GOLF Free Picks for
Posted Wednesday, April 25 at 11:15 AM EST.
Cutoff time for this event is April 25 at 7:00 PM EST.
Volvo China Open
This Week's Course Preview
PLEASE NOTE this event goes off early Wednesday evening. The good thing about the European Tour is that it is more predictable than the main PGA Tour simply because you can eliminate a ton of players that have no chance to win. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you rarely get a golfer over 100-1, as this tour regularly or almost always produces winners that are priced in the 15-1 to 40-1 range. It is for that reason that we prefer the PGA Tour events to wager on but this week is the Zurich Classic, where it is team scores as opposed to individual scores that will produce winners and that’s a format that we loathe. One again, we’ll pick some to win it while focusing on the head-to-head matchups.
The Volvo China Open at the Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing is a gorgeous place to play your golf. Designed by Ian Woosnam and opened as recently as 2011, it really is a stunning course of beautiful parkland and incredible wildlife, and once the early morning mist lifts, views of the Great Wall of China are available.
Measuring 7,261 yards for its Par 72, this stretch features undulating Paspalum greens and plenty of trees and water hazards for players to navigate around. This is not an easy tournament to win primarily because conditions are so perfect for high-quality golf. Topwin is as picturesque as it gets, and the gentle undulations of the layout lend themselves to low scores. Indeed, the last two winners have posted -22 and -17 respectively and with a fine week weather-wise expected, there is no reason why those numbers can’t be matched but really, the object this week is to hit plenty of fairways.
What we’re looking for this week:
Last year’s playoff protagonist Dylan Frittelli, who was bested by Alexander Levy in extra time, hit a staggering 80% of fairways from an average drive length of 303 yards, but distance actually isn’t key here: Pablo Larrazabal, Chris Wood and Bernd Wiesberger all bagged top-fives average roughly 285 yards off the tee but if you can get it out there, then there are advantages to be had. There are four Par 5s and three of those are a piece of cake. There are two drivable Par 4s as well: those saw a combined tally of 13 eagles and 316 birdies made over the course of the week 12 months ago! It does seem there is a knack to playing in China too: the last four winners of this event have been either Chinese (Ashun Wu, Haotong Li) or a specialist in these conditions (Levy), so it may well be worth sticking to those who have shown prior form in this part of the world. Levy is looking for a third Volvo China Open title this week but his odds are too low and the percentages are against him considering he won last week in Morocco and won this event last year. We’ll look for some higher priced guys and a different “Horse for the Course” because 90% of DFS gamers will have Levy.
Unless otherwise stated, the following bets to win outright will be placed at BET365 because of their cash-out option during the event:
To win outright:
Thomas Detry 40-1
When you fire up the European Tour’s stats pages and view the category ‘Total Birdies,’ you will see Thomas Detry in third place behind Shubhankar Sharma and Dylan Frittelli; excellent company indeed. The insinuation of that is if Detry made fewer mistakes, he, too, would be winning European Tour titles like those two well-knowns named above. Regardless, we’re always happy to take a chance on talented youngsters in an event where low-scoring is paramount, and Detry can certainly mix it in the birdie-making stakes. He burst onto the scene with that incredible 12-stroke victory in the Bridgestone Challenge on the Challenge Tour in 2016; an event he won with a measly score of -29! The following year he posted a top-10 in the China-hosted Foshan Open, and since the start of the 2017 campaign on the European Tour he has compiled five top-10 finishes. You sense it is just a matter of time before he secures an elite-level win and this could be the week (Risking 0.2 units to win 8 units).
Alvaro Quiros 70-1
A source of huge frustration for Quiros and his followers is just how inconsistent he is. Sure, his big-hitting style only suits certain layouts, but with so much talent, it is a surprise that he hasn’t been more of a force of late. Even so, it is easy to forget he is a seven-time European Tour winner, with his last victory coming as recently as 2017 at the Rocco Forte Open. Quiros offered a gentle reminder of his talents at the Trophee Hassan last week. Leading after 54 holes, the Spaniard couldn’t quite convert amid the charging Levy but still played a solid final round to finish solo second. Most impressive was his game off the tee: Quiros looked rock solid, and his rank of ninth for driving accuracy (62.5%) to go with his 302-yard average is a good sign indeed. If he drives as well this week he will create plenty of birdie opportunities, that’s for sure (Risking 0.2 units to win 14).
Brandon Stone 66-1
The signs suggest an improvement from Brandon Stone is imminent. This prodigious young talent played some decent stuff at a tough Trophee Hassan last week to finish T22, and that followed rounds of 67 and 69 when finding some form at the Open de Espana a week prior. As with anybody struggling for touch, Stone will appreciate the opportunity to ‘club down’ at Topwin, and in his T18 finish here last year, he made 20 birdies; just two less than champion Levy. The 25-year-old is a two-time European Tour winner – albeit in his homeland – who finished T2 at Shenzhen in 2016, so this is a proven champion whose best game tends to travel to China with him. That makes Stone an interesting proposition this week. (Risking 0.2 units to win 13.2 units).
Head-to-head Matchups for the Volvo China Open
HEAD-TO-HEAD MATCHUPS for the Volvo China Open
The H2H wagers below are for 72 holes:
Shinkwin finished 13th at Trophee Hassan II last week and finished 28th at the Open de Espana two weeks ago but inconsistency continues to be his downfall. Shinkwin shot a second round 80 at this event last year and missed the cut. That was the only time he played this event. He’s only played two events since February, which is the exact same path he took last year when he missed the cut here. He had a bunch of withdrawals and missed cuts (six in a row) from February to June of last year too so it would appear that he’s either prone to some kind of nagging injury or it takes him a bit of time to get in gear. Shinkwin is an interesting dude. He’s a former boxer turned golfer and has plenty of other interests too so perhaps he’s not as focused as he should be at the ripe old age of 24.
Having won three times on the Challenge Tour in 2015 Nacho Elvira enjoyed an excellent debut season on the main tour in 2016, eventually finishing 44th in the Race to Dubai rankings. And in 2017 he recorded the most finishes in the money in his career, his lowest stroke average, and his highest average finishing position, so there's no question that this talented 31-year-old is trending in the right direction. After a slow start to 2018, Elvira burst back into form with an excellent third-place finish two weeks ago at the Open de Espana, where he entered the final round ahead of the eventual winner and world class John Rahm. Elvira followed that up with a T22 last week at the Trophee Hassan II. He should take plenty of confidence from those two efforts, and returning to a venue where he finished second in 2016 - beaten only in a playoff, the Spaniard looks a rock solid choice to finish ahead of Shinkwin (Risking 2.16 units to win 2).
We’re just doing the math here and it tells us that Li is the prudent choice. While we respect the Barn Rat’s game, fact is, he’s 50 pounds overweight and hasn’t played since the Masters where he finished T44 after missing the cut at the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks prior. That said, the favorite in this tournament is Alexander Levy and Levy is a -171 to beat Aphibarnrat in a H2H matchup. Against Li in the H2H matchup, Levy is a much smaller -145 and both those bets are available at Pinnacle Sports. That information right there makes Li an instabet to beat the Barn Rat. Aside from that, we trust he will too, as Li might join the ranks sooner than later as one of the best in the world.
Haotong Li announced himself on the big stage when finishing second at his home Shenzhen International back in 2015 at the ripe old age of 19. He has gone from strength to strength since, picking up a brace of not-inconsiderable European Tour titles: this event in 2016, where he compiled a fantastic final round of 64 under considerable pressure, and the Dubai Desert Classic earlier this year, where he went toe-to-toe with Rory McIlroy on a fascinating Sunday and came out on top. There is a maturity to Haotong’s play that marks him out as such a special talent at the age of 22, and as well as the myriad of career titles that surely beckon, you wonder if we have a potential major winner in our midst: his final round of 63 at last year’s British Open to help him to solo third, and an eye-catching debut at Augusta National a few weeks ago where he recorded three rounds of par or better suggest as much. Given his clear love of playing on Chinese soil, his past form at Topwin and the fact he is an obvious world class talent, you can bet this guy to beat anyone H2H at this event and that’s precisely what we’re doing here. (Risking 2.02 units to win 2 units).
Oleson has been around for a few years and although he’s just 28 years old, he will most likely always be on the European Tour as opposed to the main one. He’s taken his shots on the PGA Tour but has proven that he’s not good enough to earn consistent pay cheques so he’s satisfied earning on the European Tour, which is fine, as many choose that path. Oleson usually makes the cut and usually finishes between 20th and 40th with a top-10 thrown in from time to time. He finished 31st here last year with a beatable score of -5. In his last even two weeks ago, Olesen finished 46th after missing the cut at the Qatar Masters prior. Oleson is not a world-class talent, instead he’s talent that is complacent doing what he’s doing without the fire in his belly to be classed with the best in the world.
Julian Suri is the exact opposite. Two weeks ago on the PGA TOUR, Suri finished T8 at the Houston Open and if not for a final round of 75 last week at the Texas Open, he would’ve finished with another top-20. The New Yorker has two professional titles to his name on the European Tour (and associated Challenge Tour) and so certainly knows how to get the job done. Long off the tee, the former All-American collegiate has spoken of his desire to gain full PGA Tour status and that’s the fire we’re talking about that we’d prefer to get behind. Suri has been mixing it up on the PGA Tour with the best in the world. Aside from playing in the aforementioned two PGA events recently, he also played in the Phoenix Open, Farmers Insurance and at the always tough Pebble Beach. This is an up and coming talent that is taking a step down in class here and that is matched up in H2H’s with pros on the PGA Tour that are much better than Olesen, like Harris English and Si Woo Kim for instance. We get a driven pro trying to make his mark on the main tour against a different type of pro that is content playing on the European Tour and finishing 40th every week. We’ll bite (Risking 2 units to win 2.38 units).
Others to consider to win outright or for DFS (Daily Fantasy):
Horse for the Course is
We wrote about Li above but will add this: Interest in the game has been growing in China for some time but the play of Wu, Li and a host of other hugely promising young golfers has taken that interest to new levels. When the Chinese decide to focus on a sport, they tend to do it properly – just look at what has happened in snooker, with full houses and huge prize money being played for. Li is as focused and determined as anyone and will have “home court advantage here”. Victory at the 2016 China Open earned Li a two-year exemption to the European Tour, and he proved that he has the game to compete with and beat the very best in the world earlier this season when he went head to head with Rory McIlroy in the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic and came out on top. As a result, the 22-year-old edged his way into the top 50 in the world rankings and even in line to win a major soon enough.
Others to consider:
Jorge Campillo 35-1
The Spaniard is an absolute birdie-machine in full flight, and with a trio of top-five finishes in his last five starts we can rest assured that Campillo is well placed to take advantage of Topwin’s generous scoring opportunities. The 31-year-old is yet to win a professional title, but you sense he is getting closer: he enjoyed his first taste of genuine contention at the Maybank Championship, where he would finish solo second, and his low-scoring skills secured T4 and T5 finishes at the Oman Open and Open de Espana respectively – all have come since the start of February. Campillo has form at Topwin under his belt too, having finished T9 here 12 months ago and T34 a year prior to that, which could have been so much better but for a final round of 73.
Renato Paratore 66-1
Renato Paratore needs to putt better than he did two weeks ago in Spain but the greens were poor there and he can be forgiven. Given he ranked so poorly on the slow and bumpy surfaces, he did quite well to end the week in 21st place. He missed the cut at the Indian Open last month but he was fourth at the Qatar Masters prior to that, he won the Nordea Masters and he's already played well here in each of the last two years. The 21-year-old Italian finished 10th in 2016 and eighth last year when a poor final round saw him slip from second to eighth. Now off the mark, having won his first European Tour title at the aforementioned Nordea Masters in June at another tree-lined venue, he's absolutely equipped to have a good event
TOTAL RISK FOR THIS tournament is 6.78 units and we'll update it when the event is official.
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China Open (Risking 6.78 units - To Win: 0.00)
GOLF Historical - Totals
|Last 30 Days||3||1||0.00||+4.88|
|Season to Date||7||6||0.00||+2.90|