Australian PGA Championship: Home Comforts for Adam Scott?

While the best 18 golfers in the world are across in the Bahamas for the Hero World Challenge this week, we still have a very strong field assembling in Queensland for 2017’s Australian PGA. At this time of year, tours are coming to their conclusion in Europe and the US so the focus switches Down Under for many top players.

It can be a tough one to call and in recent years we’ve had some shock results but this year could see a straight shoot-out between two men at the top of their game.

Leading The Way

This year’s PGA renewal sees joint favourites with Sergio Garcia and Australia’s own Marc Leishman locked at the same best odds of 15/2. Leishman can be picked up at that price with SkyBet while Garcia is available at that 15/2 figure with Unibet and 888Sport.

2017 was the year when Spain’s Garcia finally lost the tag of the ‘best golfer never to win a major’ as he closed out the US Masters in a dramatic play off with Justin Rose and while it’s been a subdued few months since April, he remains in good touch and is an obvious threat.

Leishman, meanwhile, may not have scaled the same heights but he’s arguably been more consistent this year with two wins, including an impressive five shot victory at the BMW Championship back in September.

They are the best golfers here this week and are worthy favourites but there is plenty of competition waiting to make a challenge.

Bubbling Under

Adam Scott

Last year’s winner was Harold Varner III, the American who broke a long run of Australian victories that had dated all the way back to 2000. Varner took the title by two shots from Andrew Dodt and if you fancy him to make a successful defence, the best odds on the reigning champion currently stand at 25/1 with William Hill and BetBright.

The 27 year old has a modest record overall but he clearly likes this course and this event, having lost out in a play off in 2015 prior to last year’s win.

Between Varner and the two favourites are Adam Scott at 17/2 with SportingBet, Cameron Smith at 9/1 with Coral and Betway and Matt Jones at an interesting top price of 25/1 with Stan James. Of those three, only Scott is a previous winner of this tournament having taken the 2013 renewal by four strokes from Rickie Fowler.

Scott also has the greater pedigree as a former major winner and while it may be true to say that he hasn’t been the same player since rule changes forced him to abandon the anchored putter, he’s in with a chance on home turf.

Outsider Bets

One of the really interesting prices as we move through the field is the 40/1 offered by Stan James on Wade Ormsby. Having secured his first European Tour win with victory at the UBS Hong Kong Open at the weekend, Ormsby has the kind of momentum that can see him post another high finish and he is our first confirmed pick this week as an Each Way punt. He’s also a former runner up in this event and is as low as 25/1 elsewhere so that 50/1 price offers real value.

Ryan Fox at a top price of 33/1 with Stan James is another home golfer to keep an eye on while other interesting names from the outside pack include Thomas Detry, who also found form in Hong Kong and can be claimed at a best of 66/1 with BetBright.

The list continues with Andrew Dodt, last year’s runner up at 80/1 with Stan James and two-time Australian PGA Winner Greg Chalmers back at 90/1 with SportingBet. Any of those could have a chance in what looks to be a very open field.

Course and Indicators

Sergio Garcia

The Royal Pines Resort in Queensland has hosted this event since 2013 so the golfers arriving should have strong knowledge of the course. It’s a par 72 course with a distance of 7,378 yards so it is relatively lengthy but there are traps waiting for anyone who isn’t spot on in terms of accuracy from the tee.

We mentioned that long run of success for Australian golfers who had won this title for 16 straight years but that was broken in 2016 and with a stronger field for this year’s renewal, it’s not a trend that we’re necessarily concerned about.

Naturally there have been some multiple winners in recent times so Adam Scott and Harold Varner III are definitely in contention. Meanwhile, scoring is all over the place with Level Par enough to seal a win for Nathan Holman in 2015, followed by a -19 total for Varner 12 months ago. That’s not necessarily a helpful stat but like all tournaments, form with the putter will be vital.

Verdict

Of the two favourites, Leishman is the more tempting as the man on home soil but Garcia looks in good touch as he closes out a successful 2017. Both look a little short at 13/2 however and many could argue the same for Adam Scott but he was the first winner at Royal Pines in 2013 and has the game and stats to add to that success.

Wade Ormsby’s recent win makes him a must in terms of an Each Way pick while we’re also hoping that Andrew Dodt can find the form he showed 12 months ago and give us a return at 6/1 with Bet365 in the Top Ten Betting.

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