Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Nelson Mandela Championship 2014

The last event of the South African swing before the return in January comesthis week in the shape of the Nelson Mandela Championship to be held at Mount Edgecombe GC just outside Durban where Scotland's Scott Jamieson defends. 12 months ago he won the weather affected tournament over 36 holes. Unfortunately this year, the tournament coincides with the passing of Nelson Mandela himself and as South Africa mourns its great leader, the event is brought forward a day with a Wednesday start.
   From a betting perspective this could be a nightmare event with so many South Africans in the field wanting to win and a few European Tour players hoping to get a decent result in before the break. Its worth noting that Thomas Aiken won the Spanish Open the week that Seve passed and Spanish players faded down the leaderboard. I can see the leaders struggling coming down the stretch on Sunday with images in their head of winning this championship in the week of Matiba's funeral and therefore it wont be easy for any young player to get across the finishing line as the victor. The winner may have to come from off the pace this week. I'm not overly excited by the field and the prices on offer this week so am backing just 2 players for small stakes that could surprise at three figures.

Scott Henry is also from Scotland and shares the same first name and nationality as last years winner! That's about the only comparison between the two but Henry is overpriced this week. The course is short and length off the tee could be a key asset for attacking the pins and whilst his GIR stats are not fantastic they are improving and if he finds himself with the wedge in his hand  often he can go low as he showed at Carton House earlier this year and again at Gleneagles.

My second pick is Damien McGrane @ 150/1 with Skybet. The Irishman is not in great form but as he showed at the KLM Open, if the course suits he can contend. The shortish course will require precision and a decent putting week. The small greens should encourage him and I can see the Headford man putting up a good challenge this week and setting himself up for the season ahead. He might just have the patience that's required this week where emotions will be running high.

TIP 1 :  0.25 pts e/w S.Henry @ 200/1 Boylesports

TIP 2:   0.25 pts e/w D.McGrane @ 150/1 Skybet

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Hong Kong and World Challenge 2013

The South African swing of the 2014 European Tour takes a break this week and sees players jetting off to Hong Kong before returning for the Nelson Mandela Championship in Durban next week ! They then take a break til the new year before heading back down to SA for the Volvo Golf Champions also in Durban. I'm quite so surprised to see so many fly to Hong Kong this week but I suppose it tells the story of the young touring pro these days. Try make hay whilst the sun shines. With a mediocre field descending on Fanling this week I believe its a great opportunity for the newcomers to take their chances and for that reason I'm sticking with the players I backed last week. I wont back Pavan @ 45/1 though this week, a bit too short for me, whilst at the same price, I would opt for Swede Fredrik Anderssen Hed who was runner-up here last year,but for the fact he's not exactly a prolific winner on tour! Just the one win to his credit does put me off this week but course form could suggest he could go well on a track to his liking.

Ireland's Kevin Phelan produced a fine TOP 25 last week in his European Pro debut and he has already experienced the joys of travelling on tour this week with a delay and bags missing en route from SA. No 250/1 available this week following that positive start but I'm more than happy to back him @ 150/1 here.  The Waterford man will take a lot of confidence into this week, and with €15,000 in his back pocket from his efforts at Leopard Creek, the 23 year old can cap off a truly memorable 2013 with another strong showing at Fanling to rank up with his US Open and Walker Cup exploits.

As per last weeks selections here, I'm going to keep the faith with John Hahn (150/1), James Morrison (125/1) & Jbe Kruger (66/1). The American was doing OK in rd 1 last week before he was advised by his playing partner that he could be disqualified for using a teaching aid whilst waiting on a tee box early in his round. He reported it to the officials and was promptly disqualified - I'm hoping he doesn't do anything silly like that again soon. He's been given another opportunity to perform this week and to make a name for himself. Morrison was going very nicely indeed until the back 9 in his first round where he ran up a couple of doubles to send him spiralling down the leaderboard. He responded well on Friday but the damage was done and he missed the cut. He's playing well enough lately and he's played Fanling the past 3 years producing results of 19-MC-38. He's not the biggest of drivers on tour but that won't matter here, if he can eliminate mistakes and make some putts he could surprise @ a juicy 125/1.
Jbe Kruger had a disastrous 81 last Saturday and will be keen to put that behind him. He was runner up the week before so one bad round shouldn't be a negative for this week. His sole win on tour came in India, so perhaps a visit to Asia will be kind again ?

Tiger Woods hosts his World Challenge with 17 others competing for the $3.5 M purse at Sherwood GC in LA. Tiger goes off the favourite whilst twice winner Graeme McDowell can be backed at 14/1. The 5-time champion is the one they have to beat though and we know how formidable he can be on tracks that he loves. That said I think its worth looking at Webb Simpson's chances here. He was 7th last year, the week the anchoring ruling was communicated and 12 months on, Simpson has gradually found some consistency to his game and arrives here on the back of a win at the recent Shriners Open and a TOP 10 the previous week.  He's not without a chance this week, neither too is Rory McIlroy who spoiled the Aussies party in Sydney last Sunday. Webby is best price 20/1 to win but Boylesports offer 16/1 w/o Tiger, whilst Skybet also offer 8/1 in the Top American w/o Tiger market.

Selections : (6 units total staking plan)

TIP 1:  0.25 pts e/w K.Phelan @ 150/1 Ladbrokes

TIP 2: 0.25 pts e/w J.Hahn @ 150/1 Betpack

TIP 3: 0.25 pts e/w J.Morrison @ 125/1 Betpack

TIP 4: 0.50 pts e/w J.Kruger @ 66/1 Skybet

TIP 5: 1 pt e/w 16/1 W.Simpson  w/o Tiger @ 16/1 Boylesports

TIP 6: 1.5pts WIN  W.Simpson Top American w/o Tiger market @ 8/1 Skybet

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Alfred Dunhill Championship 2013 - Leopard Creek, Malelane, Mpumalanga, South Africa

Smarting from his collapse last Sunday, Charl Schwartzel will be aiming to win his third Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek this week, a course that he has terrific form figures of 1-2-2-14-MC-2-1. His putting is suspect at the moment and has been for while this season but I do think he'll be very tough to beat this week. I really fancy Ross Fisher this week too (don't I always I hear you say) but despite Charl's short odds I'm not really fancying the 22/1 on offer. Same with George Coetzee who is definitely due a big week and will enjoy this course.... so I'm dipping further down my shortlist for my bets this week. And with that in mind, given the prices, I'm wagering just 6.5 units (pts) covering 6 players in the hope that I can at least get one to place should the former Masters Champion prevail!

James Barry Kruger, or Jbe, is a twice winner on the Sunshine Tour and won the Avantha Masters last year for his sole European Tour victory. He was 9th here in 2011, 8 shots behind the winner despite an opening 64 but the 27 year can feed off that plus the previous year's TOP 10 and go well. Shot bookend 65s last week so is in form.

My second pick is Tom Lewis @ 66/1 who I had on my shortlist last week and for a moment looked like he was going to have a good week after his opening two rounds of 68. He did eventually settle for a tie of 22nd and he can bring some momentum into here. He has the game to compete on the European Tour and have a far better R2D campaign this time round,having secured his card with his 3rd placing at the Dunhill Links in October. The Englishman looks value at the price for me.

I'm backing another Englishman in James Morrison. Morrison recently secured his Tour card through Q School and followed that up  finishing alongside Lewis at the South African Open at T22nd. A former winner of the Madeira Islands Open , he has gone off the boil a bit the past 12 months but is well capable of establishing himself as a regular on Tour and competing for titles. The course should suit and I'm happy to be on side following recent form.

Another couple of players to have graduated to the Tour make my staking plan this week and they are John Hahn and Andrea Pavan. The latter has course form herewhen securing himself a TOP 10 in 2011. But for a closing 78 last Sunday, the Italian may have secured a TOP 20 at Glendower but his game is in good shape and his price is just about fair in this company. Hahn though, represents fantastic value given that his recent form is as good as anyones coming off the Challenge Tour. He was 1-2-5 in his three stages at Q school shooting a bunch of sub-70s.The American has been influenced by the exploits of Brooks Koepka and Peter Uilhlein so hopefully he can find fairways this week and make a few putts to get off to a solid start.

My sixth and final pick will have to be Kevin Phelan, also making his European Tour debut. The Waterford native has had an excellent season and featured prominately at Merion during the opening two rounds of the US Open. He made a crucial birdie putt at his final hole at Q School to secure his card and hopefully arrives with confidence and excitement. Worth a small flutter at this stage of the season.

Staking Plan (6.5 pts)

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w Jbe Kruger @ 50/1 Betpack

TIP 2: 0.75 pts e/w Tom Lewis @ 66/1 Boylesports

TIP 3: 0.75 pts e/w Andrea Pavan @ 55/1 Boylesports

TIP 4: 0.25 pts e/w John Hahn @ 175/1 Betpack

TIP 5: 0.25 pts e/w James Morrison @ 150/1 Paddypower

TIP 6: 0.25 pts e/w Kevin Phelan @ 250/1 Betpack

Monday, 18 November 2013

South African Open 2013 - Glendower GC, Johannesburg

Defending champion, Henrik Stenson is the big absentee from this years instalment of the South African Open leaving the door ajar for Charl Schwartzel to finally win his coveted National Open and he deservedly tees off as the hot favourite here. Should he play to his best he will win handy enough but the pressure to win could act as a hindrance. Its not a great field this week, and with the course having not been used for this in quite awhile, the home players from the Sunshine Tour who played the BMG classic just 5 weeks ago will feel they have an edge on the European Tour regulars.

But having had a look down through the field there is some decent prices on players that have been playing very well of late in far more illustrious company at the 2013 Series Finale events and that immediately means that I'm siding once again with Scott Jamieson @ an incredible 50/1 with Ladbrokes. The Scotsman has returned to form the past few weeks as noted on this blog last week and his weekend effort in Dubai should have him excited to return to South Africa where he won and finished inside the TOP 3 in his last 3 starts. He simply loves playing down here, will foster those memories and if he produces his best game he could be in the winners enclosure very soon. I just cannot ignore 50s here this week.

I'm also sticking with old favourite, Thomas Aiken this week. He does play better on home soil and the Joburg native will be happy to be back home. Glendower is not a long course but will require accurate play from tee to green and this should be right up his alley. A 7-time winner on the Sunshine Tour and a winner at the Avantha Masters last March, it may just the right week to get back on side with him and the 45/1 with Betpack has tempted me for sure. He may have been well down the leaderboard last week but was TOP 15 in Turkey the week before and as he has shown many times, its just a case of which Thomas Aiken shows up any given week but I'm chancing him here on home soil over Darren Fichardt.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w S.Jamieson @ 50/1 Ladbrokes

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w T.Aiken @ 45/1 Betpack

Monday, 11 November 2013

DP World Tour Championship 2013 - Earth Course, Jumeirah Estates Dubai

The European Tour finale, the DP World Tour Championship is finally upon us as the TOP 60 qualifiers take their place at The Earth Course, Dubai. Well not quite. Ernie Els ,Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia are ineligible having not satisfied the qualifying criteria of playing the required 2/3 Final Series tournaments precluding this one, and therefore will not be here this week. Alex Noren has also withdrawn injured which now leaves just 56 players

Reports suggest that the Greg Norman Earth course has undergone some work on the rough in the past 12 months in an attempt to make scoring a bit more difficult but it appears that big hitters do have a distinct advantage here. Defending champion, Rory McIlroy clearly loves this course and recent efforts suggest he may just be the one they all have to beat this week. For me though, there was a lot to like about the weekend effort in Belek from the reigning US Open Champion and I felt had he made his 8 footer for birdie on 10 last Sunday, Justin Rose could have put the pressure on eventual winner Victor Dubuisson sooner than our selection, Jamie Donaldson did. I'm very tempted to side with Rose this week but @ 7/1, I can't convince myself that he is the favourite over Rory, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Jamie Donaldson. Kaymer @ 18/1 is just a tad short, whilst I'm a fan and think he's very close, its difficult to back the German at such a price, when he hasn't won for awhile, albeit in this reduced field. Lee Westwood is out of sorts but likes this course as too does struggling Luke Donald, whereas Graeme McDowell clearly has no affinity for the lengthy Earth Course. Bernd Wiesberger is an intriguing player, a player I am always relunctant to back. In fairness to him though, he has been quite solid this season but 30/1 is too short I think (he could be the surprise packet this week).

Monday, 4 November 2013

Turkish Airlines Open - Montgomerie Maxx Royal, Antalya, Turkey

The penultimate tournament for the European Tour "Final Series" hits a new destination this week as 78 players descend on the Colin Montgomerie Maxx Royal GC in Turkey. Its the first time, a European Tour event is being played here and apart from Monty himself, the course will be a real unknown to the players. The par-72,7100 yds course looks as if it may yield a few birdies this week. With 5 par 5s it augurs well for low scoring for the field headed by World Number One, Tiger Woods, Race to Dubai leader, Henrik Stenson and his closest challengers, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter. It is last chance for players to make the TOP 60 and move onto the finale in Dubai and there are a couple of major winners just outside that TOP 60 mark in Paul Lawrie (64) and Padraig Harrington (67) who really need a huge week to qualify. I really fancy the chances of Martin Kaymer this week and a win would really put him in the mix next week but I won't be backing him at best odds of 16/1.

I tweeted last night that I was backing Matteo Manassero @ 66/1 with Titanbet.  ( Why not open an account with Titanbet and get a free £25bet  this week). Its a price probably arrived at due to the Italian being awfully quiet the past couple of months as well as the fact there are those par 5s which will suit the bigger hitters, but Manny proved at Wentworth earlier this season that he can contend on courses where least expected and he will be fresh and under no pressure here despite currently lying 7th in the R2D rankings, only 900k behind Stenson (big money these 2 weeks can make big changes). I'm not worried about the perception that he is a "short hitter", Manny can still hit a decent enough drive in my book, but its his accuracy and ball striking that I feel could suit here. He was a bit off the pace last week in China finishing 17 shots behind our winner Dustin Johnson although good enough for a TOP 25. He missed the cut in Portugal before that and along with MCs at the US & British Opens as well as The Masters his form in the big events could be questionable. However, these are the only tournaments he has missed the cut in this year and I'm happy to see 66/1 for a player that has recorded 9 TOP25s,2 TOP 10s and a WIN in his 24 starts on a course of this setup. At 24, he is already a 4 time winner on tour and represents good value for me this week.

My second selection this week is Jamie Donaldson @ 40/1. The Welshman is playing very consistently lately and is simmering for a win soon. He had a TOP 10 last week in China despite a poor 2nd rd 74, was T34th at the BMW Masters and T6th in Portugal before that. He's in form! Along with his win in Abu Dhabi this season, Jamie has posted a further 5 TOP 10s from his 21 starts. He appears to be striking the ball very well lately too and he'll be challenged for this and next week. In the 78 man field, 40/1 is a bet for me for a player in fine fettle.

My third selection is Chilean, Felipe Aguilar @ 150/1. The 39 year has never been on my radar or staking plan before and this may well indeed be a very competitive field, but nonetheless, its a course that just might suit this very accurate player who ranks 11th on tour in GIR, and 9th in Driving Accuracy. He may be well down the Driving Distance ranks but he averages 285 and I'm not too worried about distance off the tee this week. What I am worried about is his putting stats where he ranks 167 with an average of 30.5 putts per round. That said, Stenson and Kaymer are only slightly better than him and they are bound to contend this week ! Aguilar has posted 7 TOP 10s in his 25 starts on tour this season and with pleasant 25 degrees of sunshine forecasted for each day he could surprise given that he arrived there last Saturday to prepare.

To complement the small stakes on Aguilar, I'm going to stick with Richard Sterne again this week. Not a great effort the past 2 weeks but he may just take solace from his final round 63 in Sheshan on Sunday and should he open with a decent round on Thursday, the South African could put the cat amongst the pigeons and challenge for the title and should he win he would improve on his current R2D standing of 6th.
I'll stick with Sterne based on my views posted on this blog the past 2 weeks and the price.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w M.Manassero @ 66/1 Titanbet

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w J.Donaldson @ 40/1 Titanbet

TIP 3: .25 pts e/w F.Aguilar @ 150/1 Titanbet

TIP 4:  .75 pts e/w R.Sterne @ 70/1 Bet365

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

WGC HSBC Champions 2013 - Sheshan GC, Shanghai, China

The Final WGC event of the year takes place once again at Sheshan GC outside Shanghai, China, where, as per last week, just 78 players tee it up. Its a WGC event, yet there is no Tiger Woods who is scheduled to play next week in Turkey. I find this very strange indeed that Tiger is not competing in a WGC event and without knowing the full reasons why, am guessing that he makes more money by just "appearing" in Turkey instead. Anyhow, we have a competitive field in China and I will be very keen to see how Rory McIlroy goes this week as it does look as if Rory is getting back into some form. He goes off @ 12/1 and I certainly wouldn't put anyone off backing him this week at that price. I had him on my shortlist but have opted for 4 players that I think give me some better value. If betting with Paddypower this week though, they'll refund your losing bet if your player finishes 2nd to Rory

American, Dustin Johnson tees it up here @ 35/1 with Paddypower which is a great price for a player of DJ's stature in a 78 man field. This is a player who is in decent form and due a win. He finished 8th at the PGA Championship and 5th at the 2013 season ending Tour Championship on the PGA Tour recently and is not adverse to playing well on foreign soil. The course this week will yield alot of birdies and those that drive it well and find greens should feature atop the leaderboard. DJ for me is one for the big events and I cannot ignore the 7 time PGA Tour winner in this field.

 Swede, Peter Hanson has returned from injury recently and fired a final rd 63 last Sunday to grab a TOP 10 at the BMW Masters as the defending champion. A top 10 despite an opening round 79 ! Whether he is fully fit or not (back injury always suspect) remains to be seen but he's a quality tee to green player and can putt when in the mood. The 36 year old has come close in the big events in the past and will bring a lot of confidence following that effort last week. I was expecting 33s at best this week so just cannot ignore the 50/1 on offer from Bet365

My third pick this week is another American who I have backed a few times this year without producing the goods despite threatening a number of times and thats Bill Haas @ 50/1 with SkyBet. Another prolific tee to green player, his final round nerves are suspect but I'm happy to back him at this price following his T16th finish last week at the CIMB Classic. Haas has won on the PGA tour in 2013 and also produced 9 TOP10s from his 25 starts. He played here in 2011 & 2010 with mixed form but he can progress from those outings and score in a week where the weather forecast is good.

My final pick is someone I backed last week and cannot leave out despite a mediocre outing at Lake Malaren. Over the first two days he appeared to be staying just out of contention but never got going the weekend, and I'm not rushing to abandon him on the back of that showing just yet, especially when I can back him this week @ 100/1 with Betpack / Stan James. The South African is having a good season and is certainly one to watch out for over the next few months and has the all round game to compete at this level. He did play here back in 2007 where he finished T24th to winner, Phil Mickelson. For me, he's worth a dabble @ 100/1 at small stakes.

Monday, 21 October 2013

BMW Masters 2013 - Lake Malaren GC, Shanghai, China

So, the TOP 110 on the European Tour have secured their cards for next season and whilst many of those will have met their goals for 2013, others will now be getting down to the business end of things as the European Tour embarks on its inaugural "Final Series" cuulminating in the TOP 60 competing at Dubai World Tour Championship on 14 November. Unfortunately, due to the ecomomic state of most European Nations, the "Final Series" will be held in China for the first 2 events, Turkey and then of course, Dubai. I say "unfortunately" as although its great to see the game of golf grow in other parts of the world, its a shame that Europe mainland and indeed UK&Ireland, don't get the opportunity to stage one of these "series". Mind you, the weather may not be ideal for the time of the year, so lets hope the spectators come out to support over the next 4 weeks otherwise sponsors may need to revise going forward. The use of inviting 14 Chinese players should help grow the popularity in China. For the second year running this event will be staged at Lake Malaren outside Shanghai. Its a par-72, 7600 yards where the big hitters will feel at ease. A Jack Nicklaus design, the course will reward those who are on form and find fairways and greens. The in-form player this week is no doubt Henrik Stenson, recent winner of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and he will be motivated to win the Race to Dubai as well.  Only 78 players tee it up here and the next 2 weeks and that means we have no cut.

It could be a good tournamnt for those that prefer to trade on Betfair as opposed to those who prefer the win or each way approach. I have selected three who I like at odds bigger than I was expecting.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Perth International 2013 - Karrinyup G&CC

Its last chance saloon for many on the European Tour this week as they head to Western Australia for a co-sanctioned event that will be played on the Karrinyup GC for the second sucessive year. The Europeans will meet their counterparts from the Tour of Australasia and be accompanied by defending champion, Bo Van Pelt and his compatriot Dustin Johnson. 12 months ago, Van Pelt and his compatriot, Jason Dufner put some daylight between themselves and the rest of the field and one would expect DJ to do just that again this week, especially having shown some glimpses of form at the Tour Championship a few weeks back.
Two Irish players currently sit just outside the all-important TOP 110 and they are Peter Lawrie and David Higgins who lie 114th & 115th in the standings.

But I want to oppose DJ this week, he can't be backed at those odds here where emphasis is on GIR and putting (the greens will be quick here). Yes, he's a strong favourite but just too short in the betting. Instead I want to have a punt on Chris Doak this week.He currently lies just inside the top 110 (105th) and looks to have secured his card but he will be very keen to finish the season off having played fairly well the past couple of months with his last 3 events yielding results of 8-20-23 and cash of just over €95,000. He can take the momentum into Perth and compete here, and at 80/1, I’m happy to be on board.

This week sees NSW's Jake Higginbottom celebrate his 20th birthday. Almost 12 months ago, he won the NZ Open as an amateur at Clearwater GC and has had a decent enough season on the PGA Tour of Australia making 12/16 cuts. Of those 12 he has 8 TOP15s and whilst this is a different kettle of fish this week, he will be under no pressure to gain some more ranking points. If he can get a decent start he can give us a run at a price that is too big for a player that could develop into a tour regular winner. 175/1 is too big

My third pick is Perth native, Nick O'Hern at 50/1. 
He's had a mixed 2013 campaign but should be at
 ease on a track he knows well. He finished T11th at the WA Open last week so brings some form into this one. Always has been a decent putter and worth a punt here in his own backyard.

TIP 1: 1 pt e/w C.Doak @ 80/1

TIP 2: 0.5 pts e/w J.Higginbottom @ 175/1 Withdrawn

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w N.O'Hern @ 50/1

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Portugal Masters 2013 - Oceanico Victoria, Vilamoura

Ireland's Shane Lowry defends the Portugal Masters this week at the Oceanico Victoria GC in Vilamoura following his first win on tour as a professional 12 months ago. A quality field tees it up on Thursday as players seek to either fine tune their game ahead of the inaugural "Final Series" or seek a top 60 on the Race to Dubai. Others are still trying to secure cards for next year.
 Its just this and next week, in Perth, that players have the opportunity to accomplish their goals, whether thats a win for the season, R2D-TOP60 or securing that card by finishing in the top 110. Ireland's Peter Lawrie finds himself just outside that elusive 110 spot so really needs a good week here. England's Chris Paisley is currently 119th and took to twitter during the week to see if anyone who had a card secured would withdraw so he could play as he was 3rd reserve. As of yesterday he was first reserve....he needs to play this week to give himself a chance of a card next year. Its a crucial week for many. But interesting enough are the notables just outside the R2D TOP 60.These are Dyson, Fisher, Havret, Harrington, Pepperell,Willet, Ramsay and McGrane (who has made a great effort the past few weeks to rise in the rankings). So with Francesco Molinari & Martin Kaymer heading the market, there will be a lot of determined golfers in the Algarve trying to achieve differnt results and there is one player just outside that TOP 60 that I am leaning towards at a big price this week who just may put in a great performance.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2013 - Kingsbarns, Carnoustie & St Andrews

Without doubt, the field assembling this week in Scotland again to contest the popular celebrity Pro-Am event that is the Dunhill Links is the best we’ve had all year aside from the Majors and the WGCs, and with the weather forecast expected to be good, it could be an action packed tournament. Two time winner, Padraig Harrington will one again team up with victorious partner, JP McManus seeking their third win. They have a good draw in that they play alongside Martin & Phillip Kaymer. But they open their campaigns on the Carnoustie course. For the draw details check here

The players and their amateur partners will play alternatively over the Kingsbarns, St Andrews and the much more difficult Carnoustie courses the first 3 days with Sunday's final round reverting to St Andrews. The cut comes after the third round. The key to winning here apart from having the patience is to score as well as you can on the easier of the 2 courses and put a decent effort in at Carnoustie. The courses will be setup easy enough with pin placement being generous to allow for the amateurs so the usual winning score around –22 will be required. Ideally for me, I’d like to see the draw before backing my man, as I like to have Kingsbarns up first.

Victor Dubuisson has impressed me a few times this season and his last outing yielded a T3rd at the Omega European Masters. The 23-year-old Frenchman should take inspiration from fellow countryman, Julian Quesne who won in Turin on Sunday and also take some confidence into the week knowing he has performed well in this event over the past two years finishing T5th last year and T27th in 2011. He shot a stunning 62 in his opening round which was actually bettered by 2 by the eventual winner Brandon Grace last year. He is worth backing this week at odds at around 50/1 or better. Out early on the St Andrews course on Thursday, I'm hoping he can put in a low one as the trend here the past few years shows its essential to get a fast start.The plan is to go low Thursday and put in that decent effort at Carnoustie before making a move on Saturday. 50/1 still available.

As of Wednsday evening it has come to my attention that Dubuisson has withdrawn. Thanks to John Rhodes of Skybet for tweeting the information . (Follow John @ rhodesygolf) As a result I am adding 2 players in to my staking plan - both @ 0.5 pts e/w. They are former winner here, Michael Hoey and his compatriot Simon Thornton who is playing very well of late. Simon plays with former Irish Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy and alongside Shane Lowry & Gerry McManus. It should be a nice fourball. Simon can be backed @ 250/1. 
    Hoey, well, he'll either be in the mix or he he'll be mixing the drinks in the bar for the rest of the lads. That said, he's played quite well this year, he's won on tour as has Thornton and they should be nice and relaxed playing on courses thay are well used to playing on and conditions very similar to back home.

The Irish Open champion, Paul Casey is well worth a look this week.
Having taken last week off he will be fresh and relaxed for an event that suits his demeanour. His results here over the years also shows he likes this format. He missed the cut last year, which is easily excused as he recovered from injury but compiled 3 TOP10s the previous 3 years. Casey will be keen to improve on his OWGR as much as he can as he sits just outside the TOP100 and build on that win back at Carton House. 25/1 with most bookies paying 6 places available.(Plays Carnoustie Thursday)

I'm adding a third selection in the shape of Shane Lowry who was not on my original shortlist. Having seen the draw I was disappointed to see many on that shortlist teeing it up Thursday at Carnoustie. Lowry, however will tee it with partner, Gerry McManus, brother of JP. They will be keen to beat the other Irish team! He plays in a group with compatriot Simon Thornton and has Kingsbarns up first followed by St Andrews and I like this draw. Only 40/1 available still for those seeking e/w. 

TIP 1 : 1 pt e/w V.Dubuisson @ 50/1   

0.5 pts e/w M.Hoey @ 110/1 & 0.5 pts S.Thornton @ 250/1

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w P.Casey @ 25/1

TIP 3: 1 pt e/w S.Lowry @ 40/1

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Tour Championship 2013 - East Lake GC

The finale of the PGA Tour takes place this week when the TOP 30 players on the FedEx Cup rankings tee it up for the TOUR Championship played at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.On top of the winner's purse this week, one player who tops the FedEx Cup rankings on points wins the Fedex Cup and an additional $10M bonus

East Lake is a par 70- 7,100 yards. An interesting stat here over the past few years shows that the winner will rank in the TOP 10 for GIR stats. It won't be a birdiefest like last week, but expect the winning score to be around the -10 mark. Currently the TOP 5 in the rankings will guarantee the Cup if they win here, others can still win it if results go their way as explained here on the PGA Tour Site.

Its just the 30 players as already stated so expect an ever-changing leaderboard over the 4 days.There is no cut. I'm siding with 2 players who have form at East Lake, one, who became Major Champion this year when this blog tipped him to do so, and the other, who became a Dad when leading a tournament after 36 holes that he withdrew from and who may just get his victory for the season on a course that owes him one.

Justin Rose is one of those players that has improved year on year and is destined to win many more top quality golf tournaments. Excellent approach play all season will stand him well at East Lake and he can go one better than 12 months ago when runner-up to Brandt Snedeker. 18/1 is fair price and I'm happy to be on the Englishman whose game is ideal for here

Picture Hunter Mahan in all fairness has had a very consistent season without actually winning. He had that chance in Canada when leading after 36 holes but withdraw when his wife went into premature labour before giving birth to their daughter Zoe. Having settled into his new way of life, Mahan has put in some decent results lately in the playoffs finishing 4th on Monday at the BMW. He was beaten in a playoff here two years ago, and was T8th last year. 15 TOP 25s from his 24 starts this season shows the level of golf that he has been playing and with a bit more luck could have won a Major this year. 20/1 is decent price this week for me.

TIP 1 : 1 pt e/w Justin Rose @ 18/1 Betpack

TIP 2: 1 pt e/w Hunter Mahan @ 20/1 Betpack

Monday, 16 September 2013

Lindt Italian Open 2013 - Golf Club Torino

Francesco Molinari will be chomping at the bit this week as the Italian Open heads to his home club, Golf Club Torino, near Turin for the first time. With a new sponsor at the helm, there is a buzz in Italian golf again and along with Matteo Manessero, Lorenzo Gagli and Alessandro Tadini trying to win their home Open, Molinari will be well supported here. 

But speaking of Italians who will be proud to play under their tricolour this week, I am looking at a couple of players who also fly by tricolours, but those of red white and blue.

The course is a par 72, 7200-yard course. We have no course form to go on this week but looking at the layout, it does look like a traditional parkland course with tree-lined fairways as well as well-guarded greens. Accurate driving and good GIR stats could be the key for success this week

Gregory Bourdy won recently in Wales and is hitting form. 
He’s 14th ranked for DA this season and 27th in GIR. 
 Has played the Italian Open the past three years, on albeit different courses, but he clearly likes it there finishing 3-11-22.  With 4 TOP10s and a further 4 TOP 25s already this season, the Frenchman might be worth keeping an eye on this week. Bourdy is refreshed lately and gradually beiginng to get into some consistency and may have a big say in events over the next couple of months in the run up to Dubai.

Thomas Aiken has been awfully quiet of late, especially since he won his 2nd European Tour title in India back in March. 
But that’s what you get with the South African, he can just appear one week and challenge out of the blue, and if the price is right he may well be worth a dabble.He finished T16th in Holland with a 64 & 66 propelling him up the leaderboard. Very accurate off the tee with good GIR stats, if he gets the putter to behave, he’ll give us a run for our money and a decent price. Aiken hasn't delivered on the promise he was showing 5 or 6 years ago, but there's no denying he can mix it with the best, it's just knowing when to get on board and those 2 good rounds last week suggest he is not far away.

Staking plan : Total 6 pts

TIP 1: 1.5 pts e/w G.Bourdy @ 33/1 Ladbrokes

TIP 2: 1.5 pts e/w T.Aiken @ 66/1   Ladbrokes