Rory McIlroy may have only been crowned Race To Dubai Champion last week, but already we’re looking forward to the new European Tour season which kicks-off in South Africa with the Alfred Dunhill Championship at the Leopard Creek Golf Club.
The first question this week is whether you want to trust your money on a classy golfer at single-figure odds, or pin your hopes on some more speculative each-way priced golfers?
Heading the market is last year’s champion Brandon Grace who romped home by 7 seven shots, and certainly is in good enough form to win after finishing 3rd in Dubai last week (thankfully making us a small profit in doing so). However he was 22/1 last week and only 9/2 this week. Just behind Grace at 13/2 is 2012 and 2013 champion Charl Schwartzel who finished tied 4th last week and will be relishing returning to his home country where he has had so much success.
My initial impulse was to leave them alone, but such was their dominance when winning here, and the fact that they’re both in good form, means they do both make the staking plan – win only – with victory for either making us a small profit.
3 points Brandon Grace @ 9/2 (888, Unibet)
2 points Charl Schwartzel @ 13/2 (Betfred, Paddy Power, Coral, 888, Unibet)
However that also leaves us with some room for some bigger-priced speculation, and I’m backing 3 more players each-way.
1 point each-way Trevor Fisher Jnr @ 50/1 (Various) ¼ odds 5 places
Fisher is another South African and, though he isn’t a win machine like the Grace and Schwartzel, he’s certainly a late-bloomer who has gained in confidence over the last 12 months. 4th here last year shows he handles the course – and 50/1 looks a solid each-way play.
1 point each-way Lee Slattery @ 50/1 (Various) ¼ odds 5 places
The Englishman has been a journeyman golfer for most of his career but, after winning his second European Tour title earlier this season, he’s another who seems to have gained in confidence. Put up two very solid performances in the Race To Dubai Finals, including in Dubai where he was the best player over the final round and a half. Interesting he was also second here earlier in his career, and is another solid each-way poke at 50/1.
0.5 points each-way Paul Dunne @ 70/1 (Betfair Sportsbook, Bet365)
Jordan Spieth and Matthew Fitzpatrick have shown how quickly prodigious youngsters can come of age, and I expect Paul Dunne to follow their example by quickly establishing himself on tour. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he won sooner or later and, now he’s got his full playing privileges, he may just be hungrier than a few others in the field.