Niall Lyons pinpoints the value in this week's True Thailand Classic at Black Mountain GC.
Black Mountain GC makes for an interesting starter to this weeks Golf as the good the bad and the ugly from Europe and Asia take to the searing heat of Thailand in search of the winners enclosure. Black Mountain is another track which requires a fair bit of strategy although the leaderboard here last year was made up of varying degrees of talent in each department. Green in Regulation seemed to be a stat that was important with the top 5 coming 9th, 17th, 12th, 23rd and 12th in that stat. Long game is without doubt the most important aspect here, and those accurate enough with their irons will gain the advantage.
Joost Luiten arrives as a somewhat weak favourite. He hasn't played an awful lot of golf lately and although he has a lot of talent at his disposal, the chasing pack is certainly not to be sniffed at. Local lad Jaidee holds favouritism in many of the books this week and comes with every chance. Those two are propped up by some very decent challenger in the shape of Aphibarnrat, Pieters and Uihlein who just missed out a few weeks ago. It is not the easiest tournament to predict so we will tread somewhat lightly and go with a three pronged attack.
First up there is no doubting for me the best bet of the week in this tournament and that is Kiradech Aphibarnrat
. Shenzhen and Malaysia have been the scenes of two of his wins and the soaring heat here in Thailand will no doubt play into his hands. The wind does get up here also so his decent record around links tracks can not to be negative. He finished 4th in this event last year and I can't see him not contending again given his pedigree. Bar the top dozen the field is quite weak and I fully expect the winner to come from the top 20 or so in the market. I like the way the Barnrat attacks a golf course and I believe that may be the difference in just contending or winning this week.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat - 1.5pt e/w @ 20/1
is also worthy of consideration after his top 5 finish Perth last time out. With a win in Hong Kong and a 2nd in Malaysia he can also deal with the heat. Bourdy is a classy golfer who can plot his way around courses. There aren't many four time tour winners in this field and Bourdy rates as one of the better bets. In the all important GIR stat he finishes 15th in 2015 and currently sits 14th in this years standings. He has the tools to compete at this course and is certainly overpriced at 40/1.
Gregory Bourdy - 0.75pt e/w @ 40/1
showed form in Aberdeen, Crans and Denmark before getting off the mark with a win around the tight track in Italy. Clearly he plays better where a bit of strategy comes into play and although plenty of the big hitters tend to do well around here I think we must include Karlberg in our staking plan this week. I wasn't expecting the 70/1 on offer this week and although he has shown little form this last few months the price dictates our bet. He has shown form on this course before and visits regularly with Black Mountain being one of his sponsors. Not the strongest of bets but worth having at the odds.
Rikard Karlberg - 0.75pt e/w @ 70/1