Last year’s Indonesian Open will live long in the memory. Having labelled the tournament a guessing game in the preview, I promptly produced the best tipping performance of my life. 150/1 chance Felipe Aguilar remains my biggest priced winner ever, and the Chilean was followed closely in 2nd by another selection, Jeev Milkha-Singh, while Wen-Chong Liang also grabbed a place for us. Lets hope, after so many frustrating near-misses this season, association with Indonesia will prompt a change of luck, but I have to say at first glance it looks every bit as hard to solve as I feared last year’s renewal would be.
Primarily, the problem is a complete lack of any course form, as New Kuta Golf Resort is hosting its first big event. From all the reviews, this looks like an excellent addition to the Asian schedule, with many characteristics of a links course. Penal rough, undulating fairways and greens, strong wind coming off the sea and some inland water hazards certainly should present a tough test, especially if that wind gets up. The designer likens it to another of his creations, Kapalua, home of the Mercedes Championship, though the fairways here don’t appear to be anywhere near as wide.
One would have to assume from that description that this course will demand accuracy and control from tee to green, favouring the best ball-strikers. And if this course were outside Asia, it would go without saying that the European players should enjoy a significant advantage in such conditions. In fairness, the weather forecast doesn’t seem too bad as far as wind is concerned, with thunderstorms a likelier threat, so perhaps that advantage will be less important.
Nevertheless, given the uncertainty, I’m prepared to base my staking plan around the theory that this will be a links-style test. If I’m right about that, with such a limited field due to the World Matchplay, there aren’t that many serious candidates to consider. It also helps that the betting is so wide open, so decent prices are available even about the favourites. In fact, even though my three main selections are all usually filed under ‘extremely unreliable’, I’m prepared to take a chance at very reasonable prices, (the favourite starts at 20/1). Its important to remember that there are only four players from the world’s top-100 on show.