Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay
Murcar Links Golf Club in Aberdeen is our host this week for the Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Match Play event. Paul Lawrie has personally founded and promoted this event in order to put more Match Play golf on the schedule. This is a relatively low-key event with little in the way of prize money to tempt the higher profile players from attending. However, Paul Lawrie is widely respected in the game and many players high enough in the rankings are making their way to the Seaside Links in hope of notching a victory.
The format is straight knockout, just like how the WGC Matchplay used to pan out years ago. The draw has just been made but with co 20/1 favs I don't put too much an importance on the outcome. This is up for grabs and whoever can master the conditions will have a great chance of going deep into the event. The weather looks half decent with wind and rain forecast at various times throughout the week. Nothing as vehement as what can be felt in Scotland will face the players though and hopefully they should get an event free from the disruption we've seen on tour in the last few weeks. The course is very short so the bombers wil have little advantage as the course usually narrows towards the greens. I expect plenty of birdies, especially under this format, but the plodders might just be the ones to invest in this week.
The bookies can't really separate the field and from a punting perspective it isn't easy to decipher. Match Play events are always a conundrum and there is no doubt that an element of luck is involved in getting a winner here. We will have a few plays, but it is an event to tread very carefully with and not get too heavily involved before the off. There may be opportunities to have a few bets on the matches as the week progresses, and if there is I will be in touch.
There's no doubting my strongest selection and that is GREGORY BOURDY. The Frenchman has shown flashes of brilliance all year without ending up in the winners enclosure. He has been found wanting at the business end of many tournaments this term, most notably when he blew a lead on day4 of the Lyoness Open. His is a tidy game and while many others will be finding trouble around this tight track Gregory should be down the middle. In 2013 he became the first man to win all his matches at the Seve Trophy swotting away everybody who came to challenge him that week. That should give him the confidence needed to go far in this event.
He is up against a tricky opponent in Nicolas Colsaerts in round 1 but if he can scrape through that match he has the ability to go on to lift the trophy. With the each-way terms not appealing this week I will be going win only on the rest of my selections but with Bourdy I feel he warrants an each-way bet as I see him as a great chance to get to the semi finals.
Our second selection this week comes in the shape of one of the favourites in RICHIE RAMSAY. He was just drawn against Shiv Kapur so it is a generous first round opportunity. Interestingly he beat Shiv Kapur in a playoff to win his maiden European title in the South African Open in 2009. I was impressed with a T10 finish at Royal County Down a few weeks back and this only backed up his previous credentials on links. He has notched two top5 finishes in the Alfred Dunhill Links and another top20 finish at Portrush a few years back. The only bit of course form we have here is the 2006 Scottish Challenge on the Challenge Tour where Ramsay finished a creditable 4th early in his career. We will need luck in running no doubt, and stakes will kept pretty low for this event, but he represents the value in this field.Richie Ramsay - 0.75pt @ 21/1
Considering RAPHAEL JACQUELIN'S form of two top 10 finishes in three weeks around some tricky tracks I feel he is worth something small for this event. His game is neat and tidy and I expect that to fit well to the Murcar Links. He has been putting very well of late and that will be one of the key aspects in getting deep into this tournament. He plays Seve Benson in round one and hopefully that shouldn't pose too much of a threat to our bet. He has a plethora of top10 finishes around Links or manufactured Links courses and with this in mind we'll support the Frenchman this week. Low stakes once again as Match Play outright markets don't lend themselves to heavy wagers.Raphael Jacquelin - 0.75pt @ 33/1