The first thing to say about this week’s ISPS Handa Perth International at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Western Australia, is that you must forget about backing any player on or around the 110 mark on the Race to Dubai standings.
Playing privileges for 2014 are up for grabs in the last counting event on the European Tour schedule and, while it seems inconceivable that a professional would eschew the chance of winning an event to make sure of their tour card for the following season, that’s exactly what a former tour professional told me this week.
He admitted that he would not go for a birdie to win on the last, if a bogey meant he’d miss out on retaining his tour status but a par didn’t.
Some would say punters should forget about backing those that have struggled all season anyway, as an upturn in fortune is unlikely, and I would concur, re-affirming that form is the key to all investments.
So, who should we turn to in Perth? Well, 10/1 shot Paul Casey is the only player to boast two top 20 finishes at Lake Karrinyup who is in the field this week, and while he hasn’t kicked on as some might have expected after his Irish Open success, there is no doubting his quality.
His waywardness off the tee won’t be a problem in Perth – last year Casey was fifth despite ranking 52nd in driving accuracy – and his third round 62 in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship proved he has hardly lost his touch.
Of the Americans who have flown into Australia, tournament favourite Dustin Johnson is the most unreliable, making his 7/1 price a little puzzling.
Never has the US Ryder Cupper run even a place in regular events on the European or Australasian Tours.
Local favourite Brett Rumford is a must for the staking plan though at 20/1. The two-time 2013 European Tour winner has played Lake Karrinyup more than most and will have huge support from the galleries. His brilliant short game should stand him in good stead this week.
Recent Queensland Open winner Nick Cullen could be the best of the local tour golfers.
Fifteenth last week in the China Masters on the OneAsia Tour, Cullen looks a more mature player to the one that missed the cut on his Lake Karrinyup debut 12 months ago, and he is worth an interest at a big price of 50/1.
My three off the tee; Casey (7/1), Rumford (20/1) and Cullen (50/1)