So far, so predictable in the Australian triple crown. I’ve repeatedly argued that this short section of the golfing calendar is the best time to pick winners, and so it has proved. Tiger Woods dominated the Masters, with a fairly obvious bunch behind in the places. Second favourite Adam Scott and fourth favourite Stuart Appleby dominated the Open, with again a predictable supporting cast.
 
Historically, this week’s final leg has been even more predictable. The seven years in which this event has been played at Hyatt Coolum have proved something of a goldmine for anyone with even a superficial understanding of the formbook. Six of the seven winners were in the top handful in the betting. Over half the players to reach the top five during that period were less than 33/1, and only six started above 50/1. Even then none were exactly unpickable, because every single outsider in question passed the ‘triple-crown test’ of having decent overseas form, or soon went on to pass that test.
 
Once again then, it’s easy to confidently assert that the winner will come from the top 25 in the betting, and to restrict our research to that group. At the head of affairs, for understandable reasons last week’s two winners, Adam Scott and Robert Allenby, usurp GEOFF OGILVY for favouritism. I should point out here that a couple of rules usually employed on the European and PGA Tours shouldn’t apply at this lower level. Whereas back to back winners and successful title defences are rare elsewhere, they happen quite regularly in this part of the world.
 
It’s very hard to imagine any of this trio outside the top 15. In truth, I’m surprised to see Scott even at 13/2 after last week’s outstanding performance in Sydney. Now he has one Aussie title to his name, expect many more to follow. However, I am prepared to ignore him on the grounds that others with each-way appeal represent better value. After all, Scott has yet to make a top five in five previous visits to Coolum, though he has finished sixth and seventh.
 
Allenby won here back in 2005, but disappointed in the last two years. Sunday’s victory was long overdue, and re-affirmed his incredible record in play-offs. However, to win on a different continent, with different greens so soon afterwards is a very tough ask. In fact, Allenby’s busy, globe-trotting schedule over recent weeks must have been tough.
 
On the other hand, even though he disappointed at the Open, I have no qualms about backing Ogilvy at a bigger price for this week’s more suitable test. Ogilvy has never looked a great links or wind player, as he lacks the required range of ‘knockdown’ shots. It was no surprise to see him get blown away in the toughest of conditions. Nevertheless, a final-day 68 amidst calmer conditions confirmed that he is in good form, as we’d seen elsewhere in previous weeks.