There are times in this gambling game when one wonders just what on earth has to be done to find a winner, and Sunday was such an occasion. With four holes to play, 66/1 pick Peter Lawrie looked very comfortable with his lead and well worth his quote on Betfair of 1.33, but like many others in this frustrating season, he soon lost his nerve and barely hit a good shot from there on. On the bright side, all you can ask for is selections to get into contention and hope fortune is favourable from there. Luck in gambling tends to be cyclical, so I’m sure a good run will arrive soon.
 
Another frustrating aspect of the 2009 season has been the terrible weather, and there’s more of it to come this weekend. The forecast for Gleneagles, host to the Johnnie Walker Championship, is for persistent rain and wind speeds regularly over 20mph. Gleneagles is an exposed course, so this promises to be a particularly gruelling survival test.
 
Detailed hourly forecasts are rarely reliable, but if they are to be believed, those with an early round one tee time could enjoy a significant advantage. That has often been a feature of previous tournaments at Gleneagles, so three of my five selections are from the morning starters, along with two bad weather specialists from the afternoon group.
 
From the early starters, NICLAS FASTH, JAMIE DONALDSON and GARETH MAYBIN take the eye. Like last week, this is very much a ‘second division’ field, dominated by capable players with terrible win ratios. With five European Tour titles since 2005 to his name, Fasth is the only player anywhere near favouritism who doesn’t fit that trend.
 
At his best, Fasth would be too good for these and probably lining up across the Atlantic this week, but the last 18 months have been a struggle. There have been strong signs of a return to form in recent weeks though, with four top-20s in his last six events including second at Celtic Manor. In Holland last weekend, his long game looked in fine fettle once again, enabling four sub-70 rounds for ninth place.