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

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