The other two market leaders to come in for consideration were Johan
Edfors and Thongchai Jaidee, both of whom have unsuccessfully carried
our cash lately. It would be easy to construct a case for either on the
basis of their good recent form, though neither has ever really struck
me as a links specialist. Nor has defending champ Aguilar, who bounced
right back into form on a very different layout at the weekend.
One player who should enjoy the course is the ultra consistent Anthony
Wall, though he simply never seems to win, or even come that close to
winning. Still, I prefer him to Asian Tour stars Jyoti Randhawa or
Liang. The former showed his best form in an age in Malaysia, and his
price has crashed accordingly. As for Liang, while he’s a star on the
Asian Tour, his putting seems to fall apart amidst the added pressure
of these co-sanctioned events. In any case, neither are exactly obvious
candidates on a links-style course.
Considering he made the top-5 in the Open as an amateur, this may be an ideal opportunity for CHRIS WOOD
to open his account. He showed further promise over the winter in South
Africa, especially in the long game department. The consequence of that
was for his price to shorten to unrealistically low levels but after a
couple of disappointments he’s back to the much more realistic mark of
50/1. This is very different, and much less competitive, than Wood’s
last tournament in Dubai.
Others to consider include South African James Kamte, who was third in
this last year and has been in excellent form over the last few weeks.
If the course really is like Kapalua, then former Mercedes champ Daniel
Chopra would fancy his chances, but the Swede would have to improve
dramatically on some dire recent results. As for last week’s near-miss
Ross McGowan, the combination of very different conditions, a much
shorter price and an inevitable comedown effect having blown a golden
opportunity make him one to avoid.
Finally, these conditions could see yet another great Northern Irish
prospect storm into the wider public conciousness. After McIlroy and
Maybin, MICHAEL HOEY also carries a big reputation and has been
making steady progress on the Sunshine and Challenge Tours. Hoey
finished runner-up to Retief Goosen on his penultimate start, carrying
on from two promising top-12 finishes in the co-sanctioned
European/Sunshine Tour events. As there can’t be a golfer from Northern
Ireland without substantial links experience, this looks his best
opportunity to date.