Golf Bets

ISPS Handa Championship First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 50/1 to 125/1

Japanese golfer Takahiro Hataji
Takahiro Hataji can start fast

After profits with 66/1 Austin Eckroat last week, Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one in Japan...

  • 125/1126.00 Takahiro Hataji has two R1 leads at the course

  • 125/1126.00 Brad Kennedy is another fast starter here

  • 50/151.00 Andy Sullivan set the pace in this event in 2023

Weather forecast for Thursday

Gotemba has rain in the build-up on Wednesday but conditions for Thursday's opening round look pleasant.

It's a sunny day with temperatures climbing to around 75 degrees while winds are very light on the tree-lined Taiheiyo Club, Gotemba Course, only touching around 5mph at most.

Soft conditions from Wednesday's rain could help the morning starters although it's hard to see much bias.

Back Takahiro Hataji @ 125/1126.00

You'd expect the big names to come out on top over four days - as they usually do in Japan - but don't rule out some of the locals over one.

And one lesser-known name to take the eye has to be Takahiro Hataji given his course record here.

The 30-year-old has played the Taiheiyo Masters at this week's course four times and he's emerged as the first-round leader in two of them - the 2021 and 2023 editions.

He's worth a punt on that alone but in the two events he's played in 2024, he's won the New Zealand Open and sat seventh after 18 holes in the Japan Tour's Token Homemate Cup.

From his 11:40 tee-time (starting at the 10th), he could make a mark at 125/1.

Back Takahiro Hataji each-way @ 125/1126.00

Bet here

Back Brad Kennedy @ 125/1126.00

Brad Kennedy isn't a local but he's got years of experience on the Japan Tour and could be an interesting runner at a big price from his 13:20 tee time.

The Aussie veteran finished 2023 with five top 15 finishes in seven starts and that included third at the Japan Open and fourth in the Dunlop Phoenix Tournament.

Last month, after a break, he returned to action with sixth at the New Zealand Open so he's in good nick.

Kennedy was the first-round leader at July's Japan PGA Championship and typically he does his best work on day one (R1 scoring average over last 50 events is 68.86).

He has no less than eight top 30s at this venue and has been in the top five after 18 holes in three of his last six starts there in the Taiheiyo Masters, including his most recent visit in November 2023.

Back Brad Kennedy each-way @ 125/1126.00

Bet here

Back Andy Sullivan @ 50/151.00

For a morning starter (06:30), let's return to one of this column's favourites: Andy Sullivan.

The Englishman was the first-round leader in this event last year, albeit at a different venue, and followed that by ending day one of the following week's Korean Championship in second place.

Hopefully a return to the region will spark him again as just two starts ago Sullivan finished fourth in another Asian event, the Singapore Classic.

He's had a bunch of fast starts over the last 12 months, also setting the pace in January's Dubai Desert Classic, and hopefully he can work his magic on day one again.

Back Andy Sullivan each-way @ 50/151.00

Bet here

Now read Steve Rawlings' preview of the tournament

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