Golf Tips: Best bets for Tokyo Olympics and ISPS Handa World Invitational

  • Max Liu
  • 3:00 min read
Team GB golfer Paul Casey
Paul Casey will represent Great Britain at the Tokyo Olympics

Things are a little bit different this week as the Tokyo Olympics interrupts the PGA Tour schedule while the European Tour heads to Northern Ireland. Get our experts' best bets...

Having backed him before the off and having layed Harding several times last week, and most importantly at odds-on before the playoff, I'm happy to go in again at 16.015/1."

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Golf Tips: Home Hero Hideki can strike gold

The Olympic Games takes centre stage in the golf world this week and Steve Rawlings fancies the home hero, Hideki Matsuyama, to strike gold. Read Steve's preview ahead of Thursday's start.

Steve says: "Open Champion, and pre-event favourite, Collin Morikawa has Japanese heritage and the 24-year-old Californian has already performed well in Japan - finishing 22nd in the Zozo Championship and fifth in the Dunlop Phoenix in 2019 - and he's the man to beat.

"With the rough described as 'quite tricky to play out of' by Canada's Mackenzie Hughes, Morikawa's neat and tidy long game is ideal for the venue but how will he putt? And will he be ready to back up his biggest ever victory?

"Xander Schauffele is another American with close links to Japan (his mother grew up there) and he too has form there. The world number five finished second in the 2017 Dunlop Phoenix and 10th in the 2019 Zozo Championship. Schauffele is incredibly consistent, with current form figures reading 3-11-14-MC-11-7-10-26 but it's now more than two-and-a-half years since he won and I'm happy to leave him out.

Hideki wins Masters.jpg

"Justin Thomas won his major - the 2017 USPGA Championship - at the Fazio-reworked Quail Hollow and he also has form at Riviera and PGA National. He was fourth in the 2016 Dunlop Phoenix in Japan and 17th in the 2019 Zozo so he has form here too but he hasn't contended seriously since he won the Players championship in March and he's easy to dismiss at the prices.

"Home hero, Hideki Matsuyama, might just raise to the occasion now he's a major champion and I'm happy to throw a few pounds in his direction.

"Matsuyama has a fabulous record in his homeland with eight victories from 46 starts (17.5% strike-rate) and he'll know the course better than anyone else in the field."

Steve's bet: Hideki Matsuyama @ 15.014/1

Men's Olympics Golf Each-Way and First Round Tips: Inspired Tommy can medal

Who can emulate Justin Rose in winning golfing Gold? Matt Cooper has a pair of each-way selections for both the Gold Medal and First Round Leader markets, with the Sportsbook paying six places...

Matt says: "The first motivation for backing the 26-year-old Chilean Mito Pereira for first round leader is simply down to his form. The lad's on fire, landing back-to-back victories on the Korn Ferry Tour last month, the first in a play-off, the second when thrashing the field by four strokes.

"Nor was it out of the blue because he'd finished top 10 in three of his previous four starts, including defeat in another play-off. That great form earned him four starts on the PGA Tour this month and he's finished tied sixth and tied fifth in the last fortnight. Dizzy stuff and he's gone low on plenty of occasions.

"I also like that he's accurate from the tee - handy given what Hughes said of the tricky Kikuyu rough. An added bonus is that Pereira has experience of playing golf in a multi-sport celebration - he lost yet another play-off in the Pan American Games in 2019."

Matt's bet: Mito Pereira 0.5pt each-way @ 71.070/1

Olympic Games: Form stats for this week's men's golf tournament in Tokyo

Get the lowdown on the Kasumigaseki Country Club, host venue for the Olympic golf events,, and check out current form for those teeing-up on Thursday from Andy Swales.

Andy says: "In 2016, all three medallists were ranked inside the world's top-20 going into the tournament. Rose and Stenson were 12th and 5th respectively, while Kuchar was No 20. Kuchar was the eighth-highest ranked golfer of those taking part.

"If this week's event follows a similar pattern, then the United States look in great shape to scoop perhaps a couple of medals. Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele are all currently ranked inside the top-five, with the United States the only country with more than two players teeing-up on Thursday.

"Patrick Reed, who replaced DeChambeau, is the USA's other golfer and the only one to have played in Rio five years ago when he tied-11th. That experience, plus his late unexpected call-up, should mean Reed will be one of the most relaxed golfers competing this week."

Andy's bet: Back Patrick Reed at 29.028/1

ISPS Handa World Invitational: Hot Harding to contend again

The European Tour hops from Wales to Northern Ireland this week for the ISPS Handa World Invitational and our man has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's start here.

Steve says: "Last week's beaten playoff protagonist, Justin Harding, heads the market and rightly so. He will have been disappointed to have three-putted the first extra hole to lose to Nacho Elvira at the Cazoo Open but the Spaniard had deserved the win and Harding was quite lucky to get into a playoff in the first place. Elvira had led by six with a round to go and he traded at 1.011/100 before missing from a few feet on 18 for the win in regulation.

"Harding ranked 17th for Driving Accuracy last week, 12th for Putting Average and first for Scrambling so he looks a great fit for the venues and he's already performed well around Galgorm. He played alongside Catlin in round four of the Irish Open last year having sat alongside him in eighth place with a round to go before a final round 71 saw him finish 11th.

"Harding has a habit of holding his form when he's found it and he's a very fair price at 15.5 given he's no bigger than 11/1 on the High Street."

Justin Harding Wales.jpg

"Having backed him before the off and having layed Harding several times last week, and most importantly at odds-on before the playoff, I'm happy to go in again at 16.015/1.

"He won back-to-back in South Africa after finishing second in the Zambia Open in 2018 and he won the Kenya Open this year, having finished second in the event two years previous so he's backed-up on courses he's played well at previously and he's held his form nicely on several occasions.

"His second placed finish in Kenya in 2019 came a week after he'd won the Qatar Masters and I'm quite confident that he'll be there or thereabouts again this week."

Steve's bet: Back Justin Harding @ 16.015/1

ISPS Handa World Invitational Each-Way Tips: Spanish can claim more Irish glory

The ISPS Handa World Invitational debuts on the European Tour this week and Matt Cooper has three each-way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places.

Matt says: "First up is Spain's Adrian Otaegui who I feel has been a little under-estimated and deserves to be shorter than 28/1. That price is a consequence of a missed cut last week, but I'm not too fussed by that given that he's not shown any great form at Celtic Manor.

"Before then he finished second in the Scandinavian Mixed (this week also features a women's field so that might work in his favour), followed by top 30s in the BMW International, Irish Open and Scottish Open.

"His Strokes Gained Approach and Around the Greens have been superb in that run and in each of those latter three he got himself into contention at some point in the week. He's making his debut at Galgorm Castle, but a tree-lined parkland test is right up his street.

"He's got a win at Rinkven International, and also runner-up finishes at Nurtau, Geneve, Lake Karrinyup, Diamond CC, Hanbury Manor and Vallda.

"Jon Rahm likes to argue that he feels at home in Ireland because he's Spanish. More specifically because he's from Basque Country. So, too, is Otaegui and perhaps he can add to the region's success in Ireland these past few years."

Adrian Otaegui 1pt each-way @ 29.028/1

Find Me a 100 Winner: Bryden ready to take the next step

Steve heads to Northern Ireland where he's picked out two big-priced contenders for the European Tour event.

Steve says: "A withdrawal and missed cut on the Latinamerica Tour were Bryden Macpherson's only appearances last year but concentrating on playing in his homeland has seen him find some form this year. The 30-year-old has finished inside the top-five in five of his seven starts Down Under and that includes a victory at the Moonah Links PGA Championship in February and a win at the New South Wales Open in March.

"Macpherson hadn't played anywhere since that victory in March until he popped up in Wales last week to finish tied for 47th in the Cazoo Open, having sat tied for fifth after the opening round. That pipe-opener after the lengthy break may well have done him the world of good and his CV stacks up quite nicely in this grade."

Bryden Macpherson in Wales.jpg

"America's John Catlin established himself as a European Tour player when winning the Irish Open here at Galgorm Castle last year and Macpherson's profile is not dissimilar. Catlin had been plying his trade (successfully) on the Asian Tour before winning at Valderrama two starts before his victory here and Macpherson is a fair price to emulate him."

Back 2 u Bryden Macpherson @ 110.0109/1 Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.35/4

ISPS Handa World Invitational 2021: Form stats for this week's European Tour event in Northern Ireland

Finally, get the course and current form stats as the fifth event of the European Tour's 'British Isles Swing' takes place in Country Antrim this week.

Andy says: "One golfer with something to prove is Wil Besseling, who has posted four top-20 finishes from his most recent six European Tour outings.

"The 35-year-old 'qualified' for this week's men's event in Tokyo, but was unable to take his place on the starting line because the Dutch Olympic Committee had set their own qualification standard.

"They insisted that golfers who wanted to compete in Japan needed to be ranked inside the world's top 100 by end of qualifying.

"Another Dutchman Joost Luiten, who is not playing at either tournament this week, voiced his anger at the rule.

"He complained that his own country's Olympic Committee "understand little about golf. It is common for golfers to win tournaments from outside the top 100 in the world."

"Finally, Jacques Kruyswijk has played pretty solidly on both the European and Challenge tours this year. The South African is enjoying a consistent run right now and tied-10th at Celtic Manor on Sunday, so is definitely a strong E/W chance."

Andy's bet: Back Jacques Kruyswijk each-way @ 44.043/1

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