Golf Betting: Ballantine's Championship
Bernd finished seventh behind Westwood in Indonesia last week with some very impressive stats and I thought he looked very much over-priced at 130.0
The draw will be pivotal at this week's Race to Dubai event in Korea, the Ballantine's Championship, which leads Steve Rawlings in the direction of Bernd Wiesberger as a possible punter's value selection.
This will be just the fifth staging of the Ballantine's Championship.
Blackstone Golf Club, Icheon, Seoul, South Korea
Par 72 - 7275 yards
Stroke Average in 2012 - 73.09
Designed by JMP Group and opened in 2010, Blackstone was used as the event venue for the first time last year when Lee Westwood edged out Miguel Angel Jimenez. Westwood isn't in the line-up this time around and that's a real shame as he'd have been a warm order. Last week he defended his Indonesian Masters title at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club - another JMP Group design.
I've struggled to get to grips with the sort of test the players will be faced with this week. On the European Tour website they describe the fairways as wide and contoured but they describe general playability as very narrow. Confused? So was I. Damien McGrane, after taking the lead on day one last year, described the fairways as generous and Lee Westwood stated after his win: "It's a difficult course because it goes around the hills and it's difficult to pick the wind up; it swirls a lot." And that's the only angle in that I can see...
McGrane, Alex Noren, Richard Finch, Brett Rumford and of course, Westwood, all featured 12 months ago and all are excellent wind players.
Possible Draw Bias
Both events last week had uneven draws and this week's weather forecast suggests the draw could be very important here too. Although the forecast has changed somewhat in the last 24 hours and it doesn't look like it will be quite as brutal as it was first forecast to be, players will encounter a windy morning on Thursday, with it dropping slightly throughout the afternoon. And then on Friday, after a relatively calm morning, the wind will pick up as the day wares on.
Caution is always advised when betting on the strength of a weather forecast but it does look like a late-early draw looks the way to go.
First Four Winners
2011 - Lee Westwood
2010 - Marcus Fraser
2009 - Thongchai Jaidee (play-off)
2008 - Graeme McDowell (play-off)
Adam Scott is the highest ranked player in the field and unsurprisingly heads the market at around 9.0 He's a truly global player and I can see him contending here but with no course form to evaluate, I'm happy to leave him out of my plans.
Second favourite, Ian Poulter, claims the course suits his eye but he missed the cut last year and is readily dismissed at just 16.0
Paul Casey played well enough on day one last week, when a selection in China, before losing the plot on Friday, thanks largely, I suspect, to a chance-ruining 10 on the 12th hole (his third hole of the round). Not surprisingly he's a bigger price this week as a result but with an afternoon draw on Thursday I felt he was just about worth chancing again.
Richard Finch featured early on last year and was third last week in China so I thought he was a tad big and I also quite liked Scott Jamieson, who, considering he started the event with a poor first round 74, did very well to climb up to a tie for 23rd last week.
My only other pick is Bernd Wiesberger, who in contrast, has been given what looks to be the favourable draw. Bernd finished seventh behind Westwood in Indonesia last week with some very impressive stats and I thought he looked very much over-priced at 130.0. Factor in the good draw and he's my idea of my best value pick this week.