EUROPEAN TOUR: ISPS Handa World Super Six Perth
VENUE: Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Perth, Australia
This week sees the return of the innovative Super Six format which entails a 54-hole stroke play format, with the leading 24 players progressing through. They then play six hole match play knockout matches on the final day until a winner is crowned.
Lake Karrinyup is not exactly a household name in the golfing world and so recent form and match play records may be a more sensible route to take when selecting potential picks for the week.
Justin Harding 1pt E/W 25/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
After a breakout year in 2018 with 4 wins, Harding is taking on the European Tour this season and has started this week. Already up to number 65 in the world, he has finished T7, T11 and 4th in his last three starts and I'm backing him to continue in a similar vein here.
Although it's hard to call due to the match play knockout rounds, Harding is bound to be full of confidence heading into the week and will just be hoping to get through to the later stages where it's anyone's game. Last year he demonstrated that if he gets a sniff of a victory he isn't afraid to get it over the line, so if he gets down into the later stages of the knockout he may just go all the way.
Paul Dunne 0.5 pts E/W 50/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
Dunne is in decent form with a solid Top 20 finish at the Vic Open last week and so should make the (relatively) short trip to Perth this week with plenty of confidence. He also won the SuperSixes event as part of Team Ireland in 2018 and represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup, so should be no stranger to this kind of match play format.
Dunne is a much better player than his world ranking of 134 suggests and now is the time to show it, with the majors and WGC events just around the corner.
PGA TOUR: Genesis Open
VENUE: Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, California
The conclusion of the PGA Tour's West Coast Swing takes place at Riviera CC this week as it plays host to the Genesis Open. The par 71 course is one of the most traditional and longstanding on the Tour schedule and produces golf as it was intended to be played- requiring accuracy, thought and touch around the greens.
Experience does seem to count here, with most winners appearing numerous times at the course before managing to conquer it. However it can also be expected to suit those who are straight off the tee, with thick rough waiting, and adept at reading greens, which are set up to surpass 12 on the Stimpmeter.
Jon Rahm 1pt OUTRIGHT 16/1 (1/5 odds 8 places)
Despite the usual need for experience around here I am actually going to go for Jon Rahm on his first visit, but for very good reason. Not only is he one of the best players in the world but he also seems to relish the prospect of visiting courses for the first time, and the results usually support that.
Since the end of 2018 Rahm has 6 straight Top 10 finishes including wnning the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, and ranks 6th in Strokes Gained from the tee. Having taken the week off last week he should be well rested and raring to go here.
Adam Hadwin 0.5pts E/W 55/1 (1/5 odds 7 places)
This type of course should suit Hadwin's strong tee-to-green game, as it doesn't demand extreme length from the tee but places more emphasis on accuracy and ball striking. T34 in 2017 and T6 last year seems to back that up.
Hadwin's form is good, with 3 Top 10s already this week including T2 at the Desert Classic and a Top 20 last week in tough conditions at Pebble Beach. With more rain and colder conditions forecast again this week, last week could have served as valuable preparation for a good week here.
The Long Shot
Martin Laird 0.5pts E/W 125/1 (1/5 odds 6 places)
Laird could be good value as an each-way bet as he fits the 'horses for courses' trend here. He has finished T11 at Riviera in 2016, T8 in 2017 and T9 last year. Could he get himself into the places this week? His high ball flight may be a slight worry if the winds pick up but as a Scotsman the rain and chilly conditions shouldn't bother him too much. Laird performed well at the Phoenix Open before fading to finish T26, but the signs are there.