Last week, Henrik Stenson managed to defend his DP World Title in Dubai, a victory which elevated him to number two in the Golf World Rankings.
This week, the focus is on the two men he separates in those world rankings, world number one Rory McIlroy and world number three Adam Scott, who dominate the betting for an The Australian Open – which is already being hyped as the “Dual Down Under”.
Sure, it’s an event that is lacking quality in depth, with Jordan Spieth (14) and John Senden (50) the next two highest-rated players in the field, and it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if either Scott or McIlroy were to lift the trophy come Sunday. However, there are plenty of reasons to take them on at miserly prices of just 11/4 and 4/1.
McIlroy is the reigning Champion but, despite Stenson’s aforementioned defence, retaining a title is never easy and comes with added Paparazzi pressure. It’s also a different course this year, and then there are his overall form figures in Australia which read MC/49/59/15/1.
In regard to Paparazzi pressure Scott, as the most famous Australian golfer of his generation, will also be receiving plenty this week. However, it’s his lack of course form which really puts me off as his one visit to the course in 1998 saw him miss the cut as an amateur, whilst he has also elected to miss the event in the two subsequent times it has been held here in 2004 and 2007. His overall record in the event, 13/12/9/14/5/1/32/4/14/2, whilst decent, also certainly doesn’t make him a 4/1 shot.
So if McIlroy and Scott aren’t going to win – who is?
The winners of the 2004 and 2007 events where Peter Lonard (aged 37) and Craig Parry (aged 41), two experienced golfers who had proved themselves on the worldwide stage without quite reaching the top echelon of golf, though Parry did win a WGC event and a PGA event.
The next two players in the betting, John Senden and Geoff Ogilvy, both look ideal candidates – but poor performances in 2004 and 2007 put me off. And the first player that gets in the portfolio is Brendan De Jonge.
At 34, the burly South African has plenty of experience to fall back on and his recent form figures of 2/13 show he’s in much better form than some similarly priced players. Sure he’s not won yet but the tee-to-green test that The Australian Golf Club provides should be right up his street.
Brendan De Jonge 1 point each-way @ 33/1
For this week’s other bets, I’m going to chance Nick O’Hern and Rod Pampling, two ageing Aussies who’ve all got a bit of course form and could be sparked into life by a return to familiar home surrounding after plying their trade on the PGA Tour.
O’Hern (43) was 22nd in 2004 and 2nd in 2007, whilst Pampling was 3rd in 2004 and 7th in 2007. Back both to finish in the top-10 and top-20
O’Hern 1 point top-10 @ 10/1 and 2 points top-20 @ 100/30
Pampling 1 point top-10 @ 11/1 and 2 points top-20 @ 3/1