GOLF analyst Lewis Blain (@LewisBlainSport) shares his betting thoughts ahead of the ISPS HANDA Wales Open from Celtic Manor.
ISPS HANDA Wales Open | 20th-23rd August 2020 | Sky Sports
As I mentioned in my European Tour preview last week
, we're in store for back-to-back events at the Celtic Manor Twenty Ten course, so not much has changed. I won't bother repeating myself this week and shall get straight into the picks with perhaps more reasoning. Connor Syme landed us an 80/1 full place payout, but I believe he could have and should have won.
Whilst it was tougher than the other ‘UK Swing' events as predicted, the leaderboard was still fairly birdie-friendly which a bunch of young, emerging big-hitters. The weather is predicting rain and wind at the time of writing, so perhaps the test could get a little sterner and indeed could benefit the bombers even more.
All but one of our picks made the cut, so there's an interesting case to be made about going in on some of these players once more.
Alexander Bjork (40/1 SkyBet)
Syme is around half the price, so that's an easy swerve this week but Alexander Bjork (40/1 SkyBet)
is available at the exact same number despite a strong weekend. His third-round 66 was impressive and shows there's something brewing close to the surface.
If the wind does pick up, then the Swede is best-placed to deal with the conditions, which we've also seen around Le Golf National. We can always rely on his short game, and he ranked pretty well for diving accuracy and distance over the weekend. I'm happy to chance him once more this week.
Sebastian Soderberg (100/1 Betfair)
Sticking with the Swedes, Sebastian Soderberg (100/1 Betfair)
looks a big price following a solo 10th. He had three successful rounds of 66-69-65 before a poor Sunday.
He's a ET winner in at Crans (European Masters) beating none other than Rory McIlroy amongst a five-way playoff. That's some stones. That field was littered with elite players from Europe and it's no surprise to see Belgian duo Thomas Pieters and Tom Detry high up on the leaderboard there and here.
All of Soderberg's best finishes have come at a venue where wind is a huge factor – ranging from events in Scotland to Scandinavia to Portugal. He could certainly outplay his three-figure price.
Joachim B Hansen (100/1 Betfair)
Another big price this week appears to be fellow Scandinavian, big-hitting Dane Joachim B Hansen (100/1 Betfair)
. He did not play here last week and hasn't done too well on the UK shores since the restart but that said, he's not missed the cut, so there are elements he is getting right – particularly his iron game as he ranked second for Approach at Close House.
Last year's event at LGN was affected by rain, just like this one should be, and Hansen finished second behind Nicolas Colsaerts. Likewise, he's always performed in the wind – wins in Denmark and Turkey back this up whilst he's also done well in Scotland, Russia and the Czech Republic. He's even had a look around here back in 2014, so it won't be completely new to him.
Hansen could well contend on his return to action.
Callum Shinkwin (90/1 Unibet)
Perhaps Callum Shinkwin (90/1 Unibet)
is worth a punt this week. He's been wholly inconsistent since missing out on that Scottish Open win in 2017, losing to RCB in a playoff but after finishing T11 here on Sunday, he is of appeal. He's made three straight cuts in the UK swing and popped with a second-round 65 around here on Friday.
Aside from contending more than once north of the border, Shinkwin has also recorded a T10 at LGN whilst other notable finishes at the KLM, in Australia and in Czech Republic could hint at him bringing his best game in the wind. He's an intriguing proposition at these odds either way and I'm willing to take the punt on him.
Ryan Fox (40/1 Betfair)
And finally right back at the front of the market, Ryan Fox (40/1 Betfair with boost)
makes great appeal. He rates out well for SG: OTT, SG: Approach as well as both par-3 and par-5 scoring whilst he knows his way around the greens if he misses too.
A T57 around here isn't fantastic on the face of it but tougher conditions should see him thrive a little better. Since the restart, he's not missed a cut and even opened with a T8 at Close House. He's gone well at LGN, in Ireland, Scotland and his native Australia so I think he could run hot this week.
ISPS HANDA Wales Open – Alexander Bjork (40/1 each-way SkyBet)
ISPS HANDA Wales Open – Sebastian Soderberg (100/1 each-way Betfair)
ISPS HANDA Wales Open – Joachim B Hansen (100/1 each-way Betfair)
ISPS HANDA Wales Open – Callum Shinkwin (90/1 each-way Unibet)
ISPS HANDA Wales Open – Ryan Fox (40/1 each-way Betfair)