Clues are thin on the ground for this week's European Tour action but our man's done some investigative work and he fancies length off the tee could be the key. Read his preview here...
Tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India, this is just the fifth staging of the Avantha Masters. Unfortunately, after being staged at the DLF Golf and Country Club for the last three years, this year the event moves to a new course, Jaypee Greens, and that makes the job of finding the winner a great deal harder.
Jaypee Greens Golf Course, Greater Noida, Delhi, India
Par 72, 7,347 yards
The Greg Norman designed, Jaypee Greens opened in 2000. The entire course is Bermuda and the greens are Tifdwarf Bermuda. It's extremely long with wide fairways, 14 lakes and 88 bunkers.
It was used for the BILT Open on the Professional Golf Tour of India in 2009 and 2011 and also for the SAIL Open on the Asian Tour in 2008. I wonder about the strength of the Indian Tour results and the form of the latter is probably more salient. Won by, Mark Brown, who's no slouch off the tee, with Jyoti Randhawa alongside big-bombers Noh Seung-yul and Scott Hend in a tie for second, I think it's safe to assume it plays as long as its yardage suggests.
Live on Sky at 8.00am on Thursday and Friday and 6.30am on Saturday and Sunday
First Four Winners
2012 - JBE Kruger -14
2011 - S.S.P Chowrasia -15
2010 - Andrew Dodt -14
2009 - No event
2008 - S.S.P Chowrasia -15 (played as the EMAAR-MGF Masters at the Delhi GC)
What will it take to win the Avantha Masters?
As alluded to above, length could prove a really big advantage this week and it doesn't sound as though accuracy is going to be of paramount importance, according to S.S.P Chowrasia.
"I've played Jaypee Greens many times, so I know what to expect. The fairways are quite wide, so unless the rough is very thick I think the scoring will be quite low."
A big-hitters birdie-fest could be on the cards.
Is there an angle in?
The Indian contingency should enjoy an advantage over the rest of the field given they'll be used to the conditions and that many of them will have experience of the course. But it's interesting to see that they didn't fare brilliantly at the SAIL Open here and other than the brilliant putter Chowrasia, they've struggled in this event in the past too.
Looking at the hole averages from the SAIL Open, the last three holes are tough so if there are players tied for the lead come Sunday and one of them is safely in the clubhouse, it may pay to side with them.
Thongchai Jaidee just about heads what is an extremely open market but I'm not sure he'll stay in front for long.
Ricardo Santos has been in great form of late, is fairly long off the tee and may prove popular, as might Anirban Lahri. The Indian has some fine course form, he's won and finished runner-up in the aforementioned WILT Open, shot a course record 60 there, and he also won just last week on the Asian Tour.
This doesn't look like an event to get heavily involved in but I do think Bernd Wiesberger is worth a play at anything around 40.039/1.
He won twice on the European Tour last year and he's at his best when he can let rip off the tee and go birdie-hunting. He hasn't been performing at the level he was in 2012 yet this year but the break might have done him good and he was at the course practising yesterday so at least we know he's got himself out there nice and early to prepare.
An in-form Alvaro Quiros would be a mouth-watering prospect in a weak event like this, on a course that looks ideal, but what shape he's in is anyone's guess. I'm amazed to see him back so soon after surgery on a damaged wrist in November and the odds are, he'll be in no shape to contend but I couldn't resist risking a few pounds on the Spaniard.
The chances are he'll be very rusty but you never know, maybe he's fit, well-prepared, hitting it like a dream on the range and raring to go. It's heavy odds-on that he's not but it's great to see him back, however he plays.
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