It was a great week for us in Italy with Shubhankar Sharma and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston bagging us a good chunk of place money at their pre-tournament odds of 175-1 and 80-1 respectively.
The PGA’s Tour’s attention turns to South Korea for the CJ Cup, a limited field ‘no cut’ event, for the first leg of its Asian swing.
Over on the European Tour meanwhile, we hop from Rome to Paris for the Open de France.
We’ll start this week in South Korea and for the third time the players find themselves at The Nine Bridges GC on Jeju Island.
The is a 7,196 yard, par 72 track, 3,500 feet up Mount Halle, which is South Korea’s largest mountain, meaning the ability to play at altitude is a significant factor.
The course is significantly exposed to the wind and as shown by the first two events – that saw Justin Thomas win with a score of -9, and Brooks Koepka triumph with -21, – how strong the wind blows dictates how tough the course will play.
Both JT and Koepka return this year and with both priced at single-figures, they’re a warm order between them to win again.
While it’s highly likely that one if not both will be in the hunt come Sunday, it’s tough to separate them. so I’m happy to swerve both and instead go in search of some each-way juice elsewhere.
Leishman has become something of a specialist in this part of the world, at this time of the year, having finished runner-up to Thomas in 2017, before posting a victory in last year’s CIMB Classic.
Third last time out at the Safeway Open, Leishman is primed for another big week in Asia.
Smith meanwhile has posted finishes of third and seventh in his two starts here and like Leishman, arrives on the back of a solid performance last time out on the PGA Tour.
List who was fifth here on his only previous visit two years ago, was also runner-up to Thomas at the 2018 Honda Classic. He seems to have turned a corner after a run of poor form, with two solid efforts in his last two starts and is fancied to go well here again.
The Honda Classic is a good match to Nine Bridges GC with several players performing well at both venues over recent years. That leads me to big-hitting Wyndham Clark @ 175/1 who actually led the Honda Classic after three rounds earlier this year.
He’s missed his first three cuts of the new campaign, however my hunch is that this track will be perfect for him and am happy to take a chance at huge odds and with Paddy paying to 7 places before tee-off that he can bounce back this week.
Taking a brief look at the Open De France on the European Tour and it’s a welcome return to Le Golf National, a 7,250 yard par 71 on the outskirts of Paris, the regular host of this event and host of last year’s Ryder Cup.
Similar to last week, it requires a strong tee-to-green game, so I will play two here in a tournament where Paddy is paying the first 8 places before tee-off.
Sharma is clearly trending in the right direction. Having been 27th here on his first appearance last year, he is fancied to make a bold bid for a third European tour victory on another course, which should suit his accurate long game.
Suri meanwhile was second here 12 months ago and arrives on the back of an eye-catching 18th place finish in Rome last week. He can perform well again.
*Prices correct at time of publication but are fluid