Our man looks back at this week's golf action on the European Tour where there were victories for Tyrrell Hatton in Scotland and Brandt Snedeker in Fiji...
"Just about the only box left unchecked by Hatton was the previous event form one. He had plenty of links form in the book though and he was the 12th English, Irish or Scottish winner in the event's 16 year history. He was also the fourth winner in-a-row to play Carnoustie on Thursday."
Pre-event favourite, Brandt Snedeker, sauntered to victory at the Fiji International - winning by a whopping nine strokes - and Tyrrell Hatton was even more impressive when claiming his first victory on the European Tour at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
American Ryder Cup star, Sneds, was an industry wide best price of 7/2 with the Sportsbook and he was matched at no bigger than 5.04/1 on the exchange before the off. He started nicely enough, given he hadn't seen the course before and that he'd flown halfway across the globe immediately following the Ryder Cup, opening up with a three-under-par 69 and the result was never really in doubt after his impressive seven-under-par 65 in round two.
Hatton was matched at a high of 85.084/1 before the off but he was generally a 60.059/1 shot before pre-tournament. He trailed by four at halfway and was trading at 14.5 but after a 10-under-par 62 at St Andrews he took a three-stroke lead into round four and after starting brightly, he never looked like getting beat - eventually winning by four strokes with a 23-under-par total. This was his 83rd start on the European Tour and the victory takes him up to 33rd in the official world rankings.
I've just about stopped seething about the performance of my main fancy at the Alfred Dunhill, Alex Noren, who was quite frankly awful after a brilliant start at Carnoustie. Having opened up with a record-equalling eight-under-par at the toughest of the three venues, the in-form Swede, who was looking for his third win in four months, was matched at just 3.211/5 but a disappointing second round at Kingsbarns was followed by a remarkably poor third round at St Andrews and my visions of him sauntering to victory after his opening gambit proved to be way off the mark.
I've no regrets about missing out on the winner, who had two missed cuts in the event previously and two missed cuts in the Open Championship at St Andrews. He'd also gone off the boil a bit after a sparkling run of form which had seen him finish runner-up to Noren in the Scottish Open, fifth at the Open and tenth at the USPGA Championship. Two missed cuts and a well-beaten 45th at the Italian Open suggested his season may be over but I was arguably too dismissive of his chances at halfway.
Maybe I'm being a bit too self-critical but having marked him out as a player to watch after the Scottish Open and having waxed lyrical about how he looked ready to win, it was somewhat remiss of me to write "Tyrell Hatton has been many people's idea of a winner in waiting for quite some time but I'm always wary of players that haven't yet won" at the halfway stage this week.
I then made a good case for him after round three but didn't back him at 2.01/1 so maybe I should have had a better week than I did but having backed Snedeker before the off it's been a decent enough week, despite the irritation of Noren's poor effort and my reluctance to back Hatton.
What Have We Learned This Week?
This was just the third edition of the Fiji International but it was the second time the short-priced American favourite had won with ease and there were no star names in attendance in the first edition. Matt Kuchar outclassed the modest opposition last year, winning by four strokes.
I know Snedeker was a short-priced favourite but his priced never lengthened and sometimes a really short price can represent value. The standard of play on the PGA Tour of Australasia isn't especially strong. We'll be weighing up whether to take short prices over winter when the action Down Under is in full swing and maybe we should.
Paul Krishnamurty has always been an advocate of getting stuck into the class acts on the Australian Tour and time and time again he's been proved right.
As for this event, an ability to play in the wind is essential. The forecast suggested only light zephyrs but the breeze was still a factor on such an exposed coastal course.
Over at the Alfred Dunhill, just about the only box left unchecked by Hatton was the previous event form one. He had plenty of links form in the book though and he was the 12th English, Irish or Scottish winner in the event's 16 year history. He was also the fourth winner in-a-row to play Carnoustie on Thursday.
We've got two events to look forward to next week. Tiger Woods is returning to the fray on the PGA Tour at the Safeway Open (formerly the Frys.com Open) and on the European Tour, Luke Donald hosts the British Masters at the Grove in Hertfordshire. I'll be back with my previews tomorrow.
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