The European Tour once again breaks new ground this week when the men and the women compete on the same course at the same time, albeit in different tournaments, when the Vic Open is played out.
As far as the European Tour is concerned this is the inaugural staging of this tournament but it has been a regular feature down under. With many of the leading names in America for some big events coming up there is a wide open field on show here.
With the men and the women in action at the same time there are two courses on show this week. Both are at the Beach Golf Links in Geelong with the Beach Course being a par 72 measuring just 6,796 yards with the Creek Course also a par 72 which is slightly longer at 6,940 yards.
Unlike recent tournaments in the desert where smacking it a mile off the tee can bring rewards, accuracy is going to be very much the order of the day on these sandbelt tracks. We are by the coast so proficiency in the wind is going to be very important but those who hit a number of fairways and greens are likely to come to the fore this week.
As you would expect, there are a number of Australians teeing it up this week. Jason Scrivener and Lucas Herbert head the home challenge with Ryan Fox looking to steal the title to take back to New Zealand. Tour winner Aaron Rai and Andrew Johnston will be leading the charge from the British Isles.
Regular European Tour event winners Adrian Otaegui and Scott Hend are in the field as is Paul Dunne, another man with wins at this level to his name. The field is completed by some of the lesser lights from Europe as well as some of the stars of tours from the eastern part of the world.
With no disrespect intended, when Jason Scrivener and Ryan Fox are 14/1 favourites you know you haven’t got the strongest field known to man. To be fair to the former he would look to have all the credentials needed to go well around here. Fox usually gains an advantage from his length with the driver but I don’t really see him getting too much out of the field in that way this week so he definitely isn’t for me.
Lucas Herbert is the third favourite at 16/1 this week but he falls into a similar category to Fox in that much of the advantage he receives is from the power of his driver. He has home advantage on his side so of the two I would prefer him but I can’t truly say that either are for me so I’ll look elsewhere even in this field.
Jazz Janewattananond has been in good touch out in Asia in recent times and at 20/1 he is the fourth favourite this week. There is no reason why he couldn’t go well this week but the gut feeling is that he’s a trifle short based on his record at European Tour level, even allowing for the fact that this isn’t the strongest field he would have teed it up in.
Aaron Rai will go in search of a second European Tour title of the season this week and he is 22/1 to be victorious. You would have to suggest if his putter cooperates he will be a leading light because he has the tee to green game to put these courses to sleep. He has also shown he can play in the wind too which will be huge. It is 25/1 bar.
Given that the desert courses are too long for Adrian Otaegui I’m not going to read too much into his recent form but his improved effort in Saudi Arabia last week was very much a positive and I expect him to have a good week here. He is very strong from tee to green and has had a fair bit of experience in Australian conditions now in events like the World Cup at the back end of 2018 and things. He showed last season that he is one of the better players in Europe, finishing in the top 25 in the Race to Dubai rankings. Only one man ahead of him last year is in this field so the Spaniard should have a leading chance here.
Wade Ormsby should like it around here. He has shown on many occasions, not least when he won in Hong Kong, that he can handle the windier conditions. He’ll only ever be a player who competes in certain weeks on the European Tour because he is not overly long off the tee but what he is, is very accurate both with the driver and into the greens. He should know these conditions well and at 60/1 there is no doubt in my mind that he is overpriced.
David Drysdale probably doesn’t feature at the top ends of leaderboards as much as he should do at European Tour level but coming from Scotland the one thing he will be proficient in is playing in the wind. He has actually shown that a couple of times this season with top five finishes in Hong Kong and in South African prior to Christmas. He also has a top five on a links course in Ireland a couple of years ago. He is regularly in the top 20 in driving accuracy on the European Tour and he isn’t too shabby into the greens. If the putts drop he might not be far away.
For much the same reason as Drysdale, Ashley Chesters will only tend to challenge on certain courses and this should be one of those weeks with neither of these courses overly long and demanding length wise. He is another regularly in the top 20 in driving accuracy and high up in the greens hit stats. You get the feeling this is a big week for him and he isn’t daft, he’ll know that. I expect him to put everything into getting a good result here and at 100/1 I’ll back him to get it.
Back A.Otaegui to win Vic Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-6)
Back him here:
PLACED – Back W.Ormsby to win Vic Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 61.00 with Betfred (1/5 1-6)
Back him here:
PLACED – Back D.Drysdale to win Vic Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-7)
Back him here:
Back A.Chesters to win Vic Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with 888sport (1/5 1-6)