With big-hitters expected to enjoy an advantage at this week's Volvo China Open, Paul Krishnamurty has identified three bombers who should love the challenge at 99/1 or better...
"Seven of Herbert's last eight opening rounds were 68 or better and he led the 2016 Australian Open after round one as a 20 year-old amateur. We should always take the best prospects from that country very seriously and he looked outstanding last winter."
Back Lucas Herbert @ [150.0]
Although there are two tournaments this week, this column is going all in on the main event. In truth, the Zurich Classic's switch to pairs was a source of great irritation, ruining one of the best trading heats of the year. So I ignored it and, of course two regular picks, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt teamed up to win at huge odds.
I've started with a bad attitude and am struggling to find an outsider pick, or much of an angle, but note that Steve Rawlings has dug out a [260.0] pairing in Alex Cejka and Ben Crane. Be sure to check out his preview and Dave Tindall's three off the tee before placing your bets.
In complete contrast, there is a rock-solid angle to exploit at the Volvo China Open. Big-hitters enjoy such an advantage to the extent where we can probably write off two thirds of the field. Last year the shortest hitter among the top-five was ranked 33rd for driving distance.
In his comprehensive tournament preview, Steve shares a quote from Aussie pro Bryden MacPherson that absolutely nails what we are looking for - a bomber with a good touch.
Regarding stats to focus upon, I'm in total agreement with Steve regarding driving distance and scrambling, plus birdie average must be useful given the expected low scoring. He also notes the correlation with the Dubai Desert Classic and the Turkish Airlines Open is another similar challenge.
I've already made the case for Colsaerts in our each-way column and he's precisely the right sort of player to trade. Starting brilliantly, trading short, then falling away is the Belgian bomber's forte. Last autumn, he led after round one in the Turkish Airlines and the Dunhill Links - both birdie fests.
That is in keeping with his history - Colsaerts has led six times, and been top-three 12 times, after round one in the last five years. Not bad for a player who so rarely wins or seriously contends. This event, which he's won and been runner-up previously, is an exception and this course is perfect.
Using similar logic, this Aussie bomber looks ideal trading material. Seven of Herbert's last eight opening rounds were 68 or better and he led the 2016 Australian Open after round one as a 20 year-old amateur. We should always take the best prospects from that country very seriously and he looked outstanding last winter in their championship events.
Herbert has qualified for the PGA China Tour and this course is the perfect setting to showcase his huge-hitting talents. I reckon he's under the market radar right now and could quickly make significant strides forward.
Siem is at a very different stage of his career but retains enough talent to thrive when conditions suit. He's always been seen to best effect on generous courses which rewarded his attacking game. Topwin is very much one and he was third here in 2016. He's also won in China before, at the 2014 BMW Masters.
Until last week's encouraging top-20, the German hadn't done much in 2018 but there was enough last term to recommend. Siem was runner-up at the Paul Lawrie Match Play and registered another four top-15 finishes.
So far as alternatives are concerned, five others made the initial shortlist. Scott Vincent [110.0] has shown plenty of promise on various tours, is long off the tee and was third last week in India. Joakim Lagergren [130.0] bounced back to form last week and loves a birdie-fest, but doesn't have much form in China.
Matthieu Pavon [150.0] remains firmly on my radar and Marcus Kinhult [280.0] will equally prove much better than current odds over time. Finally if I could have beaten the gamble from [220.0] to [140.0] on Finnish bomber Tapio Pulkkanen, he may well have been a pick.