Despite what I’ve written above about players with poor win ratios, I am backing a couple of Englishmen who have a long history of disappointments on that score, ANTHONY WALL and STEVE WEBSTER. The justification is price. Even the weak finishers tend to get their head in front every so often, so they can be backed occasionally when the price allows.
Wall’s odds of 40/1 owe much to the fact he’s only ever won a rain-shortened event in South Africa, because if he were proven in the ‘bottle’ department then surely recent form would make him a contender for favouritism. His last fifteen starts have yielded eight top-10s and only one missed cut; a level of consistency that few at this level could boast. Seeing as he’s made the top-5 on four of those occasions, that would suggest that at least the place terms of this bet represent value. And if he is ever going to win again, its likely to come in a birdie fest on a course like this, which rewards good putting.
Webster went an eternity before winning his first title, but once it arrived in the 2005 Italian Open he became a different character when in contention, and added the Portugal Masters in 2007. On recent form, a third title in Southern Europe could be on the cards. He’s driving the ball particularly straight, and his last three starts have included a runners-up spot in Indonesia and 7th last time out, again in Portugal.
IGNACIO GARRIDO let me down badly in that Portugese event, but that poor effort was so out of the blue that he deserves another chance. Previously he’d looked a winner waiting to happen, consistently registering outstanding greens in regulation stats. Home support can only be to Garrido’s advantage, on a course he will know better than most, and having finished runner-up in this event at a different venue last year, is no forlorn hope to gain revenge.
Finally, just to mention a few others. Initially I strongly considered Colin Montgomerie at a decent price, because I still believe he is capable at this level. Besides the need to hole plenty of birdie putts, this course is ideal. Oskar Henningson will have his supporters having won the Q-School here last year. And next in line for the staking plan was Gary Orr. The course looks perfect for Orr’s accurate game, and on last summer’s form he’d be a decent candidate, but there’s been nothing positive to say about his few 2009 efforts to date. Nevertheless, there are many worse 125/1 shots than Orr.