The Earth Course retains hosting duties for the curtain closer on the European Tour season and there's little we don't know about it. Lengthy on the scorecard but it certainly doesn't overly stretch those shorter hitters off the box. It always plays pretty easy and down the years we've mostly seen the bombers dominate here and in turn plenty of the world’s best. Leaving plenty of wedges into the shorter par 4s certainly seems to play dividends with McIlroy in particular making a chunk of his scores on these holes. McIlroy, Stenson, Fitzpatrick, Rahm and Willett account for the last 7 winners around here so we can conclude the calibre of winners here is top notch and it is unlikely we'll see a breakthrough winner here or some kind of career defining moment coming early on in a young buck.
Rory's chances are there for all to see and he'll be mighty hard to beat if he gets off to a good start on Thursday. The Irishman arrives without his caddy Harry Diamond who has recently become a Father. As the astute Ben Coley hinted at online if you're looking to weigh into a +440 poke you'd like all ducks to be aligned and anything other than the status quo surely won't encourage you further to invest. Regardless he will want to win this one and cap off his best year outside of his major wins. After last week’s thrills and spills I find it very hard to weigh into a 4/1 shot. His price is on the money. As is Rahm's at a few points bigger. His credentials are every bit as strong and probably rates the better bet of the two. I see little reward in either though and won't be left crying over spilled dairy products if one of the two oblige on Sunday afternoon.
It isn't an overly exciting betting heat but I'll take the chance on a few starting with Sergio Garcia. His record around here is solid with his worst finish of 21st in 8 starts. He has assembled a handful of top tens with two on the trot the past couple of years. He certainly hasn't put his best foot forward in the past month or so but it is 4 starts ago since we seen him finish 7th in Spain, and 5 starts ago since he won the KLM Open. The Asian swing didn't serve him well but it's worth noting he has won three times in 18 months, and six times in the last 3 years. That is a fair return and I think his form in the last 3 events has inflated his price a shade too much. Remember he turned up around the 11/1 mark here last year, now nearly 5 times that price. In an uninviting betting heat he looks the pick of the bunch to me.
1u - S.Garcia to Win @ 50/1
1u – S.Garcia Top 5 @ 8/1
Bernd Wiesberger holds top spot in the Race to Dubai and is odds on to finish atop the pile on Sunday. There's a long way to go however and many will see his position as a negative in terms of an attempt to win the event itself. I don't put too much emphasis on that however and I think the 30/1 out there is big enough for someone who has performed above everyone else so far on the tour this season. He finished 1st in Strokes Gained Putting last week at the Nedbank on his way to a top three finish. Putting is a strange stat though and plenty may see that as a negative as he is unlikely to reproduce those heroics. That being said though the worry would usually be with the flat stick with this man and if it stays even lukewarm this week he should have a fair chance. 4th here a few years ago a positive and playing the golf of his life right now. May capitalize upon that form once again.
1u - B.Wiesberger to Win @ 29/1
1u - B.Wiesberger Top 5 @ +550
Finaly I'll take a punt on Guido Migliozzi. Once again last week there was no disgrace in his 21st finish in South Africa. Add his 10th in Turkey and it has been a fruitful Rolex Series run. I don't think he is ideally suited to a wide open, simple track but nevertheless the quotes of 150/1 look slightly out of place. The Italian has looked every inch the classy golfer this season landing two wins of much lower standard to this he plays in this week. He keeps excelling though and topped the Strokes Gained off the tee stats last week. Luiten and Pieters are two others who appealed at the prices given the ability they retain but overall it's not a market that overly excites me.
0.75u - G.Migliozzi @ 150/1
0.75u - G.Migliozzi Top 5 @ 25/1
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By Niall Lyons