Avantha Masters – 72 holes
Jaypee Greens Golf Club, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India (20km from Delhi)
14-17 March 2013
Event & Heritage
This tournament is a co-sanction between The European Tour and Asian Tour and thus comprises an eclectic field with 61 players provided by The European Tour, 61 by the Asian Tour, 28 by the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) with the final six spots allocated to sponsor invitations.
The Avantha Masters has existed only since 2010 and this will be its first time at Noida, the three previous tournaments having been hosted by the DLF Golf & Country Club where the winners were: Andrew Dodt (2010), SSP Chowrasia (2011) & Jbe Kruger (2012).
This Greg Norman design is a par 72 measuring 7,350yds (6,700m). It incorporates many of Greg’s favourite design features including multiple water hazards and bunkering that is reminiscent of Melbourne’s sandbelt courses.
This course has been used intermittently in recent years by the PGTI (Indian Tour) for its BILT Open, won here by Chiragh Kumar (2011), Anirban Lahiri (2009) & Lam Chih Bing (2007). The Asian tour’s SAIL Open has also held here in 2008; won by New Zealand’s Mark Brown.
Top of the Market
Thongchai Jaidee @ 21.00
The ageless little Thai master is a logical favourite here, bringing as he does form in far stronger fields, including consecutive 9th placings in Abu Dhabi & Qatar on the European Tour’s Middle Eastern early season swing.
He’ll certainly find this event a bit easier than his last outing, a first round loss on the 20th hole to Sergio Garcia in the Accenture World Matchplay in Arizona! Despite the advancing years (43), he’s still a winning chance every time he tees it up in asia!
Ricardo Santos @ 23.00
Ricardo has been one of the form revelations in recent months on the European tour! Starting with the Hong Kong open in November his form line, in top Euro company, reads: 15th, 28th, 4th, 22nd, 7th, 3rd & 9th. There would be no more deserving winner here than the 30-y-o Portugese. On the negative side, he’s had limited Asian playing experience.
Anirban Lahiri @ 26.00
25-y-o Anirban is one of India’s most promising younger golfers although I believe he’s been over-hyped and his price here is too short. He’s won on the Indian Tour on this course before and arrives here fresh from a win in the Sail SBI Open, albeit over a very weak field, in Delhi last week.
Felipe Aguilar @ 26.00
Chile’s #1, Felipe has certainly been chalking up the frequent flyer miles, and Top10’s, this year! From Qatar (9th) & Dubai (3rd) in January it was off to Johannesburg (3rd) and then home to Chile for the WebDotCom Tour’s Chile Classic last week where he was a meritorious 6th! As the form player, on paper at least, he has to be given a winning chance here.
Shiv Kapur @ 26.00
30-y-o Shiv is arguably the top Indian chance with a recent form background that reads: 10th in Johor in December, a big win in the European Challenge Tour’s Gujarat Kensville and 4th last week in the SAIL.
He’s been a European Tour player since 2005 but still without a victory after 193 starts. This event presents him with his best ever opportunity to remedy that career omission!
Gaganjeet Bhullar @ 31.00
24-y-o Gaganjeet is India’s most exciting prospect, in my opinion, and despite his tender years already in his 7th year as a pro. He’s a regular winner too: in Indonesia (2009), Thailand (2010), Euro Challenge Gujarat Kensville (2011), Bangladesh Open (2011), Yeangder in Taipei (2012) & the Macau Open last October.
Top Value Selections
#1 Bernd Wiesberger @ 41.00
The big-hitting Austrian is one of the best credentialed players and world ranked only behind Jaidee in this field. Like all the Europeans, he is underrated by the bookmakers in this Indian environment. I believe he is a 20/1 chance and thus huge each way value at double that price.
He elevated his previously modest career during 2012 with two European tour wins and big things are expected in 2013. His form’s only been average thus far in 2013 though in strong fields and he plays here off a 5-week break. I believe that freshness, combined with his 300-yd driving average, will take him a long way here.
#2 Gaganjeet Bhullar @ 31.00
As mentioned above, I rate him he’s the most promising Indian player and I especially like that he’s a regular winner.
As I wrote earlier, non-asian players are underrated by bookmakers in this event owing to the difficulties many experience in adapting to Indian conditions. I have therefore selected two as my longshot tips who are attractive prices given their ability and who play the Asian Tour.
Longshot #1 Scott Hend @ 101.00
The long-hitting Aussie has consistently played well in Asia and finished 2nd on this course in the 2008 Sail Open. He has to be given a place chance on a longish Greg Norman-designed course.
A look back over the past year shows some good form too: winner of the Asian Tour’s Singapore Classic last April, 5th in KJ Choi’s event in Korea in October followed by a 6th in Macau and 12th in the Indian Open.
Longshot #2 Jonathan Moore @ 81.00
Young American Moore has shown genuine development since graduating from the Asian Development Tour in 2011 and his cv includes second placings in recent months behind Bhullar in the Macau Open in October and behind Sergio Garcia in Johor in December.
Good luck with your punting!