The first part of the European Tour season concludes this week when a decent enough field heads to India for the Hero Indian Open, the event which sends the Tour into the big swing of events in America with plenty of riches available.
SSP Chawrasia successfully defended his title last year and he is back looking to complete the hat trick but this looks, on paper at least, to be the best field that has been put together for this tournament in quite a while.
2017 – SSP Chawrasia
2016 – SSP Chawrasia
2015 – Anirban Lahiri
We were told that last year the DLF Golf and Country Club in New Delhi would stretch way beyond 7,600 yards but thankfully that did not materialise. I say thankfully because this has to be one of the most punishing courses on the professional circuit if you miss the fairways or the greens.
Water is in play on a number of the holes while lost balls in the rough were pretty regular last year. Add into that mix that these are some of the largest greens that are played on with some amazing undulations and we are looking for a ball striking extraordinaire this week. The course remains a par 72 and on the scorecard at least, will measure 7,379 yards. It is going to be a real grind so a positive mentality as well as golf game will be important.
As I mentioned above we have a decent field this week. It is headlined by the new star of Indian golf in Shubhankar Sharma while other top level Indian players such as Anirban Lahiri, Shiv Kapur, Rashid Khan and of course the defending champion SSP Chawrasia will look to thrill the home crowds.
This is a co-sanctioned event between the European Tour and the Asian Tour and the pick of both are here with Oman Open champion Joost Luiten in the field along with the man who was his closest challenger in that event in Chris Wood. Hideto Tanihara, Prom Meesawat and Gavin Green lead the non-Indian Asian charge.
We have joint favourites this week in Indian pair Anirban Lahiri and Shubhankar Sharma. They are both 12/1 although the latter will need to get over a near miss in the WGC Mexico event last week and the long flight back to India. Lahiri opened with a 76 last year and still finished tied for fifth. A better start should having him right there.
Emiliano Grillo and Joost Luiten are the joint third favourites for the tournament at 18/1. Luiten is another who was in Mexico last week which can’t be ideal which is a shame because he looks taylor made for this course. Grillo is a very interesting proposition having flown home in the Honda Classic a couple of weeks ago.
The defending champion SSP Chawrasia is 22/1 as he goes in search of a hat trick of wins in this tournament. He is the same price as Chris Wood who will be looking to get a win on the board before an enforced lay off as far as the European Tour is concerned at least. Both are in good nick and shouldn’t be dismissed easily.
Pablo Larrazabal is the only man who is shorter than 30/1 in the betting. You wouldn’t think this is the course for someone as erratic off the tee as he is although on the flip side of that if he can keep it in play his short game is majestic. It is 30/1 bar those named.
I’ll go with a couple of main bets this week with Paul Peterson being a fairly obvious first one. He is a bit of a monster from tee to green at the minute and has six top 11 finishes in his last seven tournaments in Asia and he was right there at the halfway mark last year. He wasn’t the first to come undone over the weekend and he won’t be the last but he’s clearly a better player now having landed the Myanmar Open and challenged in a load more. At 33/1 he’s the first main bet.
Miguel Tabuena might not be known to those who don’t follow the Asian Tour but he certainly will to anyone who is interested in that part of the world where golf is concerned. He has five top 15 finishes in his last eight events including in Myanmar recently where he was second in driving accuracy and led the field in finding the greens. In those five tournament he hasn’t ranked worse than tenth for fairways and no lower than seventh for greens hit. If the putter warms up he should go very well.
I’ll chance my arm with three outsiders. I always like a home man in these tournaments and Gaganjeet Bhullar is my Indian pick. He landed the title in Macau not so long ago and was third in Thailand at the turn of the year. Bhullar is relentlessly accurate off the tee and is usually decent into the greens. If he can find some form with the short stick then he should really challenge the title.
Poom Saksansin is another one who plays his best golf in Asia and regularly threatens titles there. He is usually superb off the tee and his greens in regulation record is not too bad enough. When he plays well there is little wrong with his putting either, in fact he has a very good all-round game. He won his last start in India which should provide good memories so at 90/1 he looks a fair bet.
Adilson da Silva was just outside the top 10 in the Tshwane Open last week and that bodes well for him here. He was third in fairways hit last week and second both in greens hit and scrambling and a repeat of those skills will have him right in the mix here. He generally has a decent record in India and closed this tournament last year with a 67. I see no reason why he can’t be heavily involved here.
Back P.Peterson to win Hero Indian Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back M.Tabuena to win Hero Indian Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 51.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back G.Bhullar to win Hero Indian Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back P.Saksansin to win Hero Indian Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 91.00 with 888sport (1/5 1-6)
Back A.da Silva to win Hero Indian Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with 888sport (1/5 1-6)