By midday on Thursday it was already beginning to look like a terrible week for me. Stenson had somehow managed to hit just 50% greens for a 77 which was only his 2nd over par round at the course in 20 attempts and 4 shots worse than the 73 from 2010. I can only assume he was injured, ill or playing left handed. But as the day wore on my interest was quickly spiked again as Kevin Kisner was putting together a great round in Georgia to take the lead on -7. With Mcilroy and Rose both bang in contention things were looking a lot better. Rose fell away as did most players leaving Rory to go head to head against Andy Sullivan on Sunday. With the Mcilroy/Kisner double having been advised I was in the unfamiliar position of supporting Mcilroy down the back 9. So when he put his tee shot on 17 into the water you can imagine how frustrating this was. Luckily that lasted for only 5 minutes as he holed a 30fter to maintain a lead and as brilliantly as Sullivan had played you always felt that Mcilroy would find a way to win.
Kisner kept the foot down all weekend and the manner of his win must surely go down as one of the most convincing for a maiden for some time as he maintained his aggression through 18 holes on Sunday to record a 6 shot victory. Kisner looks like he could well turn into a Jimmy Walker type next season where he wins several tournaments after getting off the mark. He is a very solid player without any real weakness apart from maybe not being the longest off the tee. Worth keeping an eye on him in 2016.
So the Mcilroy/Kisner double came in at 125.5/1, returning 73.15pts. Kisner returned 29.5pts and Sullivan’s Top 10 brought in 6pts. Giving a weekly return of 105.65 pts which does the following to the ongoing results;
Total pts advised – 284.50
Total pts returned – 436.41
ROI – 53.4%
This week there is no event on the PGA Tour as they wind down for a what is essentially a Christmas break. As if to keep up with the PGA Tour’s quickfire turnaround between seasons, the 2016 European Tour begins this week just 4 days after the close of the 2015 season. It heads to South Africa for the regular Alfred Dunhill Championship held at Leopard Creek. There is also the second tournament in Australia’s Triple Crown series, The Australian Open.
Alfred Dunhill Championship
With so many tournaments taking place around the world in November and December it is often the time when we see some of the elite players returning home to take part in the tournaments that helped shape their careers when they were starting out. This often requires a slightly different approach when analysing them from a betting point of view. You often have to look at the favourite first and decide whether you think he is going to win and to a lesser extent, if he is a value price to do so.
This week the course in question is Leopard Creek in Malelane, SA and the favourite is last year’s champion Branden Grace, closely followed in the market by three time course winner Charl Scwartzel. The par 72 course is reasonably long at 7287 yards so getting it out there off the tee is certainly a plus on these wide fairways. Although the most important stat over the years looks to be GIR with the last three winners ranking 5th, 4th and 1st. These three tournaments were won by Branden Grace and Charl Schwrtzel (2) so it was interesting to see that they finished 3rd and T4th last week in Dubai. Those two together with Louis Oosthuizen are far and away the best three players in the field and it looks very plausible that they will fill the top 3 positions come Sunday. I’m finding it hard to seperate Grace and Schwartzel but I’m going to rule Oosthuizen out as he just hasn’t played that well over the last month and it could be that his leg injury is beginning to take it’s toll. Grace ranked 9th in GIR last week and Schwartzel just 23rd so when we factor in Charl’s lowly finish of 26th here last year and his high profile collapse to Andy Sullivan in his homeland earlier this year, I’m beginning to side with Grace. His putting on these grainy, South African bentgrass greens is consistently of the highest standard and he has also won at Fancourt Links and Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Unfortunately the bookmakers agree and have Grace as short as 9/2 with Charl at 13/2. I expect Grace to win and there is no question that he is prolific as he has shown he can get over the line very easily in European Tour events with 6 wins already to his name. But I’m not convinced that I can wade in at 9/2 in a full field when there are some talented, proven winners lining up
With 5 places to fill it is worthwhile trying to find a decent each way price down the market for a single but as I can’t see anyone else winning I think my main focus will be on the doubles using both Grace and Schwartzel. However with the grainy greens that I have already mentioned I thought I would have a look to see who had the fewest putts in last years Tournament. It was Andrew Curlewis who finished in a tie for 16th place so I decided to dig a little deeper. He only hit 56.9% GIR here last year to rank in 65th place but this year on the Sunshine Tour in SA he sits in a lofty 9th place for the season with 74% of greens hit. With this improvement in his iron game and having shown a strong liking for these greens I think he could easily grab himself a Top 10 finish.His form figures in SA are 2-9-32 so he is playing well enough to also throw a very small bet on him to win just incase he does go well and sneaks a place.
It was at this tournament last year around the same course (The Australian Golf Club, Sydney) where I first realised just how good Jordan Spieth was going to be. His closing 63 to win by 6 shots on a course that was playing very hard and fast was nothing short of genius. The next best round was a 68 and only 16 of the 76 strong field broke par. I immediately started backing him for The Masters and his 2015 just went from strength to strength after his Augusta win. Spieth himself credits his win down under with pushing him towards such success so he was always going to make the journey back to defend his title at the same course. I can’t see past him this week as it is a relatively weak field and the only other world class player lining up, Adam Scott, could only finish 5th last week in an even weaker event.
He is a very, very short price but I don’t see who can actually stop him winning on a course he took apart last year and on greens where his amazing putting year started. The only question mark is that we haven’t seen him defend a title yet. However I’d expect the great memories to far outweigh any pressure he may feel and he is young enough to have the energy to cope with being in the spotlight whilst also putting together 4 good rounds. . But it’s nearly impossible to go backing a 15/8 shot in full golf field when he could conceivably get injured on the first hole. The price just simply doesn’t leave enough wiggle room for occurences out with his control. Although I can’t oppose him when I expect him to win so I will include him in the each way doubles (albeit his each way price is even worse!) along with Adam Scott and increase the stakes to allow for the ridiculously short yet merited prices. Scott’s record of placing in his homeland is excellent and with Spieth bringing the spotlight to Sydney this week he will be determined to give a good showing.
Spieth’s short price does throw up some decent value in the each way market. Brett Rumford finished 3rd here last year and 6th at The Australian Masters last week. That mix of current and course form is enough to suggest some value in his top 5 price of 8/1.
Marc Leishman looks worth consideration but is probably a shade too short even for an each way play at 18/1 so I will leave it at the one place bet.
I will go with the highest stake on the Grace + Spieth double as I really do expect them both to win however obvious that may sound. The stakes for the others will be tweaked according to confidence and price so that a placed finish for Grace and Spieth will recoup most of the stakes on the doubles. If all four finish in the Top 5 in their respective Tournaments then stakes will be doubled. It’s not a week to make us rich but with good profit from last week I’m interested to see how this tactic plays out where the two markets are rightly dominated by the favourites.
I will also throw in a place double with Rumford Top 10 and Romain Wattel Top 10 in South Africa. Wattel’s long game was in great shape towards the end of the season as he was hitting greens for fun. His putting woes shouldn’t stop him going well here this week.
Summary of Bets
Alfred Dunhill Championship
Andrew Curlewis – 0.25pt ew 300/1, 1pt Top 10 18/1, 1pt Top 20 15/2
Brett Rumford -1pt Top 5 at 8/1
3pts ew double Grace (9/2) + Spieth (15/8) at 14.8/1
1pts ew Schwartzel (13/2) + Spieth at 20.5/1
1ptw ew Grace + Scott (13/2) at 40.25/1
0.5pt ew Schwartzel + Scott at 55.25/1
1pt Top 10 double Wattel + Rumford at 16.33/1
Weekly outlay – 15.5pts
Total pts advised – 300pts