Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Perth Invitational 2016

We have a weak field moving on to Western Australia for this week's Perth Invitational where Louis Oosthuizen heads the betting market. The weather forecast suggests that we are in for a dry and hot week with a bit of wind meaning the course should play hard and fast. Local boy, Brett Rumford having played well of late following a return to action is sure to figure on a course that suits accuracy, especially approach play and has solid course form here. So what do we know of Karrinyup GC ? From their website, we know that fairways are generous but finding the fairways in the right spots is what is key to make the approach easier and recent results indicate that strong GIR stats are required here on top of the ever-necessity, a hot putter! The course is hilly and will be affected by wind (maybe not as much this week if we go by the weather forecast) which means players will need to use their clubs and imagine the shots required to negotiate one of Australia's top courses, a course tree-lined with trees ageing in excess of 500 years from which we can expect a kangaroo or two to hop out of. Whilst the field is of the "weakish" line-up, we have an interesting tournament ahead and should favour those who are in solid form of late and whose game suits the course. And its those players who are in form of late that I've arrived at with my 10 man shortlist. I did tweet late Monday night that I would think about adding Peter Uihlein @ 40/1 as the American has stated that this is his favourite course of the year !

But from my list, Louis looks to be the bet at a generous 10/1 for the win, being a proven winner in wind and on tough courses. I would fancy the chances of Mikko Ilonen this week despite his sporadic wins over the years. He's been solid in his opening four events of the season posting 22-13-16-12. He last played Karrinyup back in 2012 when missing the cut which poses the risk if the course suits and his driving accuracy statistics would indicate that perhaps not and indeed last week, the Finn was way down the table in the accuracy department but ranked very highly with the flatstick. Given the course will reward accuracy from tee to green, I'm leaving Mikko out of the outright calculations. Last weeks outright pick, Alejandro Canizares missed the cut by a distance but will arrive fresh in Perth looking to put that disappointment behind him, knowing his game has been in good form prior to Kuala Lumpur with a TOP5 in Dubai and TOP8 in Abu Dhabi. The Spaniard was third here in 2012 when leading the European Challenge to the two Americans Bo Van Pelt and Jason Dufner who occupied the first two placings. His opening 65 is encouraging too and should he get a decent start from the Thursday afternoon start, he may just improve on his second round scoring from last year on the Friday with an early start to avoid the forecasted winds. Last week is forgiven and he remains on the staking plan.

I was really impressed with Bjorn Akesson in Joburg last month and have wanted to get with him soon after but alas as I write this post I note he is now a non-runner this week. But another player that is worth watching and getting onside with in events like this is the Portuguese star, Ricardo Gouveia. Its been a steady enough start to his first full season on the European Tour with a TOP10 posted in Doha, a wind affected golf course at the best of times. Ricardo will play for Karrinyup for the first time this week, but he has shown in the past that this type of course could be to his forté. He also won in Oman, posted a TOP20 at the Alfred Dunhill Links, a TOP30 at the Portugal Masters and is playing awfully well for over 12 months now. He shouldn't be intimidated by the field this week where Oosty is joined by the runner-up from 2014, Victor Dubuisson and the victor, Thorbjorn Olesen. Apart from these, Ricardo has as strong a claim as any of them and at 50/1 he's worth a dabble.

And with Bjorn Akesson now not playing, my shortlist was reduced to none so as already mentioned, Peter Uihlein has to fill the spot on the back of his own tweet on Monday when he said he was "looking forward to playing his favourite course of the year". He finished ninth back in 2014 here and has shown signs recently that his game coming back(not in the Desert though!) and if he finds the fairways on a course that gives him a bit of room to do so, he can be a force. He's taken to produce a solid TOP20


0.50 pts e/w A. Canizares @ 41.00 (Ladbrokes)

2.0 pts TOP20 R.Gouveia @ 3.25 (BetVictor)

3.0 pts TOP20 P. Uihlein @ 2.62 (Betfair)

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