Dan Roebuck’s European Tour preview – Ballantines Championship
After a brief stop in Spain, the European Tour heads back to the Far East this week for the Ballantines Championship at Blackstone Golf Club in South Korea.
Bernd Wiesberger is the defending champion and while the big-hitting Austrian warmed up nicely with a share of fifth place on his latest start in Morocco, the layers have noted his good form and shortened his price a touch too much for my liking.
The player with the best numbers over the two years that this event has been staged at the layout just outside of Seoul is Alex Noren. The Swede is the only golfer who can boast two top-10 finishes at the 7,281-yard track, claiming fifth place in 2011 and seventh 12 months ago.
Noren has far more stable form figures than Wiesburger this term, with fourth in the high-class Qatar Masters, as well as sixth place in Malaysia on his last outing.
His putting improved in Kuala Lumpur and he has all the hallmarks of a winner waiting to happen at 14/1.
Felipe Aguilar was beaten in a play-off in Spain on Sunday, but unlike Max Kieffer. who battled Raphael Jacquelin for half a round before losing to the Frenchman, the Chilean professional bowed out at the second extra hole.
Sure, he’ll be disappointed he didn’t win, but he is a streaky player who tends to rack up a sequence of top-10 finishes – as we saw earlier this season when his form figures read 9-3-3-6 from late January to early March. Seventh last year at Blackstone also bodes well for his chances at 40/1.
Lastly, Mohd Siddikur is one of the best golfers to come out of the sub-continent recently, and, as the Bangladeshi golfer comes into this week off the back of successive top-10 finishes, he must be respected at 50/1.
My three off the tee – Noren, Aguliar and Siddikur.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.