot winner. Sadly, the defending champion is missing this week having had to withdraw with skin calluses on his foot. It's understandable I suppose that after the excitement of Hoylake a lot of players are taking a well earned rest, but this week gives a few players an opportunity to get some much needed cash and a chance of a win. We do have at least last year's results to go on where GIR stats stood up strong for those who featured at the head of the leaderboard.

I would advise treading cautiously this week, and when I tried to whittle down to a shortlist today, my job was made a bit easier with the release of the bookies odds where some were ridiculously priced , I think mainly on higher OWGR rankings than others. (Jamieson & Karlberg in particular). Matthew Nixon will be a popular pick for sure this week given his recent form but @ 22/1 its difficult to be confident in him winning but I certainly wouldn't put anyone off. For me though I'm backing just 2 players, as the price seems better than fair.

First up is South Korean, Seuk Hyun Baek @ 66/1. The 23 year old plays primarily on the Asian Tour but has had decent results on the co-sanctioned events by finishing 5th at The Avantha Masters and T40th at the weather affected Malaysia Open in 2013 and backed those up with a T11th at The Championship in Singapore two months ago. He may be out of his comfort zone this week but so will his fellow competitors. The burly Korean is predominately based in Thailand and has been gradually improving his putting and his short game. This means he hasn't missed a cut in his last 10 events, which have yielded 6 TOP30s including 2 TOP5s. At 66/1 I think he's worth a chance this week.

My second pick is Indian Gangajeet Bhullar @ 90/1. With just one Challenge Tour Victory under his belt and a mediocre season in 2014, the 26 year old is still preserving and could be in line for a reward very soon. His season's results are mixed to say the least. He made the cut in Scotland, missed it in France but had a nice TOP35 in Germany the week before. In fact he seems to miss the cut one week, then miss it the next so I'm factoring in a break last week in the hope he's refreshed and ready to improve on his 133rd position in the Race to Dubai here. To be fair though, from his 16 starts on the European Tour in 2014, he's made 11 cuts. The missed cuts have come at tough venues in much higher quality fields so he's not without a chance of a bold showing this week. A speculative punt here this week for sure but he's value given the consistency of making cuts that will eventually get rewarded with a decent result sometime soon.

Staking Plan

0.5 pts WIN S H Baek @ 66/1
0.5 pts WIN G Bhullar @ 90/1

TOP10 FINISH

1.5 pts TOP 10 Baek @ 5/1 Ladbrokes
1.5 pts TOP10 Bhullar @ 15/2