This week's column targets the elite WGC event in China where, as Paul Krishnamurty explains, European outsiders have a good recent record...
"Given his recent form and past success in China, Alexander Levy looks superb value at 120.0119/1."
The top of the WGC HSBC Champions market always looks fearsome and, in truth, my first instinct when looking at this event was to consider backing either Dustin Johnson or Rory McIlroy in single figures. Both look certain to contend and this year's renewal is lacking a few more big-names than usually seems the case.
However their absence also lowers the bar for the rest and, while the Sheshan International layout always feels like it should favour the big-guns, plenty of outsiders have either won or seriously contended here. Merely achieving the latter target is, of course, the primary objective of this column.
Past results also bode pretty well for Europeans. Russell Knox landed a big-priced upset last year, as did Francesco Molinari in 2010. Back in the early days of this column, Ross Fisher was an agonising near-miss at enormous odds when losing the 2007 play-off.
I'm not sure any of that trio had as strong a claim as this year's sole pick. Given his recent form and past success in China, Alexander Levy looks superb value at 120.0119/1. Perhaps this is a case of nationality bias, as a Brit or American with the same recent numbers would surely fall short of our triple-figure price range.
In his last four events, the Frenchman has won the European Open and contended in two other events, registering top-sevens in the British Masters and Italian Open. Granted the European Tour is an inferior standard to the PGA equivalent, but I see Fisher and Tyrrell Hatton are shorter on the basis of similar or less credentials at the same level.
Moreover, Levy's record in China is outstanding. He won the 2014 China Open and finished third the following year. He was runner-up in the 2014 BMW Masters having been odds-on going into the final round. He also registered a good fourth and this year's Shenzhen International and made a promising impact on course debut here 12 months ago - finishing 14th, improving after an opening 74.
In his current vein, there's no reason why he can't at least feature on the leaderboard, which is all it may need to secure a profit for our trading plan. I'm employing the same strategy that worked last week on Eddie Pepperell, who didn't even make the weekend cut! As that example illustrated, it is perfectly possible to get a player matched below 20.019/1 just with a good first round.
To clarify, the trading plan is as follows. Stake four units on Levy at 120.0119/1, then place lay orders at 20.019/1 and 3.02/1, with a view towards banking a profit in-running. If he gets matched at just the first target, we'll be guaranteed to quadruple our money, whilst retaining a substantial live position.
Back Alexander Levy 4u @ 120.0119/1
Place order to lay 16u @ 20.019/1
Place order to lay 20u @ 3.02/1