Sometimes betting on golf is more a question of mathematics than simply going all-out to find that elusive winner. In top heavy weeks like this (and similarly in Perth 3 weeks ago) there's the dilemma of whether to find the short-priced player with the best chance of success and go for a strong win-only bet, or alternatively see if you can find a longer-priced player who has a good chance of a place and an outside chance of upsetting the odds and grabbing a win. A 2pt win bet on Rory McIlory will return virtually the same as a 1pt EW bet on a 40/1 selection who comes placed; similarly with short prices also on Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen, finding a player or 2 in the 66/1 to 100/1 region would provide almost identical returns to a win-only bet of the same overall stake. Decisions, decisions!
To make things a little easier top bookmaker Paddy Power are offering an extra place Each Way this week in Singapore (6 places EW in total) - for current Paddy Power odds and an exclusive £/€20 Free Bet if you're a new customer click here.
Talking of winners, top tip Ian Poulter obliged at 20/1 last week followed by 25/1 selection Jason Dufner for a nice 1-2....not quite as strong as Steve Bamford's 1-2-2 at the BMW Championship a few weeks back but very nice nevertheless! Let's see if we can make it 2 profitable weeks in a row in Singapore this week...
The Singapore Open has been around since 1961, however it's only since 2005 that it has formed part of the Asian Tour and 2009 that it joined forces with the European Tour to become one of the biggest events in terms of prize fund this side of the Atlantic. With the 4 big guns already mentioned likely to hog the media spotlight, it's worth noting an 'undercard' of the likes of Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Major winner Y.E. Yang and both Molinari brothers amongst a number of top-level European Tour and Asian Tour players. With the lure of a place at the Dubai finale on offer to some 'bubble' players this week, OWGR elevation for others and simple retention of playing privileges for a few, we're bound to find that this event is far more than just about which of the top 4 will lift the trophy.
We revert back to a single course this year, namely the Serapong - a tough 7,372 yard par 71 parkland style course with lightening-fast Bermuda greens. A great move in my opinion as the Tanjong course used alongside the Serapong for the last couple of years was simply far too easy in comparison and made the event a little disjointed. Last year's winner Gonzalo Fernandez Castano has opted not to defend his title over a row with tournament officials about who should have paid his airfare and accommodation costs, so we'll be looking for a new champion this week.
Back to the top 4 then. Rory McIlroy failed to convert in Shanghai a fortnight ago when backed at a similar price and I have sufficient reservations over the course setup to choose not to back the World number 1 this week. For me Rory plays better on slightly more forgiving tracks with receptive greens - after a few weeks of very dry weather the course will be firm and fast, at least to begin with until the forecast thunderstorms which could sway things back in his favour. Adam Scott has an incredible record here but he's making a habit of fizzling out in events this season after a good start and 8/1 isn't attractive with that in mind; similarly Louis Oosthuizen is rapidly joining the Jim Furyk 2012 club of letting winning positions slip from his grasp. Of the 4 I'd opt for Phil Mickelson if pushed - although he's failed to convert a strong position in this event back in 2008 and his other 4 attempts haven't been close enough to justify a win-only selection in my opinion. Instead I'm going to pick 4 longer-priced players who I think have each got a chance of making the frame:
A week off will have recharged the resurgent Paul Casey's batteries and he can pick up where he left off in Perth and Shanghai where he recorded back-to-back top-6 finishes. A fully fit Paul Casey is a match for most here on his day and with injury woes now behind him he's catapulting his way up the Race To Dubai rankings with the prospect of playing in Dubai in a fortnight a real possibility with a top-5 finish here this week. With positive momentum back in his game (and his OWGR ranking) the Englishman could capitalise here and secure his first victory since Bahrain almost 2 years ago and take the scalps of some top players into the bargain.
5 of Casey's 11 European Tour titles have come on Asian soil and he's as adept on Bermuda greens as he is Bentgrass and other surfaces when he's on song. At nearly 7,400 yards for its par of 71 the Serapong is by no means short and the 35 year-old's power off the tee will give him an advantage over many of his competitors, particularly if storms do soften the fairways throughout the week. Some of the approaches he's been hitting in recent weeks have been right from the top drawer and on a tougher course he'll find himself putting for birdie more than most. For many of his battle-weary competitors this event comes at the end of a long, hard season but for Paul his 2012 has only really started in earnest in recent weeks and he'll be fresher than most and far less likely to feel tired and frustrated during the inevitable weather delays. If there's going to be an upset on the cards then it could well be Paul Casey. RESULT: T10
The Scot may still be a European Tour maiden but I'd expect him to shift that title in the very near future and he'll be looking to secure his second consecutive visit to the Earth Course with a final effort here this week as he looks to consolidate his top-60 Race to Dubai position. Jamieson is one of those players whose form comes and goes in waves - his rookie season (2011) started in fine fashion with 5 top-6 finishes before the middle of July, all on par 71 or par 72 setups, before disappearing off the radar in the second half of the season. 2012 started well with a T12 in Qatar followed by an excellent 5th place on the Bermuda Tiff Eagle greens in Dubai before going AWOL again mid-season. 8th in Austria kick-started the most recent revival though and with a 4th in Holland, 12th in Portugal and 5th in Perth in recent weeks I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the 28 year-old from Glasgow notch another top-5 finish here in Singapore, with both his driver and putter performing in Perth as he improved every day on a brand new course to him. RESULT: MC
The Frenchman excels on tougher examinations and with the Serapong being far from a pushover he'll be in his element here as he looks to continue his fine form of October which saw consecutive top-6 finishes in Scotland and Portugal, including 7 birdies in his last 9 competitive holes played on the final day at Vilamoura. Strong finishes at the likes of Wentworth, Valderrama and Celtic Manor litter Jacquelin's golfing history and he thrives on courses where patience and tenacity are key attributes. 16th here in 2010 is Jacquelin's best effort, however he could easily improve on that given his current form and his calm, methodical fashion - particularly when others get frustrated with the start-stop nature of play that is all so likely in Singapore.
2 of his 3 European Tour wins have come on par 71 courses - his last in Sicily in 2011 was on the demanding Donnafugata course where his patient approach ultimately saw him prosper by a shot over Anthony Wall...more of the same this week could well see the bearded Frenchman add another top-5 finish to top off another strong season with over €630,000 banked so far. His 2007 victory in Shanghai was on another tough track where -10 was sufficient to secure a 2-shot victory over Valderamma specialist Soren Kjeldsen. A top-100 OWGR ranking is beckoning for Raphael with a strong finish here and I'd expect him to feature this weekend at a long price. RESULT: T41
Marcel secured his long-awaited 2nd European Tour victory in July when he took the well-regarded Open de France by a stroke from Francesco Molinari having blown chances to win earlier in the season in Dubai, India and Germany. It was an excellent reward for the German who has calmed his temperament down considerably this season - what's most surprising to me is that he hasn't really pushed on since that victory given the confidence it has no doubt injected into his game and mind. Perhaps the distraction of playing the Open Championship, WGC at Firestone then the US PGA Championship has taken his eye off the bread-and-butter back on the European Tour. Nevertheless he's once again started to find something approaching form with consecutive top 20s at Gleneagles and Crans followed by a fast-finishing 11th place finish at the WGC last week, which included 23 birdies over the week and a putter which was once again getting hot. And believe me, when his putter is hot, this boy can putt! He's excellent on Bermuda greens, long off the tee and has a vastly improved short game - 90/1 puts him way under the radar in terms of the bookies' expectations but I think he's got a far better chance than that here this week. RESULT: MC
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 18:00GMT 6.11.12 but naturally subject to fluctuation.