Golf Odds and Predictions: Alfred Dunhill Championship
by Alan Matthews - 11/26/2013
The golf karma gods were very kind last week at the World Cup of Golf in Australia. No, I didn't pick Aussie Jason Day to win the event but sure hoped he would in the wake of losing his grandmother, uncle and six cousins in Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines. And win Day did, shooting a final-round 1-under 70 to beat out Denmark's Thomas Bjorn by two shots. It as Day's first victory since taking the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship in Texas.
It was a nice payday for Day at the non-official event. He earned $1.2 million for the individual title and then split $600,000 with Adam Scott (third place) as Team Australia completely destroyed the rest of the field. It was the first time the host country won the World Cup of Golf since South Africa in 1996. Day paid off at 15/2 to win ,while Australia was 13/8. I liked Team Italy (12/1), but it finished closer to last than first with a combined score of 15 over. Individually I took Graeme McDowell, but he finished tied for 15th at 4 over.
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This week the European Tour stays in South Africa -- the season-opening South African Open was won last week on Gauteng by Denmark's Moren Orum Madsen for his first Euro title, and he's teeing it up this week, -- for the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane. There are a few Americans in the field as a record four U.S. players earned their Euro Tour cards last month at its qualifying school final stage in Spain. That matches the total amount of American qualifiers in the past 11 years. John Han and Brinson Paolini are two who will tee it up this week. You may have heard a few weeks ago that Peter Uihlein was the first U.S. winner of the European Tour's Rookie of the Year honors. He's not playing this week.
There's one big-name American also playing this week: John Daly. It's just his second tournament since an operation over the summer to repair a tendon injury in his right hand. Daly, the two-time major winner, hasn't played in South Africa since the early 1990s. He won a few times back at the start of his career in South Africa on the Sunshine Tour. There aren't many other big names playing. Louis Oosthuizen was forced to pull out after having painkilling injections in his back. The South African won the tournament in 2010. Thus, the biggest names are likely Charl Schwartzel and Brendon De Jonge. All of the top Americans are taking the holiday week off, with many stars set to tee it up in Tiger Woods' unofficial tournament next week in California. There are a few big names playing again in Australia this week as Scott goes for the Aussie Slam at the Australian Open.
Golf Odds: Alfred Dunhill Championship Favorites
In absolutely no surprise, South Africa's Charl Schwartzel is the Tiger-like huge 3/1 favorite at Bovada. And why not? Last year he finished at 24-under 264, a tournament record, for a 12-shot victory, the third-largest margin of victory on the European Tour. He had won the previous week by 11 shots in Thailand. If you are wondering, the record for biggest win in Euro Tour history is 15 shots by Tiger at the 2000 U.S. Open. Schwartzel also got his first Euro Tour win in this tournament and on this course in 2005 at age 20. Schwartzel finished T4 last week in the South African Open. He's one of 62 native South Africans playing this week.
The rest of the favorites are Richard Sterne (12/1), George Coetzee (20/1), Hennie Otto (20/1) and Ross Fisher (20/1). Sterne won back in February at the Joburg Open in South Africa. He also won this tournament in 2008 and was seventh last year.
Coetzee was T20 last week and is looking for his first Euro Tour victory; he does have four wins in South Africa on the lower tour. Coetzee was 10th last year in this event. Otto's best result here was seventh two years ago. Fisher was T22 last week and looking for his first win since 2010.
Golf Odds: Alfred Dunhill Championship Picks
On the head-to-head props, you have to like Schwartzel (-250) over Sterne (+185), Fisher (-120) over Otto and Coetzee (-115) over De Jonge (-115). I also like Schwartzel (-450) and Fisher (+165) for a Top-10 finish.
Don't worry if your pick doesn't have a good first round this week. Schwartzel last year was the only player to be inside the Top 6 after the opening round to win. His average round of 67.92 in the past four years is far and away No. 1 at Leopard Creek. However, I can't recommend him at such short odds. I'm leaning toward Garth Mulroy at 28/1. He was T10 last week and his only Euro Tour win came here in 2011. He finished third last year, and his stroke average of 69.50 the past four years in the event is No. 2.
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