Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Volvo China Open 2015 - Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club

The Volvo China Open heads to the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club this week and for the first time since 2008 the course will host a top quality golf event. The course which opened in 1997, had hosted the Asian Open between 2004-2008. Ernie Els is the course record holder with a 62 (-10). Alexander Levy will defend his title having won on last week's course in Shezhen, twelve months ago. In form, Australian, Scott Hend has two TOP10s here back in 2008 and 2007 and he'll be quietly confident of his chances on Asian soil again having won the Hong Kong Open back in October. Indeed, the Aussie enjoys playing in these co-sanctioned events and has since finished runner-up in Thailand and has two TOP15s in Malaysia and again in China last week. He will be a popular pick this week for sure, but having had a quick look at the type of course on offer this week, I'm expecting one or two of the 30,000 trees that line the fairways to catch him out this time round.

With that in mind, I've concluded from the photographs that I could find, that accuracy from tee to green will be key in winning in 2015.  From my shortlist (left), I've been drawn to Grégory Bourdy, Emiliano Grillo, Anthony Wall, Andrew Dodt, Ross Fisher & Alejandro Canizares. The Argentine is playing very consistently without winning and if he can hole some putts and get the mental issues out of the way this week he could finally break the maiden tag here. But @ 25/1 ? No, not for me when considering he's priced alongside proven winner, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Pablo Larrazabal and lower than Alexander Levy!

Bourdy on the other hand can be backed @ 33/1 and that's a fair price for this quality of field and he is my first selection. The Frenchman currently lies 27th on the Race to Dubai rankings from his nine starts where he has posted two TOP5s, a TOP10 and a further two TOP15s! Gets the flatstick going here he'll have a chance. I'm a fan of Tommy Fleetwood's but I felt once again his pitching was poor last weekend and therefore I'm happy to leave him out given his price and favourite status. Ross Fisher @ 35/1 would be a better selection and I'm a little surprised that Alex Noren is @ 33s but perhaps he's worth watching this week instead?

Wade Ormsby though at 55.00 is my second pick for this. He may be low in the GIR stats but his driving and short game stand up well and he's been quite consistent of late having notched four TOP11s in his last five starts. He played here in 2006 & 2005 for a return of mc-20, and I'm happy to get him onside this week on the back of recent form.

My third selection will be the Spaniard, Alejandro Canizares @ 120.00. Okay, so he's missed his last three cuts and we need to be mindful of that, but previously he was in fine form with results of 3-47-8-12. The first three events were during the Desert Swing, mixing it with the big boys. He has a fine short game which will be key this week and at the price is well worth an interest to see if he can bounce back into form on a course that may just take his eye.

Staking Plan (10 pts)

1 pt WIN G. Bourdy @ 34.00
1 pt WIN W. Ormsby @ 55.00
0.5 pts WIN A. Canizares @ 120.00

 2 pts G. Bourdy @ 4.33
1.5 pts W. Ormsby @ 5.50
1.5 pts R. Fisher @ 7.00
1 pt A. Canizares @ 12.00

1.5 pts A. Canizares @ 5.50

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

RBC Heritage - Harbour Town

New Masters champion, Jordan Spieth is sleeping in his green jacket this week following his emphatic victory at Augusta last Sunday and is aiming to add to his wardrobe by donning the plaid jacket that comes with victory at The Heritage, now in a regular slot proceeding The Masters. We all know by now that there's an old head on young Jordan's shoulders but the toil of all the press conferences this week should ensure we have a carefree, tired champ teeing it up here and can easily be opposed. 

Unlike Augusta, accuracy from tee to green, with a better than prolific short game is the order of the day at Hilton Head. Previous winners in the mould of Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk and Graeme McDowell back this trait up and I'm keen on 4 players to do well this week that stack up against these statistics. Gmac comes into the equation this week off the back of a decent enough effort last week on a course that doesn't really suit and he'll be keen to get sharp ahead of the U.S. Open in June by producing some encouraging results. The Irishman is on my radar for Chambers Bay so I'll be watching closely over the next 6-8 weeks and he can start the ball rolling by going in again here at a tournament that has often produced multiple winners. When on, he's of the Poulter mindset, confident to a point that he gets in the zone quickly and is tough to shake. At 45/1 he's a decent price  for me.

At 50/1 I have to back Kevin Streelman too. Par3 scoring is a strong trend for Harbour Town as is good GIR & scrambling. Streelman ranks highly on these and arrives on the back of a TOP 20 at Augusta where he also won the Par3 competition (the fool !). He's a streaky player who can hold a period of form and the price again is decent. 

Brendon Todd is a player I'm trying to get   onside as much as I can of late, and he really was the player I first pulled the trigger on for this one!  I still can't believe he's available @ 80/1 but perhaps that's because he missed the cut last week and is down the GIR rankings but the 29 year old does rank highly for driving accuracy and scrambling. He's produced two TOP10s from his eleven starts this season but he'll relish this course despite having played twice for a MC & T38th. He's in decent form with five TOP 30s in his last eight starts. 

I fully intended to back Webb Simpson @ a nice 33/1 but have decided at the last minute to side with Camillo Villegas @ 150.00 on betfair.Spider-Man aced twice at Augusta par 3 and has decent efforts under his belt on this course with returns of 21-9 the past two seasons. Before Houston and Augusta where he missed both cuts, the Colombian was 27 - 30 - 16 - 21 so his game is in good shape  and worth a nibble at the price. 

Staking Plan (8.5 pts)

1 pt e/w G. McDowell @ 45.00
1 pt WIN K. Streelman @ 50.00
0.50 WIN pts B. Todd @ 80.00
0.25 WIN pts C. Villegas @ 150.00


1.75 pts K. Streelman @ 6.00
1.5 pts B. Todd @ 8.00
1.5 pts C. Villegas @ 12.00

My only selection for the Shenshen International is as per my Twitter feed-

0.5 pts e/w P. Uihlein @ 67.00
2 pts TOP10 P. Uihlein @ 7.00