Perth International Tips: Mark the new Aussie season with this punting portfolio

This looks a great opportunity for Paul Casey's comeback to gather pace
This looks a great opportunity for Paul Casey's comeback to gather pace

The Race to Dubai heads Down Under this week for the Perth International, which means Paul Krishnamurty gets to dust off his favourite annual punting strategy. Read his extensive betting plan here...

"Paul Casey has plenty of form in this part of the world. Early in his career, he won the ANZ Championship and registered a series of top-fives in big Aussie events. Twelve months ago he arrived with his game in crisis and made the top-five, despite one atrocious round."

It's that time of year again - my favourite - when the Australian season begins in earnest and that means reiterating the tried and tested rules for golf betting in this part of the world. More than any other tour, conditions serve to differentiate between the best and the rest. Firm, fast championship courses magnify mistakes, placing a huge emphasis on accurate iron play and scrambling expertise

Consequently, it pays to restrict calculations to the relatively small number of Aussies with form on the main worldwide tours, or high-class foreign raiders. That process of elimination would have yielded every Australian Open winner bar one in the last 30 years, every PGA winner bar one since 1986 and every Masters winner bar one since 1980. Moreover, because these fields lack the strength in depth of the main tours, top-tens tend to be extremely predictable.

Those three events constitute the 'Triple Crown' and when that begins next month, I'll be providing a substantial portfolio for each leg. Beforehand though, we have a Race to Dubai event in the form of the Perth International. Last year's inaugural running very much conformed to the aforementioned regional and historical trends, with the overseas contingent completely dominating a weak Aussie challenge. PGA Tour stars Bo Van Pelt and Jason Dufner fought out a duel on the final day, with Spain's Alejandro Canizares finishing five shots off the pace in third. Only one Aussie, Michael Hendry, made the top-nine.

In my view, that shouldn't be taken as a sign that this course favours overseas players. Rather, the biggest Aussie guns didn't show up and haven't this time either. There's no Adam Scott or Jason Day in this line-up, nor even fading stars like Robert Allenby and Stuart Appleby, or in-form PGA Tour players like Matt Jones. In their absence, the only two Aussies with decent overseas form this year are Brett Rumford and Marcus Fraser

It is hard, therefore, not to conclude that overseas players will dominate again. Being a Race to Dubai event, there are plenty of Europeans, but the handful of market leaders do look a class apart. Best on the world stage and rightful favourite is Dustin Johnson, but I'm not convinced enough to take odds of just 8.27/1 for three reasons. First, he hasn't played since the FedEx Cup and could be rusty. Second, a fairly short, firm, fast course is far from ideal or likely to reward his power game. Thirdly, he was awful in the 2011 Presidents Cup on Aussie soil and that year's Open.

In contrast, second favourite Paul Casey has plenty of form in this part of the world. Early in his career, he won the ANZ Championship and registered a series of top-fives in big Aussie events. Twelve months ago he arrived with his game in crisis and made the top-five, despite one atrocious round. He's looked on the way back this term, winning the Irish Open, making most cuts and a respectable top-15 last month in Crans.

As the one with the most solid recent form, it is worth chancing that Ross Fisher will enjoy conditions on his Aussie debut. Three of Fisher's last four starts have yielded top-eight finishes and his greens in regulation numbers bode extremely well. He's ranked no worse than 13th in that pivotal, telling stat for five of his last six events, twice in the top-two.

Van Pelt is here to defend his crown but this usually consistent player has been in no sort of form, without a top-ten since May. Branden Grace is more interesting. If this event had been played in the summer, following his second place at the Scottish Open, this rising star would have been second favourite. Five bad results later he's down to the 30.029/1 mark but it would be no surprise to see this prolific winner bounce back.

Of the Aussies, only Rumford and Fraser look good enough to win and as the former has failed to make the top-20 on three previous visits to Lake Karrinyup he is easily overlooked. Fraser is much more plausible and warrants inclusion in the staking plan. Prior to missing his last cut, he'd registered three straight top-20s in Europe and he's been runner-up on two of his last three homeland appearances.

In addition to backing that quartet to win the event, I recommend backing three of them in the top-ten market - Grace is excluded because his recent form represents a bigger risk. Let's also add another Aussie in this market, Andre Stolz at around 8.07/1. He won on both the European and PGA Tours a few years ago, finished second at Lake Karrinyup in the high-class 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic and also won his penultimate event last month.

Recommended Bets
Back Paul Casey to win 4u @ 12.011/1
Back Ross Fisher to win 3u @ 15.014/1
Back Branden Grace to win 1.5u @ 30.029/1
Back Marcus Fraser to win 1.5u @ 36.035/1

Top-ten finish
Back Paul Casey 10u @ 2.111/10
Back Ross Fisher 8u @ 2.56/4
Back Marcus Fraser 6u @ 3.7511/4
Back Andre Stolz 2.5u @ 8.07/1

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