Paddy Power have quadrupled their new account offer for Golf Betting System readers to a massive £200 of free bets. For more details click here: Paddy Power Offers. To get current odds for the 2012 Volvo China Open visit Paddy Power here: Paddy Power Golf Odds
Bodog are the only bookmaker offering 6 places each way in China - click here for current prices and a £/€10 risk-free bet.
The European Tour moves north to China this week and the continued Volvo sponsorship, alongside a reasonably strong prize fund with nigh-on €400k going to the winner, has secured a decent enough turnout from some of the European Tour's top players. Ian Poulter and Peter Hanson head the betting at 14/1 after their positive performances at Augusta, and with a week's rest they'll both no doubt be eager to continue their good form here this week. Both Molinari brothers, Paul Casey and links specialist Simon Dyson are also in attendance this week and feature heavily towards the top of the bookies' lists as you'd expect. To read our stats page for the Volvo China Open click here: Volvo China Open Stats
We managed to secure a skinny profit overall last week in Europe with an each way place for 50/1 selection Rafael Cabrera-Bello, with top selection Matteo Manassero sitting agonisingly in 7th place with us backing him each way for the top 6 with Bodog. Manassero will win soon, however he's still making far too many mistakes on the par 5s at present so we'll need to be a little more choosy about which events to back him on going forward...watch this space!
On to this week then, and once again we're presented with a brand new course on the European Tour which virtually none of the players will have seen prior to arriving in Tianjin this week. The Binhai Lake course is a Pete Dye creation constructed, as its name suggests, by the water in a links-style layout. At 7,667 yards the course is a brute in terms of length and features the 287 yard par-3 13th, 260 yard par-3 3rd and 246 yard par-3 8th amongst other lengthy holes - sure to fuel the popular debate about long & short par 3s once again! The fairways are wide and rough relatively light after a cold winter, however the main defence will be the wicked Pete Dye bunkering and relentless breeze off of the Lake, which will be accentuated this week by a moderate easterly expected to blow across the course all week.
With the length of the course, coupled with the breeze, I suspect we'll find that some holes become extremely difficult for the shorter hitters if they're playing into the wind and bogeys will be in abundance for some. With this being a new course for all, finding greens and staying out of the worst of any trouble is paramount so length & high GIR is a must for me. Slow bentgrass greens and the exposed, links style of the course will also appeal to those players who have performed well at the likes of St Andrews in the past.
My selections are as follows:
I couldn't possibly leave defending champion Colsaerts off of my staking plan, despite a nondescript performance last week in Malaysia where he finished an anonymous 29th. On paper this event should suit him down to the ground - a long course with wide landing areas suits his power bombing game (he averaged nearly 320 off the tee last week) and he clearly enjoyed his time in China last year as he blasted himself to victory with a 25-under total to finally secure his maiden European Tour victory. That piece of silverware was long overdue in the opinion of many, and it's important now that Nicolas follows that up with another success in 2012.
The Belgian finished 3rd the week before The Masters on a similar (if slightly shorter) setup to this in Sicily, plus also finished 4th at the Links at Fancourt in January when blowing a guilt-edged chance to at least make the playoff by bogeying the par-5 72nd hole. There's every reason to believe that Colsaerts will find this course to his liking once again and a top-6 position should be the very least he's looking at here this week. RESULT: 2nd
The 50/1 chalked up about the 2004 Alfred Dunhill Links winner to improve on his 2nd place finish last week is unmissable in my opinion and he was the first player I backed yesterday when the bookies began to publish their markets. It's true that Gallacher has failed so far to follow up on that impressive victory nearly 8 years ago despite finding himself in serious contention a number of times since, however if he keeps knocking on the door then one day he'll find a way through - and there's every reason to suspect it could be this week. With 2 runners-up finishes from 6 starts already in 2012 it's surely just a matter of time before the popular Scot adds a long-awaited second win to his CV.
Gallacher possesses the kind of firepower (302 yards driving average in 2011) to succeed on this long track, as well as the high GIR game required on a new course where keeping yourself out of trouble is the key to success. Gallacher finished inside the top 20 at the ultimate links-style Pete Dye design that is Whistling Straits back in 2010 just a few weeks after finishing a creditable 23rd at St Andrews; coupled with his aforementioned victory in 2004 and various contending performances on costal/links courses in Europe, I see no reason why Gallacher won't be in the mix this week. RESULT: MC
South African Jaco Van Zyl must feel like the forgotten man this season with compatriots Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Jbe Kruger all grabbing excellent victories and winning a total of 5 events between them, however he'll know that he's playing some excellent golf at the moment and is very, very close to making his own breakthrough on the European Tour to add to his 10 Sunshine Tour victories. South Africa is truly enjoying a period of excellent golfing results when you add in Charl Schwartzel's recent successes, and that's without the old guard in Ernie Els and Retief Goosen contributing anything of note in recent times.
Back to Van Zyl, he's made 6 of 7 cuts so far this season including 3 finishes inside the top 7. His last effort in Morocco was marred by a poor first round 75, after which he shot -10 for the remainder of the tournament which was bettered only by a handful of players and showed a great deal of promise after a double, treble and quadruple bogey in that ill-fated first round had knocked him off track. When in form he's capable of stringing a number of contending weeks together as he did towards the end of last season, included in which was a top 10 finish at St Andrews in far greater company than this. RESULT: MC
The Spaniard gave us a nice each way return last week in Kuala Lumpur and there's no reason to suggest he won't continue that good form into this week on another open par 72. Following his 3rd place finish last week he tweeted 'Good tournament overall, very happy with the final position and with my game in general!' - while he's in form it would be rude not to back him again to see if he can go a step or two further this week and build on his Dubai Desert Classic victory earlier this term.
3rd at a windswept Qatar behind Thomas Bjorn suggests that Rafa can survive when the conditions get tough as they're likely to do this week at times, and a 4th place finish at St Andrews in 2009 demonstrates that he has the game to tackle links-style golf. He can easily put his drives out there at 300+ yards, however most encouragingly he's hitting more greens in 2012 and converting more putts than any time in that last 3 years and that's a very potent combination. RESULT: T29
Our tips, picks and predictions for the 2013 edition of this event will be published here on the Tuesday before the event - bookmark this page and come back soon!