Now for the rest. If Cameron Percy had any sort of record on this course, he certainly would have been a pick. Percy has been in cracking form on the Nationwide Tour, and his efforts in the two triple crown events so far haven’t been too shabby either. Sunday’s seventh was particularly impressive given that he only just made the weekend on the cut line. However, a failure to make the top ten at Coolum in seven previous tries doesn’t read well.
Obviously, Stuart Appleby’s recent form entitles him to a very strong claim. Sunday’s runners-up spot was his third excellent tournament in a row, and confirmed his links expertise once again. He has won on this course before, when it hosted the lower-grade Coolum Classic back in the 1990s, but generally speaking his form in the PGA is not as good as that outstanding Open record. I’m sure he’ll be there or thereabouts though.
Greg Chalmers and Matthew Goggin are both strong candidates again. The former on the basis of second behind Tiger at the Masters and third here two years ago; the latter on the basis of twice finishing runner-up here including last year. I wouldn’t deter anyone from backing either of them, but one can only have so many picks under 50/1. It would be no surprise to see Steve Marino, whose best US form entitles him to great respect in this company, bounce back from a disastrous show in Sydney.
Scott Strange was also on the shortlist, as he wasn’t beaten too far last week and finished third last year. Moreover, Strange has been in good form on a range of continents recently, and has an ideal early tee-time. Nathan Green, a shock winner of the Canadian Open, has three top tens here but has done nothing this year beyond that implausible victory. His namesake Richard, while generally deserving the utmost respect at this level, has a surprisingly weak record at Coolum.
Those looking for a big-priced outsider could do a lot worse than considering course specialists Peter O’Malley, Peter Senior and Wade Ormsby. POM, who returned to form with a top ten last week, has a fine record at Coolum, making five top tens and never missing the top 20 in eight tries. Senior won this in 2003, made the places again last year and has been thriving on the European Seniors Tour. As for Ormsby, he’s made the top seven here four times already. In all three cases, at least a bet at decent odds to make the top ten looks good value.
Advised betting for the Australian PGA Championship:
5pts win GEOFF OGILVY @ 10/1 (GENERAL)
3pts ew MICHAEL SIM @ 18/1 (GENERAL)
2.5pts ew NICK O’HERN @ 20/1 (HILLS, EXPEKT)
2.5pts ew ROD PAMPLING @ 20/1 (GENERAL)
2pts ew JAMES NITTIES @ 25/1 (GENERAL)