Made In Denmark

Prize Fund – €1,500,000made in denmark logo

Winner’s Share – €250,000

Course – Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort (7,033 yards par 71)

Our 2014 Picks – Marc Warren – WON, David Howell – MC, Søren Kjeldsen – T15, Craig  Lee – T15

After a successful first event in a decade last year, the European Tour returns to Aalborg for the Made in Denmark tournament at Himmerland Golf and Spa Resort.

It was very interesting viewing last year due to the surprisingly tough test the players faced. We say surprising because the par 71 measures at 7,033 yards which by today’s standards is absolutely nothing.

But due to it’s links-parkland style, the blustery conditions whipped round the track due to it’s completely exposed nature. The undulating fairways and greens are protected furthermore by water hazards and a clutter of bunkers, making it a very true to test of golf.

Marc Warren won with a -9 score last year and looking at the stats, it was very much a putting parade from the high finisher, along with a very solid GIR display.

Some of the guys inside the top 10 hit the ball far, whilst some didn’t and the same can be said for accuracy, so we are looking at those iron and short stick gurus.

Peter Uihlein 40/1 Coral

When we saw Peter Uihlein at 40’s, it was a very quick decision to back him because even though his season hasn’t been at his high standards, this is a top, top player especially in this sort of field.

He is perfect for any linksy type conditions with his brute force off the tee and impenetrable mid-iron game. We know he came pretty much last after making the cut here in 2014, but there’s been a few signs of renaissance that we would be annoyed if we weren’t with him.

T9 at the Match Play a few weeks back show progress, but due to the nature of a links-type course as well, you have to think there’s some more correlation there.

If he can get his putter going then his length will provide him with plenty of chances to make birdies – he is 87th for putts per round throughout the season, so he just has to make it count.

Chris Paisley 100/1 PaddyPower 

Chris Paisley is getting a few cheeky invites to European Tour events this season and he is doing everything to take advantage of them.

T13 at the Nordea, 3rd at the BMW and then T18 in Portugal last time out prove that he’s got the game to compete at this level.

But it was his T44 in Switzerland that caught our eye in particular because his putting stats were superb throughout the week. He didn’t drop outside the top 15 and showed that he can get the short stick going when he’s in the groove.

Overall he lies in 38th for putts per round and at 3-figure odds he’s definitely worth a punt in this field.

Wyndham Championship 2015

Prize Fund – $5,400,000wyndham

Winner’s Share – $954,000

Course – Sedgefield CC, Greensboro (7,130 yards par 70)

Our 2014 Picks – Bill Haas – T2, Ricky Barnes – T24, Freddie Jacobson – T2, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano – MC, John Huh – T57

After a sensational performance from Jason Day last week, the major year has come to a close and all eyes will quickly turn to the last event before the season ending Final Series. In 5 tournaments time we will have crowned the new FedEx Cup champion who’ll pocket a cool $10 million. Outrageous scenes.

So keep an eye out for all those bumbling along outside the top 125 in the standings as they will be doing everything possible to make sure they’re teeing it up at the Barclays next week. For these lads, it’s crunch time –

120 – Scott Stallings 121 – Jamie Donaldson 122 – Spencer Levin 123 – Nicholas Thompson 124 – Luke Donald 125 – Charl Schwartzel 126 – Scott Langley 127 – Seung-Yul Noh 128 – S.J. Park 129 – Camilo Villegas (won here last year…!) 130 – Ryo Ishikawa 131 – Bily Hurley III 132 – Alex Prugh 149 – Martin Kaymer 156 – Graeme McDowell 170 – Ernie Els 187 – Tiger Woods

Stallings and Donaldson are the only two names above that aren’t playing this week, which is a massive risk if they want to qualify. There are obviously plenty of guys below Prugh who can jolt up the standings with a win, so keep tabs on the storylines as they develop throughout the week.  And yes, Tiger Woods IS PLAYING.  Madness.

As for the event itself, the Wyndham Championship is held at the Donald Ross designed Sedgefield Country Club. The 7,127 yard par 70 has played host since 2008 after 30 years at Forest Oaks and whilst being a cracking track, it’s often provided the players with little bit in terms of scoring.

The winning numbers have been very low and even with the subtle re-designs on the greens, Patrick Reed’s 2013 score was the lowest since the 08’ renewal.

The newly laid Bermuda greens did cause some changes in playability last year – the small, undulating and fast greens arguably provide the only true defence. Therefore we have to look at putting stats and GIR because you can’t score if you’re not giving yourself the chances but clearly going to take a peak at the scoring stats themselves as well.

5 tournaments to go ladies and gentleman, 5 tournaments to go.

Brandt Snedeker 20/1

Brandt Snedeker is looking like he’s getting close to his old self, finally putting that back injury behind him once and for all.

He is putting well again – 40th birdie or better % and 7th one-putt % – whilst his irons are nearly there.

He’s been scoring far better as well. After winning the AT&T earlier this year, pretty much from nowhere, he has gone on to record some very decent finishes.

5 top 12’s in his last 7 outings shows the sort of level we’re talking about at the moment – especially considering that includes a US Open and the PGA Championship…  He was hitting 65% of fairways and greens at Whistling Straits, whilst his putting is still is usual self – that 40-footer on the last bringing great entertainment to all of us!

All in all, we feel it would be a silly move not to at least consider the mighty Sneds, even with the shorts odds.

Ryan Moore (40/1 various)

Ryan Moore is an interesting one this week – on the surface he has the game to really challenge on this sort of track. However, his form hasn’t been the most eye-catching this season – his last top 10 came back in March… There’s been glimpses no denying, but he hasn’t been able to put four rounds together for quite a while.

So why plump on him here? Well, he looked in decent knick tee to green at the PGA, finding over 71% of fairways and 68% of greens, whilst a few weeks ago he had 83% driving accuracy and 72% GIR.

That is a potentially potent combination for this course, especially considering the fact he’s won here and recorded a T6 in the past.

He’s also 56th for strokes gained putting, 25th in total putting and 29th for one-putt percentage.

Decent shout.

Vaughn Taylor (125/1 various)

Vaughn Taylor may have a ridiculous way of spelling his name, but that doesn’t put us off the fact he’s a pretty decent shout this week.

He is a two-time PGA Tour champion believe it or not (2 Reno-Tahoe Open wins in 04’ and 05’) but his career has mainly been plugging away on the, NGA and other such Tours.

However in his last year before he turns 40, he’s been making some sort of inroads on the PGA circuit this season. A couple of top 10’s and only one missed cut in 11 outings is not a bad return and we feel he’s got something to offer on the sort of track.

He is 28th for driving accuracy, 25th GIR and 79th for strokes gained putting which really is a cracking combination – he’s also 13th for scoring average which just goes to show he can shoot low when he’s in the groove.

Much like Moore, he has to find the consistency to do it for four rounds and then we could have a cheeky outsider on our hands.

Hudson Swafford (200/1 various)

Hudson Swafford is someone that is worth looking at because of the very high odds and the fact he does, theoretically, suit this track.

A MC last time out at the Barracuda, but before that he was playing well for a couple of rounds in several tournaments in a row, only to have a stinker on at least one of the days.

He must keep his form going over a few days and he really could challenge here.

37th for GIR, 29th strokes gained putting, 71st scoring average and 48th 3-putt avoidance is now bad for someone who is at 200/1…

Why not?

PGA Championship 2015

Prize Fund – $10,000,0002015_PGA_CHAMPIONSHIP_TICKE

Winner’s Share – $1,800,000

Course – Whistling Straits (7,514 yards par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Sergio Garcia – T36, Hideki Matsuyama – T36, Marc Leishman – MC, Hunter Mahan – T7, Louis Oosthuizen – T15

So here we go, one last push, one final hurdle. The golfing Major season will come to a head at a Pete Dye classic, as arguably the best field of the four big ones battle it out to win the PGA Championship.

It often gets moved aside for the traditional majors and is only considered slightly bigger than The Players in some circles, but do not be fooled – The top 100 players automatically qualify whilst tournament winners in the past 12 months also get a spot (as well as some of the PGA Pro’s that got through their own qualification process) so this is a huge event with an unbelievable history and the very best players at this moment.

A history that includes some memorable moments as well. Y.E Yang defeating Tiger in 09’, the new boy Keegan Bradley toppling the world in 2010, Rich Beem and his heroics in 2002, Shaun Micheel in 2003. We really could go on, but there are so many magnificent sporting stories that come to the fore with this 4th Major.

So, before we get talking about Mr. Dye’s beautifully set up track, let’s have a look at some of the trends and recent history of the PGA Championship.

For starters, there are three points that consistently crop up with PGA winners –

  1. 13 of the last 15 champions recorded a victory in the same year.

This is no surprise in a lot of ways because the field is made up of winners, but it may help narrow down your search slightly. It does show that you have a recent knack of knowing how to get the job done and some sort of form.

  1. Since the WGC Bridgestone became the unwritten warm-up to the PGA in 2006, the winner has always been in the field and remarkably, always finished inside the top 22. (A big argument can be made to stretch that to those who finished T25 this year)

The lengthy nature of Firestone makes this little surprise as well – PGA tournaments are always on long tracks, so the comparison is obvious. Plus, another indicator that the winners’ game is in decent knick.

  1. Barring Jason Dufner in 2013, every winner going back to Vijay Singh in 2004 has averaged over 291 yards before the win

Again, hardly surprising considering the length of traditional PGA tracks – barring Oak Hill (2013, 2003), Southern Hills (07’) and Medinah (06’) every course measures in at 7,400 yards minimum.

So, if we are judging everything by that, we can actually narrow down the field to a select few names who fit the categories and they’re as follows (world ranking in brackets) –

  • Jordan Spieth (2nd)
  • Bubba Watson (3rd)
  • Jason Day (5th)
  • Justin Rose (6th)
  • Rickie Fowler (7th)
  • Patrick Reed (18th)
  • Shane Lowry (19th)
  • Brooks Koepka (20th)
  • Danny Willett (25th)
  • Bernd Wiesberger (26th)
  • Branden Grace (28th)
  • Robert Streb (40th)
  • Steven Bowditch (60th)
  • Camilo Villegas (156th)

So, those few names make for very interesting reading. We are now going to be able to whittle the list down even further by looking at Whistling Straits itself.

The Pete Dye layout will play as a 7,512 yard par 72 and is chiselled alongside the shores of Lake Michigan. There is absolutely no doubting there is a resemblance to classic Links tracks often found in Ireland – and even Chambers Bay in some regards, but at it’s core you have an American track that can be over-powered in good conditions and bite in tough, windy weather.

Not bad ay?

Not bad ay?

Eights of the holes are completely exposed to the lake and there are elevation changes of a staggering 80ft throughout the course. But the undulating, rolling landscapes have a cracking defence in the ridiculous 900+ bunkers littered all over.

On the surface you would think that driving accuracy will be key, but Singh and Kaymer were nowhere near the top end in that stats category and looking back at their performances, it seems far more important to have your irons in full flow.

Hitting the small, tough greens is no easy feet, especially trying to the ball to stop. Therefore the usual Links skill of scrambling will be vital for our 2015 winner.

If you look at it – Kaymer and Singh were both inside the top 10 for GIR stats throughout the week as well as the top 20 in scrambling. So, let’s now scrap those names above who are outside the top 40 in both those categories.

Here’s the five left –

  • Bubba Watson (3rd)
  • Jason Day (5th)
  • Danny Willett (25th)
  • Bernd Wiesberger (26th)
  • Branden Grace (28th)

Now you cannot deny those are some very fascinating names. Before we get into the nitty gritty of our own picks, we must mention that for us, Bubba and Day are too short to consider below 20’s – there’s much better value out there, but they should still be contemplated seriously before finalising your staking plans.

For the fourth and final time in 2015 – enjoy this week’s major!

Rickie Fowler (22/1 various)

Come on Rickie, it's time. - courtesy of golfweek

Come on Rickie, it’s time. – courtesy of golfweek

Yes, we’re going there again. We are just so adamant Rickie is going to win a major very soon that when a course sort of suits him, we feel our hands are tied.

He does fit the original trends, but didn’t make the last 5 because he lies in 93rd for scrambling, however we’ve seen how well he can play from tough positions when it matters most.

At the end of the day he won in typical Links conditions in Scotland and got himself into the mix at The Open, so he knows how to play these sorts of layouts. It clearly didn’t work for him at Chambers Bay, but some of that must be to do with the group he was playing in – they were all awful…

And in his last two outings, he finished 2nd at the Quicken Loans and T10 last week at the WGC. He’s in great knick and should be incredibly confident in his abilities.

He is an outstanding bunker player as well, which will without doubt come into play at times this week – his sand saves last week were 88.88%…

Overall, he’s a big hitter, 41st for driving distance – and can get in a real flow with his irons when everything is working well. You’d be a fool not to at least consider him…

Henrik Stenson (28/1 various)

Another big chance for the Swede

Another big chance for the Swede

We’ve heard a few whispers about Stenson recently that everything wasn’t quite going right, but he proved his form by a very solid T6 last week.

He never propelled forward massively, but was consistent in his scoring and should take confidence moving forward to a major that should suit his game.

So he hasn’t won this year, therefore didn’t make the trends, but blimey has he had some good outings – Five top 4 finishes this season say everything, so he isn’t in the worst knick

Looking at his stats, you have to be impressed as well. 38th for driving distance, 1st for GIR and 62nd for scrambling. With his prodigious tee to green game he could overpower this track and use his expertise on Links tracks to perfection.

A really good shout for the ‘top bracket’ of players…

Brooks Koepka (45/1 PaddyPower)

He's used to much tougher Links tracks than this...

He’s used to much tougher Links tracks than this…

Brooks Koepka has slowly been producing the sort of form that warrants him being a very interesting mid-ranger at 45’s.  He is consistently playing well on both sides of the Atlantic – he hasn’t missed a cut since The Players and has recorded 6 top 20’s, 3 of which were inside the top 10.

Last week he looked in good rhythm once again, finishing in a tie for 6th and he didn’t shoot over 70 again, taking his record to 9 rounds of 69 or better in his last 10.  That’s some going.

So, as well as being in good touch, he suits this sort of track down to the ground.  He hits the ball a mile and has the ability to get his irons working ridiculously smoothly – 6th for distance and 19th for GIR, whilst he is actually 49th for scrambling from the rough which bodes well here.

His overall scrambling isn’t great stats wise (155th) but we’ve seen enough of him to know that he can handle the pressures of an up and down in linksy conditions – 3 of his 4 Challenge Tour wins were on coastal tracks…  Plus he finished T10 at St. Andrews a few weeks back…

Plus he’s 58th for sand save which basically makes him the complete player.

And don’t forget he’s a two-time winner in the past year, so he knows very much how to get the job done… Intriguing to say the least.

Branden Grace (80/1 various)

Will he be Grace-ing the winner's circle?

Will he be Grace-ing the winner’s circle?

It’s probably quite easy to forget that Branden Grace is actually a 3-time European Tour winner in the past year.  Whilst that is simply ludicrous, you’d have to think he would be around 30’s if that form was on the PGA Tour…

In fact his form across just 2015 is just breathtakingly good – 18 tournaments, 2 wins, 5 top 10’s, 11 top 20’s and only 2 missed cuts.  Unreal.

The South African therefore has to be considered, especially when you think how close he came at Chambers Bay.  There was no bottle there at all, he genuinely had a chance going down 16 and a T4 finish is still no mean feat.

He really is coming into his own now and this could be a perfect fit for someone who is used to these sorts of tracks.  His stats on his predominant Tour in Europe match everything perfectly – 301 yards off the tee, 8th GIR and 18th scrambling.  Not bad.  Plus, he fits the trends and history, so there really is little to not like…

Danny Willett (100/1 various)

Has everything in his locker for this sort of track

Has everything in his locker for this sort of track

Danny Willett has had a pretty stellar year and is consistently recording top finishes. With two wins already this season and a further 4 top 6 performances, you cannot doubt the Englishman is an intriguing shout at 3-figure odds.

As we stated in our preview, he fits all the trends and stats for recent winners – a comfortable, if not exciting T17 at the WGC will definitely stand him in good stead – in fact his recent form line is so impressive – T17, 1st in Switzerland and T6 at The Open.

It was at St. Andrews where we saw the potential big tournament winning Willett really shine – a mini breakthrough if you will. He had every chance of capturing the claret jug going into that weekend but all the adverse conditions definitely didn’t do him any favours.

Overall, you’ve got someone that hits it over 292 yards, lies 23rd for GIR and 4th in scrambling on the European Tour and has the all-round tee-to-green game perfectly suited for this test.

Robert Streb (90/1 various)

Robert Streb showing his delight at winning the McGladrey last year  Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Robert Streb showing his delight at winning the McGladrey last year
Stephen B. Morton / Associated Press

Our final pick comes in the form of another non-major champion, making it a 6-man team who would all be debutants into the winner’s circle.

Robert Streb has performed above and beyond this year, pretty much continuing his early season form where he won his maiden title at the McGladrey Classic in October.

He almost won again a few weeks back at the Greenbrier but lost out to Danny Lee in a playoff, but that still shows how far he has come to nearly win 2 in the same season.He is actually 5th in the current FedEx standings, which says a lot for consistency – a stunning 8 top 10’s and 13 top 25 finishes prove how well he’s been playing on a very regular basis.

That playoff defeat was followed by a T14 at the John Deere, a T18 at The Open and a solo 5th at last weeks WGC. He was leading at St. Andrews for a while on that first day, which shows he doesn’t mind the adverse Links conditions or the pressures of the biggest tournament in the game.

Stats wise he is perfect as well – 40th for distance, 11th for GIR, 78th fro scrambling, 84th sand save and even 25th for strokes gained putting for a bit of good measure.

The real deal here.

Travelers Championship 2015


Prize Fund – $6,400,00

Winner’s Share – $1,152,000

Course – TPC River Highlands (6,841 yards Par 70)

Our 2014 Picks – Brendon De Jonge – T42, Freddie Jacobson – T31, Brandt Snedeker – T11

Well what an enthralling final few hours we all witnessed at Chambers Bay. Rory McIlroy going on the charge before faltering, Louis Oosthuizen producing 3 rounds of genuine quality but falling agonizingly short, Branden Grace in contention right till an OOB on the 16th before the ultimate finale when DJ 3-putted to gift Jordan Spieth a 2nd Major in a row. Not forgetting the ‘Cauliflower’ incident. Exhausting stuff.

But onto this week and considering the event just gone, we don’t have the worst field to be fair. Louis will be confident after his US Open antics, whilst the likes of Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson, Brandt Snedeker, Patrick Reed, Keegan Bradley and even Jason Day (although that’s likely to change after his vertigo issues) are all due to tee it up at TPC River Highlands.

Not a bad closing hole Courtesy of PGA Tour

Not a bad closing hole
Courtesy of PGA Tour

This 6,841 yard par 70 is clearly not the lengthiest, but due to it’s tight fairways and abundance of hazards, accuracy will play a huge part come the final putt on Sunday. Getting the ball down the middle and having the ability to attack pins will be crucial, whilst we’ve seen recent winners on fire with their short stick and scrambling around the greens.

As a Pete Dye design, it may be worth looking at some of his other tracks – Harbour Town, TPC Sawgrass and TPC Louisiana – because most winners have had a decent performance at a Dye layout before.

Do take note of various GIR stats, especially 100-125/125-150 because there’ll be so many short wedges for the players and those that are consistently in with birdie chances will undoubtedly be winning by the end of the week.

Francesco Molinari (40/1 various)

Francesco Molinari did not have the greatest year in 2014 but it has been clearly evident how strongly he’s progressed this season. He has mainly been playing on the PGA Tour for starters and accumulated some pretty impressive finishes. A T10 at the Humana Challenge in January, followed by a T17 at the Arnold Palmer and then a T3 at the Memorial. The main thing they all have in common is that you need to get the ball in play to find and attack pins for birdies. The same can be said for his best two finishes in Europe – 5th at the BMW (all be it with a slight struggle on the final day) and a T2 in Spain.

All in all he is looking pretty imperious at the moment tee to green and proved his form hasn’t shown signs of slipping when he found himself inside the top 10 going into the weekend at the US Open last week.

Just look at his stats on the PGA – 1st driving accuracy, 4th in GIR, 25th scoring average, 19th proximity to the hole and most excitingly for this week, 1st in approaches from 100-125 yards.

The Italian is the perfect fit for this track, even though he’s never played here and undoubtedly at very reasonable odds.

Russell Knox (50/1 various)

Russell Knox has become a perennial top 25 finisher in PGA events. He will often be in and around before just doing enough and not truly excelling.

There’s an obvious few exceptions to the rule – 3rd at the Shriners and T3 at the Honda, but all in all he rarely gets you money back.

However he so often has that look and feel of someone on the verge of picking up a title and this could finally be that week. He suits the track perfectly, has finished T13 here before and has actually shown a steady increase in results recently.

He shot a 64 and 66 either side of a couple of rounds in the 70’s last time out and if he can sort out his short stick he’ll definitely be up there come Sunday.

FedEx St. Jude Classic 2015

The PGA Tour moves onto Memphis this week as we enter the final few hurdles before the US Open makes its big mark on the season. Do check out our 1st preview when it’s published in a few days!

Basically, the players are now just gearing up for Chambers Bay, using the next couple of weeks as a warm up and for some this will be their last outing before that next major.

The field isn’t particularly mouth-watering, but there’s still enough big names to get the juices flowing – Dustin Johnson (who considering what the course is like, miraculously won here in 2012!), Phil Mickelson (again, decent form considering his wayward tee game), Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka, Harris English et al are some of the ‘bigger names’ at the event.

TPC Southwind is an unusual track in some ways, because it can certainly cause players difficulty with it’s abundance of lakes, ponds and hazards in general. However, on the surface it doesn’t look like a place that should be too challenging.

The Par 70 stands at 7,239 yards and requires the ball to be kept in play. Looking at the players who have won here in recent history, you can see that they’ve had their iron game in absolute control, as well as being hot with the putter.

Ben Crane, English and DJ all struck the ball beautifully during their wins, whilst found the knack of holing putts. When we look at last years stats, there are correlations with accuracy and putting – barring Matt Every who finished in a tie for 3rd, everyone inside the top 6 were consistent across the board for driving accuracy, GIR and putting.

Interestingly. Only Brian Harman finished outside the top 30 for putting stats from the guys who were inside the top 11…

It’s also worth keeping in mind that scrambling could play a part from around the difficult greens, because obviously you aren’t going to hit the dance floor 100% of the time!

Webb Simpson (18/1 various)

Gunning for another victory on a tough course

Gunning for another victory on a tough course

Webb Simpson is obviously one of the favourites and understandably so considering his recent outing and finish here last year. For those of you that follow us regularly, you will know that we rarely go for the top end of the market, but this time it’s too appealing.

When it comes to requirements for this track, Webb fits the majority of them. He is 11th in total driving and 19th for GIR, which is simply the perfect tee to green combination for Southwind.

We all know how impressive he can be with his irons. Last time out at the Wells Fargo he finished top of the driving accuracy stats for the week and 38th for GIR.

But the big mark against him at the moment is his putting, however this is the main reason we have decided we want to go with him… He finished 11th for total putting at Quail Hollow ending the tournament in a tie for 2nd.

That is much better form and shows he actually started holing some putts. If he can bring that here, he’ll be in a fantastic position to challenge – plus he finished T3 on this track last year…

Luke Donald (40/1 Coral)

Time for some success from the Englishman

Time for some success from the Englishman

Now, considering the 40/1 price, this is a risky bet. However, Luke Donald just has that duel feeling of ‘what if’ and ‘close but no cigar.’

The Englishman has been pretty average for quite a while now and without his absolutely ridiculous short game, he would have missed cuts galore.

And that is the main reason we fancy him this week. At the BMW he was simply awful at time off the tee – but his scrambling, touch and putting saved him on several occasions.

Moving on one week, he looked a bit better tee to green and that got us thinking he might have a say come the end of the tournament.

He finished in a tie for 18th and on the Sunday he was 11th for driving accuracy, 26th GIR and 10th putts per round, whilst on the Saturday he was 18th driving accuracy, 15th GIR and 19th putts per round.

If that doesn’t make you want to go there, nothing ever will.

Scott Pinckney (90/1 Coral) 

Scott Pinckney seems like a very interesting outsider this week. He is only 26 years old and spent some time over in Europe with not a great deal of success, but he is still a promising talent.

He’s supposedly mates with the world number one – not hugely sure how that helps – but we have seen 4 top 12’s since March which is decent form for anyone.

But last time out he shot 2 64’s at the Byron Nelson to finish in a tie for 2nd which is very exciting.

He’s 97th for driving accuracy, 54th for GIR and 42nd strokes gained putting and simply seems like a decent pick considering the field and odds!

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

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  –

£3.50 e/w on Webb Simpson at 18/1 (PaddyPower 6 Places)

£1.00 e/w on Luke Donald at 40/1 (StanJames)

£0.50 e/w on Scott Pinckney at 90/1 (Coral)

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (

Current Standings after 19 weeks

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-71.95                  European Tour:  £-50.62

PGA Tour: £-25.94                           PGA Tour: £23.75

Total: £-97.89                                   Total: £-26.87

Golf Monthly leads by: £70.02


Lyoness Open 2015

LyonessPrize Fund – €1,000,00

Winner’s Share – €166,660

Course – Diamond Country Club (7,417 yards Par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Craig Lee – MC, Eduardo De La Riva – T7, Michael Hoey – T48, Keith Horne – MC, Phillip Archer – T62

Another week on the European Tour is behind us and we now move on to one of those events that never (in all honesty) captures the imagination with a strong field.

We head to mainland Europe for the Lyoness Open in Austria – headlined by local boy Bernd Wiesberger. His record here is pretty incredible and with the sort of form he’s in at the moment, he is understandably the runaway favourite.

So whilst you are not going to be used to seeing (and wanting to back!) some of the players at the sort of odds they are, there is still plenty of value to be had. The Diamond Country Club is playing host for the 6th consecutive year and the 7,433 yard par 72 is actually quite an interesting track.

On paper it sounds like a behemoth, but when you look deeper, you realise there’s a lot more to it than sheer, brute force. Previous winners have been accurate, iron gurus who rely on their approach game – Mikael Lundberg, Joost Luiten, Wiesberger, Kennie Ferrie and Jose Manuel Lara.

Now none of them, barring Wiesberger, hit the ball hugely far, which goes to show what’s required here.  Last year everyone inside the top 5 (barring Rhys Davies on day one and Mikkael Lundberg on day 3) were inside the top 20 for GIR stats every day.

There were plenty of accuracy and mid-range distance stats off the tee as well, whilst Lundberg putted out his skin to grab his win. There are a few islands greens with surrounding water which prove you need to be in play off the tee because otherwise it’s a potential drop shot galore.

Overall, it could be a very interesting week’s play.

Just a quick note – We very much wanted to go with Chris Wood as our main pick, but we simply couldn’t warrant 12/1… Low 20’s maybe, but we thought 12 was slightly too far!

Matthew Fitzpatrick (55/1 PaddyPower)

Not bad..

Not bad..

We said that this track requires an iron guru and if you’ve seen Matthew Fitzpatrick playing well, you’ll know that’s exactly what he does.

His season has simply not hit the heights expected of someone so talented, but he is still so, so young. You cannot honestly think he will go out there and dominate because very few do, but we have seen a remarkable improvement in his last 3 outings that make us think he is worth a punt this week.

First of all Mauritius, where he finished in a tie for 20th. During his first round he was 3rd for driving accuracy, followed by 3 straight days in 1st for the same stat.

His GIR stats were inside the top 6 every day barring the Saturday, with which a 73 ended his chances of victory. But VERY encouraging. Then in Spain he recorded a T22 finish and didn’t find himself outside the top 20 for GIR during the final 3 days.

But where we get most excited is at the Irish where he finished T8. Here are his stats for the final 3 days –

Friday – Driving Accuracy – 2nd, GIR – 17th

Saturday – Driving Accuracy – 1st, GIR – 4th

Sunday – Driving Accuracy – 1st, GIR – 1st

Whilst proving how formidable his tee to green game is at the moment, it also shows that he is starting to convert those chances and we cannot help but think he’s a superb fit for this course, even though he’s never played here.

One to definitely watch.

Scott Jamieson (50/1 PaddyPower)

Nike don't just sponsor anyone - Courtesy of EveningTimes

Nike don’t just sponsor anyone – Courtesy of EveningTimes

Scott Jamieson has not had a great season by any means, but his recent outings have been consistent mid-range finishes.

Barring the 1st day of the Irish Open, he didn’t finish outside the top 13 for driving accuracy or GIR throughout, which shows that he’s not far away from getting back to his best.

He ended up finishing in a tie for 30th and that’s enough for us to think he could have a part to play in Austria.  He finished T8 here in 2012 on his only performance at Diamond CC, so very much an interesting pick this week.

Simon Wakefield (125/1 PaddyPower)

It’s been a really difficult season for Simon Wakefield having lost his tour card last year and plying his trade on the Challenge Tour.

He hasn’t particularly lit it up there either, although a few steady performances will hopefully give him a slight boost.  The main reason we are taking a plump on Wakey is because of his efforts in Sweden last week. At the time of writing he is in a tie for 61st because of his final round 76 has dropped him significantly down.

However in round one he shot a marvellous 69 and found himself in 13th and coupled with the fact his usually straight game (1st in accuracy as always) and GIR he could be an interesting outsider this week.

Lee Slattery (60/1 StanJames)

Lee Slattery is another intriguing bet this week after his superb performance out in Sweden.

His tee to green game wasn’t particularly outstanding, but his putting was impressive and usually he is someone that doesn’t hole his putts.

But add into the equation he finished T4 last year and T9 in 2013 on this track, you have to think he’s taken a liking to the place.

If his game is firing on all cylinders, he’ll definitely be up there again.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

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  –

£2.50 e/w on Matthew Fitzpatrick at 60/1 (BetFred)

£1.00 e/w on Scott Jamieson at 50/1 (PaddyPower)

£0.50 e/w on Simon Wakefield at 150/1 (BetFred)

£1.00 e/w on Lee Slattery at 60/1 (Paddy Power)

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (

Current Standings after 19 weeks

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-71.95                  European Tour:  £-50.62

PGA Tour: £-25.94                           PGA Tour: £23.75

Total: £-97.89                                   Total: £-26.87

Golf Monthly leads by: £96.90

AT&T Byron Nelson 2015

Prize Fund – $7,100,002015byronnelson

Winner’s Share – $1,278,000

Course – TPC Four Seasons Resort (7,166 yards Par 70)

Our 2014 Picks – Jimmy Walker – T37 Paul Casey – T16 Justin Hicks – MC

This week on the PGA Tour we stay in Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson with a field that doesn’t excite anywhere near as much as last week or over the event over in Ireland.

But, we’ve got to look past all that and try and value at a course which is honestly, quite hard to predict.

Only 3 of the 8 winners on this track had recorded a top 10 before their victory, whilst there has been another 3 first-time victors. Therefore course form can theoretically be chucked out the window, but we always feel it’s important to keep an eye on previous results.

The 7,166 yard par 70 possesses large, undulating greens with several water features and strategically placed bunkers that will swallow anyone who strays into them.  The tree-lined fairways clearly indicate how vital it is to be accurate off the tee, whilst you can’t help but think those that attack the pins and birdie hunt will find themselves near the top of the leaderboard.  If the wind gets up, there’ll be havoc amongst the scores, but if it’s mild, the players will go really low.

That makes this so tough because you could look at accurate grinders or bombers, so check out the wind before you bet – right now it looks like we could be in for a pretty horrific few days weather….

Matt Kuchar (33/1 Coral)

Keep on smiling Kuch Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America

Keep on smiling Kuch
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America

Kuuuch has been his ever consistent self this year, making 14 out of 15 cuts since the season began.  We are aware that one failure to make the weekend did come at his most recent outing – The Players – but we are going to be looking past that because this is a track where he should fare well.

His tee to green game is infamous and could be a great fit for the demands of the course – a place where his formline isn’t spectacular, but it is certainly impressive nonetheless.  2 top 10’s in his last 4 outings here with a worst finish of T33.  He really needs to bring the form from the RBC Heritage back here and if he can then 33’s will seem like incredible value and definitely worth backing.

His putter has been particularly hot this season as well, which will, without doubt, make for an easier effort here.

Harris English (66/1 various)

Didn’t we say it was last chance saloon for Harris English a couple of weeks back?  Yes he has intrigued us several times going into a few events this season and duly not delivered but at 66/1 we feel he’s worth another cheeky bet.

This is a track that has his name written all over it.  One of the best on tour off the tee – 17th total driving – he could be hitting it long and straight to set up perfect positions to attack pins.  Considering he is 21st for GIR and 26th for strokes gained putting, you can’t help but think his all-round game will be perfect here and although his best finish is T17 in 2 starts, you still think there’s plenty more to come.

And that can be said for his whole season really.  No top 10 since the Valspar a couple of months back, but a cracking player with the potential to show his true abilities at very reasonable odds.

Brendan Steele (80/1 BetVictor)

Looking for a Steeley performance

Looking for a Steeley performance

This is a course, despite missing the cut on the two times he’s been here, that Steele could be a real handful on. At first glance Four Seasons looks like it’s one for the straight hitters out there and to a degree that’s true – Steele isn’t renowned for being arrow-straight. But looking through the history books, it’s the ‘total-drivers’ that have really thrived here. That’s where Steele comes in. Okay, he doesn’t find every fairway but in the main he’s not only straight but long as well. He ranks T35 total driving on tour and was actually 1st in driving distance in his last event at the Wells Fargo.

It’s his T9 in his last outing that is the main reason we’re having a punt on the American in Texas this week. As always, we watched plenty of live coverage but Steele was someone who really caught our eye. It’s one thing ploughing through stats and then another actually seeing these guys strike the ball. He looked on top of his game and on further inspection you’ll find he ranked 1st in GIR for the week, absolutely no surprises there. At 80’s bookies are obviously looking elsewhere given his 2 MC’s here but he could go close this week.

Much like Chris Kirk, Steele has the quality to start pushing on now and racking up a few more PGA titles. The scene of his one and only PGA Tour title so far was in none other than Texas, at the Valero. Good omens.

Jerry Kelly (125/1 BetVictor)

Jerry Kelly will probably be a popular outsider this week because he looked pretty impressive with his irons at Colonial and he just seemed to be really bloody happy.

He was a smiling guru of approach play throughout the week and to finish T10 shows his game is almost there.  He is very much a true grinder with ridiculous accuracy stats – 13th driving accuracy – and this is a place that should suit him perfectly.

He has finished T3 here before and recorded 2 other top 11’s which shows it’s a place he likes and if he can continue his steady rise in finishes – T22, T17 and T10 – this will be a memorable week for the old timer.

Martin Laird (150/1 BetVictor)

Martin Laird has a really odd forehead...

Martin Laird has a really odd forehead…

Martin Laird will be incredibly accustomed to any wind that decides to barrage down in Texas this week and whilst his recent form hasn’t been great, at 150’s he’s definitely worth a gamble.

30th for total driving and 35th GIR proves he has plenty of potential on these sort of tracks.  We’ve seen him grinding and scrambling his way on tough courses already this season – T5 at the Waste Management and T7 at the Valspar – so if he can replicate that sort of form then he really is a decent outsider to consider if the weather decides to take a turn.

Will Wilcox (250/1 Paddy Power)

250’s might put some of you off but as we keep saying, pretty much every week someone at this sort price will always sneak a place, if not win. Adam Hadwin (400/1) last week, prime example.

So why will Will win? He’s played here once and missed the cut. Good start. But… looking at his recent form, he’s actually in good shape. Two top 20’s on the preceded by a T33 at the Valspar and T6 in Puerto Rico.

Then we look at stats. He ranks 7th total driving, 2nd bogey avoidance, T28 par 4 performance and 6th par 3 performance. Essentially, tee to green he’s one of the best on Tour. Naturally, he needs to up his short game and when the pressure is on how will he cope. All good questions but he’s 250/1 and worth a few coins.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

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  –

£2.00 e/w on Matt Kuchar at 33/1 (Coral)

£1.00 e/w on Harris English at 66/1 (Stan James)

£0.75 e/w on Brendan Steele at 80/1 (Bet Victor)

£0.55 e/w on Jerry Kelly at 125/1 (Coral)

£0.40 e/w on Martin Laird at 150/1 (Coral)

£0.30 e/w on Will Wilcox  at 250/1 (Paddy Power)

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (

Current Standings after 19 weeks

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-71.95                  European Tour:  £-50.62

PGA Tour: £-25.94                           PGA Tour: £23.75

Total: £-97.89                                   Total: £-26.87

Golf Monthly leads by: £70.02

The Players Championship 2015

PLAYERS-LogoPrize Fund – $10,000,000

Winner’s Share – $1,800,000

Course – TPC Sawgrass (Par 72, 7215 yards)

After 5 days of unadulterated madness at the WGC Match Play, we now move on to another star-studded line-up for the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

The Players Championship has long been considered the ‘5th major’ and will always attract the very best players and this year is no different.

Rory McIlroy heads the betting alongside Jordan Spieth, but the fact he’s just played 7 rounds in 5 days makes him definitely un-backable, even if you fancied the 7/1 on offer.

We do feel the same can be said of all 5 of the guys that made it through to Sunday because it’s just a lot of golf to play both mentally and physically.

Especially because the Players is so prestigious and TPC Sawgrass is such a tough challenge in itself. It’s hosted the event since 1982, with Pete Dye designing a track specifically for this tournament and it requires a level-headed tee-to-green performance.

The Par 72 is not particularly long at 7,215 yards but possesses some of the smaller and tougher greens to hit on Tour. Total diving, ball striking and top scrambling will be requirements for anyone wanting to challenge, whilst historically, scoring on par 5’s has been an important factor.

It’s also absolutely vital to have course experience and knowledge of the track and it’s tough layout. 9 of the last 11 winners had a top 20 finish here before their victory. You will rarely see anyone you wouldn’t consider a ‘top player’ come here and win either, so you are essentially looking for someone with pedigree and some sort of form.

But as we said earlier, it’s probably best to avoid the guys that made it to Sunday at the WGC and instead look at those who may have been knocked out early but still showed some form.

Louis Oosthuizen (50/1 various)

He does like trophies, don't forget that! -Photo Courtesy of Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

He does like trophies, don’t forget that! -Photo Courtesy of Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Now we know we mentioned how important course form is here and there’s no denying that Louis Oosthuizen is lacking in that department. Four starts with three missed cuts, but he does fit the trends theoretically because he has one finish inside the top 20…

The main reason we like the South African this week is simply because of how he’s performing at the moment. He finally seems to be over his bout of injuries, playing regular golf and recording good finishes.

In his last 8 starts he’s missed the cut twice but found top 20’s in his other 6 outings. That includes 4 top 10’s. We were super impressed with his outing at the Match play last week – confirming to us fully that he’s in good knick. Yes, he lost to Jimbo Furyk in the Quarters but he beat Bubba in a playoff, Rickie Fowler and destroyed Keegan Bradley. Across his four rounds (the victories) he would have been -18 in strokeplay, which just proves how many birdies and pars he was able to find.

That includes just one bogey and you have to feel slightly excited by that. Plus in the stats department he is 46th for ball striking, 9th for GIR and 15th in par 5 birdie or better.

At 50’s you’d be silly not to get involved.

Phil Mickelson (40/1 various) 

Phil getting those fists pumping.  Come on! Phot Courtesy of USA Sports Today

Phil getting those fists pumping. Come on!
Phot Courtesy of USA Sports Today

Oh Phil. We couldn’t help it at 40s. It’s probably slightly ludicrous, but theoretically his last outing was a T2 at The Masters, so in our eyes, he’s found his mojo again.

As usual he pulled out of the Match Play which just makes us think he’s as fresh as a daisy, raring to add another big title to his legendary CV.

In all honesty if you actually look at his form line, it isn’t that bad. 5 outings and a worst finish of T31 proves that he’s nearly there and we cant help but get excited at him plugging away on the Sawgrass track.

He obviously won here back in 2007, so he knows everything there is to know about the course and we all know what he’s about tee to green.

Yes wild at times, but there are few better scramblers or par 5 players in the game, full stop.

Too intriguing at 40’s.

Adam Scott (45/1 Coral) 

Long putter or short putter?

Long putter or short putter?

Another top player at very interesting prices and someone that would command half the odds if he was playing at the top of his game.

Adam Scott is not in the sort of form that we’re used to and that’s why he’s drifted. But actually sit down and look at his results and you’d be a fool not to back him at 45/1.

5 outings in strokeplay this season, missing only 1 cut and recording 2 top 12 finishes. He was T4 at the WGC Cadillac earlier in the season and he did go into the weekend at The Masters with a slight sniff of challenging.

Whilst that obviously didn’t work out and he dropped back to T38, it still shows that his game isn’t as bad as what the bookies are making it seem.

He did lose 3 on the bounce at the Match Play, however barring a hideous stretch on the back nine against Paul Casey, his scoring was by no means horrific.

But you’ve also got to look at his history here. He won the event back in 2004 and has recorded 2 other top 10’s, whilst he’s only missed 2 cuts in 12 outings.

His abilities clearly suits the demands when it’s in full swing – a cracking all-round driver with a top iron game, the Aussie needs to pull together and really kick start his season.

Rickie Fowler (60/1 Coral)

Focused - courtesy of golfweek

Focused – courtesy of golfweek

And so the theme continues. Another top, top player at odds we simply couldn’t resist.

It’s remarkable that the market has been pushed out compared to The Masters but it’s most likely because of the top 3 and their clearly impressive form (McIlroy, Spieth and Rose.)

But still, Rickie Fowler at 60/1 is something we simply cannot ignore.

His calendar year has obviously not gone the way it should have, but we’ve seen progressive signs in recent outings to suggest he’s close to showing the form that propelled him to new heights last year.

Mainly he seems to enjoy the truly big tournaments at the moment. Obviously we all know his performances at the Majors in 2014, but even the 3 big ones so far this season – The WGC HSBC he finished T3, T12 at The Masters and a round of 16 berth last week.

Now obviously this is the flagship PGA Tour event and when you think he’s recorded a 2nd here back in 2012, you can’t help but get excited at his prospects.

He’s a top driver of the ball and a par 5 specialist and a proven scrambler. Much like Scott, this is the sort of event that can really kick start the year for Fowler.

Ryan Palmer (100/1 BetVictor) 

Ryan Palmer has every chance here. Courtesy of Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

Ryan Palmer has every chance here.
Courtesy of Amy Sancetta, Associated Press

You will often find us backing Ryan Palmer at these sort of events. Why? Because we know that he’s on the verge of something really special. His talent has proven it over the past 18 months and it’s just a matter of time.

So, at 3-figure odds, once again, we’re lumping on the American.

He’s had a whole host of missed cuts here, but there’s a cheeky T5 finish in 2013 that proves to us his game can suit the challenge, it’s just a case of whether he turns up or not.

Now, we do feel he’s putting in more regular performances and should thrive off that confidence. One missed cut all year, 8 top 25 finishes, including 4 top 10s and he played well at Augusta, on the whole, for his T33.

He is 52nd for total driving, T36 for ball striking, 45th for GIR, 52nd for scrambling and T20 in par 5 birdie or better. If that doesn’t make you want to back him, we don’t know what will.

Webb Simpson (125/1 Coral)

Lucky fella.

Lucky fella.

Webb Simpson is arguably in the same category as Palmer for us. The main difference being he’s already a Major champion. However, we still feel there’s more to come from such a consistent tee to green player.

His distances off the tee have been improving rapidly over recent years and the fact he’s 18th in total driving proves that. He has that potent mix of strength and accuracy which should suit Sawgrass perfectly.

So why his best finish is T15 is beyond us, but again, that still fits the trends in terms of a top 20…

As for his form, he’s shown glimpses without truly putting a 4-round performance in. Last week he faced an inspired Gary Woodland in his 3rd match, but before that beat the much fancied duo of Ian Poulter and Jimmy Walker.

That shows he isn’t a million miles away.

7th in ball striking, 14th for GIR, 32nd scrambling and 2nd for par 5 birdie or better add to the appeal and we can’t argue with his 125/1 price.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

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  –

£1.00 e/w on Louis Oosthuizen at 50/1

£1.25 e/w on Phil Mickelson at 40/1

£1.25 e/w on Adam Scott at 35/1

£1.00 e/w on Rickie Fowler at 50/1

£0.50 e/w on Ryan Palmer at 90/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Whilst we are not doing a preview for the Mauritius Open, we do have a staking plan in the betting challenge as follows –

£1.25 e/w on Prom Meesawat at 40/1

£1.25 e/w on Eduardo De La Riva at 50/1

£1.25 e/w on Justin Walters at 66/1

£1.25 e/w on Victor Riu at 66/1

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (

Current Standings after 16 weeks (and it makes for horrible reading…)

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-48.70               European Tour:  £-63.75

PGA Tour: £-78.44                           PGA Tour: £48.75

Total: £-127.14                                   Total: £-5.00

Golf Monthly leads by: £112.14

Volvo China Open 2015

Prize Fund – $3,230,0002010018

Winner’s Share – $540,000

Course – Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club (7,296 par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – Pablo Larrazábal – T36, Nicolas Colsaerts – MC, Wade Ormsby – MC, Wen Chong Liang – T54, Grégory Bourdy – T19

We are staying in China for the 2nd week running and once again we’re off to relatively unknown territory for the Volvo China Open. The Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club has hosted European Tour events before – between 2004 and 2008 when the Asian Open came to town.  When you list the winners, you get a real sense of what type of player will do well here and on first glance, you think that only iron gurus will be challenging for the trophy.

2008 – Darren Clarke

2007 – Raphaël Jacquelin

2006 – Gonzalo Fernández-Castaño

2005 – Ernie Els

2004 – Miguel Ángel Jiménez 

If you ever wanted a list full of GIR specialists, that would be it.  When any of these guys are playing their best golf, they tend to have the ability to attack pins and do it regularly – just look at Ernie’s opening 2 rounds at The Masters – his irons were simply sumptuous. And looking at Clarke and Raphaël’s victory, there was an obvious trend over the 4 days that they were inside the top 10 for GIR every day, but both hitting the ball relatively long considering what we might imagine these days. What they were for definite though, is straight off the tee.  They both regularly found the fairway, giving themselves the chance to attack the greens and that is clearly an important ability to possess for this track.

Courtesy of European Tour

Courtesy of European Tour

Looking at the pictures, there’s plenty of water in play and long, glowing white sands surrounding the fairways and protecting the relatively large greens. The winning scores were not particularly high, but you get the feeling there is a low number there for someone who goes out and attacks. It is one of those weeks were it will be a slight hunch galore, but one we are certainly hoping can break our horrendous form that we simply cannot get out of at the moment!

Peter Uihlein (40/1 Paddy Power)

UihleinIt wasn’t too long ago that we were talking about this guy as one of the hottest prospects for American golf having come over to Europe and shown what he was all about. But Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth later, it’s all gone rather flat in the Uihlein-camp.

But he’s still got it, we know that, he just needs to regain his confidence on the course and his last few showings have seemed to show that. T13 Dubai Classic and a T16 in Malaysia were the first glimpses of his old self. And then last week his T4 in China was the best finish he’s had on the European Tour since the Alfred Dunhil back in 2013!

It wasn’t just his finish but the putter was working and he wasn’t too shabby from the fairways either. He’s sure to be a much-fancied pick this week as we all know the American can go on a roll. The only worry would be his accuracy off the tee on a course where finding fairways is vital.

Wade Ormsby (45/1 Coral)

OrmsbyWade Ormsby has been in pretty decent form of late. 4 top 11’s in his last 5 outings show that he is on the cusp of something pretty special.

Last week he started poorly but managed to turn it around with a fine weekend performance – a 67 on Saturday and 66 to finish. That shows his game is in fine fettle and we feel it’s the right time to lump on the Aussie on a course that should actually suit.

He may not be particularly long, but just look at those previous winners. His tee to green accuracy more than makes up for his lack of length – 6th for driving accuracy and 9th for GIR on Sunday show his form.

His T9 result at the Trophee Hassan a few weeks back prove that he can play in varying conditions and on difficult tracks, whilst the fact he’s played here before really makes the appeal greater.

One MC and a T20 don’t make the most incredible reading, but he’ll be on of a few that have 6 rounds on this track!

Mikko Ilonen (55/1 Various)

Mikko IlonenWe haven’t seen a lot of the Fin in the last few weeks and that’s reflected in his odds. For someone who fits the course perfectly, this is good value.

So you look at his form and think that’s not the best but when you delve deeper those finishes were at the Masters, Shell Houston and WGC Cadillac, where he did finish T23 at the latter. Let’s be honest, he’s been competing at a far higher level than a lot of the guys in the field this week.

To do well on this course you need to hit it long and straight and be a demon from the fairway, well that’s exactly what Mikko does.

He did also turn up here in ’07 and ’08 but failed to perform. Even so, that will give him vital course knowledge. We like this one.

Gregory Havret (80/1 BetVictor)

So the Frenchman is someone who rarely gets into our selections and it’s pretty refreshing to see him here. In short, he has finished 18th and 15th in 2 of his last 3 starts where last week he was firing on all cylinders from the fairway. 2nd GIR and 9th driving accuracy – this will get it done on most courses but particularly this one. And then like Ilonen, Havret has also had a few rounds here back in ’07 and ’06 finishing a best of 33rd.

Lucas Bjerregaard (125/1 BoyleSports)



We were incredibly excited about Lucas Bjerregaard when we first saw him break onto the scene last year and we thought we could have a proper player on our hands.

He is yet to really fulfil his long-hitting destiny, but we are plumping with him again on a track that could suit.

Last week he finished T15 with a complete miss-match in rounds.  Two 67’s either side of some poor rounds, makes it rather confusing about where his game is at.

However, during his final round he was, as expected, ridiculously long and 27th for GIR, but most interestingly, he found himself 16th for driving accuracy.

We are adamant that someone with the potential to hit the ball as far as Lucas will be ridiculously dangerous if he’s hitting it straight as well.

This sort of track could be over powered by that sort of treatment and the big Dane could take it apart.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

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  –

£1.25 e/w on Peter Uihlein at 40/1

£1.50 e/w on Wade Ormsby at 35/1

£1.25 e/w on Mikko Ilonen at 40/1

£0.60 e/w on Gregory Havret at 80/1

£0.40 e/w on Lucas Bjerregaard at 100/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (

Current Standings after 14 weeks (and it makes for horrible reading…)

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-38.70               European Tour:  £-53.75

PGA Tour: £-69.38                           PGA Tour: £58.50

Total: £-108.08                                   Total: £4.75

Golf Monthly leads by: £112.83

Shenzhen International 2015

Prize Fund – $2.5 million

Winner’s Share – €386,168

Course – Genzon Golf Club (7,145 par 72)

Our 2014 Picks – No Tournament

The European Tour heads to the east this week after a 2-week break (obviously The Masters does count towards RTB though!)

Not many from Augusta have made the trip over, but surprisingly Bubba Watson is heading the market and taking a plunge at European glory, probably because he’s won in China recently – the WGC HSBC Champions last year.

It’s a new tournament and track, but we did get to see everyone at Genzon GC at the Volvo China open last year when Alexander Levy came out on top with a solid 4-shot victory.

GenzonHis sheer distance and GIR abilities outshone the field and you can definitely expect more of the same. Everyone inside the top 13 had ridiculous GIR stats and those that didn’t hit the ball particularly long, were very good around the greens.

Although the track is clearly short at 7,145 yards, there’s were obvious signs that you can overpower the course. Levy, Alvaro Qurios, Henrik Stenson and Rafa Cabrera-Bello finished inside the top 8 and all tanked the ball, however the likes of Ian Poulter, Anders Hansen and Mikko Ilonen also finished high and don’t even come close to their big-hitting counterparts.

That basically suggests a variety of players could do well here and you can make a case for several.

We’re hoping we can find the value and winner in what should be quite a decent tournament.

Pablo Larrazabal (25/1 Various)

Larrazabal FourIt’s a price that we’re a little apprehensive about given his recent showing in Morocco and proven performances in China, it’s one that is duly warranted.

Despite an un-inspiring 36th on this course last year, you delve a little deeper and you see that the Spaniard loves it in in the far east and China in particular. His 2 appearances in the HSBC Champions, in China, have been 14th (2014) and 20th (2011). He has a 5th place in 2013 at the BMW Masters and most impressive are his China Open showings – 5th (2013), 18th (2012), 10th (2011), 8th (2010). His form in Dubai isn’t too shabby either, his win at the Abu Dhabi HSBC last year epitomising that.

So he loves the area, but what shape is he in at the moment? His 3rd at the Trophee Hassan in his last outing had a blend of what he is all about. 14th GIR, 15th driving distance and of course a few missed putts along the way. But if there’s one thing we’re really confident on is that one top 5 with this guy usually manifests itself into a couple more in the coming weeks.

Morten Orum Madsen (40/1 Various)

Outrageous jumper

Outrageous jumper

For someone who is in decent form, one of the few to have played this track and hits the ball a mile.

He shot a 68 and 69 at the Volvo China Open last year, on his way to a T19 finish and that previous knowledge of this track will stand him in great stead. You can definitely say that since then, he has become a far more mature and all-round player, so it is quite exciting to think what he could do on his 2nd trip to the course.

Six finishes inside the top 25 this season, including a T3 at the Africa Open and T4 in Dubai.  Everything seemed to stem for a solid outing in Portugal last year where he ended in T4 as well.

Most recently he played at the Investec Cup in Africa, where he finished T18 and kept his run of form going. He hasn’t dropped outside the top 20 in 3 starts and we have some real he can continue that and go even higher in China. 24th in driving distance and 28th in putts per round add to the appeal.

Alvaro Quiros (66/1 Various)

alvaro-quiros-5Of all tipsters/betting lovers, whatever you want to call it, there’ll be few people that have put as much faith in an Alvaro Quiros return to form as us.

We’re sure many want to see it and we are certainly top of that list because here you have a player with a ridiculous amount of potential. His star quality has been seen on bigger stages than this already, so it must be frustrating for him and his team that he hasn’t got back to the top quite yet. There’s been signs, don’t get us wrong and one of those signs came on this course a year ago.  At the Volvo China Open, he recorded an impressive T3 finish – one of his highest since his injury – and that just proves he took a liking to this track.

It would seem simply foolish not to at least think about the Spaniard once again this year because he has played for a longer period now and whilst his performances have been poor this season, it’s definitely worth the risk on this sort of track. He hits the ball a ridiculous length and has irons that can be so fluid.  Why not.

Maximilian Kieffer (80/1 Various)

The German leaves no putt un-checked

The German leaves no putt un-checked

The German when he first burst on the scene was all about distance but over the past year or so we’ve seen considerable improvement in his iron play. It seems he has found the right balance. All he needs now is start churning out some big money finishes.

His T32 on this track here showed signs of promise, ranking top 20 for putting and 8th driving distance. Now like we said, Kieffer has become a lot more consistent from the fairways and at the Trophee Hassan it really started to show – he ranked 4th GIR for the week. It’s also good to note he played in the BMW Masters in China at the back end of the year, so he’s no stranger to the environment.

Michael Hoey (90/1 BetFred)

Knows how to get the job done!

Knows how to get the job done!

Despite not being a monster off the tee, Hoey is never usually lower than top 20 when it comes to distance. And his ability from the fairway is well documented as one of the best in the business on his day.

You’ll always find him at this sort of price which tells the story, consistency is often missing. So with no real performance this year of note we’re looking at his T8 on this course last year. He ranked inside the top 25 in all facets of his game and enjoyed the track. Like one of our other picks, Kieffer, the Northern Irishman gave a good account of himself at the BMW Masters finishing T34.

His Trophée Hassan performance does not thrill us but top 30 in both GIR and driving distance certainly isn’t bad. We’re looking for his game to finally all click on a course that will bring back good memories from last year.

Golf Monthly £10 ChallengeGM_masthead-630x176

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  –

£3.00 WIN on Pablo Larrazabal at 25/1

£1.50 e/w on Morten Madsen at 40/1

£0.75 e/w on Alvaro Quiros at 66/1

£0.75 e/w on Max Kieffer at 80/1

£0.50 e/w on Michael Hoey at 80/1

Each way bets ¼ odds for top 6 finish. Prices sourced from Paddy Power

Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (

Current Standings after 13 weeks (and it makes for horrible reading…)

DownThe18th                                 Golf Monthly

European Tour: £-28.70               European Tour:  £-43.75

PGA Tour: £-59.38                           PGA Tour: £68.50

Total: £-88.08                                   Total: £24.75

Golf Monthly leads by: £112.83