Tee time and back to some bread and butter golf!

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This week we will start with a joke, albeit not a very funny one. What travels 230 yards or so and goes splash? Those who watched the golf from Dubai last week will know that the answer (as well as my bets), was Rory McIlroy’s second shot at the last hole where he needed a par to make the play off and a birdie to win outright – before he stuck it straight in the water, drowning his golf ball, moments before many of us started to drown our sorrows. We did land the place part of our bets which put a plaster on the wound I suppose, but it was such a disappointing end to a fantastic tournament and left the bookmakers crying tears of joy, as I gather I am not the only one who felt he was a good thing here.

Anyway, no use crying over lost golf balls I guess and we move on, chin up, to the Ras Al Khaimah Championship, giving the pro-am at Pebble Beach a swerve as I am really not comfortable doing my calculations at multi-course events. With not one of the World’s top 50 on show here, at least the bookmakers may be forced in to making an error or two, and it also gives me something to get my teeth in to looking at form, and ignoring the so called big names who can be over-bet – and then let us down accordingly (no names needed).

Although new to the DP World Tour I am thankful that there have been three tour events here in the not too distant past to give me some acceptable stats to work through, and the first thing I notice is the likelihood of a low winning score. At 7,325 yards its long enough for a par 72, and I do like it when I read the par fives are short enough at “just” 570-607 yards (that’s a par 10 for my game on a good day), but I do agree that by their standards, the par fours are where most of the scoring will be. Primarily designed for the locals and rich tourists, three are shorter than 400 yards which is a green even I might get to, and I fully expect a birdie fest on those holes if nothing else.  So, without further ado, on to the real work – can we find a winner of even a place this weekend, or will we once again fall foul of the McIlroy curse?   

Selections with reasoning:

***NOTE*** Different bookmakers are offering different each way terms so do shop around – and make sure you only partake non-runner no bet – covid has seen last minute withdrawals all season and we don’t want to be throwing money away. DO shop around for best odds and best place terms and any special offers with the bookmakers to steal the most value, and DO check the exchanges for bigger prices – I can’t put them on here accurately as they differ by the minute. Betfair prices quoted are as indicators only and were correct at the time of writing.

1pt each way Romain Langasque 25/1 top 6 places SkyBet, 888Sport.com, Bet Victor, and Unibet (27.0 Betfair)

How the bookies get away with paying out for 6 places in what is effectively a 132 runner “race” is beyond me, but those are the rules we have to deal with, and if my first selection wins or hits the frame I won’t be complaining. I like to start with course form when possible, and a fourth here in the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2018 stands out in this field. Two starts this season in better company than this have seen a 12th at Abu Dhabi and an 18th in the Dubai Desert Classic last weekend, where he ended with a score of five under par, seven shots off the winner. Dropped significantly in class here, as we would say in racing, he looks overpriced to me, and has every chance of success in this less exalted line-up.

1pt each way Rasmus Hojgaard 33/1 top 6 places Bet Victor (38.0 Betfair)

Who would have thought an oldie like me would be tipping a 20 year old (I have shoes older than that), but the young Dane is already a three time winner, so we know as fact that both the talent and the bottle are there when needed. His first tour win was in Mauritius which may be a fair distance away, but the courses have plenty of similarities, including paspalum greens which seem to bring out the best in him when he has the putter in hand. He has placed sixth in both Oman and Saudi so the conditions seem to suit him for some strange reason, and although his putter let him down in Dubai, that was on Bermuda Tif  Eagle greens, which clearly don’t suit him as well. Is he a good thing – no, of course not, but can he go well at a big price – hopefully so. 

1/2pt each way George Coetzee 140/1 top 7 places Coral (27.0 Betfair)

I will admit I had hoped for a bigger price here, but it appears others, including those who price these events up for the dreaded bookmakers, think along the same lines as me. Now I have backed the South African more times than I care to remember, usually unsuccessfully, but and he sits on my “McIlroy List” of most frustrating golfers. Only 35 years old, he seems to have been around for longer than that and has chalked up a total of 17 wins, five on the European tour, and the other 12 elsewhere in lesser events. He won the Portugese Masters on a course I love (even if it is probably still littered with my lost golf balls) which is invariably a highly competitive event, and although a disappointing 47th in Dubai last week, his overall game held up well – barring some approach shots. These greens will suit him more, and in theory hold the ball better when coming in with a wedge or worse, and as he plays these courses better than most, with an 11th in Abu Dhabi last season and a second in Doha in 2019, why not add him to our shortlist. Big price yes, big chance no, but others seem to think the same as me about his chances outdoing his price, and if we are going to strike one day with an outsider, why not hope it’s a big one!      

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