Betting Previews for Sherwood, Hong Kong and the Nedbank

Tiger Woods (Courtesy: PANationalGuard)

Tiger Woods (Courtesy: PANationalGuard)

Twenty-five of the top thirty players in the Official World Golf Rankings are playing somewhere this week, as the European Tour hosts two events, one in South Africa and the other in Hong Kong, while Tiger Woods and his 18 man field are at Sherwood for the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge.

Key Storyline This Week

The most important thing is mentioned above, as only five players inside the top-30 in the OWGR (Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Hideki Matsuyama and Nick Watney) aren’t playing somewhere this week. This time of year is frequently referred to as golf’s silly season, and while these limited field events in South Africa and California with thirty and eighteen players in them respectively don’t dispel that notion, we should see some quality play with that many good players teeing it up.

The other thing of note for this week is that this is the last year that Tiger will be holding this event at Sherwood, opting to move it to Isleworth in 2014.

With the three events and short fields this week, I won’t be doing as much of an in-depth preview of each one, but I do have a few suggested plays for all three.

Five Consensus Favourites

  • Hong Kong Open: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Marcus Fraser, Thorbjorn Olesen, Rafael Cabrera-Bello and Soren Hansen
  • Nedbank Challenge: Henrik Stenson, Charl Schwartzel, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer
  • Northwestern Mutual World Challenge: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter

Suggested Plays

Hong Kong Open

Miguel Angel Jimenez (Best Odds 8-1 at William Hill)

Those of you who read these posts regularly know that I rarely take the favourite, but the Mechanic is the best player in the field and he’s been playing well in the last few weeks. Plus, he’s won here three times, including last year, and has finished outside of the top-25 in only two of his nine appearances at the course.

Robert-Jan Derksen (Best Odds 33-1 at Boylesports)

Finished inside the top-15 in each of his last three appearances in 2011, 2009 and 2007. He’s had some good success in China and has two finishes inside the top-20 in his last three starts. Good putter and short game player, and in a weak field, he’s a little overpriced here.

Richard Finch (Best Odds 66-1 at Betway)

Pure form bet here, as Finch finished as the runner-up to Charl Schwartzel last week at the Dunhill thanks to a superb putting performance. He’s missed the cut in all three appearances here, but hasn’t had any disastrous results, with his highest round coming in at a 74.

Nedbank Challenge

Sergio Garcia (Best Odds 12-1 at bet365)

Sergio is a former two-time winner at Gary Player CC and has yet to finish outside of the top-12 in any of his eight appearances. Even in a limited field, that’s a solid run of finishes, and there are still few players who have played as well as him over the last calendar year. There’s considerable value here with Sergio compared to the other favourites above him.

Thomas Bjorn (Best Odds 41-1 at Betfair)

Much like Sergio, Bjorn is on a great run right now, picking up four top-20 finishes in his last seven events, including a win and a runner-up. Good course form as well, even if he hasn’t been here since 2001, which is why you can get him at this kind of price.

Louis Oosthuizen (Best Odds 53-1 at 32Red)

If there’s one player I can’t seem to get away from in these previews, it’s Oosthuizen. A combination of inconsistency and some pretty serious injury concerns have given Oosthuizen some awful results over the last few months, but he says he’s healthy and even in a field this good, he’s right up there with the best. He won here back in 2007 and finished tied for fourth last year.

Northwestern Mutual World Challenge

Graeme McDowell (Best Odds 12-1 at bet365)

With a field this small and this good, there isn’t much value to be had. Bill Haas is considered the biggest longshot out there at roughly 40-1, so you won’t find the best prices this week, but I like McDowell here for the obvious reasons. He’s been playing well and his only three appearances in the event have yielded the following finishes: 2-1-1. Don’t forget that he loves the California area as well, with his U.S. Open win at Pebble and runner-up at Olympic.

Matt Kuchar (Best Odds 24-1 at BETDAQ)

Doesn’t have the best track record here, but the human ATM machine is playing the same kind of solid golf he’s known for, with three consecutive top-10’s. He’s got as good of a chance to win this week as anyone, and he’ll be playing with Tiger for the first two rounds, so maybe he’ll be able to get some extra information.

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