16/02/2015 Hero Indian Open 2015

Nothing last week from Chawrasia, Kruger and Quesne over in Thailand. All three made the weekend but fell down the leaderboard after a mediocre Sunday. Quesne was the only slight annoyance, playing the par 5s in a shocking four over par for the week yet finishing as well as -5 for the tournament.

Anyway, can’t say I was that bothered as I didn’t see a single shot from the event given I was in Malta for the duration of the tournament eating and drinking my way through Valletta.

Three picks again this week starting with 25/1 shot Wade Ormsby. Australian Ormsby has a fine history here in Delhi having won the Panasonic Indian Open on the Asian Tour in 2013. He also has three top 20 finishes on this course over the past four years and comes into this week on the back of a T7 in Thailand where he only made three bogeys all week. The week before he also finished T11 in Malaysia so comes into this week with both excellent course and current form. Two other top 10 finishes at the end of last season in Perth and most impressively Turkey (alongside the ET elite) tells me Ormsby is due a breakthrough win on the European Tour.

Next up is Romain Wattel at 33/1. I backed this talented Frenchman at the start of the season in Abu Dhabi only for him to flop to a MC, new Nike bats and all. Further missed cuts in Dubai and Qatar have been improved recently with a T60 and T31 in his last two events showing me he is getting used to those new swish weapons in his bag. In the top 30 for both GIR plus driving accuracy and in the top 15 for driving distance last week, suggests all is coming together again for one of 2014 stars of the tour. In such a weak field I couldn’t resist a play.

Finally is another one of my favourite younger players, Spaniard Adrian Otaegui available at a whooping 90/1 with b365. Put simply, if you do not know this chap then a) you don’t follow me on twitter as I’m always championing him (!!) and b) you should look at how consistently he hits the ball long and straight. Last week in Thailand he finished a T25 – on his way he was 2nd for driving accuracy, 7th for driving distance and 4th for GIR. These are superb stats and tell me he is just a mildly warm week away with the putter away from a breakthrough win on the European Tour. I was on him last year at 300/1 on his way to a T12 in the rain ruined Portugal Masters – call it unfinished business…..

Ormsby 25/1
Wattel 33/1
Otaegui 90/1
09/02/2015 A few Cricket World Cup bets

I was lucky to be in India for the last Cricket World Cup. Eden Gardens, Calcutta

I was lucky to be in India for the last Cricket World Cup. Eden Gardens, Calcutta

Standard India TV interview before Ireland beat England, Bangalore

Standard India TV interview before Ireland beat England, Bangalore

No golf preview this week for three reasons – the first being personal – I’m off to Malta on Wednesday so won’t be actually watching any of this weeks event! Two; it is a pretty uninspiring field on a course we’ve not seen before on the European Tour. Three; the Cricket World Cup starts this weekend and that has well and truly caught both my sporting and betting imagination.

Still I’ve had time to throw a few quid at SSP Chawrasia at 80/1 and Julien Quesne at 90/1, both EW. See twitter for brief explanations why they’ve caught my eye for the True Thai Classic.
Anyway, onto the Cricket punts.

I won’t go into detail but I chose my winner several months ago at a shocker of a price (hindsight!) of 10/1. Pakistan…….the main reason was I fancied their bowling attack, led by Saeed Ajmal, to restrict sides to low scores through a bowling unit packed full of wicket takers. Sadly the mercurial spinner was banned by the ICC days after I placed the bet and although he has been cleared in the last week, he isn’t part of the WC squad. Still, Pakistan are in the weakest of the two groups and are all but guaranteed a place in the Quarter Final meaning I can always back their opponents to guarantee a profit from the last eight onwards.

If you want my opinion on who will win? Australia. With the emotional summer they have been through its surely written in the stars that Dave Warner will smash a hundred in the final to see the co-hosts win yet another ICC Global event. Behind them I like New Zealand, South Africa and England (in that order) The Asian sides will surely struggle with conditions though don’t rule out my Pakistani boys who for me are dark horses – if they can score enough runs!

Second bet is a great one if you have a Skybet and a Bet365 account –

Back NO player to score a double hundred at 8/11 (with Bet 365) but cover bet YES to a player making a double hundred at 11/4 with (Skybet)

Yep, you’ve done the maths. It’s basically a ‘free bet’ on NO thanks to this difference in opinion.

For the record there have been just four double tons in 3,597 ODI’s. All were scored in India by Indian’s on smaller grounds and flat as a pancake style wickets tailor made for high scores. Whilst I appreciate the game of cricket is changing what with bigger bats, field restriction changes etc and high score records are being broken all the time, there have still only been those four double hundreds in the last 635 ODIs. When you factor in most of the games in this World Cup are being played on some of the largest outfields in world cricket (think Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane) plus the fact some games will see the minnows batting first and getting rolled over for low scores, a double hundred by an individual batsman is for me a lot less unlikely than 8/11. Highest score in all ODIs played in this part of the world is 181 – quite a long way off the 200 mark.

Next up is fastest hundred.

You can guess the market leaders (Warner, Finch, Gayle, AB de Villiers, Kohli, Amla) None of them interest me in the slightest. I think the fastest ton will come a player who bats lower down the order. Top order batsman are for sure the best bet for most runs, but faster hundreds are likely to come when the top order players have seen off the two new balls and set up the innings for the middle order whackers to come in and blast it to all parts in the death overs. Also ODI cricket outside Asia tends to be more sedate at the start as the ball stays harder throughout the innings meaning sides will see off the swing and seam – in Asia it is vital to attack the new ball as a batsman meaning the top order players tend to be the ones with the high strike rates.

I also strongly believe the fastest ton is likely to come in games played in New Zealand (or Canberra / Adelaide in Australia) where the playing area is smaller. Naturally it is likely to be made by a major team smashing an associate nation such as UAE, Afghanistan, Ireland or Scotland around one of these smaller grounds.
With that in mind I picked the following for fastest WC ton –

Corey Anderson 25/1 – will bat somewhere between 5 and 7. Owner of second fastest ODI ton made a couple of years back against the West Indies in just 36 balls. The Black Caps play Scotland in Dunedin, Afghanistan in Napier. If they bat first expect fireworks.

Quinton de Kock – OK so he is an opening batsman which goes against the grain. But South Africa are slightly different given the chap who openers with QDK is a chap called Hashim Amla, who will look to just bat for 50 overs. De Kock gets full license to tee off with such a class, steady batsman at the other end. SA also play minnows Zimbabwe in Hamilton, Ireland in Canberra and UAE in Wellington. Three good chances for the young wicket keeper batsman to tee off.

Misbah Ul Haq 50/1 – incredibly he’s still yet to make an ODI ton despite passing fifty 38 times! A reputation as a bit of a blocker he recently smashed Australia round Abu Dhabi on his way to the fastest ever ton in test cricket history in just 56 balls. Pakistan play UAE in Napier and Ireland in Adelaide.

JP Duminy 100/1 – See opponents notes under his team make Quinton de Kock. A lot of Saffer attention gets put onto David Miller when it comes to late order smash-and-grab innings. A six hitter by nature, Duminy could easily smash a 60 ball ton against older balls given enough time.

Jos Buttler 100/1 – Owner of a 61 ball hundred last year at Lords, England’s wicket keeper (scoop shot and all) could destroy a tiring attack on a smaller ground. With England playing Scotland in Christchurch, Bangladesh in Adelaide and Afghanistan in Sydney, he has every chance of being promoted up the order if England bat first against any of the above nations.

02/02/2015 Maybank Malaysian Open 2015

No write ups for the past couple of weeks thanks to a busy time in the office plus a few other things going on. The bets have been going superbly, both in the golf and the cricket – thirteen cricket bets in a row have been winning ones (pretty much all advertised on twitter) and last nights win by Brooks Koepka in the States at 40/1 has seen me rack up over £1,300 profit since the start of the year. All good things will surely come to an end, but in the meantime it’s great to wipe out all of last years losses and more in the space of a crazy four and a bit weeks.

Four selections in Kuala Lumpur for me this week ranging from 16/1 through to 125/1. Off topic but KL is a fine city, spent a bit of time there backpacking in 2010/2011 and even managed a round of golf myself on the stunning isle of Langkawi just off the mainland of Malaysia……oh for some warm weather golf round about now!

Oh for some winter golf in Malaysia!

Oh for some winter golf in Malaysia!

I have one selection right from the top of the market – and no, it is not Bernd Wiesberger at the stupidly short price of 12/1! This must go down as the most ridiculous price of the season so far for a man who has consistently shown a weakness in contention over the past eighteen months. Sure he can flush it, but time and time again when he gets to the top of a leaderboard come the weekend he either starts inexplicably missing greens or missing multiple short putts. If he wins then good luck to the big Austrian, but at 12/1 I will certainly not lose any sleep if he does.

I do like one man a short price though – At 16/1 in a weak-ish field I’ll take an outright punt on Graeme McDowell. First of all there is no doubting the ability of the former US Open winner to get the job done with ten ET victories. Always a necessity when backing someone at such a short price! Secondly he played some fantastic stuff on his return to competitive golf last week, with a finish inside the top ten a reward for two excellent opening rounds before fading over the weekend. I liked how grumpy he got when in contention on the front nine on Saturday – he clearly wants to win again, no doubt feeling his last victory in France last summer was too long ago for a player of his reputation. Finally although he doesn’t have any course form here to fall back on, he has multiple top 5 finishes at Sheshan International in Shanghai, which shares the same course designers as this weeks layout. Oh, and a win in Korea – showing he can win in this part of the world.

Second pick is an old favourite from last season, Tyrrell Hatton at 70/1. The young Englishman, complete with a new hat sponsor for 2015, has gone from promising rookie to heavily tipped favourite of many punter in the space of a few months. No doubt this has been down to an impressive run of top ten finishes throughout last season, including two T6 finishes in a row at the DP Tour Championship and the HSBC Abu Dhabi events either side of Christmas. His last two starts in Qatar and Dubai have been disappointing (MC, T55) but some of his finest finishes last season came after a missed cut or poor performance the week before. A T2 in the Johannesburg Open, A T4 in the Scottish Open and T3 in Crans all came the week following a MC. An ever improving demeanour on the course, coupled in with the fact I strongly believe he will win this season means I’m happy to take a plunge on Hatton this week at such a good price.

Third selection is Morten Orum Madsen at a frankly disrespectful 80/1. I thought the Dane recovered brilliantly from an opening triple bogey in his fourth round last week in Dubai to register a T4 where many others would have plummeted down the leaderboard. This came just a fortnight after T12 in Abu Dhabi and a pre-Xmas top 20 in the Nedbank in South Africa. Most encouraging of all was his first place in the number of putts per round last week – always a key stat in picking any potential winner. He opened last years event with an 80 (!) but shot a 67 in round two which shows to me not only he can play this course, but like last weeks round four start, he can bounce back from adversity very quickly.

Final selection is a man I looked at long and hard at 300/1 but decided to swerve due to wanting to back other players. He is down to 125/1 this week, but David Lipsky is still well worth a punt in KL in my eyes. A T27 in Dubai with four solid rounds of 68, 71, 68, 71 showed last years Omega European Masters winner is finding some much needed consistency after an indifferent finish to what was otherwise a fine 2014 season. He was in the top 15 for both driving distance and total putts per round last week so in my eyes he is close to another big week. He has good memories at this track with a T3 in his first ever ET event back in 2012. Some of his best performances have come on these Asian-European co sanctioned events (such as Crans, Singapore, Hong Kong) so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him go well in Malaysia this week.

McDowell 16/1
Hatton 70/1
Orum Madsen 80/1
Lipsky 125/1


13/01/2015 Abu Dhabi Golf Championship 2015

I wrote two entries ago that it was time for a cleanse and a rethink in regards the way I had been punting on the golf. After a brilliant middle part of the year which saw 90/1 and 66/1 winners in the space of three weeks, I found myself backing way too many golfers at what I saw were inflated ‘value’ prices. It took a few months to slow down, re-look at my strategy and realise that I wasn’t actually picking golfers that I thought could actually win the event in question.

A New Year a new start – call it whatever you will but I picked just two golfers in South Africa last week (One led after round one, Jbe Kruger, and the other, Hennie Otto, finished inside the top 15) Both were realistic winners of the event, in decent (or excellent) form and both had pedigree at the course I question. Over in the States I couldn’t not back Patrick Reed at 22/1 in a field under 35 players.

Readers of this blog and followers on twitter will know I have a bit of a love in going on with the star of the US Ryder Cup Team plus self-proclaimed top 5 player in the world from Texas. It started whilst watching and punting on his victory over Henrik Stenson at Gleneagles and continued through to the HSBC event I attended back in November in Shanghai. Justine, his missus and I walked the course for the week watching her hubby finish a solid Top 20 – it was great fun and gave me a totally different insight into the golfer that the media love to hate. Trust me, the bloke is a born winner. Sure he may of said some arrogant / cocky things in the press in his relatively short career but I love that. Why not speak your mind? Sportsman the world over are dull as dish water, spouting the same old media trained garbage. Reed is a breath of fresh air IMO and should be applauded for his honesty and openness.
At 22/1 outright only he has got my golfing punting year off to a flier and has given me a brilliant base to hopefully build a profitable year.

This week the European Tour moves into the first of three events to be played in the Middle East with the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship starting on Thursday. It is a cracking event and one that I attended myself on the fourth and final day three years ago (see pic below!) when Robert Rock held off challenges from Tiger and Rory to register the most unexpected of wins. I was in the UAE for England’s cricket tour versus Pakistan and an early test finish meant I got to rub shoulders with some of the worlds best golfers for the first time. It is a fine course, though very long in places and I believe the par 5s in particular will play a key role in deciding the outcome of this event.
Three picks for me – I’ll be honest, narrowing down to just a trio of players was hard! Given the class at the top of the market (Rory, Henrik, Rose, Fowler, Kaymer) there are plenty of players lower down the pecking order that interest me. With recent winners including the very much unfancied Larrazabal, Rock and to a lesser extent, Donaldson, there is no reason why early season rustiness at the top of the market will not give real opportunity elsewhere.

Golfers I like that I didn’t press the trigger on included Wiesberger (80/1) Ilonen (140/1) Hatton (90/1) Pepperell (125/1) Grillo (80/1) and Bjerregaard (175/1)

I left them out for the main reason that I like the three below even more! And with the new year, new attitude theory I’m limiting picks to players I can envisage winning as oppose getting excited thanks to a price.

First up is a man that has missed the cut on his previous two appearances in Abu Dhabi but at 33/1 (also available at 40s) he was a must play. Frenchman Victor Dubuisson is long overdue a win on the ET again. His one victory in Turkey came some fourteen months ago and I’ve been waiting for a price above 30/1 to play him. I’m convinced he will follow in the steps of Luiten, Levy, Olesen, Stenson and Willett and register another victory before too long (all these just listed I mentioned as blokes I thought were close to winning again, but foolishly didn’t follow a hunch) We all know the class of the man, his Ryder Cup heroics alongside GMac in particular proved he has what it takes to become one of the best golfers of his generation. The course at Abu Dhabi should suit his eye, he hits plenty of greens and is a mighty fine scrambler and putter on his day. Form prior to Xmas was decent, with three Top 10s in his last 7 events. Undoubtedly good enough to win and that will be key for me all year when backing anyone.

Keeping with the French theme my second pick is a man priced at 66/1 who kept appearing at the top of leaderboards throughout the back end of 2014. Romain Wattel has yet to win a ET event but I’m of the opinion that if you keep putting yourself in a position to win, eventually those putts will drop on the Sunday and that monkey of a first win will soon be a distant memory. In 7 of his last 9 events in 2014 Romain finished tied 11th or better – this is outstanding consistency that few can match. Yes there are questions marks about anyone winning for a first time, but there’s no doubt he has the game to win at this level. He has made the weekend all three times he’s played this event – including a best of 14th in 2012.

Final pick is a regular selection of mine also available at 66/1 – Tommy Fleetwood. Like Wattel, Tommy was a model of consistency for large chunks of 2014. He could have easily landed us punters wins at Crans, Celtic Manor, Alfred Dunhill or Volvo China Open, with multiple top 5 finishes. Few players hit the ball better than the Southport man, both for distance, accuracy and irons into greens. As with most weeks it will be all about whether he can make those short putts when under pressure. Last years near misses, like Romain, I believe will only drive him on to that inevitable victory that is surely just round the corner.

Dubuisson – 33/1
Wattel – 66/1
Fleetwood – 66/1

VLUU L110, M110  / Samsung L110, M110

29/11/2014 Safe hands with wicket keepers

I touched upon an area of the betting market that I feel is open for taking advantage of last week. In ODI cricket wicket keepers are constantly in the game – whether it be catches, stumpings or making quick fire runs at the top of the order or back end innings slogging, they are arguably the most valuable position in any limited overs side.

I nearly took the plunge before the Sri Lanka V England series that is currently through two of seven games – Kumar Sangakkara has started like a train, making runs today and taking three stumpings in two matches. I was very keen on Jos Buttler, but thankfully after a slow start (just 28 runs and one catch) I didn’t buy his performance points. My main reasoning was the concern bad weather may curtail the matches from their full 50 overs, meaning run scoring in particular would be significantly less.

The way it works is one point for a run, ten points for a catch and a huge twenty-five for a stumping. At the start of the series you could buy the Sri Lankan legends points at 420 (needing to make an average of 60 a match to break even) and Buttler’s was priced at 310 (an average of 44 a match)

Feeling this was too high risk I decided to avoid and instead went in on Bangladesh’s wicket keeper Mushfiqur Rahim at 5/6 to make more than 42 points in the ‘Desh’s ODI against lowly Zimbabwe. It won out comfortably, and would have done again so yesterday as the little keeper bat made contributions with bat and gloves. Looking back at my P&L for the year, the Bangladeshi glove-man has won out for me several times.

A little research into ODIs this year showed the following performance point averages since January 1st 2014 –

Sangakkara – 56.6
Rahim – 53.2
Ramdin – 52.7
Dhoni – 52.3
U.Akmal – 50.8
Ahmed – 50.3
Wade – 49.4
A.Haque – 47.2
Buttler – 45.9
De Kock – 45.6
Ronchi – 45
Chandimal – 40.5
Utappha – 35
Haddin – 33.1
Saha – 28.7

What is noticeable from that list are several things – you need your keeper to always be in the game. Sangakkara is of course priced higher than any other on the list, but there is good reason for this. Not only does he bat at number three, meaning he nearly always bats whether SL are batting first or second – he also stands up to several spinners, bringing the hugely profitable stumping into play. De Kock meanwhile faces large numbers of fast and seam bowling meaning he rarely gets given the chance to take a stumping.

Likewise MS Dhoni is always in the game thanks to India favouring an attack of up to four different spinners. He is also world renowned as a finisher with the bat, meaning he will promote himself up the order even if his side is 2 or 3 down heading into a Power Play – again almost always guaranteeing a bat whether setting or chasing.

Denesh Ramdin’s figures are surprisingly very high – again he stands up a lot to the likes of Narine, Samuels and Benn, plus the medium pacers in Sammy, Pollard and Bravo give him a chance behind, often standing up to them as well. He has made two big contributions with the bat though, perhaps skewing the averages thanks to two incredible innings of 169 and 128 in the space of four matches.

What is noticeable though is how low Brad Haddin is – he must be a good sell (or lay) in any ODI match given he is the best part of twenty points down on the market wicket keeper rivals. Reasons? Well he rarely bats in the top order any more thanks to the Finch/Warner opening pair. Down the order he often gets sent out behind the likes of Maxwell, Faulkner and perhaps even Johnson who are seen as bigger hitters of the cricket ball down the order. Australia also don’t really have a specialist spinner – meaning our favourite booster of a twenty-five point stumping is all but out of the question.

Finally England’s Jos Buttler – I was surprised how low his average is compared to his rivals. He nearly always bats thanks to England’s dreadful top order plus keeps wicket in half of his matches in what you would think would be favourable English conditions for catching some knicks off the seamers. I guess you are looking at the original famine or feast cricketer that could win or lose you a lot of cash in a matter of 10 overs with the bat. Interestingly only Sangakkara has kept wicket in more matches this year than Jos (somewhat for England being inexperienced in ODIs)

With so much ODI cricket coming up over the next four months, including the ever elongated World Cup down under, I reckon with a bit of patience and a bit of common sense (conditions of pitch, how many spinners in side, current batting form etc) there will be a great chance to make some £££ out of the men with the gloves.
Number of stats / performances taken – 143

Tips –

Look out for Mushfiqur Rahim. Usually bats at number four or five, stands up to multiple spinners including one of the world’s best ODI spinners in Shakib Al Hasan.

Keep an eye out for Quinton De Kock. Six hundreds in 35 ODIs is Kohli-eque. Opens the batting meaning he will always get a knock. SA may not have world class spin, but on any pitch with bounce and carry he will make up with multiple catches against the likes of Steyn, Morkel and Philander.

Lay or sell Brad Haddin – an average of 33 points over 11 matches this year (including several against lowly Zimbabwe) suggests he simply isn’t in the game most of the time.


24/11/2014 Emirates Australian Open 2014

Just one selection this week in the golf. Was going to stay away entirely but one price stood out from a McIlroy and Scott favourite headed market. I promised myself I was going to stop using the value word but Australian Wade Ormsby at 60/1 with bet365 was a must play this week for me.

I backed the South Australian a month or so back in Perth at 90s where a back nine Sunday charge saw him nearly place – eventually finishing a tie for ninth. Since then he shocked the golfing world with a stunning performance in Turkey two weeks ago in the R2D Final Series, finishing a highly respectful tie for fourth after leading after the third round.

Most eye catching of all in Antalya was his red hot putter, finishing second in the field for putts per round and fourth for putts per GIR. He was also seventh in driving accuracy last week in Dubai after being fourth in Turkey. When you throw in the fact he was third for GIR in Perth three events ago, that shows excellent form with the driver, irons and putter within the last month.

Of course beating Rory and Adam won’t be easy, but the stats and recent finishes alongside high class players tells me Wade can go well this week.


23/11/2014 taking stock

Golf betting is still reasonably new to me.

I’ve been watching the European Tour religiously now for the best part of twenty four months and punting on it semi-seriously for eighteen of those. In fact twelve of those months have been pretty serious in regards wanting to do well and recording it as opposed to just chucking a few quid at half a dozen golfers a week in the hope of getting a couple of hundred of quid towards a holiday or city break.

As my poor followers on twitter will testify I’ve been moaning for the best part of three months now at ‘misfortune’, ‘bad luck’, ‘if only’s’ and such like. The truth is I’ve been too pre-occupied with buzz words such as value as opposed to backing who the hell I think will win a tournament.

Check out the end of the last blog entry for the DP Tour Championship –

‘I did like Stenson this week but at 17/2 he’s only back-able outright. I’ve left him out but if he starts slowly and I can get 15/1 I might jump on in play’

Instead of backing my instinct that Henrik would go well here yet again I found myself chasing so called value (I was convinced he would win this season at some point and was equally as sure it would likely be at the Earth course which he excels) Just two pre-event picks saw me invest £30 – around half of what I usually invest. By the end of the week I’d wasted a further £50 on Rose to beat RCB in his two ball at (½?!) to ensure I could get a free bet on him to win outright at 9/1. I chucked a tenner at Victor to win in play at 25s and somehow convinced myself Gonzalo Fernandez Castano would win in Japan (despite doing jack shit all year) with £25 at 25/1. Oh, and a courtesy couple of quid on Hoey as FRL at 140/1.

So from wisely selecting just two small-ish pre Dubai picks I ended up wasting a further £87.50 on several other players at various times across the golfing globe. Totally mental.

If I was willing to lose £87.50 plus the £30 on our two Ryder Cuppers to go well all of a sudden £117.50 on Stenson at 17/2 would have wiped out my years (or last three months) golfing debt and put me back into profit comfortably.

As I said at the start Golf betting is still new-ish. I’ve had some brilliant moments this year. A win on Kaymer at 90/1 at the Players whilst on a stag in Prague – happy, happy days. Five week later an each way and outright success on Jaidee at Nordea at 66/1 all but paid for a trip to Switzerland and China to visit new countries and watch some first class golf late on in the year.

There have been some nearly moments – Victor Riu at the Open de France led the event with 8 holes left at a whooping 750/1 EW that would have returned the best part of 2K. He double bogeyed his 72nd hole to finish a tie for 8th and drop out of nearly £400 worth of EW payout. Pablo Larrazabal’s collapse in Holland on the Saturday still smarts now – 80/1, decent stakes that again would have paid four figures. A T5 and dead heat was the least we Pablo backers deserved after an incredible first two days and decent fourth day.

Hatton and Fleetwood finishing in the top 5 in Crans – I was there witnessing them both just miss out on a playoff that Lipsky won out in such dramatic fashion. Hatton at 160/1 was inches away from birdie at 17 and 18 in his final round that would have seen him win the title. Again four figures.

Rickie Fowler second in both the US Open and Masters……..I could go on.

All of that paled into insignificance this morning as Bjorn dropped a shot on the kick in par 5 second and Justin Rose bogeyed the par 5 seventh a couple of hours later to ensure another losing week. When you also bear in mind I’d bought Australia’s wicket keeper points in the ODI but had to endure the Saffer keeper make a hundred instead (even though SA lost, which I also on!) I started to question my sanity.

Off I took myself to my golf club to practice my short game and get away from the frustration and disappointment of the golf and cricket punting that put bluely was starting to take the piss out of me. I even left my phone at home to get away from the end results as I knew the outcomes would not be what I wanted. Arriving at Burghill the clubshop computer was turned on and facing me – it was the leaderboard from Dubai telling me Rose had got to within one shot of Stenson with a couple of holes left, including the par 5 closing hole. Teasing bastard game! I’d cleared my head after some of my best chipping and touch I’ve ever shown over an hours practice and now I was hoping again…..falsely.

Anyway – the whole point of this blog is too clear my head. A fresh start. This morning I was going to chuck in the towel. This evening, sat at home with a cold beer after a lovely afternoon chilling out with my long suffering girlfriend, I’ve got some perspective back. It really isn’t all that bad. What I do need to do though in regards punting is stop getting so damn greedy.

Just because Jaidee won me £826 for £16 worth of investment does not mean that is going to happen every week/month. Just because I’ve lost a few silly/greedy cricket bets this week does not make me a bad punter or caller of a game I know shit loads about. I just need to slow down, think things through and more importantly only release my stake if I have the right feeling. Stop chasing value – of course keep an eye for something that is just plain wrong, but in the main only back what I can actually envisage unfolded in the near future.

Golf betting will be different moving forward. Less picks, more patience. Don’t be afraid to back shorter odds when course and current form dictates, they are like that for a reason. The Saturday curse I go on about is bullshit. Move on.

Cricket betting will be different moving forward. No more having a bet for the sake of it. Watch the play unfold, take your time. Huge swings in any game, take advantage of those moments when I can dedicate the time to be sure.

And back the fuck out of wicket keeper match points in ODIs that are not going to be rain affected!!

Trust me – there’s value to be had in that 😉


17/11/2014 Dubai World Tour Championship

Another blank week in Turkey last week. ROI since Abu Dhabi in January drops to -20% and is naturally starting to get me down a tad. Still, I’m up on cricket betting for the year and am seriously due a decent break so hopefully it will come during the season finale in Dubai.

Last week summed up the last two months. Players getting into contention, threaten to get into a solid position to at least place, before a poor couple of holes or a wayward shot into water kills all momentum and with it the opportunity to win some cash.

Pablo charged through the field with three birdies and an eagle in the mid point of his first round, getting into the top 8 before finding water off a par 3 and making a double. Disappeared down leaderboard. Jaidee went bogey-less for the first two days yet couldn’t buy a birdie on the back nine Sunday and couldn’t even get a top 20. Hatton was -7 and in third place after round one and was reasonably placed heading into his third round before opening with two bogeys. Finally Lowry hit the lead after an eagle in his final round before finding water on a par 3 and carded a triple bogey. Sadly pretty inevitable and by that stage I’d gone past caring or expecting anything out of the week.

OK, so nobody likes a sad story so lets move on.

Just two picks this week out of the field of 60 and both are multiple time tour winners who were on this years European Ryder Cup side.

Stephen Gallacher was someone I followed close up in Shanghai as he was paired with Patrick Reed for the last couple of days. His game looked in pretty good order at Sheshan and has progressive form coming into this weeks tournament of T36, T24, T15. His tee to green performance in those two rounds I watched in China at the HSBC was excellent and it was only a few short missed putts that cost him perhaps a place in the top 10. Two of his wins on tour have come in Dubai, at the Desert Classic, so he clearly loves playing in the Gulf. Last weeks performance stats suggest it’s only a warmer putter away from another high finish as Stevie G was in the top 10 for driving distance and accuracy plus 15th in GIR. 70/1 was about 20 points higher than I thought it would be.

Thomas Bjorn has had a quiet second half to the season but he appeared high up the leaderboard on the first couple of days at the BMW at Lake Malaren three weeks ago. A winner in Dubai (also at the Desert Classic) over a decade ago, Thomas has also won in neighbouring Qatar. We saw last week in Turkey that you should never right off experienced class as Miguel Angel shot up from nowhere as a 250/1 shot to lead after round one and hold on to a top five at the conclusion. Bjorn’s game might not be at his best, but in a field of 60 a price of 140/1 with bet365 was simply too high for a man who has won sixteen times on the ET. He opened the season with a win in South Africa at the Nedbank, hopefully the chain smoking Dane can do the same in Dubai this week.

I did like Stenson this week but at 17/2 he’s only back-able outright. I’ve left him out but if he starts slowly and I can get 15/1 I might jump on in play.

Gallacher 70/1
Bjorn 140/1


12/11/2014 Turkish Airlines Open 2014

No preview this week I’m afraid. Too tired from returning from Shanghai on Monday night and going straight back into the day job. Was going to sit the event out due to ATM issues and no bank card and the fact I’m on a shocking run……but a winning cricket bet returning cash straight into the bet365 account coupled in with some tasty prices means I’m on –

Larrazabal 80/1
Hatton 150/1
Quesne 150/1
Jaidee 18/5 (TOP 20)
Lowry 50/1 (FREE BET, WIN ONLY)


02/11/2014 WGC HSBC Champions 2014

Given that I’m flying out to Shanghai to watch this event tomorrow evening and that internet access in the People’s Republic Of China is somewhat limited, it might be difficult to post on wordpress or twitter! With that in mind I’ve been pretty quick to take a good look at the field that will assemble at the Sheshan International Golf Club.

I picked last years winner Dustin Johnson based upon the fact I believe length off the tee is a major advantage round what is another reasonably long course at shy of 7,300 yards. Shorter players can go well here as McDowell, Donald, F.Molinari and Poulter have proved but in the main smacking it miles is a big advantage here. Put simply you must make birdies (and eagles!) to win here – Johnson managed to win by three shots despite making 3 double bogeys over the four days but by smacking it miles off the tee, taking advantage of a couple of short par 5s and going into par 4s with short irons, he created plenty of birdie chances to still win pretty comfortably.

The weather might be an interesting factor. As we saw today at the BMW if the winds picks up then certain golfers shine through more than others. Levy’s collapse was no doubt partly due to a major swing in conditions whilst Ross Fisher (a wind/links specialist) shot a brilliant -5, some eleven shots better than the Frenchman to force his way into that unlikely playoff. Likewise if the course is just as wet as Lake Malaren was then once again the bombers will hold sway. This early on its looks like we could have a constantly breezy week with a bit of rain on Thursday and a lot of rain on Saturday. Sheshan isn’t as exposed as Lake Malaren though so I think length off the tee will be even more important come Sunday, whereas the wind might not play such as important a factor as it did at the BMW.

Here is a short-list of players I think can go well and will select for sure naturally based on price I can get before leaving Paris tomorrow night –

Patrick Reed – OK, so he’s not the longest off the tee but Reed is someone that I believe will win again, and soon. He is a debutant here this year but that doesn’t put me off one bit – he comes into this week still riding a crest of a Ryder Cup wave, plus a decent showing in Malaysia last week where he finished inside the top 30 that would have been better but for a final round of two over. This could work in our favour by pushing up his price. A multiple winner last season, including a WGC event, he has no worries taking on the likes of Stenson, Rose and Scott that will no doubt feature through the weekend. Down on birdie averages (80th) is a negative but 6th for eagles suggest he can make the major moves needed to win round Sheshan. Anything around 45/1 will be most welcome.

Jordan Spieth – 17th here last year, America’s next big hope is another player that won’t mind mixing it with some of the world’s best. A second place at Augusta plus strong showings at the Players and the US Open, there is a slight question mark about whether or not he has the strength of character to get over the line on a Sunday afternoon. All these near misses at Sawgrass, Augusta and G Mac’s fightback in Sunday’s Ryder Cup singles should if anything give Jordan the experience to get over the line again next time he front runs. 6th on the PGA birdie average list last year, he should enjoy the opportunity’s Sheshan will present. A WGC win could be the next step on the CV towards what will surely be several major career wins. I’ll be playing him if I can get 33/1.

Rickie Fowler – he might still only have two career wins to his name, but Fowler has been undoubtedly one of golfs stars of 2014. Top five finishes in all four majors, he played the combined events in the strongest under par than anyone else. His course form here is not great (55, 25) but his form at the end of the PGA season was just as eye catching as his major form with five top 10s in his last six events. 14th in last years birdie average stats, plus a strong ball striker from tee to green, Fowler won’t be afraid to go low here. I will be keen to play if I can get 28/1 but more than likely he will be shorter than that.

Pablo Larrazabal – Had a poor week at the BMW last week meaning the likeable Spaniard could go off way over priced this week. A winner of a HSBC event at the start of the year in Abu Dhabi where he took down the likes of McIlroy and Mickelson, Pablo has the skill set to go well at Sheshan as course form of 20, 37 suggests it may fit his eye. Not afraid to go low, he shot a 62 at the KLM Open at the start of September when I was on him at 80/1. A tied fifth there in the end was hugely disappointing, but a if a birdie-fest entails as expected, a warmer putter could see Larrazabal get on a roll. When you throw in the fact he can play in the wind and there were signs of a return to form in the Volvo Match Play, I’m hoping a likely three figure price could be an excellent each way play. A dreadful BMW including a closing round of +8 should at least get us that price.

Tommy Fleetwood – He let me down last week as I tipped up his three ball chances against Jimenez and Oliver Wilson only to shoot an embarrassing opening round of 78 and lose by 11 shots to Wilson! Still, he’s given me some of my best runs this year and I was surprised to see how well he actually played last week at the BMW despite finishing half way down the field – a three under 69 on Sunday in the wind was one of the best rounds of anyone in the field, this on the back of a 67 in round three. His stats were brilliant once more, finishing in the top ten in both driving distance and GIR. This is a man that has multiple top five finishes in the past two months and is flushing it as well as anyone. A stone cold putter let him down at Lake Malaren, but if that clicks then he could make a major step up in his career by winning a WGC. Hopefully we can nab a price of 80/1 if the market reacts to that Thursday 78.

Other players I like include Bradley (course form and a class act) Dubuisson (surely a winner again soon) and Kaymer (previous winner and multiple winner in 2014) but I fear all three won’t be playable at prices likely to be quoted.
So there we go – a good week desperately needed after a very poor run over the past two months since I followed Fleetwood and Hatton around to top 5 finishes at Crans Montana. Hopefully following a few of the above around in the flesh will help me head back into profit for the calendar year.

I’ve forgot what it feels like to pick a winner.

27/10/2014 BMW Masters 2014

This week sees the start of the European Tour Final Series – sadly for the organisers some of the tours biggest names are skipping this event for reasons varying from new born babies (Stenson) issues with former Management (Rory) and several big names choosing to play in the PGA-Asian co sanctioned event in Malaysia (Westwood, Casey, Sergio) Two events back to back in Shanghai kick start the final series with an event in Turkey prior to the finale in Dubai. I’ll be lucky enough to be heading to Shanghai for the second event, the HSBC WGC, but for now attention is on Lake Malaren for the BMW Masters.

Despite Wade Ormsby finishing a T9 and just a shot outside a dead heat EW payout, the truth was I was not in last weeks event in Perth after the 16th hole. Scott Jamieson was going great guns with just Olesen in front of him from the late/early starters until a bogey/bogey finish killed all his good work and momentum going into day two. My big hope Steven Bowditch found water on his third hole (the first shot shown by Sky at 4am!) and went on to record a double bogey 7 – simply never in it.

Thorbjorn Olesen was outstanding for three and a half rounds before getting slightly nervous around the turn on Sunday – some brilliant scrambling and a red hot putter helped save his (Danish) bacon as he powered home by three shots to win his second event. He was never really on my radar though despite having him onside a month ago in Wales. Perhaps his price didn’t appeal or whatever but truth be told I overlooked what was a very solid run of golf from Olesen – he only had one round worse than 71 in his previous 26 rounds going into Perth (and that was a 72!) and was clearly simmering. Hindsight is a great thing, but that now means we have backed Levy, Olesen and Ilonen in the weeks leading up to their victories.

With that in mind all three picks this week for the BMW Masters have been on the radar in the past month or so.

First pick at the longest price of 66/1 with several firms is Rafa Cabrera Bello. RCB is one of those players I look at most weeks, consider him at great length, then write him off as being too short. This week was slightly different as he was always on my radar for this first event of the Final Series for a number of reasons. First off is the fact he has course form – a T8 last year could have been so much better as he led the event after the third round alongside American Luke Guthrie. A final over par round of 73 saw the mercurial Spaniard fall down the leaderboard on Sunday, but there is more than enough encouraging signs that he likes the set up. When you throw in the fact he has another top 10 earlier in the season in China at the Volvo Open and that his last event was a T12 in Portugal (including an opening round of 64) the signs are good for Rafa heading to Shanghai. In those two rounds in Portugal he was 3rd in GIR through the field suggesting he is back hitting it a heck of a lot better than he did in Wales where I backed him only for a dreaded MC to occur!

Next up is my last winner – Nordea Masters Champion Thongchai Jaidee. At 35/1 I tossed a coin between the likeable Thai and ever present leaderboard hogger and fellow favourite of mine Tommy Fleetwood. With arguably the best current form of any golfer coming into this weeks event, the only thing stopping me pulling the trigger again on Fleetwood is the fact he has still only won one event on the ET. Jaidee meanwhile has won countless events worldwide, most recently as this summer where I caught him at a lovely 66/1 winner in Sweden. Course form of a T2 last year plus a T15 the year before is promising; as is simmering current form which reads 10, 16, 17, 32, 17. I had him onside for the Volvo Matchplay where he fell just short of the QF thanks to a Stenson eagle hole out from 100 yards plus.

Third and final pick is burly Irishman Shane Lowry, available at 33/1. I backed Shane recently at the KLM Open where he recorded a disappointing finish of T28. That was one of his worst finishes all summer as Lowry has reeled up numerous T10 finishes including a recent T2 at Celtic Manor in the Wales Open. Like Jaidee he has course form here in Shanghai with a T24 and a T5 to his credit in his two starts at Lake Malaren. Along with RCB he is a player that I have expected to win again on tour this year – why not this week?

Lowry 33/1
Jaidee 35/1
Cabrera Bello 66/1


20/10/2014 Perth International Open 2014

Another frustrating week with an overriding feeling of ‘what could have been’. After two days in Hong Kong both Quesne and Benson were right in the mix, both closing round two in a tie for 5th. Quesne in particular scrambled brilliantly on the greens on days one and two and I expected him to take advantage over the weekend – after making eight birdies on the first day he then managed to go twenty holes in the middle of the event without making a single birdie. Worse still he was four over par on Saturday through his front nine, playing himself from a position to go for the win to not even competing for a place in the space of two hours. Benson meanwhile was solid throughout, finishing a tie for 12, but never looked that threatening to the leading pack.

I managed to make back a chunk of my loses on HK and the Volvo World Match Play thanks to the Shriners Open over in the States. A late birdie charge from 40/1 in play pick Brooks Koepka helped win back some cash. Again, I couldn’t help but feel it could have been so much better as Brooks got to within a couple of shots of the lead on the Sunday before missing putt after putt for birdie and eventually fell comfortably behind after a bogey at 14. A late charge got him a nice three figure payout for a dead heat EW place but truth be told he once again showed signs of nerves when the win was there for the taking on the easier holes on that back nine. He’s a future winner for sure but for the time being he looks worth taking on in play when getting into contention.

As the ET moves ‘down under’ to Perth (a mighty fine city for the record, had ten days here during 2010 Ashes!) it is the final chance for the players to secure a win before the Final Series begins in Shanghai next week. Whilst the head of the market targets that win, others will be still trying to reach the top 60 for a place in the R2D and perhaps more importantly several also-rans will be hoping to secure their cards for next season by squeezing into the top 111.

Heading the field this week (all under 30/1) are Schwartzel, Dubuisson, Dufner, Willet and Australian Ogilvy. There is no doubt Victor is long overdue a second win but I’m not sure it will come after a long flight from the UK and a disappointing Match Play event. Even if it does happen in Australia this week, I won’t lose sleep at 14/1. Dufner played well here two years ago finishing miles ahead of third place as runner up to fellow Yank Bo Van Pelt. Coming back from a serious injury after a disappointing 2014, he makes zero appeal at 16/1. Shwartzel doesn’t win enough outside his native South Africa to justify 12/1 in my opinion. That leaves Geoff Ogilvy at 22/1 but I’m happy to swerve him for two much higher priced Aussies….more of that in a minute.

The one man at the top of the market I did short-list prior to the event was Yorkshireman Danny Willet. He ticks all the boxes required to win this week. Course form in the shape of a third place here last year – tick. Strong current form that includes four Top 10’s and two Top 20’s in his last ten events – tick. High GIR stats for the season (15th) and last event in Portugal (2nd) – tick. The fact I’ve felt strongly he will win an event this season – tick. But at 18/1 for a man that has still won just once? Sorry, but I cannot justify going outright only on anyone that hasn’t been a multiple winner in such an event. I expect he will go well – but I opted to back what I see as better value elsewhere.

Lake Karrinyup has hosted this event for the last two years. One statistic that looks like it might need attention is GIR. Last years event saw all the top 5 inside the top 14 for GIR. The previous year saw 3 of the top 5 inside the top 11 for GIR, with Dufner and Canizares being the exceptions to the rule – finishing 25th and 31st respectively, owing their fine weeks to red hot putters. Distance off the tee isn’t remotely important with BVP winning in 2012 way down the rankings at 58th in driving distance and last years surprise winner Jin Jeong even shorter in 62nd place. If anything being straighter is more important but even that isn’t essential with many in the top 10 for the past two events being as low down as 40 or 50 in the field for accuracy off the tee.

With that in mind we should have an open field where any type of golfer could win!

My first pick this week is a man I’m sticking with despite a MC in Hong Kong last week. After missing out on Levy’s win in Portugal I’m determined to catch Scott Jamieson during one of his hot weeks and am giving him a third week in a row. With a tie for fifth in 2012 on his only appearance here, Jamieson has course form that suggests he might like it in Western Australia. You know the other reasons for selecting him from the previous two entries so I’ll take the 70/1 on offer with b365 and hope it’s the week that Jamieson hits top form like he did in Portugal a fortnight back.

Second up is Australian Steven Bowditch. A high class performer and winner on the PGA Tour in Texas back in March, Bowditch will be keen to follow the recent history of home players littering the top 20 of the leaderboard at Lake Karrinyup. With a finish inside the top 30 at Augusta, plus a decent showing during the Fed-Ex Cup which included at T22 at the Barclays, the man from NSW should shine in his return ‘home’ to Australia. When you throw in the fact he was 2nd in the recent Frys.com tournament, I’d say he looks ready to win again. To get 40/1 for a recent-ish PGA Tour winner in this field would have been a good bet – to get 60/1 with b365 was a steal. He’s still available at 50/1 at the time of writing, get on quick!

Third is another Australian who caught my eye in HK last week. With two opening rounds of 67 which saw him inside the top 10, Wade Ormsby looked well worth at punt at 90/1 with b365. Despite falling away over the weekend, it was noticeable on the coverage on Thursday and Friday that his game looked in decent order tee to green, just a few short missed putts made Ormsby slip down the leaderboard and out of contention. With course form of 28, 39 plus the fact he has made 20/25 cuts this season, it should mean a decent run at an each way placing in Perth for Ormsby. Finally he was 22 for GIR last week in HK, not usually a strength of his. It suggests Wade is ready to make the next step up the ET ladder if that putter heats up.

Finally this week is American Daniel Im. Available at a huge 200/1 with skybet, Im is fresh off the back of a T20 in HK where he shot three rounds under par whilst placing strongly in the GIR stats at 15th in the field. With a season best finish of T7 at the Lyoness Open in Austria, he is a long way down in the R2D and needs a top 5 finish to keep his full playing privileges for 2015. We had an Asian-American in David Lipsky winning recently in Crans – at such a big price and decent recent form who is to say that Daniel Im cannot follow suit?

Bowditch 60-1
Jamieson 70-1
Ormsby 90-1
Im 200-1


13/10/2014 Hong Kong Open 2014

Winter must be approaching as we European Tour golf fans head into the time of year that sees us set our alarms at stupid o’clock to watch our picks do battle in sunnier climes the other side of the world. This week the tour moves East to Hong Kong – hopefully there will be no rain delays or shortening of the event after last weeks farce in Portugal and we can look forward to a full four days of golf.

To have Scott Jamieson (125/1) finish one shot and Adrian Otaegui (300/1) finish two shots outside an EW payout was and still is hugely disappointing. Both were tied 2nd after round one on the same -8 score that champion Levy was on – sadly my lads were on the wrong side of the draw as scoring became significantly more tricky for the early/late starters. Granted Levy played some incredible golf in getting to -18 in 36 holes, but to not have a full tournament after picking two players going so well at three-figure prices left a slightly sour taste in the mouth.

To say I’m feeling pretty hard done by recently on the golf punting is an understatement. In the last five weeks we’ve had Fleetwood and Hatton go agonising close at Crans, both finishing inside the top 5 with 160/1 man Tyrrell Hatton just a single birdie away from being in the playoff. Then we had Pablo Larrazabal at 80/1 leading by two shots at the half way stage at the KLM Open only to fall away to a T5. Gallacher got to the top of the leaderboard at Dunhill briefly on day two before falling away and Wiesberger arrived too late in the same event to finish T14.

Frustratingly I backed Levy in Italy and Switzerland recently and commented on this very blog that – ‘Frenchman Alexander Levy. I just have a feeling in my waters that he will notch up another win before the end of the season’ – not only that but I mentioned in last weeks Portugal Masters preview at length the importance of playing the Scottish Open well; imagine my frustration levels when I realised he finished T21 in Aberdeen this year! How annoying – 70/1 as well, more than enough value even with hindsight.

Anyway, that’s enough moaning. Onto this week and hopefully a much needed win can see me back into the green for the year.

The course in Hong Kong is extremely short by modern standards at sub 6,700 yards. There are only two par 5s and is the kind of venue where you not only need to be pretty straight off the tee, you need to pepper the correct part of the greens to set up birdie chances on the many par 4s. This is a bit of a ‘horses for courses’ layout where Miguel Angel Jimenez in particular has excelled with multiple wins over the past few years. Other names that seem to pop up regularly here on the top 20 or so of the leaderboard next to MAJ include Damian McGrane, Robert Jan Derksen, Marcus Fraser, Soren Kjeldsen – clearly whacking it off the tee is not remotely important here; keep the ball in play and be patient.

I’ve decided to go down the route of looking at other tree lined, shorter than average length courses to see if I can find any trends – in particular I’ve looked at Crans Montana (where Jimenez also loves to notch up multiple top 5 finishes) The Trophee Hassan course in Morroco and the M2M Russian Open course.

One man that stood out straight away was young Englishman Seve Benson. He has played this event once before finishing a respectful T18 last year, this after being T3 after an impressive first round. His best finish of the year was a T3 in Morroco and has also notched up a T13 at Crans this year plus a T21 at the BMW PGA Wentworth, another tree lined set up where positioning is at a premium. Before missing the cut at Dunhill and a low finish in Portugal, Seve finished inside the top 15 at the recent Wales Open. Just outside the coveted top 60 in the R2D, a big cheque this week could still see the young talent make the final series. I was delighted to take 66/1 with b365.

Next up is Frenchman Julien Quesne. Like Benson he has only played this event once before – a useful finish of T22 back in 2012 where he shot three rounds out of four in the 60s. The Italian Open Champion of last year has had a quiet 2014 with injury mid season hampering his progress in the R2D where he currently sits at 83. Recent form hasn’t been great but there are glimpses that Quesne is close to finding something, including a T29 at Crans last month and T32 at Celtic Manor. With previous top 10s at the Trophee Hassan plus strong hints of course form around Wentworth, he fits the profile of someone who should enjoy the layout. Finally we saw last year the French contingent motivate each other to strong finishes – with fellow countryman Levy winning last week citing Victor Dubuisson’s Ryder Cup exploits as a major boost, Quesne was a stand-out bet at 90/1 with b365 to bring home his third ET victory in what is a reasonably weak field.

Third this week is Scotsman Craig Lee. Despite missing the cut in Portugal last week (which I see as a positive heading East to Hong Kong) Lee had made the weekend of his previous nine events – despite this the talented man from Stirling that loves to go super low from time to time finds himself right on the edge of dropping out the top 110 and losing his full playing privileges next season. Whilst he’d have to be unfortunate to drop further from his position of 106 at this late stage of the year, he won’t want to take any chances what with dangers such as Bjerregaard, Rumford, Slattery, Santos and Otaegui pegging it up this week and breathing down his neck. Being his first appearance in this event there is a bit of educated guesswork, but a second place at Crans last year (where he lost a playoff to Thomas Bjorn) to go with a T9 and T14 in two of his three appearances at the Trophee Hassan make me believe Hong Kong could be just for him.

Finally a man I just could not leave out despite his price plummeting by nearly half to 66/1 from last weeks 125/1 – Scott Jamieson. With just one appearance here (a missed cut) I’m basing this selection on the fact that I need to stick with someone that did very little wrong last week. A number of short missed birdie and par putts on Saturday towards the end of his second round cost Scott a place for me, despite an opening round of -8. Other than Felipe Aguilar he was just about the best of the early/late starters that were robbed by the wet Portuguese weather. On that Saturday he was ‘flushing it’ tee to green according to Radar Riley on Sky Sports and clearly only the soft, bumpy greens cost him a run at Levy. His best result of the year was a third outright in Russia and he’s someone I believe can win this week in Hong Kong.

The other event this week is the Volvo World Match Play at the London GC in Kent. Just one pick for me, Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee was runner up in Bulgaria last year and in a field of just 16 he looks the value selection at 22/1 outright. Since placing this bet the draw has been made and his group will see him face Stenson, Coetzee and Molinari. Just as importantly he will avoid the dangerous McDowell until the Final, should they both make it of course. Jaidee is an excellent match play golfer with a star performance at the Eur-Asia Cup last year to go with that runner up at Thracian Cliffs. When you throw in the fact he continues to produce consistent results on the ET, 22/1 could look a lovely side bet come Sunday.

Benson 66/1
Jamieson 66/1
Quesne 90/1
C.Lee 150/1
Otaegui 100/1 (postscript, free bet added 15/10)

Jaidee 22/1


06/10/2014 Portugal Masters 2014

A disappointing week in Scotland for the picks despite 5 out of the 7 making the fourth and final round. Stevie G fell away over the weekend despite briefly leading the tournament towards the end of his second round and Bernd Wiesberger couldn’t get going until his back 9 on day three, eventually finishing a tie for 14th. 400/1 and 350/1 shots Fichardt and Kruger had tidy weeks, finishing T25 and T32 respectively but started too slowly to ever really be in with a shout of threatening the leading pack.

It was one of those weeks that gives great hope to any punter that likes backing outsiders as 500/1 man and former Ryder Cupper Oliver Wilson saw off the challenge of Tom Fleetwood (what does he have to do to win again?!) and Rory McIlroy. It really was one of the stories of the golfing and sporting year and seeing the emotion of Wilson at the finish you couldn’t help but feel delighted for him. As a high handicap golfer myself it just goes to show how important it is you carry on when the times get hard – Wilson had zero form and had made less than 10,000 Euros for the year. The win came out of nowhere and no doubt made many bookies extremely happy as there can’t have been many out there that backed the Mansfield man!

This week the ET heads south to warmer climes to the Oceanico Victoria Golf Club on the wonderful Algarve coast for the eighth version of the Portugal Masters. Last year I had three players inside the top 6 heading into the final round but Donaldson, Quiros and Jamieson all failed to post a low one on Sunday as Yorkshireman David Lynn posted a final round 63 to leap frog the leading pack.

As for trends out of the seven winners of this tournament four have been English and one has been Irish – backing a Brit looks a decent starter. I’ve also had a look into the form of the seven winners and it’s perhaps worth noting making the cut at the previous weeks Dunhill Links is a useful attribute (though last years winner Lynn finished T69 and missed the fourth round) Even more important is the need to have played the Scottish Open well in the year of their win (even if they’ve been hosted at different venues) with the following finishes in Scotland coming in the months prior to Portugal –

David Lynn T17 Scottish Open, T69 Dunhill
Shane Lowry T11 Scottish Open, T34 Dunhill
Tom Lewis Exception to rule, did not play either event
Richard Green T41 Scottish Open, T29 Dunhill
Lee Westwood T8 Scottish Open, T9 Dunhill
Alvaro Quiros T9 Scottish Open, T40 Dunhill
Steve Webster T8 Scottish Open, T15 Dunhill

With that in mind my first pick this week is a favourite of mine who I’m backing for the first time since he placed for me at 160/1 in Crans last month, Tyrrell Hatton. I’ve managed to grab 110/1 with b365 on Tyrrell to hopefully keep up the trend of Englishmen going well in the Algarve. With a T4 in Aberdeen this year he fits the profile of someone who should play this exposed course well. Tom Lewis won this event in his (very) early days on the full ET – two recent missed cuts for Hatton doesn’t put me off taking this three figure price as I believe he can register his maiden victory in the way Lewis did several years ago.

Next up is Scott Jamieson. At 125/1 with Bet Victor, the man who finished a disappointing T13 last year despite an incredible third round of 60 will feel he has a score to settle at Oceanico. He also finished T12 the year before here and even managed a top ten finish at Aberdeen this summer – practically everything points to a good week in Portugal for Scott, with just a missed cut at Dunhill perhaps the only negative.

Keeping with the Brit winner theme I’ve taken a risk on Ross Fisher at 50/1. Horses for Courses is sometimes an overrated terminology in golf betting but Fisher’s record here is brilliant. Four top 10s and two top 30s in his seven appearances with just one missed cut tells anyone Ross loves it here. It’s a slight risk of a bet in that he doesn’t fit the Scottish Open trend but he at least played all four rounds at Dunhill last week. His putter has been pretty cold all summer but he has still placed well in Wales and Italy recently. Perhaps a week on the Portuguese coast where he has such fond memories will warm that putter up and he can add to his five ET wins.

Fourth is Adrian Otaegui at 300/1 with SkyBet. The young Spaniard showed signs of decent form in last weeks Dunhill, briefly getting into the T20 during round three before falling away on the Sunday pay-day. Sitting at 120 in the R2D, Otaegui needs a strong finish to the season here and in Hong Kong to secure full playing rights for next season. With a T24 in Aberdeen this year as well as simmering form coming into this event (he’s made 7 of his last 9 cuts) I believe Otaegui can replicate and better his best finish of the year of T6 at the NH Collection in neighbouring Spain this week. It’s worth noting Otaegui was ranked the second best putter in the field in Scotland last week – never a bad thing!

I wanted to get Bernd Wiesberger on side this week but after viewing the price of 16/1 for the win, I looked elsewhere and found what I think is a great selection who is overpriced at 50/1 with Skybet. Finn Mikko Ilonen is a bit of a value pick that also meets the ‘played Scottish Open well’ trend having finished T16 this year.

Seemingly ever unfashionable, Mikko not only won in Ireland this year, he also excelled in the final major of the year, the USPGA finishing T7. Meanwhile Wiesberger continues to receive huge praise for his efforts at the same event despite finishing 8 places lower than Ilonen. Whilst Mikko might not have the eye catching course form of the Austrian that includes two top 3 finishes, he does have a T9 to his name back in 2010 as well as a T19 and T27 in his two other visits to Oceanico. When you thrown in the fact the Finn has two more wins to his name, at three times the price it was a no brainer to go with the generously priced 50/1 Scandinavian.

R.Fisher 50/1
Ilonen 50/1
Hatton 110/1
Jamieson 125/1
Otaegui 300/1


29/09/2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship 2014

The only pro-am tournament on the ET schedule kicks off this week north of the border in the ‘home of golf’ – the Dunhill Links Championship is played over three different course, Kingsbarns, Carnoustie and historic St Andrews. The cut comes after round three when all players have completed a round at each of the three venues; with just the top 60 pros and ties making the Sunday showdown at St Andrews, a fast start is essential. Recent winning scores have been -22 and -23 and last year -8 after round three wasn’t good enough to play the fourth and final round.

I’ve noticed two interesting-ish trends in recent years. The first being the winners of this event quite often missed the cut the previous time they played this tournament – 6 out of the last 12 winners missed the cut whilst that figure goes out to 8 out of the last 12 if you include their previous two appearances.

The second trend shows you don’t have to be in a great form to win here. The last three winners had form that read the following in the three events they played prior –

David Howell – 53, 41, 26. Branden Grace – 76, 96, 36. Michael Hoey – 76, 48, 52.

With the Ryder Cup hangover potentially affecting those at the head of the market, I’m more than happy to swerve Rory at 9/2, Kaymer at 16/1 and the flavour of the month Victor Dubuisson at 20/1. There is one Ryder Cupper I am going to back though, in the guise of Stephen Gallacher.

Stevie G had a well documented disappointing Ryder Cup, playing in just two matches out of a possible five and scoring a big fat zero points for his team. The 2004 winner of this tournament missed the cut here last year (so fits that trend) and has mixed form coming into this years renewal in his homeland. If one man in this field at the top of the market has a point to prove, its Gallacher. I’m happy to get on him onside at 33/1 with Skybet (as I had a free bet with them!) He is 40/1 elsewhere.

Next up is a man I am determined to catch when he finally adds to his two ET victories. Bernd Wiesberger can be backed at a very tasty looking 50/1 and with a 12th place finish here last year on the back of two missed cuts previously, I believe he can strike this week in Scotland. He has four top 10s to his name this season, plus a T15 in the recent USPGA and is surely due soon to register a third victory. He also won’t mind if the wind blows, as it surely will.

It’s safe to say my third pick this week, young Italian Matteo Manassero, has had an indifferent season. Away from a number of missed cuts no doubt bought upon due to a change in clubs, ‘Manny’ has still managed to chalk up some eye catching finishes on links courses (a T19 at the Open and a T4 at the Scottish Open in Aberdeen) I walked round with him during a decent third round in Crans the other week and his iron play in particular suggested a strong event was round the corner. At 125/1, I’m hopeful the 21 year old can notch up an impressive fifth career ET victory.

Next up is a favourite of mine and a player that surely is due a first victory on tour. Emiliano Grillo drives it long, hits it straight and peppers GIR for fun. The problem most weeks is a stone cold putter. Whilst this is of course a concern in an event that demands eagles and birdies, at 150/1 with Skybet, Grillo is a must bet this week for me. His form is decent but not outstanding, with three T30 finishes in his recent events (which kind of fits the three previous winners trends of making cuts but not threatening the leaders) plus he missed the cut here last year after a T29 the year before. At 53rd in the Race to Dubai, he’ll be keen to finish the year strongly to ensure a place in the T60 to make the Final Series. It’s also noticeable how much fellow Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez likes these courses, with four T13 or better in his last 8 appearances. Hopefully Grillo can go even better.

Fifth selection is another youngster looking to register his first win – Swede Kristoffer Broberg. The 21 year old is beginning to gain a reputation as a links/wind golf specialist in his fledgling career. With fine performances recently at the Scottish Open (2nd) Irish Open (T3) and the Open Championship (T32) Broberg fits the profile of a potential winner in this part of the world. At 175/1 with B365, he’s fantastic EW value.

Finally I’ve managed to pluck out two South Africans at huge prices. Saffers tend to do well here – Grace, Oosthuizen, Els, Schwarrtzel, Coetzee and Otto all have recent fine finishes in the Dunhill links. With that in mind first up at 350/1 is Jbe Kruger. A tied 11th in the recent links based KLM Open in Holland, I just cannot fathom his price here. With six other T24 or better in 25 events this season, Kruger could easily go better and push for an EW payout.

The other is four time ET winner Darren Fichardt at an eye watering 400/1. With a missed cut here last year and a T29 the year previous, Fichardt fits the potential winners trend even at such a huge price. Granted, his form isn’t flash but he did manage to shoot a 69 at the recent KLM Open showing not all is as bad as the price would suggest. At 61 in the R2D, Darren needs a decent pay day to secure a place in the lucrative series.

Gallacher – 33/1
Wiesberger – 50/1
Manassero – 125/1
Grillo – 150/1
Broberg – 175/1
Kruger – 350/1
Fichardt – 400/1


15/09/2014 Wales Open 2014

With the Ryder Cup looming next weekend, a stellar ET field takes to the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport to tee it up on the 2010 course, scene of a dramatic European victory four years ago.

Another ‘what could have been’ for the blog last weekend as 80/1 shot Pablo Larrazbal messed up once again on the Saturday, shooting a five over par 75 the day after a course record 62! That’s golf I guess, summed up as the mercurial Spaniard came back on the Sunday to squeeze in a dead heat tied 5th place. Were it not for a bogey finish, thanks to a wayward tee shot and a duffed chip, Pablo would have secured a full each way payout that would have made for a profitable week.

Despite measuring the best part of 7,400 yards, the 2010 isn’t a course that can be overpowered. Patience is the key here, with water in play on many holes and reasonably penal rough if you stray from the fairways. The tricky greens with well placed run off areas as well as a consistent, sometimes extremely strong wind protects the course from being torn apart. -9 has been the best winning score for the past three events here; don’t expect anyone to run away with this tournament.

Last years winner, Frenchman Gregory Bourdy, simmered away in the background, waiting until the final few holes to pounce on back in-form American Peter Uihlein to finish with three straight birdies to win by two shots. He’s 40/1 this week but I’ll be avoiding after what has been a pretty ordinary year for the holder.

In my opinion we will need to find a player that can play in the wind, hits plenty of GIR (key stat for last few meetings of this event) shows great patience and ideally comes into the event in some kind of form – oh, and of course has some value!

I’m ruling out the four European Ryder Cuppers this week for the sheer fact I don’t think any of them will be totally focussed on this event what with Glenagles looming large. Home hero Jamie Donaldson (14/1) makes very little appeal, especially given his disappointing finish in Crans a fortnight ago. Lee Westwood is arguably the biggest name in the field and can be backed at 18/1. As ever I’ll swerve this kind of price and lose no sleep if he wins. Scotsman Stephen Gallagher is 22/1 and an out of form Thomas Bjorn can be backed at 33/1 with many bookies and a generous 40/1 with Coral. If I had to choose one of these chaps it would be Bjorn who has course form here and will be looking more than most to find some momentum ahead of you know what next week.

Other market leaders I’ve ruled out to missed cuts at this event previously include Richie Ramsay (who has shown nerves in the mix of late) Bernd Wiesberger (three cuts in a row missed here) Shane Lowry (who let me down last week and withdrew here previously after a first round 81) and Danny Willet (missed cuts and has doubts over his fitness) All of these are priced between 28/1 and 40/1.

Paul Casey was outstanding in Holland last week but going back to back is always extremely tough. Joost Luiten has course form, is a fine wind player and has excellent current form over the past month. But at 14/1, again I’ll avoid. He’s my most likely of all the above to win this week.

My first pick this week is 55/1 shot Rafa Cabrera-Bello. The two time ET winner finished in the top 20 here last year and were it not for a final round 74, he’d have finished just a few shots behind champion Bourdy. RCB is 6th in GIR for the season and comes into this event after an up and down event in Italy a few weeks back where he shot a brilliant second round 63. On his day he can compete and hunt down players of the calibre that head the market this week – a third victory on tour is long overdue.

Next up is young Dane and wind golf expert Thorbjorn Olesen. An odd season for the talented 66/1 shot, he’s competed well in some of the majors but struggled to hold down any consistency. That is until the past few events which has seen him fail to shoot anything worse than a 72 in his last 16 rounds of golf, four of which were at the USPGA where he finished T30. Perhaps most encouraging of all was a tie for 7th at his home event back in Denmark which was played in extremely tough conditions. Another player who is simmering and due a big week.

Bristolian Chris Wood makes this blog for the second week running after a decent showing in Holland at the KLM last week, finished T22. Included in this was an encouraging bogey free second round, and a final round with just one blemish on the card, a double bogey 5 at a par 3 towards the end of his week. This performance tells me ‘Woody’ is playing some patient, solid golf at present and a top 5 finish is close. To be honest he’s been on my radar to go well at what is effectively a home event for him (he will sleep in his own bed 30 miles up the road) for quite a while. Getting 80/1 was a good 14-20 more points better than I thought he might be. Dare I say lump-on?

Final selection this week is the enigma that is five time ET winner, Michael Hoey. The Northern Irishman is always a tricky one to catch right. When you expect him to go well (such as a few weeks back in the Challenge Tour event in his native NI) he misses the cut. When you write him off as being out of form, he rocks up and wins an event! With 5 top 10s in 24 events played this year, coupled in with 12th in the seasons GIR stats, at 160/1 Hoey was a must bet this week in Wales.

Other notables that just missed out include Robert Rock at 150/1 (showing signs of better form, needs a strong end to season to make the Race To Dubai) and Thongchai Jaidee at 40/1 (lack of tournament play over the past month is only reason I’ve not backed the 2012 champ here)

Good luck and follow me on twitter for updates from the course on Saturday where I will be attending the third days play!

Postscript, 17/09/2014 –
I’ve also added a fifth pick at a whopping 350/1. It’s another young Dane that I’ve been keeping tabs on for most of the season, Lucas Bjerregaard. Backed recently at 90/1 and 70/1 in the Made in Denmark event and the Czech Masters, I’m willing to give Lucas another try at such a huge price.

Cabrera-bello 55/1
Olesen 66/1
Wood 80/1
Hoey 160/1
Bjerregaard 350/1


08/09/2014 KLM Open 2014

A great week in Crans Montana last week – I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of following some of Europe’s best golfers round one of the most picturesque courses in the world. Highly recommended to anyone who loves travel and their golf; it’s dead easy to get to and if you can find a supermarket open past 6pm, you’ll find booze isn’t that expensive either!

A nice week for the blog as well as we picked two lads in Tyrell Hatton (160/1) and Tommy Fleetwood (50/1, dead heat) that placed in the top 5. Can’t help but feel 24 hours on it could have been better had Tommy had a couple of putts drop for him on the back 9 or had young Hatton found one more birdie to force his way into a playoff. I watched his near miss for a 3 on 17 with what turned out to be his missus, Emily. I’m not sure who was more gutted, me or her!

Anyway this week the European Tour moves on to Holland and the Kennemer Golf Club, host of the KLM Open. It’s a links style golf course situated by the coastal town on Zandvoort, a short drive outside of Amsterdam.

By modern standards it is extremely short, measuring just over 6,600 yards. Accuracy off tee looks to be important. Last years leaderboard included the likes of Jimenez, McGrane, Horsey and Kjeldsen all of whom finished in top 10 – hardly bashers of the golf ball by any means. Last year there was some miserable weather around, the forecast looks dry at present though expect winds to pick up as the day goes on being hosted by the seaside.

The KLM Open returned to this venue last year after a three year hiatus – as we only have one year of recent course form I’m going down the route as ever of trying to find value in players that are bubbling away, waiting to make a break through coupled in with hints of good records on similar style courses over the past few years.

Leader of the market is the holder of this trophy, home hero Joost Luiten. He’s 12/1 and I’d never back any player at this price, let alone someone who hasn’t really hit the heights he promised earlier on in the year. It is never easy retaining a crown, let alone your home trophy. I don’t see any appeal in Luiten this week.

Other market leaders are Brooks Koepka (22/1), Paul Casey and Thomas Bjorn (25/1), Tommy Fleetwood and Marc Warren (28/1) Obviously the lack of value in American Koepka and links specialist Fleetwood is mainly down to their strong performances last week in Crans. Thomas Bjorn really isn’t having a terrific end to the season with a nondescript finish last week as he failed to defend his European Masters trophy. If I had to back any of the other market leaders it would be Casey, who has just become a father for the first time (nappy factor gets mentioned a lot on twitter, in regards golfers who become parents winning tournaments soon after!)

My first pick is 33/1 shot and undoubted links specialist, Irishman Shane Lowry. Not only has Shane decent memories of this course (he finished Top 30 here last year) he also comes into this week with some fantastic form behind him. He’s finished in the top 13 of four of his last five events – most notably a top 10 finish at The Open. Although it didn’t quite happen for him last Sunday at Crans, he was right in contention going into that final round. A third career win surely isn’t far away.

Next selection is the mercurial Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal who can be backed at 80/1. A third round 77 cost him a shot at winning this event last year, still finishing in the top 10 just six behind Luiten and Jimenez who fought out a playoff. A disappointing week in Crans for Pablo missing the cut by two shots – but this wasn’t entirely surprising given his high % of missed cuts at that venue. I followed him round for all 18 of his second round and considering he started with 3 bogeys and finished with a hack down the par five 9th (his 18th) trying desperately to make birdie to give himself a chance of making the weekend, he actually played pretty well in between. Pablo isn’t afraid of getting the job done as he proved this year winning in a high class field in Abu Dhabi. 80/1 won’t be available very often for the multiple tour winner. When you chuck in the fact he also has a second place at this event, albeit at a different course, he’s great value.

Third selection is one of last weeks picks, David Howell. Yes, it was a poor week at Crans for Howell in finishing tied 47th, especially given his strong start in round one. But at a whopping 90/1 with bet365, I’m willing to go down the Fleetwood route of patience and back Howell for a second week in a row. He loves links golf, as proved by his most recent win last year at the Dunhill Links in Scotland. He’s still in good form and will be looking to cash in this week. I watched his front 9 on Saturday morning at Crans and he actually played some excellent golf from tee to green – his putter was the opposite to the previous weekend in Italy, being totally stone cold. I’d expect it to warm back up this week and 90/1 could look very tasty come Sunday afternoon.

Final pick is another links and wind golf specialist in Bristolian Chris Wood. Sure, he’s missed the cut in his last three events since two strong performances in The Open and the USPGA majors – but at 110/1 he is well worth backing on a course that should suit. After suffering a bout of food poisoning around the Italian Open, he should have fully recovered now and will be keen to get his season back on track as we head to the season finales.

Two other players I nearly picked were Simon Dyson and Gregory Havret. Dyson is arguably Mr KLM Open after winning this event 3 times between 2011-2006. At 28/1 it was a toss up between him and Lowry…….as you know I went with the burly Irishman. Frenchman Havret meanwhile had a 21st place last week in Crans, a playoff loss just over a month ago in Germany at the BMW plus a top five here last year at Kennemer. It was Wood that got the nod though due to my belief he can replicate the success fellow Englishman Dyson has had in Holland.

So there we go – hopefully we will have the same interest this week as we did last, only a winner this time please!

Lowry 33/1
Larrazabal 80/1
Howell 90/1
Wood 110/1


01/09/2014 Omega European Masters 2014

A disappointing week in Italy for me last week – Simon Dyson finished just outside an EW payout finishing tied 7th whilst taking on Hennie Otto on the Sunday proved to be an error as the weekend finished with a big loss. Never mind, we roll up our sleeves and move on to one the flasgship events of the European Tour.

The European Masters, hosted high in the Swiss mountains at the Crans-Sur-Sierre GC is the venue for this weeks event. Yours truly is fortunate enough to be visiting this marvellous tournament for the final three days of four – I’ve had it booked up for several months and cannot wait to visit this picturesque location and hopefully get to follow one of my picks around the course on Sunday as they lift the trophy that is currently held by the experienced Dane, Thomas Bjorn.

Bjorn is third favourite this week, having also won this event three years ago. Winning a tournament two years running is tough at the best of times and Bjorn’s form has been inconsistent at best over the past two months. At 16/1 he’s too low for me to get excited about. Two other market leaders are Ryder Cuppers Jamie Donaldson (12/1) and Victor Dubuisson (14/1) – neither appeal at those low prices, even if both have registered top three finishes in the past couple of visits. Victor is due a second tour victory for sure, especially after two top 10 finishes in the last two majors of the year. I’ll wait it out though and hope to strike a better price over the autumn.

If I were to back a favourite it would be the irrepressible Miguel Angel Jimenez. In his last six visits the evergreen Spaniard has notched up tied 11th or better on each occasion – he loves the Swiss mountains, this will be his 26th straight appearance at Crans. At 20/1 he is fair priced; if you like a favourite then MAJ might just be your man.

A nearly pick for me this week was Ross Fisher – his iron play and driving last week was brilliant for three rounds, then a stone cold putter caught up with him as he fell away down the leaderboard in Italy. Apparently he’s in the middle of changing his putting style alongside a new coach. I’ll leave him alone this week but at 45/1 he’s a decent price if something clicks with the short stick.

Other chaps that just miss out are Chris Wood (despite assuring me on twitter he’s fully recovered from a recent bout of food poisoning, I just don’t think he’s quite ready to string four low rounds together. 70/1 is a nice price though) Pablo Larrazabal was close to getting the nod at 80/1 (zero course form though, missing cuts 5 out of 6 times put me off backing my favourite ET tour golfer this week)

As ever we move lower into the field to locate some value for my picks!

First up is a third pick in a row for Tommy Fleetwood. Yes, I know slightly boring but there is nothing more frustrating than picking someone who you believe is on the cusp of winning, before binning him off a week early! Before finishing with several bogeys in a row, Tommy finally got some putts to drop in the middle part of his final round last week in Italy, racing into a tie for 7th at one point before finishing tied 24th. Again, he hit plenty of GIRs and his driving was solid and straight. I just hope this is the week we can cash in properly on some decent form for Fleetwood – he has course form here, finishing 9th and 19th here on his two other visits. 50/1 with bet victor is more than fair.

Second up is an outrageously overpriced David Howell at 70/1 with bet365. Hot off a 2nd place last week in Italy, good guy Howell is as dangerous as anyone on tour when he hits form. His sometimes maverick putting is the secret to shooting low; an eye catching nine under par in the final round last week included some vintage Howell brilliance on the greens. I reckon he can add to his five European Tour wins this weeek at Crans where he has two top 10s to his name in his last seven visits as well as three top 30s.

Third this week is another chap I selected last week, Frenchman Alexander Levy. I just have a feeling in my waters that he will notch up another win before the end of the season and at 100/1 with b365 I couldn’t not pick the Volvo China winner from earlier in the season. The golf odds market can overreact on occasion and at double the price of last week (no doubt due to a closing round of +6 in Italy) I believe the market has written Levy off way too soon. He was going great guns in round one in Italy, getting quickly to -3 on day one before missing a number of birdie putts from inside fifteen feet. This obviously frustrated him as each round he notched up too many bogeys to ever get into contention. A missed cut here last year doesn’t concern me, he’s a class act on his day.

Fourth pick this week is another Englishman, Tyrell Hatton. It might be his first appearance at Crans but at 160/1 with b365 that doesn’t put me off one bit – it was only a few weeks ago Hatton was right in contention for his first ET victory with a tied 4th finish at the Scottish Open in Aberdeen. Being his first full season most courses are new to him as a professional and I reckon Crans could be right up his street. He has also had two other top 10s in high quality fields this season, frankly this price is pretty disrespectful to young Hatton.

Final pick is a bit of a dart on 225/1 shot David Drysdale. The Scott is right on the edge of losing his playing privileges for next year and needs a strong finish to the season. With a couple of finishes in the 30s at Crans, plus some decent form in the past few events including a tie for 15th in Denmark a few weeks back, this might be the week that gets the two time Challenge Tour winner going for the season. Whose to say he cannot replicate the form shown by fellow Scott Craig Lee last year, who finished 2nd here last year.

Good luck and follow me on twitter @herefordrich for updates from the course from Friday onwards!

Fleetwood 50/1
Howell 70/1
Levy 100/1
Hatton 160/1
Drysdale 225/1


25/08/2014 Open D’Italia 2014

As the race for European Ryder Cup selection starts to slow down, attention turns to Golf Club De Torino for the Open de Italia for the 71st staging of this event.

Only Stephen Gallagher has a realistic chance of forcing his way into the European squad as a captains pick, but his poor showing last weekend in Prague as fellow Ryder Cup hopeful Jamie Donaldson crept over the line hardly inspires confidence in the Scot winning out this week in Italy. At 20/1 I see very little value.

Other market leaders include the Molinari brothers, who both have not won anywhere near as much as they should have done over the years. Fellow Italian Matteo Manaserro, a multiple European tour winner, has tweeted pictures of him practising at the course over the past fortnight but in the middle of ‘bulking up’ as well as getting to grips with new clubs, his price of 25/1 is half the price I’d expect for a young man having a quiet season.

Bernd Wiesberger looked highly frustrated in Prague, probably wondering where his Friday/Saturday form from the USPGA had disappeared to! That’s the game, Bernd…..he missed last weeks cut. I’d expect a better showing from him this week but again, 25/1 isn’t for me. He’s not the most reliable in the mix either.

Joost Luiten is also priced at sub 30/1 – the Dutchman was highly fancied for a Ryder Cup berth at the start of the season but truth be told he has failed to live up to his 2013 form and promise. Glimpses of a return to form in the USPGA has been followed by a poor week in Prague last time out. I’d save Joost for the KLM Open in a fortnight (his home trophy which he won last year) or the Welsh Open where I’d except him to go well.

As you will soon find out with my picks I like value down the leaderboard. My winners this year have been Kaymer at the Players (90/1) and Jaidee at Nordea (66/1) These two wins along with several EW payouts at similar prices have ensured I am in profit for the year despite an extremely dry mid summer!

My first pick this week is Englishman Tommy Fleetwood. Backed last week at 66/1 he secured a dead heat payout with a tie for 5th thanks to Gallagher’s double bogey at 17. I was surprised to grab him at 50/1 this week, especially given his brilliant statistics last weeks. Last years Italian Open showed hitting Greens in Regulation is vital. In Prague, Southport born Fleetwood led GIR, was 3rd for driving distance and 17th for driving accuracy. All he needs is a few less errors from inside six feet on the greens and I fancy he could go even better this week. A winner in Scotland this time last year, I reckon he’s ready to notch up a second win soon.

Second selection this week is a new man for me – Frenchman Alexander Levy. Mr consistent Levy seems to always make the weekend, often pushing his way into contention over the last couple of days of an event. A winner in China this year (beating Fleetwood by a couple of shots) I reckon he is set for a big few weeks in Europe after a decent showing in the USPGA. Last years winner was a Frenchman in Julien Quesne, why can’t Levy emulate his fellow countryman? Again at 50/1, he’s great value.

My third of five selections comes in the form of another Englishman, Simon Dyson. A man who has had a turbulent year, things are starting to look up again for the six time European Tour winner. A decent summer which has seen him chalk up three top tens since April, Dyson showed signs of liking this course last year opening with a 69. He is in the top 20 in GIR stats for the season and like Fleetwood and Levy, went well at this years Volvo China Open. At 66/1 he was a better price than Chris Wood (40/1) who I also liked – Dyson got the nod.

My final two selections are two chaps who also love hitting greens and had decent showings in this event last year. Robert Jan Derksen finished 8th here last year and comes off the back of a mid season break where he has only appeared three times since his 4th place at this years Nordea Masters back in June. One of those was a tied 39th in Denmark where the conditions were arguably as tricky as they have been all season. With rumours confirmed the forty year old Dutchman is retiring at the end of this season I’d expect he’ll want to confirm his place in the Race to Dubai over the coming few events. 110/1 he’s well worth a play.

Finally a man who sits in second place on this years GIR stats – Magnus A Carlsson. Another man who hasn’t played a lot over the past month or so, Carlsson missed the cut in Denmark but a second round of 72 showed he still has some form that saw him notch up four top 10s so far this season. When you throw in a tie for twelfth in France back in July and a tie for 32nd place in last years Italian Open, I cannot see why Magnus is as long as 125/1.

Good luck!

Fleetwood 50/1
Levy 50/1
Dyson 66/1
Jan-Derksen 110/1
Carlsson 125/1


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