Re-cap Fiji International.
Well I'm glad that weeks out the way. Nice to make a little easy cash thanks to Jason Norris $6,800 picking up a win and crazy amounts of overlay but what a nightmare on so many fronts.
Due to time zones and complete confusion nearly half the DFS community missed the lock, contests were only 2/3 full and I almost missed everything myself including publishing the last write up in time... Then after all the calamities on Wednesday, this was nearly repeated by DraftKings again on Friday for the weekend contests, .. Not that I'm personally complaining, the ridiculous amount of overlay increased my chances and even teams with 5/6 made cash in most gpp's. However I do feel for those that missed out and hope lucks with you this time.
In terms of my picks they weren't amazing, but more than sufficient to see readers and myself see a healthy return on investment, any time you pick a low priced winner you stand a good chance of cashing.. 4 did miss the cut including Austin Connelly, who in his last 6 holes went from 3rd to missing the cut and unfortunately a similar story for Adilson Da Silva.
Anyway I will be glad to get back to a proper European Tour event, where real European Tour Players will be competing on European soil over 72 holes of stroke play golf...
Next Up - Made In Demark
To my complete delight this event ticks all of those boxes above and even has a small splattering of big names to increase interest levels. The tournament itself has only featured 3 times but what an incredible little tournament it is especially for the visiting spectator.
The par 71 Backtee Course at Himmerland golf resort has the potential to be stretched out to 7,400 yards however with various different teeing options available they could very well shorten the course like last year where it played 550 yards shorter. Redesigned back in 2012 the course although inland has a links like look and feel to it, that's if you focus on its exposed landscape and ignore its 5 lakes. There should be an abundance of opportunity for players to score well on at least 2 of the 3 par 5's and its handful of its par 4's measuring less than 400 yards.... Oh yeah then there's Himmerland Hill. A par 3 measuring just 123 yards that's not shy to cough up a hole in one.. Sorry cant tell you who's gonna get one but my guess is we see three on this hole alone.
Looking at the current forecast were in for a bit of a mixed bag. Sunshine, rain and thankfully a strengthening wind on Friday to add to the excitement and cut sweats. There isn't anything that should interrupt play and therefor maybe an opportunity to look into what wave to favour.
As it currently stands, I hold a slight preference towards Thursday PM. Please consider this is only a slight preference and I may only build 1 or 2 line ups that weight this more heavily. Weather changes and I'm by no means an expert in forecasting.. However if given a choice I'd pick a tee time around 1pm Thursday in order to catch the calmest of the winds Friday, then I'd just keep my fingers crossed the forecasts right and then hope a tiny advantage I may have is the difference I'm looking for.
Key Stats and Strategy
Looking at previous years it would certainly suggest that putting will be the key element to success here, you only have to look at Bradley Dredge and his form at this course, known to be one of the best on tour with the short stick. In addition to that stats across the board for all 3 events held here have heavily weighted putting as the key attribute.
To bomb or not to bomb? For this course it can play well for either style.. Your bigger hitters can get away with a little less accuracy and substitute that for a shorter club in hand for approaches... Your 'short knockers' can play their accuracy game, maintain control from the short stuff and still not find themselves at too much disadvantage.
In a nutshell I have considered recent form, course history (or course fit if no history available), putting stats, accuracy into greens and an element of ball striking and flight control.
My Picks and Plays
Soren Kjeldsen $11,100 - Course history is incredible and impossible to ignore, the course clearly suits his eye and fits his game. Finished 15th in 2014, 2nd in 2015 and 8th last year. For me this is more ofa cash play, ownership will be high even with the big price tag. An all round solid player, most certainly a short knocker but who cares when your that consistent and that good on and around the greens.
Thomas Pieters $11,700 - Very rarely will I pick 2 from the top slot but in any gpp contests I will always have ownership of Pieters. His potential is unreal as is his potential to score big in your line up. Winner here last year and joint course record holder, perfect game to dismantle the course and destroy the field. By far the best player I n the field.
$9,000 - £10,000
Thorbjorn Olesen $9,700 - Apart from loving the English translation of his Christian name (Thunder-Bear) I'm loving the way he's playing lately. Scoring well in most places making birdies and having fun on the course.. I have on this occasion ignored course history which is awful and chosen to side more with form and skill set. Has 4 top 10's this year and two of those came on courses where wind played a big role. Hopefully ownership is down and others have been put off by history and chosen not to ignore his unlucky round on Friday in the PGA Champ's, that took him out of contention.
Bradley Dredge $9,600 - If you thought Soren's course history was good, Bradley does a fine job of 'putting' it to shame. 2nd 2014, 6th 2015 and 2nd last year. At this rate he's going to make Luke Donald look average at Harbour Town. He has to be the most obvious pick out there but rightly so, strikes it well, incredible with wedge in hand and up there as one of the best putters around. Loves playing this style of course and he's scoring reflects that perfectly.
Paul Dunne $9,100 - Inland links course where accuracy off the tee isn't essential but excellent skills with putter is, should be right up Pauls street. Finished 10th last year, not coming into this event with eye catching form so could hopefully lower ownership of this usually very popular player.
$8,000 - $9,000
Aaron Rai $8,800 - I really like this gpp play. He has been having an incredible year so far on both the European and Challenge Tour. Missed the cut in the US Open but qualified to get there on courses very similar in nature and in a field similar in strength. A little higher priced than I hoped but still going into a good few line ups.
Matthew Southgate $8,400 - Confidence levels are through the roof right now and whilst he's still in this frame of mind I'm sticking with him in my picks. Form, results, course fit and scoring all make drafting him that much easier.
Benjamin Hebert $8,200 - Has played this event twice finishing 14th and 13th, had results of 8th in both the Nordea Masters and Irish Open. Been making cuts and now due to get back inside the top 10.
$7,000 - $8,000
Julian Suri $7,900 - Very much like Pieters going in my gpp line ups in the hope he gets hot and scores low, very capable of competing at this level and scoring big points for you in the process. Love the course fit and scoring opportunities also love the aggressive pin hunting style of play.
Tom Lewis $7,200 - Tom hasn't been getting the results we expect lately but trust me he's close, returning to a venue that has seen him finish 15th, 20th and 26th. He can only take confidence from that and hopefully get himself another top 20 placing or better.
Oliver Fisher $7,000 - Missed the cut here last year but finished 4th in 2014. Again showing signs of returning to better form and on a course that should, as it has before suit his game. I expect him to be lower owned than Tom so could pan out to be a solid gpp play.
$6,000 - $7,000
Wade Ormsby $6,900 - Faded away on the final day of the Fiji International but looked to be playing some very impressive golf up till then, however this was still good enough for 5th. He has played here before finishing 34th in 2014 so hopefully can find more time to rest rather than prepare after his long journey.
Alexander Knappe $6,900 - Played really well in the Paul Lawrie Match Play last week and great results in the two events prior to that as well, obviously full of confidence and found something on the greens that's working for him. Here that could really work out so lets hope that putters still hot.
Roope Kakko $6,700 - With 3/4 cuts made on the European Tour and putting stats that lead the way, this could be a great event for him. He did miss the cut here last year but finished 14th back in 2014. Would normally be concerned with accuracy stats off the tee but a little luck and a good lie here or there and its another cut made
Other than all the above there is one player I just don't know if to include or not and that's my go to US Pick David Lipsky $7,900. Course history is superb yet recent form terrible. I have to throw him in one line up but if it lands I'll only take half the credit for this pick.
As always the very best of luck to you all, may your screens be green and before I crash and burn after a long day get those questions across and I will try my best to help.