Steve's 66/1 selection Roope Kakko sneaked into a place at last week's Czech Open, ensuring the team's yearly profit stays over the £500 mark. Will the guys add to that even further with this week's quintet of each-way selections for the Russian Open?
"In an extremely weak event, Jose Manual Lara has shown enough of late to make the 100/1 available look a fair price."
Steve Rawlings: Back Jose Manuel Lara @ 101.0100/1
*Each-way terms: 1/4 odds, 5 places
Dan Geraghty: Back Danie Van Tonder @ 67.066/1
It's true that this week's field will struggle to excite even the most ardent of golf geeks, however, in among the journeymen, the local amateurs and Yevgeny Kafelnikov there are some players of real potential. One such player is big hitting Danie Van Tonder, who was the number one South African amateur four years ago. Van Tonder has since gone on to claim two Sunshine Tour titles (both in 2014) and play in a WGC as a result of his second place finish in the 2014 ST Order of Merit; the next goal is a European Tour card, he currently sits 140th in the Race to Dubai, so the all-important top 110 is in sight. Van Tonder missed the cut at last week's Czech Open following a long Sunshine Tour winter break but he remains upbeat and knows the importance of the next couple of months.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Carlos Del Moral @ 67.066/1
It appears that long-hitters will enjoy an advantage on this new course, and that good putting will be essential to keep up with scoring. Relative to a very weak field, Carlos Del Moral - one of Steve Rawlings' pre-tournament picks - is strong in both respects. His case may not be obvious from very recent results, but the Spaniard has thrown in enough good weeks in higher-grade European events to warrant respect at this level. Only two months ago, he was fourth in a classy field at the BMW International. Plus, Del Moral has happy memories of Russia - finishing top-ten in this last year and winning a Challenge Tour event there in 2010.
Joe Dyer: Back Scott Jamieson @ 34.033/1
I'm not gonna lie - it ain't easy going out there! A spectacularly weak field is headed by non-winner Max Kieffer with a phalanx of mid-ranking tour pros in behind including guys who would be five to ten times bigger in any normal week (yes, I am looking at you, Robert Dinwiddie). Rather than be clever and look down the list I am just going to put my trust in someone we know is capable of performing at this level or better - Scott Jamieson. Unlike the great majority here the Scotsman has a European Tour win to his name and while this has not been a vintage season he has been playing far tougher events than most of the field. Jamieson has form in this part of the world, finishing third in this tournament last year, and can go close again on a track which - provided he is dialled in with irons - should reward his good putting.
Steve Rawlings: Back Jose Manuel Lara @ 101.0100/1
Jose Manual Lara has played in the Russian Open five times and he's placed twice - finishing second in 1998 and fourth ten years later. The Spanish veteran is clearly not the force he once was but he finished second in Finland on the Challenge Tour just three weeks ago and he was bobbing around the top-ten last week in the Czech Masters until a disappointing final round saw him drop down the leaderboard. In an extremely weak event, he's shown enough of late to make the 100/1 available look a fair price.
Mike Norman: Back Kevin Phelan @ 41.040/1
In quite possibly the worst event (quality of field wise) ever staged on the European Tour all I want to back this week is a player who has shown some form this season. The guys who have shown the best recent form are too short for an each-way punt so I'll take a chance on Kevin Phelan. The young Irishman finished second and third in the space of a few weeks earlier in the year and in recent weeks his form figures perhaps don't tell the full story. He's made his last five cuts but in four of those events he was sent tumbling down the leaderboard on the final day thanks to fourth round scores of 73, 75, and 77 twice. In a field of this quality, and if he can keep himself together if in contention on Sunday, then he should go well.
2015 P/L (£5 e/w per selection)
Year to date P/L: +£529.07
- Czech Masters, Roope Kakko @ 66/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Made In Denmark, Kristoffer Broberg @ 25/1 - PLACE (Dan T)
- USPGA Championship, Branden Grace @ 66/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- European Masters, Tyrrell Hatton @ 50/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- The Open, Justin Rose @ 23/1 - PLACE (Ralph)
- The Open, Louis Oosthuizen @ 20/1 - PLACE (Dan T)
- Scottish Open, Eddie Pepperell @ 125/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Open de France, Bernd Wiesberger @ 33/1 - WON (Mike)
- Lyoness Open, Robert Rock @ 66/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- BMW PGA Championship, Chris Wood @ 125/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Mauritius Open, John Parry @ 150/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- US Masters, Paul Casey @ 66/1 - PLACE (Romilly)
- Thailand Classic, Andrew Dodt @ 100/1 - WON (Paul)
- Malaysian Open, Anirban Lahiri @ 66/1 - WON (Dan G)
- DD Classic, Stephen Gallacher @ 25/1 - PLACE (Steve)
*Total P/L for 2014: +£251.75