Hong Kong Open Betting Tips & Preview
Our golf expert offers four tips for the Hong Kong Open, including three $71+ specials.
Fanling has always been a course that demands accuracy off the tee but when we look at recent results that doesn't tell the full story. Three of the four tied second last year ranked 48th, 48th and 26th in Fairways hit. A more telling stat was greens in regulation where the majority of the contenders had good finishes there. Strokes Gained approaching may be the stat worth looking to this week.
A top class trio makes the trip and after a long season it remains to be seen what the three market leaders have left in the tank. Reed, Fleetwood and Garcia have all had a particularly emotional campaign and they could be vulnerable to fresher types here in Hong Kong. Fleetwood has gone mighty close here the past two years without holing a putt worthy of mention so out of the three he is the one I'd look to.
Cabrera Bello has done everything but win here over the past two years and I think he is a bit of value at the top end of the market. The Spaniard wasn't involved in Paris and has thus avoided a lot of the circus that has taken place this year. He forever disappoints having been on my betting slip too many times than I care to remember, but this may be one around the $12 mark which could prove very fruitful.
This is one of his favourite tracks all year and he arrives here in fine form having finished 3rd in the CJ Cup and backed that up with two top 20s at the WGC in China and last week in Dubai. With his fellow countryman Jimenez having won a handful of times here Bello will feel it is only a matter of time before he joins him here on the roll call of winners. Bello is still somewhat of an underachiever on the European tour and he will look to rectify that in the 2019 season. This is a great place to start and any price of double figures interests me here.
Around the tighter tracks Andrew Johnston comes into his own and he always needs to be considered when presented with this type of task. The front three hold a high percentage of the book here this week and given the stresses of the season behind them are well worth taking on. The Englishman Johnston's lone win on tour came at Valderrama, another tight track which demands accuracy.
Earlier in the year he endured playoff heartache for readers of this column losing out to Matt Wallace in India, another track which tests the long game. If the top three fail to fire AJ is certainly one who can fill that void on the leaderboard with his accurate tee to green game. Sitting at a juicy enough price for us to get involved.
It has been a strange few weeks in the golfing world with Westwood, Willett, Kuchar and Howell all combining to make the four last winners on both tours. Every one of those have a story to tell and a win has been overdue for the quartet. Whether any of those wins has inspired the others given the nature of the wins is up for debate but a bunch of guys who have found it tough lately might just be spurred on by what they've seen. In this bracket but no forlorn hope regardless of recent circumstances is Nicolas Colsaerts.
The Belgian hasn't found it easy the last couple of years but there are signs now and again that he may regain the form that seen him play a huge part in the success of the 2012 Ryder Cup team. He has made 8 of last 9 cuts with top 15 finishes coming at the Dunhill Links and Turkish Open. Certainly not form to be worried about and things look a bit better when we see he ranked 4th on tour last year for GIR. Putting remains his achilles heel but if he can find a few this week he may make light work of the $81 quotes.
Another Spaniard worth siding with this week is Gonzalo Castano Fernandez. In the last few years Castano has given the PGA Tour a fair crack of the whip without much success. He came back to Europe in the Autumn in an attempt to gain his card for 2019 and did so in fine fashion. A tied 5th spot at Valderrama was a sign of the golf that elevated him to the top of the game five or six years ago.
This is Castano's first outing here but he has a neat enough game to cope with the intricacies of Fanling. His last two wins on the European Tour came in the Far East in the months of October and November so this time of year may be prime for him to continue the form he produced in Spain a few weeks back.