Another successful week for our tips last week with Nick Watney obliging in Doral and Steve picking up 125/1 and 66/1 EW returns in Puerto Rico following his 80/1 winner the week before. Let's go for a hat-trick of wins this week!
On to this week's golf then. The inaugural Sicilian Open is this week's entertainment and most of the attendees will be raring to go after a 3 week break without a regular European Tour event. The Donnafugata resort on the Italian island is the host and we're playing one of their 2 courses, the Gary Player designed parkland course. Player describes the course himself in this interview, however suffice it to say that it's a tight par 71 with deep bunkering and small, flat greens and measures a shade under 7,200 yards. As with many Player setups there's a premium on strategy as opposed to raw power, however recent wet weather is likely to make the course play reasonably long.
The market leader this week is Chris Wood at 20/1 with Coral - clearly a talented player, however still a maiden and to back him here requires a leap of faith in my view despite a good top 10 in Dubai on his last start. The ever-consistent Stephen Gallacher is marginally behind Wood in the betting at 22/1 with BetFred, however his lack of wins from contending positions is starting to become a worry. For me there's some better value a little further down the field this week - here's my tips:
There's lots to like about the 35 year-old Swede who boasts 3 European Tour victories on his CV. 2006 was the year that saw all of those victories and he'll be keen to add to that tally sooner rather than later - he's certainly talented enough to do so. His last 2 starts on Gary Player designs have reaped a 4th place finish (Volvo China Open 2010) and 2nd place (Alfred Dunhill Championship) so he clearly has a liking for the Player setups.
His best finish this season was 6th at the new Monty design in Bahrain - 9 pars on his final 9 holes put paid to any chance he had of winning, however with the likes of Casey, Jimenez & Karlsson just ahead of him this was a decent effort nonetheless. He's toned down his driver in recent times to give himself more chance of finding the fairway - once on the short grass his irons are his strength...this will serve him well around Donnafugata and this makes Edfors my top selection for this event. RESULT: M/C
Followers of my tips will recall my having picked Rock a few times in the past - as he's still a maiden these selections have clearly been in vain, however I'm still convinced he has a win in him at some point in his career! I was on Rock at the Joburg Open where he has in good position going into Saturday before imploding on Sunday with an 84. He's slowly progressing again now and a top 20 in Dubai on his last start, with an impressive 69 on Sunday, was noteworthy on a course which in my view doesn't suit him.
What really got me thinking about Rock though was his record at the Gary Player course at Leopard Creek. Over the last 5 seasons Rock has a record of 17/14/2/4/8 on that course and he may well feel at home here. Rock's recent record in Italy is also noteworthy with form of 2/17 in the Italian Open. RESULT: T58
21 year-old Dane Thorbjorn Olesen is a player that many of his fellow professionals believe will progress to a very high level as his career progresses. 4 times a winner in the Nordic League in his teens, Olesen grabbed his first Challenge Tour victory at The Princess tournament last July before finally finishing 3rd in the rankings to secure his European Tour card.
Olesen started his European Tour career in style with successive top 10s at Leopard Creek and at the following week's South African Open in Durban; he also has a 2009 4th place finish to his name at the SAS Masters which was his first ever start on the main tour. He can also take positive vibes from his runners up finish in Tuscany on the Challenge Tour last year where a final round 64 just failed to secure him a victory. RESULT: M/C
Kapur is a speculative punt, however at 200/1 I'm willing to pay a few quid to find out if he can improve on his 9th place finish on his last start in India. Kapur's biggest win came on home soil back in 2005 at the Volvo Masters of Asia, however this Asian Games golf medallist is capable of shocking some of the better-known players in my opinion.
Like my other selections, Kapur has shown form at Leopard Creek with a top 10 in 2009 which he followed up with a runners-up finish the following week; top 20s to his credit in Italy and the tight Castello Masters also give me positive vibes about my ton-plus tip here. RESULT: T34
Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:45GMT 15.3.11 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
Finally, we run a weekly competition on our facebook group where you can win a £25 free bet with Paddy Power simply by predicting who will win each week’s events – it’s great fun and free to join, here’s a link to the page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/254181393361