Re-cap on last weeks Tshwane Open.
First of all what a relief to see 72 holes of golf on the European Tour this week and considering the lack of major names the tournament didn't disappoint. Awesome golf was played on a stunning course by our first time winner Dean Burmester, who shot 65's (-6) for rounds 3 and 4 to take the honours.
Whilst I'm on the subject of success stories I hope you all shared in the delights of green screens with me. Of my 20 picks, frustratingly 4 missed the cut, however 12 of the remanding 16 were in the top 25 and more importantly I picked your winner (Burmester), the 2 players tied for 2nd (Campillo and Korhonen), 5th place (Bjork) and 6th (Morrison)
Next Up - Hero Indian Open - DLF Golf and Country Club - New Delhi - India
So this time round again something new on the European Tour, this time with a first time venue in DLF G&CC. Not only that we have a very unique Gary player Design course in play that was built in 2015. I would say the course mimics the legends character perfectly but equally I would be suggesting a hint of little man syndrome when he put pencil to paper... The course is a beast, especially in the final 5 holes, the features and hazards are somewhat of a bold statement and there are so many various layout options I'm left a little undecided if its a course built by a genius or built by a mad man. Either way it looks incredible and no doubt it will provide a superb week of top class tournament golf.
The Gary Player Design Course is a par 72, measuring 7,642 yards from its gold tee's, it has large undulating greens (On some holes they even have 2 separate greens to create variety) huge and very unique bunkering. The layout works it was through large landforms, various features and on several holes its 2 large lakes will certainly add to the drama (look out for the 5th an island par 3 and the 17th unique beyond belief). Plus there's those final 5 holes I mentioned, 14th a 550yd par 4, 15th 631yd par 5, 16th 273yd par 3, 17th 414yd par 4, 18th 624yd par 5.
Strategy and Key Stats.
My focus this week like most has to be distance based, this course is a monster and getting the ball as far down the fairway as possible will be a huge advantage, obviously done with a good level of accuracy as there are many card wrecking holes out there as well.
There is no course history to work off and this is far from your typical Indian course, so unlike previous years I wouldn't expect the top of the field to be dominated by local players, in actual fact this being a blend of U.S and Euro style course, I will definitely be favouring those accustomed to this style of play.
Due to weather I may favour those teeing off late on Thursday, however this is only to avoid the possible rain Friday afternoon and I will only consider this when caught between 2 potential drafts.
The greens being as large as the are and very undulating in places I believe the art of putting well tested.
Keep a close eye out on your players for any signs of 'Delhi Belly' you wont want your drafts doing a Stenson on you and crapping out the tournament only a few holes in!!!
So in short this week look for your straight bombing globe trotters, great with the short stick and with solid recent form. Just keep your fingers crossed they keep it on the course and avoid the bunkers and lakes.
We're due to start the week here with a beautiful day on Thursday, however on Friday and Saturday afternoon were expecting rain and possibly very heavy at times.. We should finish on Sunday with another gorgeous day. If anything I would prefer not to play in the rain so a Hot round Thursday afternoon and a cooler round Friday morning and no rain would be my preference if considering what side of the draw is best.
There are 3 players in this category, Anirban Lahiri $11,500, Rafa Cabrera-Bello $10,900, Peter Uihlein $10,200. I will be mixing it up with all 3 of these players. The one I will most likely favour most is Peter Uihlein. In sensational form since his return, a course very much suited to his ball flight and ability to stack up in the yards off the tee and fairways hit... If Drivers in form and the putts drop as they have been this could be the perfect venue for a win. 4th last week in South Africa, 2 top 5's in his last 4 and 14 of his last 15 rounds have been sub par. Obviously I will be playing Lahiri in some drafts even though he is massively high priced, he has too much global experience to ignore, playing in front of his home fans, an extremely talented player who's only missing attribute at present is in the putting department, Putts have not been dropping for him of late but that's not to say he's not capable... When his putters hot he has the ability to cruise past the field and go crazy low. Then there's Rafa Cabrera-Bello, the super star of the field. Obviously the most talented player on show and has all the assets to play well here, I would be mad not to pick him for some drafts, my only concern is his long trip from Mexico and the risk of fatigue.
$9,000 - $10,000
3 players feature here and my favourite of them all has to be Jorge Campillo $9,600, 10 straight cuts made, 6 top 25's and 2nd place last week. Hits the ball long and plays solid performance golf. Expect another cut made and possible contender.
I like Jordan Smith and Romain Langasque as well but I'm not going to be greedy and pick all the top players on offer even if it is almost impossible to split these 3. (knowing me ill try to find a way to feature all 3 in at least 1 draft)
$8,000 - $9,000
There's a few players that grab my attention here.
Maximilian Keiffer $8,400, Tied 18th in South Africa, with his last 3 rounds in the 60's. Starting to show some very nice form and a talent to keep an eye on this year.
Paul Dunne $8,100, I can only assume he this good value this week because hes not considered to be the longest off the tee. However that usually wont deter Paul from compiling solid round after solid round. Now playing some of his better golf the mental test and disaster free golf should see him in the top 10.
Phachara Khongwatmai $8,000, This will be a bit of a gamble this week but one I'm prepared to take in some GPP. Fearless and has eyes for very little other than the pin.. Will be hoping for a birdie blitz and no disasters.
$7,000 - $8,000
Scott Jamieson $7,900, Like James Morrison last week starting to feature a lot, player in form, usually free of too many disasters and a safer bet to make the cut and feature in the final round.
Prom Meesawat $7,700, 4 of 4 cuts made so far, going in my picks mainly as a banker to make the cut.. Good yardage from the tee, doesn't miss a lot of fairways and certainly not big miss. Really capable with the putter and unlikely to be phased by this unique layout.
Nacho Elveria $7,400, A lot of chat about this player this week, Like Kohernen last week I'm trusting those that are there in person and playing a lot of him in my drafts... missed last 2 cuts on shorter courses but played very well on the longer courses in Dubai.
Dylan Frittelli $7,200, In my picks again this week, in great form has the game required to take on this beast and wouldn't surprise me if we see back to back SA winners.
There are other in this group I would happily play including Ramsay, Bhullar, Jensen. If unsure in this group message me on twitter and I'd be happy to help.
$6,000 - $7,000
Joel Stalter $6,800, at this price definitely worth a punt, from what I have seen and heard seem to be enjoying it in India. Hits a solid ball and has a creative game that could help see him through the cut at least.
Siddikur Rahman $6,700, I think only god knows what this golf course will produce in terms of a result so maybe someone who will plot his way round and get through with next to no dramas would be a wise call.
Paul Peterson $6,700, Swinging very well, has a very sound all round game and if digging around at this end for a cut maker then should be a sound choice.
Todd Sinnott $6,300, Hits it great off the tee and a very good putter, playing well this year and due a solid pay day, didn't play to well in Malaysia but still made the cut. Good value at this price.
I'm only going to give you one name in this section and its yet another representative from the USA, Daniel Im $5,800, Plays his best golf on longer courses has yet to string 4 rounds together in the 60's but consistently makes the cut.. If your looking this low then maybe your only hope seeing all your picks play all 4 days.
Right Ladies and Gents that's me done for a month, no more golf on the European Tour for a while but the Masters to look forward to. I hope you have enjoyed reading my take on each week and I truly hope my advice has helped win you some cash.. Best of luck to you all again in all your drafts both sides of the pond and I look forward very much to next time.