Amongst the rest, the choice generally lies between rare winners over the long-term, and improvers still seeking their first win. In the former camp lies favourite Soren Hansen, whose last three finishes at Gleneagles read second, third and tenth. He’s bound to be there or thereabout again, but 14/1 about a player with one win this century makes no appeal.
In contrast, second favourite Oliver Wilson falls into the second camp, as an improving player for whom a first title is long overdue. I don’t consider Wilson a weak finisher, and reckon he’s been slightly unlucky to date in this respect. Again though, a general price of 16/1 is nothing to get excited about, especially given a late tee time.
Donaldson and Maybin both fall into the latter category, but have at least proved their ability to close the deal on the Challenge Tour. Welshman Donaldson is enjoying by far his best season to date, with Sunday’s excellent effort his third top 5 since April. Moreover, he has repeatedly shown he copes better than most in bad weather, so must go close if maintaining that solid recent form.
Maybin provided another hard luck story for this column on his penultimate start, when somehow managing to miss even a place payout despite sharing a clear lead with four holes to play. Nor was that his first poor finish, having similarly slipped from contention to out of the places on the final hole at the Malaysian Open. As a rookie, he deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt in the hope that these experiences will serve him well in future. Ultimately, a return from his first twenty starts as a fully qualified Euro Tour player of five top 10s and 11 top 30s reads well, and justifies a bet at 45/1.
Now to the two bad weather specialists, GRAEME STORM and PAUL LAWRIE. The aptly-named Storm has repeatedly saved his best for wet conditions, and can boast the perfect mix of both recent and course form. Four of his last six starts have yielded top 20s, including two top 5s, while his last two results at Gleneagles were second and fitth. On the downside, Storm is another rare winner, who would normally be overlooked at 28/1, but given the conditions and similar weaknesses amongst so much of the opposition, I’ll make an exception.
As for Lawrie, his prowess in bad weather is well-known, and not just because of that famous win in the 1999 Open. Its no coincidence that Lawrie’s best result of 2009 was seventh on the links of Oitavos Dunes in Portugal, when again faced with wet and windy conditions. He’s not in bad form, producing three sub-70 rounds for 23rd in Holland last week and also reaching the top 25 against world-class opposition at Loch Lomond.