Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Mauritius Open 2017 - Heritage GC

We have two European Tour events this week, both co-sanctioned (or tri-sanctioned in one case) events taking place in much sunnier climates than what we are experiencing now in Europe as Mauritius and Australia play hosts. Whilst Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman head the market for the Aussie PGA, Louis Oosthuizen pays a visit to The Heritage GC in Mauritius where he is involved in the development of the resort. The South African is the class act of the field and should be challenged by his compatriots in the shape of former winner here two years ago, George Coetzee and Dylan Frittelli as well as Burmester and Fichardt. The field sees a number of Challenge Tour and Q-School graduates make their 2018 season debuts this week and they'll be looking to make their mark as soon as possible. (So too will Tiger in the Bahamas this week and despite the media overkill on the return, I'm sure all of us golf fans will hope that its a successful comeback this time.)

Gavin Moynihan is one such player who secured his playing rights after a very successful year that saw him starting the year having to qualify for the EuroPro tour to get some starts. Having won at Close Hall on first start on that tour he quickly followed up by a strong showing on the Challenge Tour's AndalucĂ­a Costa del Sol Match Play 9 by finishing second to Aaron Rai. Continuing on the Challenge Tour for the season, the Dubliner would eventually finish 19th in the Road to Oman Rankings before finishing TOP25 at Q-School. It's not the first time I've mentioned Gavin on this blog, and it won't be the last, as I expect Gavin to move onto greater things on Tour. Given the progression in 2017 and recent form, I'm confident he can hit the ground running and should the wind get up this week as is forecasted, I'm quietly confident the conditions and course layout will also help to get a decent result. His fellow Irish amateur and Walker Cup buddy, Paul Dunne, has excelled on tour to date and he'll be motivated and inspired to emulate the highs so far of the Greystones man. At 210.00 outright and @ 7.00 for a TOP 20 Gavin makes my staking plan this week.

I put up Darren Fichardt a number of times already this season and I'm keen to do so again this week at a decent price of 70.00 (3.50 TOP-20,6.00 TOP-10). 6th last time out in Sun City he'll be looking forward to defending the Joburg Open next week so could be in the mood to have his game in shape this week in anticipation. He's a certainly a value price this week playing on Sunshine Tour where he finished third on the Order of Merit last season.

Lastly, the defending course champion from two years ago, George Coetzee is worth a play here @ 23.00. He was in brilliant form in Sep/Oct having posted 4 TOP-15s in 5 events between the KLM Open,European,British & Portugal Masters, as well as the Italian Open. He may have cooled off a bit since but results of 27-37-58 in the Final Series can be taken into comparison towards the quality of field in front of him this week. Given the course form and price, he's worth chancing to take down Oosty here.

Staking Plan:

0.25 pts G. Moynihan @ 210.00
0.75 pts D. Fichardt @ 70.00
1.00 pts e/w D.Fichardt @ 51.00
2.00 pts e/w G.Coetzee @ 23.00

3.00 pts TOP20 G. Moynihan @ 7.00

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Hong Kong Open 2018 - Fanling GC

A surprisingly strong field has assembled this week for the new season opener in Hong Kong where the new European Tour Number One, Tommy Fleetwood tees it up with Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia. They face tough competition from Matthew Fitzpatrick, Kiradech Aphibarnrat & Rafael Cabrera-Bello and its perhaps the latter three that will go off fresher and more relaxed than the market leaders. Europe's TOP 3 should be exhausted after their efforts last week, especially the Southport native who tees it up for his 6th event from the last 7 on tour. Then again so too does Aphibarnrat and we have to consider the amount of travel these recent have entailed, from Italy to Spain to China then back to Turkey, South Africa and finally Dubai. Shooting back to China here has to take its toll for someone. Concentration off the tee is more critical than most weeks here as we are faced with a very short but very tight tree-lined course that will reward accurate play so despite their obvious class in the field I believe the market leaders may just be here to fulfill obligations and perhaps get some Christmas shopping in!

Greens in Regulation is the key stat for the week and it would be a good week to have the wedges on point. It could be a week for a one of the younger more accurate, shorter players to break through.

It's a course that should suit Aaron Rai as well as Marcus Kinhult but its just the one selection for me this week - Ashley Chesters. The 28 year old will be keen to kick on again this season having secured his card and the double European Amateur Champion should find courses such as Fanling to his forte ,as he ranked 15th for GIR for the season just completed not to mention 24th for DA. Notable T15 results came at Valderrama, Portstewart, Green Eagle GC (where he led after 36) and at Golfclub Munchen Eichenreid as well in Morocco this year.  The Walker Cup player from 2015, who won 3 of his 4 matches when halving with Bryson Dechambeau in the singles, has shown steady improvement since, and can capitalize on courses like Fanling to further his goals for the forthcoming season and get a solid result under his belt early.

0.75 pts A. Chesters @ 150.00
5.25 pts A. Chesters TOP20 @ 5.50

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

DP World Tour Championship 2017 - Dubai

The curtain comes down on the 2017 Europeantour this week with 60 players left standing for the DP World Tour Championship to be played once again at the Greg Norman designed Earth Course. Long hitters tend to go well at the course and those that find greens in abundance will contend. The top players will no doubt prevail again but they do have challengers from players who have been finding form of late and may just go in here.

Shane Lowry is one such player that arrives off the back of some solid weeks having 12-8-12 in is last 3 starts. Having posted two T-10s here in his 5 starts, the Offaly man is striking it sweet of late and is a bet here @ 34.00

Peter Uihlein withdrew from the Nedbank Challenge last week but was in fine form beforehand (14th in Turkey & 5th in China). He recently gained his PGA tour card for the season ahead and has grabbed a T-10 already at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia. He can cap off a solid Europeantour campaign with a bold showing here @ 60.00

Charl Schwartzel was backed last week and despite not being a regular winner, his form of late suggests that barren spell could end at some point soon. With results here of 3-4-47-3-5 the past 5 visits, the South African should be confident of a good week @ 36.00

3.50 pts S. Lowry @ 34.00
2.00 pts P. Uihlein @ 60.00
3.50 pts C. Schwartzel @ 36.00

Monday, 6 November 2017

Nedbank Challenge 2017 - Gary Player Country Club, Sun City

I've very little time for a preview this week and having been travelling extensively the past few weeks this is the first opportunity I've had to look at a golf tournament since the Italian Open. Accurate, in-form golfers is what I want this week and I've thrown in last years runner up, Jeunghun Wang as an outsider.

My shortlist for the week consists of 16 golfers and can be found here

My Staking Plan for the week totals 12 pts

3.00 pts T.Fleetwood @ 21.00
3.00 pts M.Fitzpatrick @ 21.00
2.50 pts C.Schwartzel @ 29.00
0.25 pts J.Wang @ 110.00
3.25 pts J.Wang T-10 @ 9.00