Golf Betting Prospects for Saudi Arabia and Phoenix

The events under scrutiny this week are the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale Arizon and the Saudi International in Saudi Arabia.

 

Leishman Completes Remarkable January for Australian Golf

Marc Leishman – file photo

First it was Wade Ormsby in Hong Kong, then Cameron Smith in Hawaii, followed by Lucas Herbert in Dubai and just a few hours later Marc Leishman in San Diego – what a month for Australian golfing stocks with four worldwide wins by leading players.

Leishman today completed an amazing January with a one-shot victory over Jon Rahm at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, securing his 5th PGA Tour title and taking his earnings on the PGA Tour to US$29 million.

Leishman began the final round four shots off the lead of Jon Rahm but with Rahm stumbling out of the blocks when dropping four shots in the first five holes and Leishman producing birdies at five of his first eight holes, the Australian began to emerge as the potential winner.

Others were still in the mix, but Leishman was relentless despite struggling to find fairways. His putting was keeping him in the hunt for the title and although the likes of Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Brandt Snedeker had their chances he managed to birdie the last to provide the cushion he needed to hold off Rahm who played his final six holes in 5 under par to all but catch the winner.

Leishman has a fine record at Torrey Pines, twice finishing runner-up and with a near faultless display on the greens and several gutsy par saves today he proved too good for a field which included the world number one and two.

Leishman should move close to the top twenty when the revised rankings are announced later in the day.

Finishing two shots behind runner-up in a share of 3rd place were Brandt Snedeker and Rory McIlory, yet another course specialist, Snedeker, costing also costing himself victory with three dropped shots in his first four holes today.

Snedeker had won the event twice and had been runner-up on two other occasions.

Jason Day finished as the next best of the Australians when he shared 16th place, an encouraging return to tournament golf after the back issues which forced him from the Presidents Cup team in December.

 

 

 

 

Lucas Herbert’s European Tour Breakthrough in Dubai

Lucas Herbert – wins first event – Getty Photos

Twelve months ago Victorian Lucas Herbert finished 7th at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic which suggested a good year might lie ahead.

Since then, however, there had not been one top ten anywhere – until today that is.

The 24 year old not only recorded his first top ten in the last twelve months, he broke through for his first European Tour title with a playoff victory in the event at the Emirates Golf Club, defeating South African Christiaan Beizudenout with a birdie at the second extra hole.

The win was Herbert’s first on a recognised tour anywhere although he has been close to winning previously having finished inside the top 3 on seven occasions in events in Europe and Australia.

Herbert secures a cheque for the equivalent of $A795,000 and moves from outside the top 230 in the world ranking to inside the top 80.

He becomes the second Australian to win the event in its 31 year history, joining fellow Victorian Richard Green who also won in a playoff when defeating Greg Norman and Ian Woosnam in 1997.

Herbert’s final round of 68 was, along with Bezuidenhout’s, the best of the day and one of only 14 under par on a day where stormy, windy conditions prevailed.

Herbert had teed off over an hour ahead of the final group and perhaps benefited from the slightly earlier tee time but after a bogey at the first hole he played beautifully all day in the increasingly difficult conditions, birdies at his final two holes setting up a lengthy wait to see if the score he and Bezuidenhout (who finished ten minutes earlier) had set would be enough.

“The last ten minutes feel like I’ve been dreaming,” said Herbert in his post event media conference.

“It’s so weird. It’s awesome. It’s just the best thing ever. It is so good. We’ve got a bottle of Scotch at home to celebrate, so I can’t wait to get into that with the boys.

“Last week, I was probably like 20th going into the weekend, and probably like for the tenth time in the last 12 months seemed to just back it out and finish at the back of the field.

“We got really frustrated so put in some really good tactics this week with my mental coach, Jamie Glazier, trying to be positive and a lot of positive stuff. It’s so cliché but it works so much. I felt so confident out there and just felt like good golf was going to come.

“I spoke to him (Glazier) just before the play-off, and we talked about the fact that I hit some really poor shots out there today.

“I know everyone back home is going to be still up, and obviously there’s some pretty awful stuff happening right now in Australia with the fires; and Cam Smith sort of said it a couple weeks ago when he won, and I’d like to say the same thing.

“Everyone around the world is behind us and hopefully we can keep fighting harder than what I did on the first play-off hole. That’s nothing compared to the firefighters and volunteers putting out the fires. Sending all my love back home and hope everyone is well, and thanks for the support.”

Spain’s Adri Arnaus and Dean Burmester tied for 3rd two shots from the playoff.

Third round leader Ashun Wu and his nearest pursuer through 54 holes Bryson DeChambeau struggled and eventually finished 6th and 8th respectively.

New Zealander Ryan Fox finished 30th and West Australian Jason Scrivener was 58th.

The European Tour now moves to Saudi Arabia for the Saudi International.

Eight Australians Make the Weekend at Torrey Pines

Jason Day – Impressive return

While none of the large group of Australians to make the weekend at the Farmers Insurance Open are in contention at this stage, all are within one good round of contending for the title over at Torrey Pines’ South Course over the final 36 holes.

The group is headed by Marc Leishman and Jason Day who have shown in the past that the venue is very much one that fits their eye. Day has won this event previously and won a World Junior Championship here during his amateur days while Leishman has been twice runner-up.

The pair are at 4 under and six shots behind Ryan Palmer but are only four shots from the second placed Brandt Snedeker.

Day’s second round of 67 over the North Course was particularly impressive given it was just his second round since returning from a lengthy break and that he continues to be restricted by the back issues that have plagued him for much of his career.

Day birdied four of his last five holes to put himself into the tournament and with the opening two rounds under his belt further improvement could be expected.

Cameron Percy, Cameron Smith and Cameron Davis are at 3 under and tied for 38th while Rhein Gibson is at 2 under with Aaron Baddeley and Matt Jones at 1 under.

The leader, Palmer, has been in good form of late finishing 4th in Hawaii last week and has finished runner-up in this event previously.

 

 

 

Lucas Herbert Shows Improvement in Dubai

Lucas Herbert – photo Bruce Young

A second round of 71 has Victorian, Lucas Herbert, in a share of 11th place at the halfway mark of the Dubai Desert Classic but being only four shots from the lead of Eddie Pepperell leaves the 24 year old very well placed ahead of the weekend in the US$3.25 million event.

Herbert’s most recent form has been well below his capabilities but there have been reasons for it and this represents a return to the level of golf he displayed when 7th in this event last year.

Ryan Fox and Jason Scrivener were the only other Australasians to make the weekend, Scrivener improving eight shots from his opening round of 77 to record a round of 69 to just scrape into the weekend field in what were demanding conditions on the Emirates Golf Club layout.

Fox also showed improvement in round two after and opening 76 to be on the cutline.

The leader, Pepperell, is ahead by one over Dean Burmester, Robert Karlsson and the defending champion Bryson DeChambeau.

Pepperell has missed the cut in each of his last two starts and has a very ordinary record in this event but said he has felt more comfortable this week.

“I felt more calm today, I would say. Actually, I would tend to feel more calm as the week goes on at most tournaments. I was happy with how I was feeling early and I got off to a nice start.

“For the most part it was very, very good until the cameras came along. I must have been concerned with how I was looking, because then I started struggling.”

 

 

 

Grace Kim and Ben Schmidt NSW Champions

Photo – David Tease Golf NSW

Englishman Ben Schmidt and Sydney’s Grace Kim have won their respective NSW Amateur Championship titles at the St Michael’s Golf Club on the coast of Sydney today.

Schmidt accounted for his fellow Englishman Callum Farr by the comfortable margin of 7&5 while the women’s final was a much more closely fought affair, Kim edging clear of her fellow Sydneysider, Kelsey Bennet to win 3&2 after the morning round was evenly matched.

Schmidt on the other hand enjoyed a 5 up lead at lunch and was never in danger of losing.

For Kim it completed a very special week having earlier in the week been invited to play the Augusta National Women’s Amateur Championship in late March.

The victory also atoned for Kim’s near miss when losing in the final of this event twelve months ago.

Just 17 years of age, 17-year old Schmidt, from Barnsley in Yorkshire, is shaping as a great prospect for British golf having won events such as the Brabazon Trophy in 2019.

 

Finalists Decided at NSW Amateur Championship

Grace Kim – made women’s final with a birdie in overtime.

It is an all-England Men’s final at the NSW Open at the St Michael’s Golf Club in Sydney with Callum Farr taking on Ben Schmidt in tomorrow’s 36 hole encounter.

Farr finally brought Queenslander Jed Morgan’s outstanding run to an end in this afternoon’s semi-final while Schmidt accounted for New Zealander Jayden Ford.

Callum Farr – photo David Tease

Morgan, last week’s Australian Amateur Champion and the leading qualifier this week, made it all the way to the semi-final before going down narrowly by one hole to Farr from Northamptonshire.

Morgan was always behind in his match although he did fight back late in the round to reduce a 3-hole margin to just one before both players parred the last.

Schmidt, from Yorkshire, enjoyed an easier ride to the final accounting for Ford 3&1. Ford, from Wellington, did win the opening hole but after conceding the second he was never ahead again, the match ending when he was forced to concede the 17th to go down by the 3&1 margin.

In the women’s event, NSW’s golfer, Kelsey Bennett will tackle her fellow Sydneysider, Grace Kim, after she defeated the leading qualifier at last week’s Australian Amateur and second in qualifying this week, Emily Toy.

Bennett, a member of the St Michael’s Golf Club, qualified 3rd in the stroke-play earlier in the week so the match-up between her and Toy promised much but she was never behind and drew clear late in her match to win 4&2.

In the other semi-final Sarah Wilson of Queensland and Kim fought out a tight battle with never more then one hole in it, both players having a lead before their match was taken into extra time.

Kim won with a birdie at the second extra hole and so it will be a Sydney battle between Kim and Bennett.

Kelsey Bennett – photo David Tease

 

 

 

 

Torrey Pines and Dubai Under Betting Spotlight

Tiger Woods – his first event since the Presidents Cup at one of his most productive venues – photo David Tease

Tiger Woods returns to the scene of one of his greatest golfing triumphs when he tees it up at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open this week. Not only has Woods won this event on seven occasions, it was here in 2008 where he won his second to last major championship.

If he is to convert his recent good form into yet another win at the Southern California venue he will need to beat the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and defending champion Justin Rose to do so.

We also take a look at the Dubai Desert Classic where Tommy Fleetwood is likely to start as the tournament favourite.

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Morgan And Kyriacou Lead NSW Amateur Qualifiers

The roll continues for Queenslander Jediah Morgan

Newly crowned Australian Amateur Champion, Jed Morgan, has overcome the quick turnaround from his significant win at Royal Queensland on Sunday to lead the qualifiers at the New South Wales Amateur Championship at the St Michael’s and Coast Golf Clubs on the coast of Sydney.

Interestingly, Queenslander, Morgan, tied for top honours with the winner of the strokeplay at last week’s Australian Amateur Championship, Andre Lautee of Victoria, the pair finishing one shot ahead of locals Nathan Barbieri and Harrison Crowe.

Morgan then went on to win a playoff to determine the leading qualifier with a par at the first extra hole.

The final five places in the match-play field of 32 were decided by a playoff between 11 players.

One of the more interesting qualifiers was Shell Harbour’s, Chris Campbell, a 44-year old who has returned to the amateur ranks following a professional career which included success on the Japan Golf Tour

Campbell’s sister Nikki was a successful professional playing the Japan Ladies Tour before turning to the Ladies European Tour in 2013.

The women’s NSW Amateur Championship saw Stephanie Kyriacou easily top the qualifiers after her second round of 65 at the Coast Golf Club today left her eight shots clear of her nearest pursuer, Emily Toy of England, who last week headed the qualifiers at the Australian Amateur Championship.

Kyriacou is a member of the St Michael’s Golf Club and given the form she has displayed in the past two days she appears a great chance to claim the title.

32 players have made it to the men’s match play field while for the women 16 will contend for the title.

 

 

 

Cream Rises to the Top At Singapore Open

Matt Kuchar – Asian Tour

It was perhaps no surprise that the two highest ranked players at this week’s SMBC Singapore Open have dominated the final day’s play and the final leaderboard with American Matt Kuchar winning by three shots over England’s Justin Rose.

For Kuchar it was a great bounce-back following a missed cut at last week’s Sony Open in Hawaii when defending his title and today he provided another bounce-back when overcoming an early triple bogey to win comfortably in the end.

After his round Kuchar explained what had happened.

“I felt like I was cruising along and had a four shot lead that point and it was awfully comfortable. I played a tee-shot that I thought was a conservative shot, just a little up the left side, and it ended up finding its way between a few roots.

“I swung and missed as the ball was wedged among the roots, then had to step up and actually try to swing and hit that ball on the next shot. I got it out. Next one hits the cart path and goes into the leaves and I have to take a penalty drop.

“Finally put it on the green and lining up an 80-footer up to 10 feet for a triple knowing that Jazz is about to make birdie, and if he makes birdie I need to make triple just to tie with him. So, I think that 10-footer was a big, big putt to make.”

Clearly winning internationally is important to Kuchar who has often show a desire to take his game around the world.

“This is fantastic to travel around the world and come to a great city like Singapore, and to play a great golf course that you have here, to play against a great field and test my game against some great, great players that we don’t often see in the United States, said the champion.

“There are certainly a lot of great players here on this Tour, so it feels fantastic to come out on top. I’m awfully proud of being able to bounce back from adversity and being able to not let hard things get the best of me.”

For Rose he was delighted with his week given this is his first event of the year.

“For me, it is a good first week of the year,” said the Englishman. “Four rounds in the 60s, consistent golf, got into contention, felt some of those nerves, which is great. A lot to take from the week.

“This is a nice start and I feel I can build some momentum from it. Some second places hurt, some second places you feel good and this is more of a feeling good second place finish.”

Defending champion Janewattananond finished third, one shot behind Rose while, amongst the Australians, Travis Smyth had yet another good week when he tied for 10th, earning US$16,000 in the process.

Matthew Griffin and Andrew Dodt tied for 41st as the next best of the Australians.

The event also uncovered four more recipients of a start at the Open Championship in July, the leading four players finishing inside the top 12 this week and not otherwise exempt for Royal St Georges, earning the right to play there.

Those places went to brilliant Korean teenager, Joohyung Kim, American, Richard T. Lee, Thailand’s Poom Saksansin and Japan’s Ryosuke Kinoshita.

The next event on the Asian Tour will be the New Zealand Open in Queenstown beginning on February 27th.

The Open Qualifiers from the Singapore Open – L-R Kim, Richard T. Lee, Saksansin and Kinoshita.