Tournament Preview

Around the Tournaments 19 March 2013

European & Asian Tours’ Maybank Malaysian Open – 72 holes

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club – West Course, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

21-24 March 2013

This will be the 4th year in a row the tournament has been held at the KLGCC where the previous winners have been: Louis Oosthuizen (2012), Matteo Manassero (2011) & Seung-Yul Noh (2010). It was also held here in 2006.

At the top of the market this year are two quality players, Luke Donald & Charl Schwartzel, both now tuning their games for The Masters on 11 April. Former winner Manassero is here too, doubtless trying to also find some form for the year’s first Major.

From a betting perspective, each way betting away from the favourites is the recommended approach here. All the faves, apart from Harrington, Jaidee & Wood – none of whom stands out as a likely winner here – have traveled long distances to play here. Also, after Luke & Charl, who are both at prohibitively short prices, none of the players near the top of the market are in great form at present.

For each way value, I favour young Frenchman, Victor Dubuisson @ 46.00 – 51.00 and ‘Big Dolphin’ Prom Meesawat @ 67.00 – 81.00 both of whom have been in consistent form of late and who have course knowledge (both Top25 last year here).

LPGA Tour Kia Classic

72 holes – 21-24 March 2013

Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad, California

This is the last chance for the LPGA girls to enjoy a competitive hit-out before the season’s first Major, the Kraft Nabisco on 4 April. They had been sharing the wins around all season until new world #1, Stacy Lewis, won for the 2nd time last week.

This is the first time Aviara has been used, so no historical course form is available. Stacy Lewis will be seeking her 3rd win in a row and deserves her favouritism but, for each way value, I favour up-and-coming Chinese Shanshan Feng @ 20.00 or so who won six times globally last year and showed with a solid 3rd at Mission Hills recently that she’s coming into form in 2013.

Next best value is long-hitting Gerina Piller, available at 67.00 generally. She has been a model of consistency with three Top20’s in recent weeks since starting her season with 18th at the Australian Open.

PGA Champions Tour Mississippi Golf Resort Classic

54 holes – 22-24 March 2013

Fallen Oak Golf Club, Biloxi, Mississippi

This is the 4th year of this tournament, the previous winners having been: David Eger (2010), Tom Lehman (2011) & Fred Couples (2012). All were hosted by Fallen Oak, this year’s course.

The Old Boys tend to remain fairly consistent and the ones in great weekly form in 2013 thus far are: Langer, Frost & Mediate. Not far behind lurk: Funk, Pernice, O’Meara, Lehman, Cook, Haas & Couples.

Taking these 2013 in-form players and factoring in course form in recent years, Frost, Funk & Lehman stand out for me. The best value at their prices is fan favourite, young Freddie Funk at 29.00. He’s finished Top12 the past three years here and his recent form is also typically consistent.

For longer odds, Lu Chien-Soon has been within a couple of good shots of finishing Top 5 in both his recent starts and represents each way value @ 100.00 (I rate him 50.00)

WebCom Tour Chitimacha Louisiana Open

72 holes – 21-24 March 2013

Le Triomphe Country Club, Broussard, Louisiana

This is the first event of the year on US soil for the Tour after a 3-event Latin American swing.

While a long course-form history is perhaps an indicator of failure to graduate to the PGA Tour, Brett Wetterich @ 36.00 has won this twice (2003 & 2011) so he’ll add some spice for course form adherents, as will Paul Claxton @ 71.00 who owns a win and a 2nd at Le Triomphe. Neither, however, boasts any recent form.

Le Triomphe is a relatively short 7,000yd (6,400m) Par71 where the course record is 61 and it typically produces a hot-putter-driven, birdie-strewn, winning score below 270; Casey Wittenberg shot a 24-under 260 last year – as had 3 others in earlier years.

I favour guys who can get it on the green without dramas and putt the lights out on Bermuda! In this context I like two players:

Dawie Van der Walt @ 51.00, full of confidence after a win in the Tshwane Open in South Africa two weeks ago and one of the best GIR guys on tour in 2012.

Steven Bowditch @ a tasty 151.00, one of the hottest putters on tour.

Sunshine Tour Investec Cup

72 holes – 21-24 March 2013

Lost City, Millvale & Rustenberg courses

This is the season-ending event for the top 30 players in points accumulated over recent months. It’s also a pro-am with 30 amateurs joining the pro’s for the first three days.

Three players have dominated the tour in recent months: Richard Sterne, Jaco Van Zyl & Darren Fichardt and the rest have been scrambling only for placings. However, all the top three are paying 8.00 or less and none stands out from the others – so I’m unable to recommend betting on one of them.

In seeking value further down the list, only Jake Roos has price appeal at 23.00. He has a win at Lost City (Nedbank Affinity Cup) and Top10’s in three of his past four starts on tour.

Good luck with your punting!


© Copyright Mike J Miller: 19 March 2013