Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hong Kong Open 2014.....Again !

Fanling GC will once again host the Hong Kong Open this week in the penultimate event before the Final Series takes place on the European Tour. It will be onto Perth the week after before they head back to China for the start of the Final Series but one man in particular will be looking forward to Fanling than any other no doubt, and that is the defending champion, Miguel Angel Jiminez who will seek to win his fifth title and his third in a row! He simply loves the course and has stated he really enjoys being in Hong Kong, but will it be a tough ask for the 50 year old to do it again this time round?

The course itself is a par-70, measuring just 6700 yards in which a winning score in and around 265 (-15) normally is good enough to take the title. Jiminez dominance could suggest that this is a course that players may need to know well, so it will be interesting to see how Ernie Els and Peter Uihlein contend here for the first time.

With the Portugal Masters having been reduced to 54 holes, those travelling here from The Algarve could be really keen to get going at Fanling, especially those that have had decent knocks in the past. Robert-Jan Derksen would have fancied his chances in Vilamoura last week and he’ll approach this one in pretty much the same sort of anticipation before he bows out and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him in the mix here. He finished with a closing 65 twelve months ago to finish 4th and has produced a further three TOP15s in his previous five visits. He’ll take some motivation from Jiminez who won here aged 49, and should he get a decent start, expect him to be there or thereabouts.

Some value could be had though in backing David Lipsky this week. Having won in Switzerland last month, the American has jumped to the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit, a tour that he played a lot on since turning pro and he has said in the past that Fanling is one of his favourite courses on the tour. He was Tied 12th last year alongside his nearest challenger to this years Asian Tour Order, Anirban Lahiri. Lipsky though is in fine form having made five TOP20s in his eight European Tour starts. Since his win he was placed 4th at The Selangor Masters, and is rested nicely for a visit to one of his favourite courses in Asia.

We’ve seen the French players feed off each other quite a bit on the European Tour of late and Victor Dubuisson’s efforts at Gleneagles apparently inspired Alexander Levy last week! Two other Frenchmen so, could well be motivated to get in on the act this week on a course that they both like and that’s Gregory Bourdy and Gregory Havret. The latter was runner to Rory McIlroy three years ago and also pocketed a TOP20 last year. He hasn’t been great of late though, but a couple of TOP25s last month could suggest his game is not that far away but I’d be more confident in Bourdy. He played well in Portugal, and Fanling would be a much better suited course for his game and he can improve on his two 11th placings from 2010 and 2007.

One of my "10 To Win Soon" is Afrian Otaegui and he has been in fine form recently and having risen to just outside the TOP110 on the order of merit, I'm keen to have him on board this week to maintain the momentum and secure his card for next season. Fanling requires accuracy from tee to green and the young Spaniard has exactly that. His recent form is progressive (12th in The Algarve) and he can secure a decent finish here in what is not a very high quality field. Yes, The Mechanic will have his supporters as will Ernie Els, but they will have their own pressures to produce a win.


Staking Plan (10 pts)

1.5 pts WIN David Lipsky @ 34.00
1.5 pts WIN Gregory Bourdy @ 27.00
0.5 pts WIN A.Otaegui @ 101.00


TOP 10
2 pts TOP10 G.Bourdy @ 3.25
2 pts TOP10 D.Lipsky @ 4.10
2.5 pts TOP10 A.Otaegui @ 10.00