Each-Way Betting

ISPS Handa Championship Each-Way Tips: 20/1 Takumi Kanaya can add to Japanese success

Golfer Takumi Kanaya
Takumi Kanaya has a fine record at this week's host course.

The DP World Tour heads to Japan this week for the ISPS Handa Championship. Christiaan Bezuidenhout heads the betting but Matt Cooper looks elsewhere for his three selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...

  • Home hope Takumi Kanaya loves the Gotemba Course

  • Scot Connor Syme is in a rich vein of form

  • South Africa's Dylan Frittelli is already a winner this year

After the postponement of the Korea (now Genesis) Championship until October, the DP World Tour's return to action post-Augusta National has been delayed a week, and you have to suspect it has played havoc with many a travel plan.

Even back in the first week of February, in Bahrain, there was chatter around the putting green about the importance of which Tokyo airport to fly into this week - and most players and caddies would have been entering from Seoul rather than their home country airports.

Date changes, route changes and time-consuming transfers from the wrong side of Tokyo - these costs and frustrations all add up. It's a pity we haven't got an inside track from the travel agent on whose head is most fried by the late alterations.

Instead, we need to take a look at this week's new host.

Last year, ahead of the tournament's first edition, the column placed its faith in Lucas Herbert's fondness for a Jack Nicklaus test and it proved fruitful.

This year the Gotemba Course in Gotemba itself, a city about 70 miles south-west of Tokyo, will provide the field with stunning views of Mount Fuji which overlooks the venue.

It's a par 70 set at 7,262 yards and you'll see references to it being part of the Taiheyo Club but be a little cautious because that venture has 17 properties in Japan, of which the Gotemba site is just one.

If it is new to the DP World Tour it is no stranger to tournament golf. In fact, it has hosted the Taiheyo Masters on the Japan Tour since 1977.

For a long while that tournament, along with the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament, had a habit of paying appearance fees to international golfers who had thrived that year or who were especially popular in Japan.

Tom Watson was a regular visitor, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman won it once, Jose Maria Olazabal and Darren Clarke claimed it twice, and Lee Westwood three times. Hideki Matsuyama won it in 2011 when still an amateur (a feat Takumi Kanaya repeated in 2019 and Keita Nakajima very nearly achieved in 2020).

The tree-lined fairways will catch out the wildest drivers but shouldn't be a huge threat - it's more a case of golfers needing to be comfortable with holes framed by trees.

Main Bet: Takumi Kanaya 1pt each-way @ 20/1

The last six months have been boom time for Japanese golfers on the DP World Tour.

Ryo Hisatsune won the Open de France towards the end of last season, Rikuya Hoshino added the Qatar Masters early in the year and Keita Nakajima won the Indian Open before the Masters.

This week 25-year-old Kanaya who, like Nakajima, is a former World Amateur No. 1, can add his name to that list.

As we've already noted, he's a past winner on the course, winning in 2019 before he'd even joined the pro ranks, and in his three starts since he's finished fifth, second and third.

He won three times in 2023, twice on home soil and then again in the International Series Oman on the Asian Tour.

He also won on his last start in the Japan Tour's Token Homemate Cup at the end of March.

He played this event 12 months ago and got himself in the hunt, sitting two shots off the 36 and 54 hole lead before stumbling with a final round 72.

Memories of that missed opportunity, fuelled by the knowledge that he loves the course and is in winning form, ought to prompt another strong challenge this week.

Back Takumi Kanaya each-way @ 20/121.00

Bet here

Next Best: Connor Syme 1pt each-way @ 50/1

connor syme valderrama.jpg

Scotsman Connor Syme is not alone in being a slightly bigger price than I was expecting but he gets the vote over Frenchman Antoine Rozner because I fancy the test will suit him a little more.

He hasn't played, on tour at least, since the middle of March but when last seen he was in fine fettle landing three top eight finishes in a row.

In the first of those he had the halfway lead in Kenya and in the second the 54 hole lead in South Africa.

The last time he put three performances like that together was at the end of last summer and in his next start he was second heading into the final round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

He ultimately finished tenth that week but that performance among the trees (plus top 10s at Valderrama, The Belfry, Galgorm Castle, Glendower, The K Club, Diamond, Dar es Salam and in Kenya) plus that strong form augurs well for this week.

Back Connor Syme each-way @ 50/151.00

Bet here

Final Bet: Dylan Frittelli 1pt each-way @ 100/1

The South African Dylan Frittelli has had to return to the DP World Tour after losing his PGA Tour playing privileges, but he's already provided us with a reminder that he has a touch of class with victory in the Bahrain Championship.

He is, remember, a player good enough to have won twice on this circuit in the past, win once on the PGA Tour, and also record top five finishes in the Masters and the Open.

He's done very little since that win in February but the long flight to the far east ought to prompt fond memories because he has a superb record in China taking in two top 10s there on the Challenge Tour and two top fives on the DP World Tour, both times coming very close to winning.

I'm not daft - Japan is not China (next week's host) but the vibes might easily kick in a week early and I don't want to miss out on the chance of nabbing him at three figures.

Back Dylan Frittelli each-way @ 100/1101.00

Bet here

Now read Steve Rawlings on the ISPS HANDA Championship

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