Winner’s Share: €333,330
Course: Oceânico Victoria Golf Club (Par 71 – 7,209 yards)
FANTASY GOLF (PGA TOUR) – With the new season starting (far too soon for us mind you) come and join our fantasy league over on the PGA Tour. Bit of fun, pitting your wits against not just the PGA site, but the DownThe18th universe! We will have a surprise or two for the genius that finds themselves staring down at the rest of us come September next year.
Simply create your team on: FANTASY PGA TOUR and go to Create/Join Leagues and type in ‘DownThe18th’. You will find us there!
Everyone associated with the European Tour will not begrudge world number 792 Oliver Wilson his win at St Andrews, after so many near misses throughout his career. And if anyone backed him at 500/1 – what is your secret? For us, Tommy Fleetwood missed a very makeable one on the last to take it to a play-off while Louis Oosthuizen sneaked into a share for 6th spot. So a profitable week but one that could have been so much better.
Moving on, the Tour finds itself in Vilamoura, Portgual this week at the very aesthetically pleasing Oceânico Victoria Golf Club. It’s one of those tracks Darren Clarke and Yourgolftravel absolutely love – “Tell ‘em Darren sent ya” – you know the advert… It’s pretty easy and scoring is always low: Lynn 2013 (-18), Lewis 2011 (-21) and Green 2010 (-18). Steve Webster holds the tournament record at -25.
You need to be putting well, finding greens and have played relatively well at the Alfred Dunhill the week before. Depsite Lynn missing the cut at St Andrews last year, he still ranked 1st putts per round and 3rd putts per GIR. The majority of players who came inside the top 10 in Portugal last year had at least a top 30 at the Alfred Dunhil the week before.
Another thing to bear in mind is the Race to Dubai standings. The top 60 qualify for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai while the top 110 players retain their playing rights for the upcoming 2015 season. Anyone just outside either of these brackets will be itching to perform well with time running out.
Don’t forget to follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!
Nicolas Colsaerts (40/1 Stan James)
The Belgian Bomber has had a really, really poor 2014. Partly due to his failed foray onto the PGA Tour but mainly down to bad form, plain and simple. He was well aware his season needed resurrecting and started to play plenty of events in recent weeks. It paid off. At the Wales Open, he finished in 4th spot narrowly missing out on the title. Having supported Team Europe at Gleneagles, Colsaerts’ next mission is to make the top 60 – he currently lies about €130,000 outside, so a big performance is needed.
His enormous distance off the tee will give him a big advantage coming onto this course. He finished 15th here last year and ranked 17th putts per GIR and 2nd GIR in his last appearance at Wales – an encouraging combination. We all know he can go low when he wants, this week could be the one where he catapults himself onto everyone’s radar once again.
Chris Wood (50/1 Stan James)
For someone with so much potential and a winner already on the Tour, his T9 last week in Scotland was only his 5th top 10 of the year. But with that finish, he ticked all the boxes we were looking for this week. He had a 10th here in 2008 and was 1st putts per round and 5th putts per GIR at the Alfred Dunhill. He’s playing well, putting well and knows Vilamoura.
Wood can be erratic off the tee and tends to perform a bit better on courses where he can loosen those long arms. He shot -18 to claim his first win on the Tour in Qatar, showing he knows how to go low and more importantly, knows how to win. Good value considering some of the names at the top end of the market.
Marcel Siem (50/1 BetFred)
The German is always someone who can win regardless of form. But his T11 last week was enough for us to think he can carry that form over to Portugal. He is renown for his big hitting and has got plenty of birdies in his locker. Has a best of 4th here in 2008 and was relatively consistent in all areas at the Alfred Dunhill.
Considering he won his 3rd European Tour title last year, 2014 has been somewhat of a disappointment. Highlights have been his T12 at the US Open and T7 at the BMW PGA. So he knows a performance is needed – also lies 51st on the Race to Dubai, by no means guaranteed a top 60…
Robert Jan Derksen (80/1 Paddy Power)
Sometimes you can just see storylines before they happen and the Dutchman is one of them. If you didn’t know, he is retiring at the end of the 2014 season stating lack of motivation and interests outside of the Tour as his reasons. Despite this, he said he is determined more than ever to go out on a high. His dream is win the season-ending World Tour Championship. Well Robert, you need to get there first.
So this could be the week he gets that emotional final win. He finished T11 last week and ranked T17 GIR and T15 putts per GIR. Has a really solid record on this course, 6 top 20’s in his last 7 appearances including 8th last year. We really can see it happening.
Thorbjorn Olesen (66/1 Stan James)
It seems like all of our picks have points to prove and Olesen is no different. Having really shone in 2013 especially at the Masters, this year has been anticlimactic to say the least. He started 2014 like a train with 2 top 5 finishes but since then apart from a T7 at his home tournament, nothing has happened for him. So much so, he finds himself in 64th place on the R2D.
If there is one thing we know, Olesen is a passionate lad and will be pumped at the prospect of being in the last chance saloon, he needs to perform now. Despite being nowhere near last week in Scotland, he did rank 6th in GIR. If he can take that to Portugal and get the putter going, he’s got a shot.
Soren Hansen (150/1 Stan James)
For some reason, we probably haven’t been more confident in our outside bets as we have this week. Firstly, the Dane Hansen recorded his second best finish of the year last week, a T18. Despite being average tee to green, he putted out of his skin – 2nd putts per round and 6th putts per GIR.
So take that to this week and we have a chance. Also has a 7th here in 2008. Also lies 99th in the R2D.
Lucas Bjerregaard (250/1 Bet365)
One more Dane for your consideration. Many expected a much better end to 2014 after his graduation for the Challenge Tour last year and solid start to this. He bombs it off the tee and has all the attributes to go far, but is yet to add that all-important consistency to his game. Finished T32 last week and was in the top 20 for both putting stats. His length off the tee will give him the upper hand and a good performance here would cap a great maiden European Tour season.
Let us know your thoughts on our selections and who you fancy this week! @DownThe18th