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.