This week on the European Tour we leave South Africa where we have been for the past three tournaments either side of the WGC events and pick it back up again in India for the Avantha Masters. The Avantha Masters is the only European Tour event to be staged in India this year and will feature some big names on tour such as Thongchai Jaidee and Bernd Wiesberger along with the in-form Ricardo Santos and last years champion Jbe Kruger. Wiesberger especially will be looking for a big week, not only to kick start his year, but to also drive towards the top 50 in the world golf rankings and get an invite to Augusta for The Masters in just a months time. It only takes a win to shoot yourself up the rankings, as Russell Henley on the PGA Tour has proved, getting himself into the top 50 with a win in the first week of the PGA Tour on his debut.
So looking back at the recent history of the Avantha Masters since it’s creation in 2010, it has seen two 1st time winners in Andrew Dodt and last years champ Jbe Kruger and the other winner being S.S.P Chowrasia who chalked up his second win on tour, his first since 2008. This year sees the event make it’s first apperance at the Jaypee Greens Golf Club after being held up until this year at the DLF Golf and Country Club. There are two stand out names at the top of the betting this year, although there is no clear favourite. The market leaders this week are Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee and Ricardo Santos both at top prices of 25/1. Jaidee is available at 25/1 at StanJames whilst Santos is available at the same price at Ladbrokes & Coral. Jaidee is the Asian Tour’s all time money leader, with 16 professional wins to his name on the Asia & European Tour combined.
The Course: Jaypee Greens Golf Club of Greater Noida, India is a par 72, 7347 yard course which will pose an interesting challenge for many of the tour players, and will also reward some of the tours longer hitters with three par 5s both over 560 yards. Two of the top-10 players on the Asian Tour right now are on the field this week, with Anibarn Lahiri & Shiv Kapur being 2nd and 7th respectively on the Asian Tour Order of Merit after the first two events this year and finished 10th and 8th last season so both will be keen to show their talent on the European stage. Both are playing in their home country and both will want to represent with a big performance this week.
Defending Champion: Jbe Kruger. The South African claimed his first European Tour event at the Avantha Masters last year and with the tournament being co-sanctioned alongside the Asian Tour it was a huge part of Kruger finishing 3rd in the Asian Order of Merit. The win saw his stock rise in 2012, and he will keen to pick that form back up again in 2013 especially here in an event which already has his name on the trophy. This season has seen him place in the top 10 just once in his first week at the Abu Dhabi Championship where he finished T9. Since then he has only finished in the top 25 twice, but also not missed a cut.
So with all this in mind value is the key to this event, with multiple players having a great chance of winning and many players needing a good week here to get back on track and find form before big events coming up on the European schedule. 1.8m Euros will be up for grabs here with 300,000 going to the winner. So here are my tips for this weeks Avantha Masters 2013.
David Howell 50/1 (PaddyPower) 1pt e/w: Howell does not have any wonderful form to speak of at the Avantha Masters, finishing T94 last year and T36 the year before that. However Howell has started to find his best form again in 2013 with a T10 at the Tshwane Open and a 6th earlier in the year at the Abu Dhabi Championship. He is 11th in Driving Accuracy on tour this season and that will put him in a great position to go well this week. He is enjoying himself early in 2013 and he will be looking to pick up another win soon as his last win came in 2006. A player of his quality is bound to win again soon as he has tasted success being a part of the winning Ryder Cup teams in 2004 & 2006 and also made it to the top 10 in the world after his win at the BMW Championship in May 2006. A back injury has been a massive stumbling block in his career and his form this year suggests he may be putting that behind him.
Jbe Kruger 50/1 (General) 1pt e/w: As previously mentioned, Kruger won this event last year and also has had a pretty impressive start to the season. He has made the cut in all of his 7 appearances this season, and has only gone over par in two of them. At the Tshwane Open Kruger finished T27 but it could of been a whole lot better. His best result so far this year was his T9 at the Abu Dhabi and he will look to combine that good result with the confidence of winning this event last year in an attempt to pick up his 2nd tour win in the same fashion as he won his first. Kruger has a good a chance as many others in the field and I fully expect him to go well again.
Julien Quesne 110/1 (SportingBet) 100/1 (General) 1pt e/w: Quesne had a fantastic finish at the Volvo Golf Championships finishing T5 and also has an impressive finish here last season. Although the course has changed from previous years, having fond memories of a certain event is often enough for some players and at a price I think Quesne is definitely worth a shot. Quesne is 10th in Driving Accuracy hitting 74.5% of fairways this season and with that in mind and his 17th place finish last season I would like to think he has a chance of going well again this time around.
I have gone for value in this event this week as these three players should definitely have a chance of being involved come the weekend and not only that they have all had experience of winning, Howell not so recently and I’m sure he will be looking to rectify that. Alvaro Quiros is making his first appearance since November here at the Avantha Masters and is widely available at 66/1.
European Tour points staked- 6
Profit/Loss for 2013: +15
I will now be doing the write ups for both the European Tour & the PGA Tour so make sure to keep an eye out for both during the week. Good luck to everyone who is betting at this event this week and I hope to get back on track this week. My Twitter is @TomJacobs8