Sergio Garcia is taken to build on a tremendous performance at Oakmount last week.
From the triumph at Oakmount to the scene of one my lowest moments as a golf punter at Golf Club Gut Larchenhof. The course has held the event in 2012 and 2014 and it was in 2014 that I invested in Stenson and Havret (at 500/1 on the exchange) only to see both of them edged out in a four way playoff. The deposit was almost down on the Yacht in Monte Carlo at that stage. No 500/1 poke has gone as close since. Anyhow, we're on a roll with a few winners and close calls in the last few weeks and hopefully that form continues this week. Good scores can be expected with fair weather forecast but it is worth noting the type of player who does well around here. A lot of the course is tree lined and this has reflected in the results with accurate golfers such as Zanotti, Stenson, Willett and Fraser all making the frame in the two years as host. That will never be far from our mind as we select who can contend at suitable prices.
The event is spearheaded by a trio of sparkling golfers in the shape of Garcia, Stenson and Willett. All three of their games suit this venue with Garcia shooting -16 in 2014, Stenson being beat in a playoff in the same year, and Willett who won in 2012. This may be the week on the European Tour where a favourite finally brings home the bacon. Stenson certainly has negatives however. He is winless since November 2014 which says a lot. Six seconds in the last twelve months just shows how difficult it is to get across the line in one of these big events. Therefore, single figures about the Swede is of little interest to me. Danny Willett has shows flashes of brilliance since his Augusta victory, but has never been far away from a hiccup. A poor weekend from the lead in the Irish Open was followed by the same story at Wentworth as he blew the lead there also to finish 3rd. I don't really know what to make of that form and I can't commit to investing in him at single figures.
is backable at 8/1. A Ryder Cup year always brings the best out in the Spaniard and I'm sure he has one eye on the British Open this year to become the third first time major champion of the year. His performance last week at Oakmount was almost flawless and provided he isn't too hungover from that test I fully expect him to build upon what has already been a stellar year. Despite not playing his best golf at Valderrama he contended late on day four to finish third. A few weeks later he was the benefactor to some poor golf down the closing stretch by Brooks Koepka to win the Byron Nelson. Most parts of his game are in great nick and although I would have loved to see double figures about the Spaniard this week I feel he is worthy of some of our profit from last weeks winner.
Sergio Garcia - 2.5pts @ 8/1Lost -2.5pts
I feel like a broken record harping on about how Joost Luiten
must only be a baby step away from another victory, but I feel the need to reiterate his chances once again at tasty odds. He has somewhat disappointed me in the last few months that he hasn't gotten into the winners enclosure. Somebody playing the golf he is playing should get it done one of these weeks and at 25/1 I'm more than prepared to take the chance that this is the week. He finished a somewhat lacklustre 6th in the Lyoness a few weeks back. This is a sign of how much on the edge of something brilliant he is. A top ten there was seen as somewhat of a failure. He finished down the field a few years back when it was held here but he should be a lot better equipped to shoot a better score this time around. With two runner up spots in April he is arriving in good form, but more than anything else the price of 25/1 is very appealing in a top heavy field.
Joost Luiten - 1.25pts e/w @ 25/1Lost -2.5pts
With only one cut missed in his last fourteen events Ross Fisher
is in consistent form and at a top price of 35/1 is worth a few quid. He is not somebody who I like to pin a lot of hope on and the bet is certainly a shade speculative but the neatness of his long game should give him ample chance to create a decent score over 72 holes. He finished a solid 6th last time out at the Nordea and barring the missed cut at Wentworth has been consistent for the rest of the season. His price is just about fair considering he hasn't done anything spectacular. He finished 8th around this track in 2012 and I'm hoping he can go a bit better than that this time around.
Ross Fisher - 0.75pts e/w @ 35/1Lost -1.5pts
Despite some erratic form of late I can't keep Brandon Stone
off my staking plan this week. Some solid performances are thrown in between missed cuts and clearly at this stage it is a bit of a guessing game as to whether the South African will turn up in good nick. He has already notched a win in a BMW sponsored event in the South African Open earlier in the year. This was on the cards for a while now as the talented lad begins to fulfill his potential. He has one of the sweetest swings among the youthful ranks on the tour and I fully expect Stone to go on and achieve greater things in the coming years. Previous to the missed cuts in Ireland and England he was 6th in Mauritius and 2nd at the Shenzhen. Quality finishes for a man who has only just obtained his first win on the tour. The second won't be long in coming and at 80/1 I'm prepared to dip my toe in regardless of the recent missed cuts.
Brandon Stone - 0.75pts e/w @ 80/1Lost -1.5pts