The counter argument is that Westwood is more consistent, and I do have a nagging concern that Fisher might suffer from the infamous ‘nappy factor’; (the idea that the birth of a child can distract a player’s focus). Nevertheless, Fisher is the pick, as I would be devastated to miss out on his long overdue next win.
He’s not the only recent failed selection who I’m persevering with, as four of last week’s picks also maintain their places in the staking plan; Alvaro Quiros, Alexander Noren, Charl Schwartzel and Danny Willett. Though the loss on last week’s Madrid Masters was small, it was still frustrating as at least three of them looked a threat at some stage, only to ruin their chance with the odd disaster hole. As Oceanico Victoria presents such a similar test, I reckon all four are worth another chance.
Quiros is defending champion and also finished 11th in 2007, so clearly loves the place. He didn’t do anything special in Madrid, but rounds of 66 and 67 on Friday and Saturday confirmed his wellbeing. The huge-hitting Quiros remains a rising star, and looks reasonable value in the betting at 33/1 to defend his title.
Noren has fared pretty well on both visits to Oceanico Victoria so far, finishing 12th and 16th, and confirmed that he is a man to follow last week by grabbing a share of fourth. That was a superb effort given a disastrous start, which included an eight on day one. I’m adamant that this sort of target golf is Noren’s forte, and now that he has a win under his belt, the Swede is expected to go from strength to strength.
Schwartzel also fared pretty well in Madrid given the fact he was using borrowed clubs. As in the previous event, the South African gave away all chance of winning early on but improved his score as the week went on. Rounds of 69-68-67 was a solid return for his final three eighteens, and if he can just sort out the opening effort then Schwartzel should be a strong contender on a course where he finished seventh in 2007. He really seems to thrive in this sort of Mediterannean target golf affair, as five top-8s from his last six Portugese events testifies.
Willett was the most frustrating of the lot, having looked certain of at least a place until that untimely triple-bogey. Even then, a birdie on the par-5 last would have sufficed but despite his superb form over the long holes, it wasn’t to be. On the positive side, I feel vindicated by my assertion that this kind of target golf affair is ideal for Danny, and he looks bound to be there or thereabouts once again.