|Wade Ormsby to Win Australian PGA Championship||33/1||Bet365|
|Sean Crocker to Win Australian PGA Championship||50/1||Ladbrokes|
|Alvaro Quiros to Win AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open||80/1||Coral|
|George Coetzee to Win AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open||25/1||Ladbrokes|
It's a split week for the European Tour, taking in the Australian PGA Championship and the Afrasia Mauritius Open, part of the phantom period of the early 2019 season which occupies the run-in to Christmas.
Last week there was the Hong Kong Open. In the next fortnight there will be two tournaments in South Africa. And yet, with a few exceptions, the big names are occupied elsewhere, either playing for big fees or resting up ahead of 2019.
Frustrating for promoters, but not necessarily for smart punters for whom these weeks can actually be more productive.
A fourth year on the circuit for Australian PGA Championship, but it has been played since 1905 and is an integral part of Australian golf’s triple crown (also taking in the Australian Open and Australian Masters).
It was held at the Coolum Resort for most the 21st century, until a new owner added a dinosaur theme.
Yes, that is bizarre but true.
It turned out that playing a par-5 overlooked by an enormous plastic T-Rex was unpopular so organisers moved to the Royal Pines Resort. It’s on the Gold Coast in Surfer’s Paradise and the strength of the wind matters.
The last two years 19- and 18-under has won, but in 2015 level-par did the trick and only three players broke 70 all weekend.
A much younger event (this is the fourth renewal), but tour golfers have been playing end-of-season invitational events for over 30 years on the Indian Ocean island.
Four Seasons hosts for a second time this year, with Jeunghun Wang the previous winner there in May 2016, and that week had much in common with the Aussie PGA of late 2015.
Because in yet more strong wind Wang was one of only two players to break par for the week (and there were only four sub-70 weekend laps).
It’s an Ernie Els design, right on the coast, and features links-like undulating fairways and green, albeit with Bermuda grass which makes links-like shots more difficult to execute.
There’s a touch of boom or bust about Wade Ormsby’s record in the Australian PGA with six top 10 finishes and four missed cuts from his 11 starts.
But that’s no bad thing if the good is very good.
At the course itself he was defeated in a play-off on his debut in 2014 and then chalked up tied ninth 12 months ago.
Last week he finished T36th whilst defending his Hong Kong Open title, a decent effort, and before that he was T30th at the DP World Tour Championship and T16th in the Nedbank Challenge, all of which is good form set against this week’s field. Take the 33/1 at Bet365.
Sean Crocker is a cosmopolitan golfer: born in Zimbabwe, brought up in California, residing in Florida. In his first 12 months as a professional golfer he has collected top 10 finishes in Australia, Singapore, Austria, Kazakhstan, China and the U.A.E.
The first of those was in this tournament last year and it came a week after he was T16th in the Hong Kong Open, his first pro top 20. Perhaps expectations were too high when he returned there last week as he carded a first round 76.
The 66 which followed was much more like it and this much-touted 22-year-old is an attractive 50/1 with Ladbrokes.
Alvaro Quiros claimed six European Tour victories in a very short period of time, but since 2011 he’s found it a lot more difficult.
When he does fire, however, he is still capable of excellent golf, as he proved when winning last year’s Sicilian Open out of nowhere, and also when second at this year’s Trophee Hassan II.
In recent weeks he has been in contention at both Valderrama and Hong Kong, two tight tracks that are far from ideal for him. The final result hasn’t come but is this week his time?
That Sicilian win reads nicely (like this week’s course, it was a links-like layout) as do his win and two second places in the Qatar Masters which is not only played at the blustery Doha GC, but is another track where Wang has prevailed. He’s a tasty 80/1 with Coral.
Add another Doha specialist George Coetzee. He not only has five top 12s in his last six starts in Qatar, he is also a previous Mauritius Open winner who was T27 when the event was played here in 2016 and T9th last year.
His game has always been a neat fit for breezy resort courses and he’s a solid option at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.