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The Punter's De-Brief: Oldest swinger in town Jimenez wins for the third time in Hong Kong

The oldest swinger in town. Miguel Angel Jimenez

"I always like to get my bets on nice and early but it’s most definitely worth revisiting the outright markets on a Wednesday afternoon. An awful lot of players seem to drift late on and Jimenez was an example this week. He’d firmed up below 50.049/1 on Monday and Tuesday but was readily available on Wednesday at 60.059/1."

With trading tips for the next few weeks and lessons learnt for next year, our man takes a look back on a good week that saw pre-event pick, Miguel Angel Jimenez, win the UBS Hong Kong Open... 

On a very busy week, two out of four favourites obliged, with Luke Donald dominating the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, virtually from flag-fall, and Adam Scott overturning a final day deficit to beat Ian Poulter at the Australian Masters.  


At the South Africa Open, Henrik Stenson secured his first win since the 2009 Players Championship and at 48 years and 318 days, Miguel Angel Jimenez became the oldest winner of a European tour event when he held of Fredrik Andersson-Hed to win the Hong Kong Open for the third time. 


My Bets
The least said about the South Africa Open the better. I really fancied Branden Grace but he was quite frankly awful and as hard as I tried in-running, the closest I got was with Martin Kaymer, who finished tied for third but there was much better news in Hong Kong.


I'd bemoaned my luck at the UBS Hong Kong Open in the In-Play Blog but after years of frustration, I've finally nailed the winner and at rewarding odds too. Having backed Jimenez before the off at 55.054/1, although I didn't feel confident, he held every chance going into the final round, tied at the top with Paul Krishnamurty's brilliant pick, Michael Campbell.  And I'm in no doubt that Mig and I have Cambo to thank for the win.


Although I moaned about Sky's insistence on showing recorded play instead of live again on Friday for the first two hours of their coverage (having gone live from 5.00am on Thursday), I can't fault their weekend coverage and I got to see just about every shot the Spanish veteran played. Although he was playing very well, he wasn't quite hitting his irons close enough to give himself easy chances and when he did have birdie chances from a makeable range, he missed more than he made. 


Jimenez didn't look happy as he trudged off the 6th green, following yet another missed birdie putt, and I did wonder whether repeatedly giving up opportunities was going to get to him but as he and Campbell walked up the 7th fairway together and Cambo put his arm around his old adversary, I felt a little more optimistic.


It was great to see two old competitors showing such warm camaraderie and it did the trick for Mig as he birdied the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th holes and although he only pared in after that, it was enough.


I layed back Jimenez a few times, firstly at 2.77/4 and then again at 1.42/5 and 1.21/5 but it was worth it just to be able to watch the last few holes stress-free, especially when Andersson-Hed's birdie putt on the last looked sure to drop.


After last week's disaster when I got my fingers burnt, taking on Charlie Beljan in Disney, it was very nice to get back on track.


Trading Tips
I always like to get my bets on nice and early but it's most definitely worth revisiting the outright markets on a Wednesday afternoon. An awful lot of players seem to drift late on and Jimenez was an example this week. He'd firmed up below 50.049/1 on Monday and Tuesday but was readily available on Wednesday at 60.059/1.


Don't just rely on the European tour website's leaderboard. At the Hong Kong Open, the Asian tour website's scores where updated far quicker and the same can be said of the Sunshine Tour's site at the South Africa Open. We have a run of South African events to look forward to when the 2013 season kicks off on December 6 so make sure you familiarise yourself with Sunshinetour.com before then if you're looking to trade in-running..


What Have We Learnt For Next Year?

At the South Africa Open, length off the tee is definitely advantageous at the lengthy Serengeti Golf Club but, as it was last year, the key stat was Greens In Regulation. Hennie Otto ranked 1st for greens hit last year when he won and this year's winner, Stenson, ranked 2nd for GIR, whilst Thomas Aiken, who tied for 3rd with Kaymer, ranked 1st.


Yet again accuracy was the key at fiddly Fanling and the same types appear on the leaderboard year after year. It's not a track that can be overpowered and patience is very important. 


Although a few of the vets drifted away on Saturday and Sunday, after two days of tricky, blustery conditions the leaderboard was jam-packed with oldies at halfway and dare I say it, the less patient, youthful types (a la Mr McIlroy) were on their way home.


I'd written in the preview about the correlation between Fanling and Crans-sur-Sierre, home of the European Masters, and I have to now mention Wentworth. The final leaderboard this year was crammed with players that play well or who have won at Wentworth and that can't just be coincidence. 


What is intriguing is that McIlroy has won here but has never looked suited to Wentworth. He said before the off this week that he enjoys a tree-lined venue but that doesn't really stack-up when you look at his results elsewhere. I'd be inclined to put his often good form in Hong Kong down to the usually soft conditions. The greens ran fractionally faster this time around and the wind was troublesome. He now has more missed cuts than wins at Fanling and if conditions aren't ideal, he might be one to swerve around the track, despite some good previous results.


It's the European Tour's season finale this week, with the DP World Tour Championship and I'll be back tomorrow with my preview. 

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19 November 2012

The Punter

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