Alex Levy shot 63,61 in his two rounds here last year to secure victory after 36 holes and represents the best bet in the field
The Oceanica Victoria venue in Vilamoura is our host for the 2015 renewal of this interesting event. A few years ago we backed David Lynn when he obliged at a tasty 80/1 and we were unlucky last year with Colsaerts playing great golf only to be outdone by Alex Levy in a rain shortened 36 hole event. Weather will most certainly play a part once again with thunderstorms predicted for over the weekend. The course is one that suits some decent bets as it definitely suits the longer hitters. Levy and Colsaerts were 1st and 2nd last year and that's all the evidence you need, despite it being a rain soaked course. It's hard to see the winner not coming from a long hitting background. It is important to hit greens here also. Greens in regulation is an important statistic and those who can hunt down the flags with their irons will gain advantage on the rest. The Doha GC that plays host to the Qatar Masters is the course that I look to that is most similar to this in terms of playability and scoring.
We have joint favourites in the shape of Wiesberger and Kaymer. At 12/1 they are not worth dismissing but with the amount of birdies on offer here I don't feel any of the two of them represent betting value. Kaymer has a modest record with two top10s from five starts here. Wiesberger has a better record with two top 5s in four starts. Wiesberger has had a solid year and rates the best chance of the two, however I don't feel the urge to jump in whenever this event will be fought out by many golfers at the business end. With the nature of the course, driveable par 4s etc it makes the finale very volatile, so I'll be looking further down the market for those a shade bigger priced.
Our top selection has to be the defending champion Alex Levy
. He hasn't had the year he would have expected after a very successful first few years on the tour. A couple of third placed finishes has been the best he could do this year but returning to the scene of his last victory could well be the jump lead that the Frenchman needs. He posted a top 20 finish last week at Woburn which is a lot better than what it merely suggests. His game doesn't suit a tight track like Woburn and I am very impressed with that finish after some dodgy performances of late. He shot 63,61 in his two rounds here last year to secure victory after 36 holes and he represents the best bet in the field for me at 30/1.
Alex Levy - 1.25pt e/w @ 30/1
Our second selection is Eddie Pepperell
. He has a modest enough record around here in two tries, but in the space of 6 rounds he has managed to shoot a 64 and a 67. He will need four good scores around here this time to contend but he has every chance of contending in what is a serious chance for a victory among a weak enough field. The majority of these golfers between 50/1 and 200/1 just wont count and the European Tour continues to be very top heavy. Pepperell is evidently more talented than most and the price of 40/1 is quite tempting. He seems to excel around the links courses so this bet isn't without risks attached. He hasn't shown much form around these tracks although I note a 16 under par total top 5 finish posted in Doha earlier in the year as a pointer as to what might play out this week.
Eddie Pepperell - 1pt e/w @ 40/1
With two top tens posted at this event we'll have a small interest in Gregory Bourdy
. Throughout the last number of years around this track he has shot four 67s and a 65. He clearly can go low and this year he has been finding ways not to win despite shooting very good scores. This field is very wide open this week and very weak in terms of course form and recent form therefore I feel Bourdy represents a bit of value at 55/1. He finished in 5th place in Doha earlier in the year and did everything in his power to lose the Lyoness Open from a good position. That course favours the long hitters also so all points towards a decent performance from the Frenchman. Nothing over the top staking wise but we'll invest anyhow.
Gregory Bourdy - 0.75pt e/w @ 55/1
We'll chance a small investment in Nicolas Colsaerts
this week. We backed him last year and if the event had made a 72 hole finish I think he would have been hard to beat. These are the types of layouts where we must consider the big hitting Belgian and although he has been outdone by his fellow countryman Thomas Pieters this season, I expect Nicolas to make a bold enough bid for glory here. His putting stats around this track have twice been in the top 35. That would be a major coup for Colsaerts this week and if he can get anywhere near that number in the putting stats he will hold a serious chance. This is what holds him back when competing at weekends. His game suits the course and should he get the flat stick rolling at all I'd expect a decent showing. Once again small stakes as I see this as a tough assignment to call.
Nicolas Colsaerts - 0.75pt e/w @ 66/1