Around the Tournaments
Aside from the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open, featuring Rory McIlroy, it’s a quieter than usual world of golf this week with no LPGA, WebCom, Champs, Sunshine or Euro Challenge events. The quaint Tavistock Cup will distract for a couple of days early in the week.
The Mens & Ladies European Tours play in Agadir, Morocco for the Trophée HassanII & Lalla Meryem Cup respectively while the two primary Asian Tours duke it out again in the same week with the Asian tour visiting Chiangmai, Thailand, for the first time while the OneAsia & Japan Mens Tours co-host the Indonesia PGA at beautiful Emeralda in non-beautiful Jakarta!
European Tour – 72 holes – 28-31 March 2013
Golf du Palais Royal, Agadir, Morocco
This tournament, the Moroccan Prince’s Pro-Am, began life in 1971 and joined the European Tour in 2010, It has since been won by a trio of British / Irish players: Rhys Davies (2010), David Horsey (2011) & Michael Hoey (2012). Previously held in Rabat, it moved to Agadir in 2011.
The course is very short, measuring just 6,844 yds (6,258m) but is not the pushover these numbers suggest, as evidenced by the past winning scores of -17 & -13.
In an extremely weak and even field with few players in form (just one win among the entire field thus far in 2013!), I favour a couple of longer shots each way here:
Julien Quesne @ 67.00 has already chalked up 5th & a 9th this year in stronger company. He’s notoriously unreliable, and as likely to miss the cut as place, but represents value at this price.
Kristoffer Broberg @ 67.00 had a spectacular break-out year on the Challenge Tour in 2012 where he recorded 4 wins. He’s found it a lot tougher thus far on the main tour but, after 4 missed cuts to start 2013, his 35th & 34th in recent weeks suggest to me he’s finding his feet and his class may be ready to shine through.
Asian Tour – Chiangmai Golf Classic – 72 holes – 28-31 March 2013
Alpine Golf Resort, Chiangmai, Thailand
This is a new tournament on the Asian Tour and the first time the tour has visited Chiangmai in northern Thailand. The course is located 25km east of Chiangmai, is set in parklands between two mountains. It is long (7,500yds), undulating and challenging.
Ernie Els is the headline act and, despite a moderate 2013 thus far, is a far better credentialled player than any others here and represents value even at 12.00
Among the others in the market: Thongchai Jaidee has to be given a chance whenever he tees it up in Thailand, I expect Prom Meesawat, despite his bulk on an arduous layout, to improve on four consecutive Top30’s and promising young Aussie Jake Higginbottom just continues to improve and shine.
OneAsia & JGTO co-sanctioned Tournament – 72 holes – 28-31 March 2013
Emeralda Golf & Country Club, Jakarta, West Java, Indonesia
Emeralda, located just 30 minutes from central Jakarta, hosted the 2012 Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open, which was also a OneAsia-JGTO joint sanction won by Australia’s Nick Cullen.
Thaworn Wiratchant is the expected, and justifiable, favourite but has looked off his game in recent starts. Perhaps he’s thinking ahead to his first ever, and doubtless daunting, visit to Augusta in two weeks’ time?
In this I favour a couple of in-form Australians: Scott Strange & Nick Cullen.
For a bit of each way value I’m also looking at two up-and-coming Asians: China’s Wu Ashun & Korean Min-Gyu Cho who was a good 4th Thailand 2 weeks ago.
LET (Ladies European Tour) Lalla Meryem Cup
72 holes – 28-31 March
Golf de l’Ocean, Agadir, Morocco
This tournament in 2010 was added to the LET schedule and upgraded to a full field tournament having previously been limited to 12 or so players since 1993; it moved to Agadir in 2011.
This will be the second time it’s been hosted by Golf de l’Ocean, the 2012 event here having been won by Australian veteran Karen Lunn. L’Ocean is a dunes course in close proximity to the sea.
The event sees Thai teenage star Ariya Jutanugarn strut her stuff in the Middle East for the first time and, provided she does not find the environment too foreign, she’ll win this. Ariya’s the logical favourite having spent the past month duking it out on Sundays with the likes of Stacy Lewis, InBee Park & Yani Tseng and there are no players of comparable quality here.
If you’re looking for a longer shot to toss into those each way doubles, then look no further than Aussie Bree Arthur who was 9th here last year and has solid recent form – 5th & 12th in her past two starts. In early markets she’s 40/1 so paying 11.00 the place.
Good luck with your punting!