Brian Davis returns to the scene of his incredible act of sportsmanship and he's in form too, but they'll all have to go to beat Luke Donald this week says Mike Norman.
Another fine week was enjoyed by the Form Guide at last week's US Masters. Three of our four selections recorded top-10 finishes, and two of them - Phil Mickelson and Peter Hanson - recorded top-five finishes.
Hanson was the biggest success story however. A pre-tournament 280.0 selection, the Swede led after round three and was available to lay at a low of 4.1 on Saturday night.
Although my recommended bets are always in the Winner market, I would always lay such huge-price selections should they reach a single figure price and/or cover them in the Top Five Finish market pre-tournament. In the last three weeks alone we've had Kevin Na (90.0 to win), Jose-Manuel Lara (80.0), Keegan Bradley (20.0), Hanson (280.0) and Mickelson (14.0) all finish in the top-five.
The European Tour moves to Asia this week where a trio of star names - including Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen - have assembled, whilst in America, the RBC Heritage really excites me because it includes some bang in-form players who have performed well at the venue previously.
PGA Tour - RBC Heritage
(Tournaments used: US Masters, Shell Houston Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Transitions Championship, WGC Cadillac Championship, Puerto Rico Open, Honda Classic)
Luke Donald (2)... 29 (T5 2011, T5 2010, T5 2009)
Jim Furyk (1)... 15 (W 2010)
Brian Davis (2)... 14.5 (T5 2010)
Matt Kuchar (3)... 13.5
Jeff Overton (2)... 11
Ernie Els (2)... 11
Bo Van Pelt (2)... 10 (T5 2010)
*number in brackets after a player's name is the number of top-10 finishes achieved in last six weeks/tournaments on tour
**information after a player's points relates to wins (W), top-five (T5) and top-10 (T10) finishes in corresponding tournament in previous three years
I remember Phil Mickelson once saying that your game is either suited to Hilton Head (Harbour Town Golf Links) or it isn't - in his case I'm assuming his game isn't as he never plays there. But for Luke Donald (8.4) his game is definitely suited to the Sea Pines Resort's famous course, which is no surprise given that 'strength' is far less important off the tee.
Seven of the course's 11 par fours stretch out no further than around 430 yards, and all the par threes are less than 200 yards, which means excellent short iron play and shot making are two attributes you must have to play well at Harbour Town.
Donald has these two skills in abundance, which goes a long way to explaining why he has finished second (twice) and third here in the last three years. The Englishman has been in good form recently too, winning the Transitions Championship following a sixth place finish at the WGC - Cadillac Championship. Donald finished only 32nd at Augusta last week, but he shot 68 on Sunday and that bodes well for a strong challenge this week.
Jim Furyk (20.0) won here in 2010 but the abiding memory from that year was Brian Davis' (60.0) tremendous show of sportsmanship on the first play-off hole, calling a foul on himself that cost him the tournament. Perhaps that act will be rewarded with a victory this week with Davis clearly in good heart and returning to a venue that he has fond memories of. The Englishman has finished in a tie for fourth on his last two outings and a strong showing this week will come as no surprise.
Of the others, Jeff Overton (60.0) - two top-five finishes in his last three events played - and Bo Van Pelt (28.0) - four top-10 finishes already this season and shot the lowest round of the week (64) at the US Masters - make most appeal.
Recommended Bets: Luke Donald @ 8.4, Bo Van Pelt @ 28.0, Brian Davis @ 60.0, Jeff Overton @ 60.0
European Tour - Maybank Malaysian Open
(Tournaments used: US Masters, Sicilian Open, Trophee Hassan II, Open de Andalucia, WGC Cadillac Championship)
Louis Oosthuizen (2)... 21 (T10 2009*)
Matteo Manassero (2)... 20 (W 2011)
Charl Schwartzel (2)... 14
*2009 Malaysian Open was played at a different venue to the one being used this week
Four players stand out in Malaysia this week, of which three are recommended bets. Martin Kaymer (13.0) has shown very little form for most of the season and is easily dismissed, but Oosthuizen (13.0), Charl Schwartzel (13.0), and Matteo Manassero (18.0) make plenty of appeal given their form in the last six weeks and/or performances at this tournament in previous years. You can dutch the three players at odds of 4.8
Recommended Bet: Dutch Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Matteo Manassero @ 4.8
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