This week the European Tour heads to the Gary Player Country Club, a monsterous 7,831 yard layout in South Africa. That sort of layout could not be much further from the host course for this week’s PGA Tour event, the OHL Classic. At just 6,987 yards, El Camaleon is a much more fiddly test of golf than the bombers’ paradise in Sun City.
Previous winners of the OHL Classic have shown that smart strategy, solid approach play and – perhaps most importantly – a brilliant week with the putter are all necessary to have any chance of grabbing a place at the top of the leaderboard. Graeme McDowell certainly fit that profile when claiming his first PGA Tour win in over two years. If the Northern Irishman wants to defend his title this time around he’ll have to improve his driving accuracy. That’s because the tournament organisers have allowed the rough to grow longer than normal for the 2016 renewal.
McDowell and his competitors will also have to deal with some changeable weather. There was a Monday finish in Mexico last season and the weather forecast for the week ahead is for more rain to fall although predicting exactly when is very difficult.
There is another key trend which GMac followed in last season, he’s well in his 30s. Seven of the last nine winners were aged 30 or over and the average age of winners is around 35. So, we’re looking for experienced players with great ball striking, who will keep their ball in play and be able to putt the lights out.
2013 Champ English Can Win Again
Harris English has been on a brilliant run of late. The 27-year-old has not missed a cut since the Players Championship back in May. He’s only picked up two top 10 finishes in that time but one of those came with a fourth place last time out at the Shriners Open. One of English’s two PGA Tour wins came at the OHL Classic and he can be victorious here once more this week at odds of 33/1 with Paddy Power.
Furyk Capable of Striking on Debut
Jim Furyk has never played at the OHL Classic but that does not mean he is unworthy of support this week. There are few better ball strikers in the world of golf than the 46-year-old veteran. Age is showing no sign of slowing Furyk down especially now he is fit after surgery at the start of the year so back him each way at 25/1 with BetVictor.
Donald’s Hard Work Can Start Paying Off
Luke Donald has had to double down his efforts over the past couple of years. His fall from the number one ranked golfer in the world to just inside the top 100 has been remarkable. Much of this woe came from a desire to add some distance to his game which didn’t work and actually had a negative impact on his accuracy which was so important to his previous success. Donald is slowly, slowly improving and has been working very hard to get back to his best. If he can employ a smart strategy this week he will look good each way value at 80/1 with Betfred.