Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for this week's European Tour event, the British Masters.
We return to the Brabazon course at the Belfry for the 2021 renewal of the British Masters and we have a recent event to look back on for some pointers. This course held one of the events shoehorned in after the Covid break, the UK Championship. Rasmus Hojgaard came out on top that week and what was notable was his approach play. This was the main aspect in his performance and indeed looking back on mid 2000 renewals of this event GIR was usually a stat that stood out. I'll be looking to those who can excel in this department. Accuracy was certainly not part of the remedy last year, indeed Hojgaard averaged below 50% Driving accuracy.
British Masters - Winner
Jamie Donaldson at 50/1 (8 Places)
Jamie Donaldson certainly looks worthy of support at 50/1. The Welshman had endured a tough time this last couple of years with injury but finally seems to be returning to the heights that saw him make the Ryder Cup Team in 2014. Bar the Kenya event where he withdrew he hasn't finished outside the top 16 in his last four events. This is as good a run as we've seen from him in many years and he is playing a much better standard than what the market gives him credit for. His fortunes have turned on the greens putting extremely well of late and should he manage a good week approaching the greens he could leap back into the winners enclosure.
2pts each-way J.Donaldson 50/1 (1/5 8)
Jeff Winther at 90/1 (8 Places)
Jeff Winther looks slightly overpriced to land a blow this week with a missed cut in Tenerife rendering him a top price of 90/1. He shot 62-64 to finish off the final two rounds in Meloneras where he finished 3rd. Throughout the season he has shown signs of solid form and in a handful of better fields than this weeks. His approach play has been spot on all year, even gaining ground on the field when missing the cut in Tenerife. Winther is a plyer who has another level to reach yet and signs are he is beginning to climb that mountain. Still to win on the tour, but these events represent good opportunities for guys like Winther and he can capitalise soon on some impressive form all year.
1.5pts each-way J.Winther 90/1 (1/5 8)
Andrew Johnston at 40/1 (8 Places)
Approach play had been letting Andrew Johnston down most of this season but we saw an upturn in fortunes last week in the Canary Islands and a top 5 finish there may just give him a springboard to reclaim his status in the game. Beef has always been a popular character and despite some time off in 2020 he showed what he could do with a 3rd placed finish in the Celtic Classic and a top 20 at Wentworth. A similar performance to that of the Wentworth top 20 would see him go very close here and the signs were positive last week. Johnston has the capability to be a much better golfer than what has played out over the last couple of years and I expect him to improve once again and get some results even better than last weeks top 5. I had hoped for a slightly bigger price than the 40/1 out there but I think he's a very lively runner back in his homeland.
1.5pts each-way A.Johnston 40/1 (1/5 8)
Joachim B. Hansen at 50/1 (8 Places)
JB Hansen finished with 66-67 in Tenerife last time out to rally inside the top 25 and looks primed for a run at a big event. The Dane is a super talent and will reach new heights in the game in my opinion. He won the Joburg Open late in 2020 and has kicked off 2021 in solid form also with top tens in Qatar and Gran Canaria. Hansen looked all out the top golfer when finishing top ten at Wentworth last Summer and it was no surprise to see him go on and land his first win a few weeks later. I don't believe the market gives him the credit for golfer he is and with a ceiling there still to reach I'm happy to play around the 50/1 mark whilst in solid form. Of the others Jason Scrivener was interesting but we haven't seen him since finishing a respectable 41st in the Workday and maybe he is best left after we see some evidence as to the state of his game on return. Min Woo Lee played well here last year also and having finished top 30 in the WGC last time out could be returning to some kind of form that would be enough to compete here.
1.5pts each-way JB Hansen 50/1 (1/5 8)