WGC Dell Technologies Match Play and Hero Indian Open – Betting Preview

Both Jazz and Kieffer returned the each way money last week but things could have been even better as they were poised in 3rd place entering the final round. Hend holed two monster putts on his front 9 though and after a couple of other huge tree breaks it never really looked like anything but his day.

On the PGA Tour all the picks did terribly and missed the cut so we won’t dwell on that…..

This week we have 3 events to look at where I’ve got at least one bet in each, the WGC Match Play, Hero Indian Open and the PGA Tour alternate event in the Dominican.

2019 pts advised = 132

2019 pts returned = 142.75

ROI =8.14%


WGC Match Play

The WGC Match Play is settled into the new format now and that’s what 64 of the world’s best face again at Austin Country Club in Texas. They have been drawn into 16 groups of 4 with only the group winners advancing to the last 16 knockout stages over the weekend. They will each play one match a day from Wednesday to Friday so please note the early start this week. The course was designed by Pete Dye and the par 72 course sits at 7169 yards and is rather spectacular to the eye. It is a parkland course set along sprawling hills giving rise to elevation changes and undulating fairways very akin to some British links courses. There are also a lot of deep, menacing bunkers that give it a further links appearance. There are some driveable par 4s as well as 4 relatively short par 5s.

Whenever a course has elevation changes then distance control becomes absolutely paramount. As we have come to expect from Pete Dye designs (Sawgrass, RBC Heritage, Whistling Straits, PGA West), the greens are relatively small and they are undulating and tiered. Accurate approach shots will be required to find the correct portion of the green to allow a makeable birdie putt. But there will be many flags that simply have to be avoided with run-offs and green side bunkers aplenty. There are several examples of very aggressive players who play well in match play but similarly steady players that keep mistakes to a minimum can also thrive in the format. Just like stroke-play there are often different ways to succeed on a course but from what we have seen in the three editions in Austin so far, aggression and power are very advantageous indeed.

If we look at the three winners to date in Austin then something very obvious stands out (Bubba, DJ and Day). They are all elite bombers who were enjoying very good seasons and had all won that year already. They had all won majors and multiple WGC events. Despite the somewhat fortuitous nature of match play golf none of the winners were even close to a surprise. The new format may also have something to do with that but I’m not looking too far down the market for my main bets and I’m keeping with the same profile that has succeeded in the previous 3 events.

Genesis Open - Round Three

I suppose the obvious place to start would be with the two favourites Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson. Two of the most powerful players on Tour, both have won this year, both are in great form and both have won this title before. Yet despite my wish to stay at the head of the market I don’t think I quite want to be backing them at just 10/1 in this type of event where 4 of your best rounds guarantees nothing. You would also surely get a better price just backing him to win each match and then reloading the returns (not that simple as 3 group wins not required but hey ho). It isn’t quite the crap shoot some will suggest but a difficult group and one poor round can still send you home on Friday. Instead I’m going for the next player in “strokes gained: total” and that is Justin Thomas at a more appealing 20.0 win only on the exchange. He doesn’t quite have that 2019 win but he fits the profile perfectly apart from that. He isn’t having his best season with the driver, only ranking 38th in strokes gained: off the tee, but that has been met with yet further improvement in his iron game as he currently sits 4th on Tour in strokes gained: approaches. Thomas also ranks 10th in scrambling and 1st in par 5 scoring. That is a very strong combination if he brings his A game to Austin this week. In his early career he didn’t particularly stand out as someone who thrived in match play but we have to re-evaluate that given the heights he hit in 2018. Not only did he make the semi-finals here, losing only to the winner, but he refused to wilt in Paris at the Ryder Cup. While his team-mates were spraying the ball everywhere at Le Golf National, Thomas stood up and showed how adaptable he has become by taking 4pts from 5. I think the new Thomas that we have seen over the last 2 years is one that will be a formidable match play opponent for years to come and he looks to have a great chance of grabbing his second WGC this week.

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Instead of having a few big each way picks I’m having another win only from the top in the shape of big Jon Rahm. His form has taken a huge upturn in the last month having started 2019 rather slowly. He does have a win this season but just not a PGA Tour recognised event despite the Hero World Challenge being an elite field. Rahm also showed his suitability to the course on his debut when he marched to the final only to find DJ just too good. I imagine expectations would have been very high last year for the cocky Spaniard so a group stage exit might have given him a reminder that you can’t get everything your own way in Match Play. His numbers have also been improving and he ranks 2nd in strokes gained: off the tee which is crucial. If he brings the approach game that we saw at Sawgrass then I’d expect another strong showing like 2017.

It is surely a matter of time before he starts winning big titles and these days the ideal preparation for winning a major seems to be winning a WGC. With a reasonable group he should make it through to the knockout stage and nobody in the field would relish playing him head to head this week. Both Rahm and Thomas are in the tough half of the draw and on paper would face DJ and Rory in the semi finals respectively. But there will be chances to hedge if we make it that far and I’d give them a good shot at winning those matches anyway.

Backing outsiders in this can very quickly go wrong and Abraham Ancer might just lose his first match to Paul Casey to all but lose the bet. But at odds of 125/1 with 8 places he surely makes the last 8 more than just once in 26 attempts from this group. Therefore I think we are getting a very solid each way price but I also think he will be suited to a match play event in Texas. You don’t win an Australian Open without having both a strong short game and ability to play in the wind. Both those attributes will help him this week and if he can avoid defeat to Casey he might just play his way into this Tournament. Ancer is a long enough driver of the ball but he is also accurate and ranks 23rd in strokes gained: off the tee. That is always valuable at Austin Country Club and he was last seen finishing 12th on another Dye course at Sawgrass. He ranks 29th in scrambling and 44th in strokes gained: approaches for the season. He doesn’t have much match play experience of any note but that hasn’t stopped a few debutants running deep in this event before. Worth a little go in the hope Casey maybe isn’t fully wound up on Wednesday after his Valspar win on Sunday.

Benny An was on my short list for this but was then given a pretty awful draw alongside both Tommy Fleetwood and Louis Oosthuizen. However the way An has been playing, particularly scrambling, I think he maybe still has a chance. Fleetwood has been putting probably as poorly as An himself so that match will be interesting on the greens. Oosthuizen finished runner-up to Casey at the weekend but he only hit 6 of his greens in regulation on Sunday and he wasn’t much better through the week. Oosty will have to improve his approach play if he wants to get out of a group that features 3  tee-to-green machines. If Benny can hole a few putts (I know, fat chance of that!) then I think he can get more competitive than his price suggests. He sits 11th in strokes gained: off the tee, 50th in approaches and he is 2nd around the green. Small stakes each way at 100/1 and cross our fingers!


Hero Indian Open

The DLF Golf and Country Club in Delhi is probably about as quirky and trappy a course as we will see in professional golf and therefore punters have learned it’s not an event to waste that much time on. The propensity for event ruining bad bounces off a rock means that fortune certainly plays its part more than it does at other events. Although that shouldn’t detract too much from the two very deserving winners the course has thrown up.

With all this in mind then the best angle in is probably to play a couple of bigger prices. However there aren’t too many that I like the look of so instead I’ve decided to go with two in form players that owe me nothing after returning the place money last week. Both Sharma and SSP arrived in decent form so with good GIR numbers last week, Jazz Janewattananond and Max Kieffer appeal again. They are both fairly horrible prices at first look, especially for 2 players chasing their first ET win. But we have to be flexible on a week like this where the field strength isn’t great and Jorge Campillo is among the favourites. If I wasn’t playing with last week’s profit I could maybe pass but both should enjoy this test and they showed that last week with Kieffer ranking 2nd in GIR and Jazz 1st in driving accuracy. Jazz actually also came 3rd for putting despite missing practically everything on Sunday. His whole game really is in great shape and given he didn’t look like he was scared to win I make him the man to beat this week. Take Kieffer as a solid each way back-up plan again.


Corales Puntacana Championship

Just the one pick here that interests me in the alternative event and that is Curtis Luck. The event the last couple of years has turned into somewhat of a short game battle and few in the field are better equipped than the young Aussie. He isn’t the best ball-striker in this field by any stretch but with wide open fairways and big, straight-forward paspalum greens, the majority of the field will be finding a high number of greens. He finished 13th last week at the Valspar which was his best finish of the season. He was 3rd in putting and 12th for scrambling. If we see that level of short game again then he should relish this course.


Summary of bets

WGC Match Play

Justin Thomas – 2.5pts win @ 20.0 on Exchange (anything down to 17.0 looks fair)

Jon Rahm – 2pts win @ 20.0 on Exchange (again anything down to 17.0 fine)

Abraham Ancer – 0.75pt ew @ 125/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Betfair/Paddy Power)

Benny An – 0.5pts ew @ 100/1 (1/5 odds 8 places)

Hero Indian Open

Jazz Janewattananond- 1.5pt ew @ 16/1

Max Kieffer – 1pt ew @ 22/1 (both 1/5 odds 7 places)

Corales Puntacana

Curtis Luck – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)

 

Weekly points advised = 14pts

 

@theGreek82

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Valspar Championship and Maybank Championship – Betting Preview

Kevin Kisner looked likely to contend for 53 holes until he double bogeyed the last on Saturday. That seemed to take the wind out of his sails and then he stuttered to 22nd place on Sunday. Kuchar treaded water all weekend while in Kenya Erik Van Rooyen threw in a very unexpected howler to miss the cut. Jensen probably out played his odds but every time he got close to contention he made a timely bogey. No returns for the week as we get ever closer to Augusta and the PGA Tour prepares with a really solid test of golf at the Valspar.

2019 pts advised = 122

2019 pts returned = 122.75

ROI = 0.60%


Valspar Championship

The PGA Tour’s next Florida stop is Copperhead GC at Innisbrook, Palm Harbour and it is quite a fitting venue with Augusta just 3 weeks away. While the greens won’t play quite as firm and fast as Augusta, the Copperhead course does have some difficult green complexes itself. They were some of the hardest to hit on Tour last year and the similarities don’t stop there. Both are lush green, tree-lined courses with several dog-leg left holes and plenty of the elite players in the field will be teeing up with a view to some Masters preparation.

The course is a little narrower than Augusta though without the huge landing areas off the tee. This makes it a rather classic course and it is usually a course that takes plenty of learning with an underlying strategic element. Scoring is also similar to the Masters with the winning mark having been between -7 and -14 the last 7 years. The winners often tend to be top class and if they aren’t a major winner then they are usually players who enjoy a difficult championship style course where par is a good score on any given hole.

Gary Woodland isn’t really the sort of tactical plodder that I’m looking for but there is no question that he is learning to control his aggressive style a little as he enters his 11th year on Tour. His long-game numbers are the best they have ever been this year as he ranks 3rd in GIR with an impressive clip of 74.5%. In previous years Woodland would aim at pretty much every flag but it seems like he is taking a more considered approach recently. With such an impressive approach game I think he will be relishing a return to the course where he won his first PGA Tour event.

The odds aren’t flashy at 25/1 but he looks to me like the sort of level of player who will really be here to win this week rather than hone their game for bigger weeks that follow. Always heralded as a future major winner Woodland would be in keeping with the big name winners at Copperhead and appeals as a solid each way bet with 8 places.

Michael Thompson went off a silly short price three weeks ago at the Honda Classic and twitter did it’s thing and mocked anyone taking 40/1 about the 1-time PGA Tour winner. It’s obviously no exact science at what odds any player can be backed on any given week but with a 33-year old journeyman like Thompson perhaps the picture is somewhat less muddied. Backing him at 40/1 is simply not a route to long-term profit. However off the back of two poorer efforts he is pushed out to 100/1 here and I’m just about ok with backing him at that price as all the positive criteria from prior to the Honda remains applicable.

Thompson is normally renowned for his excellent putting ability but this year it has been his ball-striking that has been impressing and lifting him up leaderboards. He ranks 31st in driving accuracy, 50th in strokes gained: approaches and 44th in proximity to the hole. Jim Furyk noted that holing out was very difficult around Copperhead with lots of breaks around the hole. Thompson ranks 28th in putting inside 10ft so he should also handle those difficult par saves this week.

I noted last year how lots of the Valspar winners had finished inside the top 20 at the 2012 US Open at Olympia Club and Thompson was runner-up there, very nearly surprising everyone and winning. It is a short, narrow classical layout where everyone really had to plot their way around and choose their battles with regards attacking the flags on small undulating greens. The test is somewhat similar at Copperhead and I believe it gives him another chance to try to grab his 2nd PGA Tour win.

I was just going to post two bets but I noticed Scott Langley at odds of 250/1 just at the last minute. Considering his early season form that seems a bit ridiculous even if he has missed two of his last three cuts. He made the cut at the Players last week though and while he hasn’t played here for a few years he was 3rd in 2014. The clincher for me was that he finished 29th at the 2012 US Open too. Too big a price to ignore even if he does miss the cut.


Maybank Championship

After the second part of the Middle East swing concluded in Qatar the European Tour jumped down to Kenya last week and it is on the move again to conclude it’s Asian swing. The first stop is Malaysia and the Maybank Championship from the Saujana G&CC in Kuala Lumpur.

The Maybank Championship has had just two previous editions in its current guise at this course and they were won by Shubhankar Sharma and Fabrizio Zanotti. Saujana has hosted previous Malaysian Opens however with Thongchai Jaidee (2x), Vijay Singh and Peter Hedblom being among the winners.

The course is a very fiddly one with the majority of holes having their fairways carved out of the jungle so we won’t see drivers on every hole and a degree of strategy will be required off the tee. After finding the correct portion of the fairway the test doesn’t stop there as the green complexes are said to be some of the toughest in Asian golf. They are small, undulating, fast and well protected by a mix of water and sand. This week it’s all about accurate types with brilliant short games and that is exactly what the inaugural winner is all about. Zanotti is a short hitter who struggles to compete on lots of the modern courses. But throw him on a more strategic layout where touch is required around the greens and he can compete with the best on the European Tour. Thongchai Jaidee would usually fall into that category too so we can be fairly confident that a sharp short game is an important attribute around Saujana. If looking at just one stat however, greens in regulation would be the way to go this week.

For designer links the course was the work of Ronald Fream who also designed the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club. It hosts the Singapore Open and was seen just two weeks ago when Jazz Janewattananond beat a strong Asian Tour field. It is a more open course but it also has difficult greens and the same hot and humid conditions. That leaderboard is worth a look given the two events’ close proximity to each other in the schedule.

It is worth remembering that playing in Asia doesn’t suit everyone at all and there are lots of golfers who feel more comfortable in certain parts of the world. Some European Tour golfers play well in the U.K., some play well in the desert or South Africa while some play their best anywhere away from Europe. Form in the humid conditions of Asia is certainly a worthy string to the bow this week so if your fancy has never recorded a Top 10 or even a Top 20 in this part of the world then it is probably unlikely they are going to suddenly take to the often stifling conditions and more strategic courses. The course also features lots of elevation changes and with all the difficult terrain I expect the less fit and perhaps older players might well struggle.

The young Thai Jazz Janewattananond turned professional at just 15 back in 2010 and his early career had plenty of hype along with it. However it was his Singapore Open win in January that suggested he might be ready to get his break out European Tour win. Jazz beat a fairly strong field that included Paul Casey, Sergio Garcia and Matt Fitzpatrick. Those 3 have forged their careers out of accurate tee-to-green games and that is required at both Sentosa GC, which hosts the Singapore Open, and here at Saujana GC. He is a player that has enough power when needed but now in his 9th season as a professional he is learning to harness it as required and therefore doesn’t bomb it off the tee. The week of that win he ranked 3rd in driving accuracy, 1st in GIR and 11th in scrambling. He has held his form well since then going 27-13-4 and his season stats are also excellent for this test; he ranks 31st in DA, 18th in GIR and 26th in scrambling. Jazz has played here twice before and his form is at least trending having missed the cut on his debut before a 39th last year. With confidence booming I’m expecting another big week from him providing he manages a half decent week with the putter which is often his weakness. Neither of the previous winners ranked inside the top 20 in putting however so if he hits his usual high percentage of fairways and greens that could be enough to contend. I did think we might get better odds than 40/1 but it seems the bookies are giving that Singapore Open win a lot of respect and to be honest as a single piece of form it is better than a lot of those above him in the market. Therefore he’s probably a solid enough bet when we factor in his potential too.

Max Kieffer has some trending course form as well as impressive recent form and that makes the German of interest here even at just 50/1. Kieffer has been a pro now for 9 years but is still relatively young at just 28 so there is still lots of time for him to fulfill his potential. It looked like just a matter of time as to when he would get his first ET win when he lost an Open De Espana play-off in 2013. But as we have seen so many times, injury and loss of form saw him plummet down the rankings as he became one of the many forgotten names on the European Tour. Kieffer has come flying back however over the last 6 months or so and his game is very consistent at the moment. His last 8 results are 14-2-57-MC-22-60-54-5 and having finished 11th at Saujana last year he should be confident of continuing his form. Again his season stats set up very well for this sort of test ranking 24th in GIR, 20th in DA and 11th in scrambling. Betfair are paying 7 places with their 50/1 and that looks a good each way bet.


Summary of bets

Valspar

Gary Woodland – 1.5pts ew @ 25/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Betfair)

Michael Thompson – 1pt ew @ 100/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Betfair and Skybet)

Scott Langley – 0.5pts ew @ 250/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

Maybank

Jazz Janewattananond – 1pt ew @ 40/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Max Kieffer – 1pt ew @ 50/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfair)

 

Weekly pts advised = 10pts

 

@theGreek82

The Players Championship and Kenya Open – A few bets

Coetzee and Van Rooyen both repaid my stubborn faith in them as they finished in a huge tie for 2nd place. Van Rooyen in particular though should really have done better. Unlike Harding, who only upped his game after he surely though he was out of it at -8 around the turn, EVR actually played very well the whole round and was right in contention. He just putted very, very poorly and I don’t even remember a putt on the back 9 that even looked like going in at any point. While it was annoying he showed a very impressive long game down the stretch while others were all over the shop. The win can’t be far away.

None of the guys in Florida ever looked like winning but the 3 who made the cut all flirted with a place, none more so than Benny An who finished T10th. Stenson showed plenty of signs that he is getting slowly back into form and will be worth keeping an eye on this week at Sawgrass.

2019 pts advised = 112

2019 pts returned = 122.75

ROI = 9.6%

I’m very low on time this week with Cheltenham and a couple of other things going on so just the bets again this week sorry.


The Players Championship

Kevin Kisner has had 3 poor Sawgrass results after losing a play-off on his debut in 2015 but the 2nd place makes a lot more sense to me though as Kisner is a bit of a Pete Dye specialist. He isn’t the longest of hitters but is usually very accurate through the bag, much like last year’s runaway winner Webb Simpson. Both his win’s have come on strategic layouts and he also has another runner-up at Dye’s Hilton Head.

Kisner fell away on Sunday in Florida but conditions were a little brutal by then. He ranked 3rd in GIR for the week though and that will have him in good shape for a return to Sawgrass. The last 3 visits he has arrived having missed the cut in his previous start but in 2015 he finished 28th the week before. Kisner was 23rd last week and looks a solid ew bet at 100/1 with Skybet’s 8 places. I also couldn’t put anyone off the 66/1 with Betfair due to the 10 places they are paying this week.

Matt Kuchar has won twice this season already and is playing some superb golf. He will be very confident of going well again as a former winner here. The one slight concern is that Kuchar often excels when there is plenty of bite in a golf course and the switch to March might not fully suit him. He scrambles as well as anyone on slick greens but his long game is also in fine fettle so hopefully it won’t make too much difference. Kuchar leads the Tour in total accuracy over the last 3 months as he sits 11th in driving accuracy and 6th in GIR. That is a potent combination around Sawgrass and yet again we can pick Kuch up at a very sporting price due to his unfashionable profile. There is as big as 60/1 around which is mad but given how much he loves a Top 10 I’m going to take the Betfair Sportsbook offer of 40/1 with 10 places.

 


Kenya Open

It’s broken record time again but given Erik Van Rooyen is one of the golfers I am in profit on I’m going to reinvest some of his returns from last week. I’ve not had a chance to look too closely at the course but from the pictures I’ve seen it does look quite narrow and tree-lined with smallish greens. That is what EVR is all about and this is a terrible field. It could be a painful watch on the greens again over the weekend but he also has the ability to win this by 6 with even just an average putting performance. It’s easy to forget this is just his 2nd year on Tour and it is that potential that means I’m just about happy enough to back him at a fairly shortish price here. Betfair are 16/1 with 7 places though and that is definitely worth a bet.

I’m also going to throw a few quid on a player who has impressed in small bursts on the European Tour over the last couple of years in Lasse Jensen. He has had 3 top 5s in some decent events and makes his 2019 ET bow here. He has played 2 events so far this year on the Nordic League but makes appeal here after his runner-up finish at the course in 2014. Worth a go at 80/1 given the little bits of class he has shown previously.

 

Summary of bets

Players

Kevin Kisner – 1pt ew @ 100/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

Matt Kuchar – 2pts ew @ 40/1 (1/5 odds 10 places Betfair SB)

Kenya

Erik Van Rooyen – 1.5pt ew @ 16/1 (1/5 odds 7 places Betfair SB)

Lasse Jensen – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)

 

Weekly points advised = 10pts

 

@thegreek82

Arnold Palmer Invitational and Qatar Masters – Betting Preview

A grim week last week as conditions were terrible in Oman with severe winds and we got a fairly random looking leaderboard. Over at the Honda the picks fared a little better and both Kang and Varner III were inside the top 25 going into the final round. The excitement didn’t last long though as they were both over par early on for their final round and things carried on in that vein.

2019 pts advised = 102

2019 pts returned = 110.33

ROI = 8.17%


Arnold Palmer

Very little time this week so just the picks.

I pretty much back Henrik Stenson here every year so despite indifferent form I think the normally reliable Swede looks huge at 55/1 with 8 places. His recent form at Bay Hill is sublime and it is almost the perfect course for him. It is all about tee-to-green and there were no more consistent golfers in that department from 2013 to 2018. This showed in his results here which read 4-MC-3-2-5-8 in that period. He has missed three of his last 4 cuts but hopefully that was just shaking off some rust. Another missed cut may well be on the way but I have to back him at this price, especially with Tiger having withdrawn now. His results coming in prior to his 4th here last year were MC-60 so seeing Bay Hill again should bring about an improvement again.

I wanted to back Patrick Cantlay here but for some reason he isn’t playing again despite it being an absolutely perfect track for him. Another relentless tee to green player who can struggle on the greens is Benny An and I think he looks like a great piece of value at 80/1 with 8 places. An has been playing very solidly for a while now and he hasn’t missed a PGA Tour cut since June. His Bay Hill form is very good reading 14-49-36 but I can see further improvement this year as his long game numbers are even better than usual. He has ranked in the top 20 the last 3 years for strokes gained: tee to green but this year sits in his best position of 11th having gained an average of 1.455 strokes per round tee to green. The putter will probably mis-fire again this week but Bay Hill is a course where poor putters can go well on fairly straight-forward greens, certainly compared to PGA National last week. They will be a lot slower and the event is going to surely be decided by the long game rather than putting.

Adam Hadwin’s stats don’t suggest he is performing all that well this year but he has made his last 7 cuts with the highlight being a runner-up finish at the Desert Classic. He skipped this last year but was 6th in 2016 when he led the field in total driving and ball striking as well as scrambling. Ranks 18th in par 5 scoring this year which is a definite plus point as the long holes are crucial at Bay Hill. Looks a shade of value at 80/1 considering the silly price he was going off a month ago.

I backed Correy Conners earlier in the season off the back of his stellar long game stats and I’m taking a chance again here at 350/1. It’s a big number on a course like this for a player who sits 10th in strokes gained: tee to green. It is often famine or feast with the Canadian as he has 7 missed cuts in his last 10 starts but also a 2nd and 3rd. Being a Florida resident I’m hoping that a return to the area and to bermuda greens can possibly result in a going week for him at a big number.

 


Qatar Masters

Qatar follows on from Oman last week and the skill-set will be very similar although I’d expect winds to be less severe. If you like a good wind player with solid links form who perhaps didn’t fare that well in Oman i wouldn’t be too disheartened however. There was a big draw bias which massively disadvantaged those who had to play 45 minutes of their 2nd rounds in quite brutal winds. Many players lost 4 or 5 shots during that spell which scuppered their chances and in several cases brought about a missed cut when going ok up to that point.

I’ve gone with a couple of my favourites again here and also kept faith with two from last week. Regular readers may well be getting bored of seeing these names but I’m stubborn if nothing else!

George Coetzee didn’t have to play in the worst of the wind last week but he chucked in a triple bogey on his last hole on Friday to fall to +3 and couldn’t recover in the breeze on Saturday. That was his first look at the course though and returning to Qatar I’m going to fire again. He has course form of 8-MC-7-12-5-2-35 and I really don’t see this slump of his continuing now that he has been injury free again for several months. He led the field in putting here last year just like he did in 2013 and 2014. He absolutely loves these grainy greens and with plenty room off the tee hopefully a good putting week will have him back at the right end of the leaderboard.

Erik Van Rooyen showed glimpses of a return to form in MExico and he makes a lot of appeal here at 60/1 with 7 places. I’ve written plenty of times in the last year that I expect him to win soon and he suggested last summer that it could well be on a links course. He was excellent for 3 rounds at Carnoustie on his way to finishing 17th on his major debut. Qatar has long been a good indicator for Carnoustie and I think it looks the ideal place for him to get his season back on track. It’s his second look at the course having opened 68-66 last year but he faded away on the weekend perhaps getting a nosebleed having not had much experience of being on a European Tour leaderboard. He is far more experienced this year and will be looking to push on from Mexico’s 36th place finish.

Zander Lombard stays on the team this week and completes my all South African line-up. That’s no bad thing though as they have accounted for 6 of the 22 wins at Doha GC. The reasoning is much the same as last week despite him not getting involved on a course that should have suited. Qatar should perhaps be even more suitable and again he has that Carnoustie form when he opened 67-71 at The Open to sit 6th at half way. Having watched his short game several times this season he is another South African that looks set to start winning on links courses at some point. His touch around the greens is brilliant and with wind forecast that will be crucial. He also ranks 8th in strokes gained: tee to green. I’m giving him a pass given the extreme conditions in Oman and will give him one more go at 66/1 with 7 places.

 


Summary of bets

Arnold Palmer

Benny An – 1pt ew @ 80/1

Henrik Stenson – 0.75pt ew @ 55/1

Adam Hadwin – 0.5pt ew @ 80/1 – (all 3 1/5 odds 8 places Betfair)

Correy Conners – 0.5pt ew @ 350/1 (1/5 odds 8 places Skybet)

Qatar Masters

George Coetzee – 0.75pt ew @ 66/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)

Erik Van Rooyen – 0.75 pt ew @ 60/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)

Zander Lombard – 0.75pt ew @ 66/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)

 

Weekly points advised = 10pts