Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Made In Denmark 2016

Its the last "counting" event for European Tour Ryder Cup qualification but in reality its last chance saloon for those looking for a wildcard from skipper, Darren Clarke next week. Shane Lowry and perhaps home favourite Soren Kjeldsen will be looking for a win this week to grab a captains pick whereas Martin Kaymer's experience and stature within European golf may be enough already to secure one of those picks. The German tees it up trying to convince all that he is worthy of a pick and keep the pundits guessing right up to "D-Day". For others, much needed Race to Dubai points will be the focus. In all its not a strong field and the head of the market sees Kaymer the man to beat alongside Matt Fitzpatrick, Thomas Pieters, Andy Sullivan and Shane Lowry. Whilst I believe Clarke will indeed pick his good mate, Lee Westwood, Kaymer and Russell Knox, perhaps the only player in this field that could make him sleep uneasy for a couple of nights next week is Lowry. Shane will be very disappointed to see himself in this situation having won the WGC Bridgestone last season. Having gone so close at Oakmont in June too, the Irishman will be scratching at his beard wondering how he hasn't accumulated enough points. A re-jig of his schedule for next season is most likely. It's a big call for Darren next week as both Lowry and perhaps Thomas Pieters would have fancied their chances of a pick. Russell Knox looks a cert though following recent victory on American soil, and he is based in the US and should get the nod. If Shane Lowry is to have any chance of making Hazeltine he simply must win here this week. So, he's under pressure to do so and he could be in the mood to prove a point. He opted not to play in Rio, citing Zika as an excuse but he will have seen his good friend Padraig Harrington having a ball over there and he may regret the decision not to be an Olympian. Let's hope he doesn't end up regretting not being a Ryder Cup player too. He has all the incentive to win this week and will visit the course for the first time but it's a course that should suit. He did however have chances last week at The Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield GC where a second round 65 set him up for the weekend but didn't capitalize on the opportunity. It remains to be seen if he can take it in Himmerland but it's a win he needs to have any chance. He will play alongside Ryder Cup Vice-Captain (well one of them), Paul Lawrie whilst Pieters will play alongside Clarke himself. Is it Clarke's way of saying "I had you on the shortlist"?

Himmerland GC will host for the third time and based on the previous two installments, it seems those that find the greens in regulation will fare the best. Driving doesn't seem to be vital although the rough is reported to be tough. Its  not a links course....but it is. A lot water around the course is complemented by a lot of mounds and is often subject to windy conditions. The forecast shows more is expected this week too.

It's been a frustrating year betting on the Tour this year but I'll continue to pursue the TOP20/TOP10s with an eye on grabbing a winner before the season is out. My shortlist this week shows fifteen players. These are the only players according to my database that have five or more TOP20s on the European Tour this season. Only Kaymer and Sullivan have more TOP20s than local hope, Thorbjorn Olesen and he's a player that I've tried to cash in on a couple of times of late. It's imperative Thor gets a solid opening round under his belt and he has a nice draw playing with last weeks winner, Petersen and Matty Fitzpatrick. Thor ranks nicely for GIR(lies in TOP20 from his sixteen events) and was seventh here two years ago. Having put some hard earned cash on the Dane a few times this summer already I would be mad to not have an interest here in his home event. Hopefully he enjoyed the Olympics and arrives motivated to kick-on and finish the season strongly. His season shows him sitting 29th in the R2D and 71st in the OWGR. He has been working hard on his game and I feel its only a matter of time before he wins again to follow up his last win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last October. From his sixteen events he has posted two TOP5s and a further three TOP10s.

Johan Carlsson will turn 30 years of age on Monday and will be hoping to celebrate with a bold showing here. 2016 has been a very solid year for the Swede with just two missed cuts in Shenzhen and Ireland. He's posted seven TOP20s in his eighteen starts and can continue that solid form by grabbing another here. He played well at the Paul Lawrie Matchplay having won three matches before losing out to compatriot, Alex Noren.

Frenchman, Benjamin Hebert is another with a handful of TOP20s under his belt this year (5/16) and his GIR stats suggest he could be in for another paycheck this week and a chance for another TOP20. At 7.00 to do so, and on the back of a TOP20 here last year, he has to be included on the staking plan to repeat.

Finally, Thomas Aiken cannot be overlooked on a course where GIR stats hold strong. If he can hole some putts he'll sit highly on the leaderboard and could land a TOP10 finish. Hes 6.00 to do so (3.30 for TOP20) and arrives here having played mostly in the US this season. Four sub par rounds at the Wyndham Championship last week saw him finish T-22nd. He can bring that form here and excel on the links type course that he has shown over the years that he can challenge on.


0.50 pts win T. Olesen @ 46.00

3.00 pts TOP20 T. Olesen @ 3.25
2.50 pts TOP20 J. Carlsson @ 4.50
2.00 pts TOP20 B.Hebert @ 7.00
2.00 pts TOP10 T.Aiken @ 6.00

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