With the Fedex Cup taking a breather ahead of the Tour Championship, we’ve only got one top-level tournament this week, and even that description could be seen as stretching the truth. Only three of the world’s top-100, and six of the top-150 are in the line-up at Fontana GC.
However, that is of little consequence as far as betting is concerned. Indeed last year’s Austrian Open line-up was nothing special, though a little stronger, and I managed to pick the winner, Jeev Milkha Singh. Given the recent struggles to find winners in tournaments of a far higher calibre, this drop down in class may actually be to our advantage.
The weakness of this field could not be better illustrated than the fact that Soren Hansen starts as 8/1 favourite. That’s right, 8/1 about a man with two wins this century and an ever increasing history of final day failures. One of those came in this event last year, when the Dane badly bungled the final hole to turn a winning opportunity into an 8th place finish. It is of course easy to see why Hansen is clear favourite as his recent form is overwhelmingly superior to any of the opposition, with six top-10s in his last nine events including two majors. That is very much reflected in his price though, and given that his career win ratio would suggest odds of about 150/1, 8/1 must rate truly awful value.
A similar argument could be made about all the other market leaders, though at least in their cases the place part of an each-way bet could be attractive. Second favourite Richard Green also has a very obvious chance having won here in 2007 and finished 4th the previous year. Again though, 16/1 is hardly an exciting quote about a player with three wins in a career spanning thirteen years, especially when remembering that his 2007 triumph at Fontana came after an extremely nervy finish.
MARKUS BRIER doesn’t possess a particularly inspiring win ratio either, but at least he looked strong at the finish when landing his two victories on the main tour, most recently in China a couple of years ago. Moreover, he has a considerable advantage around Fontana, and not just because of home support. He has won this event twice already, once when it was on the Challenge Tour schedule and on its Euro Tour debut in 2006. Clearly, this is Brier’s best chance of the season, and his recent form is reasonable with top-25s in three of his last four events.