Prize Fund – €2,000,000
Winner’s Share – €289, 862
Course – Black Mountain Golf Club (7, 420 yards par 72)
Our 2014 Picks – New Tournament
A new tournament to the European Tour calendar comes in the shape of the True Thailand Classic. Not the greatest field has been assembled but this is a marquee event for Thailand, as it will be the biggest prize fund of $2 million ever seen for golf in the country.
The co-sanctioned events between Asian and Europe often throw up surprises in the betting, with stalwarts of the Asian Tour at long odds regularly bag a place. But rarely do they win… So absolutely fantastic effort from Anirban Lahiri last week, not only against the odds (literally) but coming from absolutely nowhere to overhaul Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger. The latter of the 2 must be wondering what the bloody hell they’ve gotta do to win a tournament…
So, moving onto this week, where as we’ve already mentioned, the field is nowhere near as strong as Malaysia, therefore there’s the potential of a complete outsider storming through.
From what we can tell of the Black Mountain Course, it is firstly, absolutely gorgeous. Interconnected waterways run through the undulating fairways surrounding mountains and full-on greenery.
Native red grass make the colours sublime from an aerial shot, but will also hinder the players who are wild off the tee. Whilst we’ve yet to see a European Tour event here, the Asian Tour has held a few tournaments in recent years.
We can’t really tell a lot from the players that have done well as we’ve got the likes of Prayad Marksaeng who won last year and he is a straight, short-hitting animal, whereas Scott Hend is the epitome of the term ‘bomber’ and he’s had a couple of top 7 finishes here.
It does seem relatively low scoring, so it will be important to attack from the front, but we will be going for players that are in form and have a knack for this sort of Thai challenge.
You can 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!
Rikard Karlberg (50/1 Coral)
Who believes in fairytales then? Well if you’re a cynic this bet won’t mean jot to you. If you’re a believer then look no further than Rikard Karlberg this week.
He has all the headlines awaiting his name in Thailand and if he wins it will be one hell of a few days for the Swede. Firstly, Black Mountain is his home course. That may seem strange considering his native land is on another continent, but when you think that the owner is Stig Notlöv, also Swedish, it makes a tad more sense.
He would of played this track several times, because it’s not just about the golf on this resort, it is a holiday area and the perfect setting for holidays, weddings, whatever it may be. And that’s where this tale gets even crazier. The week after the climax of this event, Karlberg will be tying the knot with his long-term girlfriend at Black Mountain with all his friends and family coming over to not just the ceremony, but the 4 days golf as well.
He will have huge, vocal and unheralded support on every hole and that can only help his momentum as he strives to find the form that elevated him into attention when he was winning trophies in his early 20s. He is still only 28, but has 7 professional wins to his name and having plied his trade on the Asian Tour, he’ll be more than used to the crowd, weather, surroundings, pretty much everything.
We know he missed the cut last week, but he will be so comfortable in his surroundings as he tees it up on Thursday. He came over to play in the King’s cup last year which this track hosted and he finished clear 2nd.
He hits the ball long and is a decent iron player, so all the stars are aligned for Karlberg to begin his marriage on one hell of sound footing.
Prom Meesawat (50/1 StanJames)
Now for the 2nd of our Black Mountain regulars. Prom Meesawat is becoming one of the stalwarts of the Asian Tour and often pulls out impressive performances outside of his home continent. He will, without doubt, be one of the crowds favourites being a Thai golfer and it would be fitting for a local lad to lift the trophy in this inaugural event in his home country.
In his 87 appearances on the European Tour, he has made the cut 57 times, which is not a bad return what so ever. He finished T2 at the Hong Kong Open last year – still his best finish on the bigger tours to date.
Therefore, in our eyes, he’s getting better and better. He is a ridiculous straight and accurate player, whilst very capable on the greens – 18th driving accuracy, 33rd putts per round on the European Tour and last season on the Asian Tour he was 28th putts per round, 35th GIR and 50th driving accuracy.
He has played here in the King’s Cup the last 3 times Black Mountain has hosted, finishing T15 and T40, before a T3 last year, where he shot the joint best round of the event – 65. Last week in Malaysia he finished a respectable T25 and was consistently inside the top 25 for GIR and driving accuracy stats, so overall he has one heck of a chance here.
Paul Peterson (80/1 various)
Now, we didn’t really know a great deal about Paul Peterson before last week. We’d seen his name a few times last season as he kept popping up in cracking positions on the Asian Tour and we saw that he was American. Don’t know why, but we always get more excited about a golfer from the States plying their trade abroad than any nationality. Just look at Uihlein and Koepka…
In his debut year on the Asian Tour, he recorded a ridiculous 8 top 10s in his 16 start, including 5 T4 finishes. Basically, the lad was playing out his skin. He has taken that form into this year as well, winning on the lower Egolf Gateway Tour – love the fact he went back down a level and shot a 64 and 67 to close out the victory – then he’s come to the European Tour and absolutely bossed it in his first outing.
A ridiculous 64 on the Saturday propelled him up the leaderboard and to finish T5 really is some achievement. He was never outside the top 10 for driving accuracy and at the weekend found himself inside the top 25 for both GIR and putting stats.
He will be in supreme confidence and that is dangerous on a course where pretty much anyone can win and the field is not of the highest quality.
Wade Ormsby (50/1 various)
Wade Ormsby may have never played here, but he will certainly be used to the climate and tools required to perform well on the Asian Tour. He has 7 top 10s on this Tour in the past couple of years, including a win over in India.
He ended 2014 in decent form as well, finishing T4 in Turkey and T9 in Perth, then going on to record a T2 finish at the Australia PGA Championship – losing in a playoff to Greg Chalmers (Adam Scott was also in that playoff) and when you look at that field you know he is not afraid of top players around him – Stallings, Boo Weekley, Leishman, Senden, De Jonge to name but a few.
Then last week he shot a 67 on the Sunday to finish T11, which should give him plenty of confidence coming into this week. At the weekend he consistently found over 70% of fairways and was inside the top 25 for putting stats, which shows he’s in some form.
In no way is Ormsby a bad mid-range bet, considering the field.
Andrew Dodt (125/1 Ladbrokes) and Johan Edfors (100/1 Ladbrokes)
Our two outsiders this week come in the form of Andrew Dodt and Johan Edfors – and we like the look of both.
Firstly, Andrew Dodt has actually won on the European Tour before, back in 2010 at the Avantha Masters in India. That being a co-sanctioned event gives us great confidence that the Aussie has the bottle to repeat such a feat if he was up there on Sunday.
He finished the season in Asia well last year, coming 2nd at the back end of 2014 in Thailand and he didn’t look too bad last week. Off the tee he was an absolute animal, constantly over 300 yards (never dropped outside the top 6 for distance) and he was always inside the top 30 for accuracy, which on a course like this, could be a potent combination.
He’s also played here a couple of times, recording a T10 last year and T15 several years back. Not a bad outsider what so ever!
Secondly Johan Edfors. Now this is another Swede in our line-up and our 3rd player who has major associations with the club. He is reaching the mid-late part of his career at 39 now and has had a very decent career, winning 3 European Tour titles and 9 professional trophies all together. He has completely slipped off the radar recently though and this is a place it could all change.
He has played in and out of the Asian Tour, but actually won on this track by 2 strokes in 2009 (known as the Black Mountain Masters at the time) and he’s since record a T30 an T17 here. He also won an ‘unofficial’ title here in 2013 on the Ecco Tour. To sum up, he bloody loves it round here. He’ll know the place inside and out and that makes him a dangerous prospect. He may not have played much golf over the recent weeks, but he did pick up a long overdue victory in China on the Challenge Tour in October last year (his first on the top Tours in 5 years) and all in all, this lad could really mark his return to the elite this week.
Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly. It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters! We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.
It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets. Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.
Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news/true-thailand-classic-golf-betting-guide-66041) –
£1.25 e/w on Rikard Karlberg at 50/1
£1.00 e/w on Prom Meesawat at 40/1
£1.00 e/w on Paul Peterson at 40/1
£0.75 e/w on Wade Ormsby at 50/1
£0.50 e/w on Andrew Dodt at 100/1
£0.50 e/w on Johan Edfors at 100/1
Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power
Find the Golf Monthly Preview will be published here when available –
Current Standings after 4 weeks
DownThe18th Golf Monthly
European Tour: £-29.20 European Tour: £-30
PGA Tour: £-15.38 PGA Tour: £57
Total: £-45.08 Total: £27
Golf Monthly leads by: £72.08