Volvo China Open Betting Tips – Thursday 28th April 2016

The European Tour remains in China for the second successive week, moving from Shenzhen to Beijing for the Volvo China Open. This is the 22nd renewal of this event and there is quite a buzz about it returning to the Chinese capital. A country’s national open is always a big event locally but there is no doubt that the event has improved in quality since 2004 when it was added to the European Tour schedule.

The host venue this week, Topwin Golf and Country Club, is very fitting. In one regard it is unmistakably China. The course is surrounded by lots of natural, typically Chinese fruit trees, plants and wildlife and there are views of the Great Wall of China throughout the layout. In another regard, Topwin is a fairly European course. Designed by Welsh golfing legend, Ian Woosnam, it is a parkland course which would not look out of place in the Home Counties. The par 72 is a long test at 7,229 yards but previous events at Topwin suggest that we are going to be in for a low scoring affair.

Many of those taking part this week were also in Shenzhen and therefore will have had their planning for the Volvo China Open affected by the awful conditions that forced a Monday finish. They will, though, be happy about the forecast for the week in Beijing with a mild wind looking like the only barrier to some seriously low scores.

Last year’s winner, Wu Ahsun, became the first Chinese winner of this event since the European Tour became co-hosts. Ashun is back to defend his title but he will have to overcome the challenge of some of European golf’s leading lights once again which is every bit as unlikely as his odds of 200/1 with Bet365 suggest.

We start our betting tips with the man right at the very top of the bookies’ outright markets, Joost Luiten. The Dutchman is the most consistent player on the European Tour this season with six top 10 finishes to his name, including a runner up berth in his last two tournaments. Luiten is one of those players who doesn’t stand out for anything in particular but his game in general is incredibly strong and, while he may be a bit tired, he will be there or thereabouts once again at odds of 10/1 with BetVictor.

When the European Tour visits a long course it always provides Bernd Wiesberger with a good chance of victory. The Austrian absolutely bombs it off the tee and has enough touch around the greens to capitalise on the strong positions he puts himself in to. If he can get to grips with the greens early he should go close at 16/1 with Bet365.

Tommy Fleetwood has generally enjoyed playing his golf in China. The Englishman finished runner up in this event in 2014 and comes into this week on the back of two solid performances at Genzon and Valderrama. He’s only missed one cut all season and he should get plenty of chances to move up the leaderboard so back him each way at 33/1 with Coral.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans Open Betting Tips – Thursday 28th April 2016

There will be a marked difference in the atmosphere on the Thursday of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans compared to the Valero Texas Open. New Orleans is known for being a party town and their PGA Tour event certainly guarantees a fair amount of fun. TPC of Louisiana is one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour and provides a welcome relief after the tough challenge posed by TPC San Antonio last week. It is going to be a very low score that wins this and we are all set for a cracking display of golf from some of the best in the business.

At 7,425 yards you may think that the par 72 layout at TPC Louisiana looks a bit of a brute but it never quite turns out like that when the PGA Tour stars turn up to play. The last four years have seen winning scores of -22, -19, -20 and -19 which gives you an idea of just how many birdies we are expecting.

As ever with a course that yields some ludicrously low scores it largely boils down to being a putting competition. When Jason Day played at the RBC Heritage a couple of weeks ago he said that it was a strange course for him because everybody is playing their shots from the same places. Harbour Town was designed by the same man who designed TPC Louisiana, Pete Dye, and while they are very distinct courses Day’s point will hold true in that everybody is going to hit the greens in regulation. It’s how well they take their chances that will matter.

Day loves to overpower a course but he is not afraid by a putting competition. You don’t get to world number one if you are a bad putter and Day’s rise up the rankings has coincided with something clicking on the greens. The end of last season was characterised by the Australian pouring in putt after putt and if he is well enough rested after an average display last time out he will take some stopping at 11/2 with BetVictor.

Rickie Fowler will not only be gunning for Day this week but will have an eye on his top spot in the rankings. Fowler has been outshone by some of his peers but whenever you talk about the young talent making an impact at the very top of the game you have to talk about Fowler. Anybody with a Snapchat account will know exactly how rested Fowler is and with a current ranking of 26th for strokes gained putting he should be well in contention for the win at 12/1 with Ladbrokes.

Statistically speaking, Patton Kizzire is one of the very best putters in the field. Of course, confidence on the greens can come and go incredibly quickly but the 30-year-old Tour graduate should go into the Zurich Classic full of belief that he can claim his first PGA Tour title. There have been some big odds winners of this event in the recent past, so Kizzire’s odds of 55/1 with Bet365 are incredibly tempting.

Shenzhen International Betting Tips – Thursday 21st April 2016

The European Tour lived up to its name last week by actually holding a golf tournament in Europe. Crazy, we know. The Open de España was a very well regarded event but immediately after Andrew Johnston won on Sunday it was time for the Tour’s players and officials to hop on a plane to China for the second renewal of the Shenzhen International.

Co-hosted with the China Golf Association, the Shenzhen International is once again held at the beautiful Genzon Golf Club. The 7,145 yard par 72 layout is by no means the longest test that the players will have to get to grips with this season but it will certainly favour the biggest hitters. Previous winners at Genzon have been able to send it out there with the driver, taking advantage of the wide fairways and the relatively short rough. It is always important to take chances with the putter but that’s especially tricky at Shenzhen where the greens are very fast.

It was the putting surfaces that did for Bubba Watson last season but the big name American is back in the field for another crack this week. Watson has some good winning memories of playing golf in China, having picked up the 2014 WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and he clearly feels that Genzon is a venue where he can collect another winner’s cheque. It is always good to see big names from the PGA Tour ply their trade on the European circuit and especially so when Bubba turns up with his unique style of play. He’ll doubtless hit the ball further than anybody this week and if he putts better he can put together a score that will be tough to stop at 6/1 with Coral.

If big hitters with course form are what we are looking for there are few players in the field who offer more appeal than defending champion Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The Thai star narrowly saw off the challenge of local hero Li Hao-Tong last season, showing that he not only knows how to put together a score around Genzon but that he has the bottle when the pressure gets ramped up. Aphibarnrat may not look much like your average modern golfer in terms of physique but he has all the skills necessary to forge a successful career towards the top of the game. By all accounts he is a very popular figure on the European Tour but he can upset some of his friends by remaining the only man to win this event at odds of 14/1 with Betfred.

Alvaro Quiros went ridiculously low on Sunday last season, shooting a final round of 63 to move into a share of 15th. He would have placed significantly higher were it not for a few big mistakes over the four days. He will have some great memories of the course and an in depth understanding of where to attack and where to take a par before moving on. The 33 year old showed he can score at courses where distance is important in Dubai at the start of the season and looks too big at 100/1 with BetVictor.

Valero Texas Open Betting Tips – Thursday 21st April 2016

It does not get any easier on the PGA Tour. Last week’s RBC Heritage at Harbour Town was a real slog around a tricky course with some very difficult weather conditions and we look set for more of the same come Thursday. The Valero Texas Open has a reputation as one of the Tour’s tougher events to win and that was certainly the case last season.

Local resident Jimmy Walker won the event by simply outstaying his opponents. TPC San Antonio is a tough enough all-round test of golf on a gloriously still summer’s day but with winds hitting 40mph at times, scoring at the 2015 Valero Texas Open was only possible with the very best golf. Luckily the weather looks a little easier for the upcoming week’s play but it will still be a factor in an event where -10 is likely to be enough to win.

One of the most difficult challenges posed by the 7,435 yard par 72 layout is hitting greens in regulation. At no course on the PGA Tour were the GIR stats as low as at TPC San Antonio last year. It is imperative to putt well once finding the putting surfaces while a solid short game should see players pick up shots to the field.

Walker’s stats were impressive across the board last season but it was with the flat stick where he really excelled. The Texas native lead the field for strokes gained putting and, crucially, took advantage of the par fives which offer some of the best birdie opportunities on the course. Walker’s win was his second of the 2014-15 wraparound season but he has yet to pick up a winner’s cheque this year. He has only missed one cut though and placed inside the top 10 three times. It took Walker a long time to really break through on the PGA Tour but since a stellar 2014 he has remained one of golf’s most consistent players and is a fair favourite at 16/1 with Bet365.

Charley Hoffman has been having some real Sunday problems. The 39 year old regularly saves his worst stuff for the final round and it is becoming a real problem for a player who is otherwise incredibly reliable. Hoffman has always been a factor when visiting TPC San Antonio and it could just take a course where he has good memories to snap him out of his Sunday funk. He’ll hit the ball as far as most and should be able to hit a comparatively high number of greens in regulation so will look good value at 28/1 with Coral if he gets over his Sunday nerves.

Ryan Palmer has been his usual solid self this season without being able to really challenge at the top of any leaderboards. He’s only missed the single cut in 2016 but really needs to kick on now to give himself a chance of booking a spot in the final events of the end of season playoffs. The Texas native is a big hitter who enjoys the course and is worth and each way at at 60/1 with Betfred.

Open de España Betting Tips – Thursday 14th April 2016

The European Tour has had a bit of a midseason break with the WGC Dell Match Play and Masters but after those massive tournaments the European Tour gets back to action and, for the first time this season, it is actually holding an event in Europe. Sergio Garcia’s foundation is hosting this year’s renewal of the Open de España which is being held at the wonderful Real Club Valderrama.

At a touch under 7,000 yards and with some very narrow driving areas, Valderrama is a markedly different test of golf to Augusta National but the course’s beauty and immaculate conditions have led to comparisons between the two. We are unlikely to see too many drivers off the tee this week as Valderrama is a place where accuracy and planning is much more important than power. Once the players get their first shot right there is also a big premium on the second shot as the greens are small making putting stats less vital than normal.

It is no surprise that the tournament that Garcia is hosting is being held at Valderrama. This is a course that he has a very strong affection for and a course where he has winning form having picked up the Andalucía Masters in 2012. Garcia has found it difficult to get over the line in recent years but he is the best player in the field this week and the fact that Valderrama rewards top class ball striking should stand him in good stead so he is a worthy favourite with the bookies at a top price of 6/1 with BetVictor.

Garcia will be happy with the number of top quality European Tour players who are making the trip to Cádiz this week. His pull coupled with the draw of playing at Valderrama is a strong combination but many of those taking part will be questioning their decision at times given the difficulty of the par 71 course. Everybody in the field is certain to make mistakes so you should consider backing only players with the right mindset.

One such player is Soren Kjeldsen. The 40-year-old Dane looked like he was making up the numbers at Augusta National last week but he put together a highly impressive performance to finish the Masters in a tie for seventh place. The relative lack of length of Valderrama will suit him as will his pitching and chipping should which will allow him to get up and down should he miss the particularly small greens. He’s 16/1 with Bet365 to win and is well worth following.

S.S.P. Chowrasia finally picked up his national title at the Hero Indian Open a few weeks ago and is 100/1 with Betfred to follow that up with another European Tour win at Valderrama. Chowrasia is going to need all of the accuracy and ball striking prowess that he showed at Delhi Golf Club to make an impact this week but he will be full of confidence and could follow in the footsteps of Anirban Lahiri by making the step from Asian Tour star to a recognition on a much wider scale.

RBC Heritage Betting Tips – Thursday 14th April 2016

There is always a bit of a sense of after the Lord Mayor’s show about the golf tournaments that immediately follow the majors but the PGA Tour certainly has it right by scheduling the RBC Heritage after the Masters. There is nothing quite like Augusta National and this year’s finish was especially noteworthy but everybody likes Harbour Town Golf Links which offers something special in its own way.

At a yard or two over 7,100 yards Harbour Town cannot be considered a short course but it is certainly a much less daunting challenge in terms of distance than Augusta. Previous renewals of this event, which is this week being hosted for the 48th time, show that it is much more important to be accurate off the tee than to possess prodigious distance. It really comes alive though with the second shots where it is very important to hit the greens or to have an imaginative short game to keep bogeys off the card.

The number of multiple winners of the RBC Heritage demonstrates that experience is also vital. Players can do some incredible work with their caddies in terms of plotting a strategy before even visiting the course now but this is certainly a track that must be played many times to fully understand. 2015 champion Jim Furyk is not the first man in his 40s to display his knowledge of Harbour Town to overcome the challenge of much younger players.

Furyk’s win was incredibly popular as it marked the end of a punishing run in which he had failed to get over the line having held the lead but it was heart breaking for Kevin Kisner who missed out in the last year’s playoff. The 32-year-old is now one of the PGA Tour’s most consistent performers and he will relish the chance to get the job done this week. Kisner’s only PGA Tour win came at the RSM Classic which is held just around the corner from the RBC Heritage and the South Carolina native can win in his home state at 28/1 with Bet365.

Zach Johnson looks to have a readymade game to win this event but despite finishing runner up in 2012 he has not yet done enough to get over the line. As well as being able to find the greens with incredibly regularity, Johnson generally has excellent control of his ball flight. He’ll have to get over a poor display at Augusta but is worth adding to your bets at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.

Finally, it may be worth having a punt on Ian Poulter at 66/1 with Coral. You get the feeling that the Englishman knows that his career is starting to slip away from him and that he needs a really big win to get back on track. Having got off to a good start at the Masters his game faltered and he was forced to grind out the rest of his tournament. At his best he is a top class ball striker who can find the right part of the fairway off the tee and we all know what a great competitor he is so he could come up with a surprise win.

US Masters Betting Tips – Thursday 7th April 2016

With the best will in the world, the golf season so far has all been building up to this moment. The Masters is the first major of the season and every player worth his salt has been planning his schedule to make sure to be in fighting fit shape for a visit down Magnolia Lane to take on the stunning Augusta National. The best players in the world are ready to do battle with one another and punters everywhere will be looking to do battle with the bookies.

This is the 80th hosting of the Masters and in that time Augusta National has changed remarkably. It remains one of the most revered golf courses in the world but the original course designers, Bobby Jones and Alastair MacKenzie would be shocked if they could see the layout now. Fairways have been altered and the odd bunker changed but the main difference between now and 1933 is the course’s distance. It stretches to 7,435 yards nowadays to try and keep up with the power of the modern golfer.

Much like last week’s warm up event, the Shell Houston Open, the Masters is an event which really favours the longest hitters. There are few real penalties for straying off line from the tee but it is also still important to hit greens in regulation. The other tricky aspect is Augusta’s famously quick greens which will take some mastering. In terms of scoring, going low on the four par fives has always been important but any player who has a good week on the par threes will pick up shots to the field.

The three young players at the top of the golf rankings are also the top three in the betting. Jason Day and Jordan Spieth are going to be major factors in this week’s action but the player to stop is Rory McIlroy. The Northern Irishman would surely have pushed Spieth much closer last year were it not for a sluggish start but he rallied well to finish fourth. That’s not the only time McIlroy has gone close here, he’ll never really be able to live down his implosion in the final round of the 2011 Masters. Still, he has taken his preparations incredibly seriously in the lead up and can justify his odds of 17/2 with BetVictor.

Another British player who did well last year and can improve further this time is Justin Rose. The Englishman ended up tied for second place with Phil Mickelson in the final reckoning in 2015 and despite not really catching fire yet this season he has displayed his well renowned ball striking often enough to think that a good week with the putter can see him over the line at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.

Charl Schwartzel was the man to capitalise on Rory’s meltdown in 2011 and he will drive up Magnolia Lane confident that he is playing well enough to pick up his second green jacket. The South African has won on both the PGA and European Tours this season and has all the course knowledge to come in at odds of 40/1 with Coral – well worth an each way punt.

Shell Houston Open Betting Tips – Thursday 31st March 2016

With just one week before the first major championship of the year, the Shell Houston Open once again plays the role of unofficial warm-up event for the Masters. There is nowhere else on the planet quite like Augusta National but the event organisers at the Golf Course of Houston try their best to mimic certain aspects of the week ahead.

Just like Augusta, this is a golf course where distance off the tee is much more important than accuracy with the first shot. Both J.B. Holmes and Anthony Kim have won this event with the worst fairways hit percentage of any player to make the cut showing that it is all about the second shot and hitting greens in regulation. Traditionally at the Shell Houston Open, when the GIR percentage goes up, the scoring goes down even though the greens are set to run at around 13 on the Stimpmeter in an attempt to make the challenge even more Augusta-like. It is also important to make the putting surface in two because scrambling is notoriously difficult around the par 72 course which can stretch out to as long as 7,441 yards.

As well as betting on big hitters this week it is also worth considering course form. It can be hard for first timers to the Shell Houston Open to realise just how much it is possible to open your shoulders and let rip while at the other end, these are not easy greens to putt on. One man who has just about the best form lines in Houston is Phil Mickelson. The three-time Masters champion won this event in 2011 and has placed inside the top 20 ever since. One of the best left handed players in golf history, Mickelson looked to be coming towards the twilight of his career last season but he has been resurgent since changing swing coach and he looks set to have a really good crack at Augusta once again. That charge for a fourth green jacket can be boosted by a win this week at odds of 20/1 with Coral.

Henrik Stenson doesn’t quite have the winning pedigree in the biggest tournaments that Mickelson has but there is no arguing that he is one of the most consistent golfers around. The big hitting Swede made the slightly controversial decision to miss out the WGC Dell Match Play last week to ensure that he was well rested for the Masters and he is back at the Houston Open to try and add to the two top three finishes he’s already achieved here. He’s had trouble getting over the line in America but that could all change at 14/1 with Betfred.

Tony Finau became a PGA Tour winner last week at the Puerto Rico Open after being heavily predicted to go on to have a stellar career. The 26-year-old was only in his first season on Tour when he made the cut here last year. His power hitting will serve him well in Houston and with the confidence of winning, he is worth an each-way shot at 80/1 with Bet365.

Puerto Rico Open Betting Tips – Thursday 24th March 2016

Sometimes during the World Golf Championship events the rest of the golfing world just has to have a week off and watch but at others the PGA Tour puts on an alternate event. It’s the latter this week as some of the Tour’s lesser lights take part in the Puerto Rico Open. This is clearly not the most prestigious event in the world but there is an eclectic mix of players in the field and around the beautiful Coco Beach golf course it’s all set up well.

Alex Cejka had to come through a five way playoff to win this title last year and he’ll be back to defend his title. Although the course has undergone a rebranding with any mention of Donald Trump removed, the Coco Beach course remains the same. It still measures around 7,500 yards which is still more than enough distance to make scoring difficult but distance is not the layout’s only defence. There are trees around the fairways and some natural water hazards which come into play during many of the difficult long approaches. The island winds will also cause the players an issue so we could be looking at a winning score of no better than the -7 that got players into the playoff last year.

These alternate events are always full of young prospects looking to win their first PGA Tour event. Current world number one Jordan Spieth got a great deal of his grounding in the game from them and he’s actually played the Puerto Rico Open. Every young player in the world would love to emulate Spieth but Tony Finau is a player who many in the game believe could actually go on and claim numerous PGA Tour titles. The big hitting American just needs to win that first event so that he gets an understanding of the challenges of winning at this could be cracking place for him to start. If he settles in and plays his own game he has the class to win in this company at odds of 50/1 with BetVictor.

Ian Poulter missed out on a spot at the WGC event by one spot which would be agonising for any player but he has decided to put the work in instead of moaning. Poulter is a multiple champion on the PGA and European Tours but he understands how important it is for him to now to fight for his future. The Englishman sees himself competing for major championships still and a win this week at 33/1 with Betfred would be a huge boost to his confidence.

Thomas Aiken is much better known in his native South Africa than in America but he is an incredibly solid golfer. He forms a solid team with his wife on his bag and he should be quietly confident of his chances. The only pressure on his shoulders will be that which he creates for himself so if he manages to remain calm and goes about his business like he does on the Sunshine Tour he can bag his first PGA Tour title at huge odds of 125/1 with Ladbrokes.

WGC Dell Match Play Betting Tips – Wednesday 23rd March 2016

This is perhaps the best time of the year to be a golf fan. Not only are all the best players in the world playing regularly at tournaments on the PGA and European Tours but we’ve got the majors just around the corner. We’ve already seen some brilliantly nail-biting finishes (including Jason Day’s wonderful win at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational) but this week we’ve got something different. It’s the WGC Dell Match Play where 64 of the best players in the world engage in a series of one of one battles.

The Match Play has been a part of the World Golf Championships ever since 1999 but the format got a tweak last season. Instead of a straight knockout tournament the first three days are now a round robin format with 16 groups of four. Each match is 18 holes with one point awarded for a win and half a point for a draw. Then, the top 16 players progress to the knockout stage which is once again played over 18 holes, with extra holes if there is a tie.

For the first time ever, Austin Country Club plays hosts to a top golf tournament. It has been used multiple times on the Champions Tour but never before have the best players in the world all descended on the oldest golf club in Texas. At a little over 7,000 yards the par 71 track is not particularly long but it is by no means easy. Two nines with very different feels will test all of those in the field in terms of shot placement and strategy. Scoring is tough here when out of position and the greens are difficult to read. The winner will need masterful control of their ball and solid chipping game should they find themselves in any of the deep greenside bunkers.

Rory McIlroy, the defending champion, is the man to beat according to the bookies and with good reason. In spells the world number three has been phenomenal in recent weeks but all too often a mistake has stopped his charge. In that regard match play might be perfect for him, a poor shot is only going to cost him one hole and not have a ruinous effect on his score so back him at 12/1 with Bet365.

Another of the top 16 seeds who should go well this week is Adam Scott. Like McIlroy, it was a case of so near but so far for Scott at last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational but he should stand up well to the test of driving accuracy and ball striking set by Austin Country Club and 16/1 with Ladbrokes looks a fair price.

Phil Mickelson’s game is tailor made for match play. At times ‘Lefty’s’ aggressive style of play has got the better of him but taking more risks than his opponents this week could be exactly what is required. Mickelson has looked rejuvenated since changing coaches and he could yet challenge in the majors. 40/1 with Ladbrokes has to be considered too big for the experienced Mickelson.