FRANCESO MOLINARI gave me another place last week but after leading for three rounds I thought the Italian was set to provide me with a win.
Even after bogeying the first I thought the Italian would still be in the mix at the finish at Wentworth on Sunday. I was wrong as he finished nine shots back but the fifth-place finish gave me a return for the second week in a row.
This week the Tour moves to Northern Ireland for Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation.
World No.1 McIlroy will be smarting from his showing at the BMW last week and will be desperate to make amends in his home country’s Open but with the prices being quoted recently for Rory I’m giving him a miss again this week.
Shane Lowry hasn’t played a lot this season but is still 30th in the Race to Dubai. Having only played five tournaments he has had three top-17 finishes, with an impressive T6 last week at Wentworth. He became the third amateur to win a European Tour title when he won the Irish Open at the County Lough Golf Club in 2009.
Another player who has been on my radar for a couple of years is Chris Wood. Not long back from a wrist injury he’s had a couple of decent results, not least a fourth last week.
He’ll probably be driving up to Royal County Down in his brand new BMW i8 which he won for a hole in one at the weekend. His driving accuracy and his GIR stats are both 65% while his average putts are 28%. Could spring a surprise here.
With two T2s in his last two tournaments and two holes in one, Miguel Angel Jimenez is on a roll. With driving accuracy of nearly 65%, GIR of 63% and average putts per round of 29 and the way he played at Wentworth he’s well worth a bet.
Now to the States and the Byron Nelson Championship. Brandt Snedeker had a great week last week but with makeable birdie putts on the last two greens he failed to take them and ended up in second place. He is third in strokes gained: putting, which on this TPC Four Seasons course could be useful. He had four sub 70 rounds last week and his putting seemed to be song (apart from last two holes) so I’m taking him for a place.
Dustin Johnston has to be my main tip this week. Playing his first tournament since The Players he has had four T20s in his last four visits to TPC Four Seasons (T7 in 2014) with a scoring average of 68. The thing that could stop him winning is the weather, storm clouds pushing in and wind on Sunday could prove a factor.
Shane Lowry 1.5pts ew (20-1, William Hill, Ladbrokes)
Chris Wood 1pt ew (40-1, Ladbrokes, 888sport)
Miguel Angel Jimenez 1pt ew (50-1, BetVictor, 888sport)
Paddy Power paying six places for Irish Open
Brandt Snedeker 1pt ew (28-1, Coral)
Dustin Johnston 2.5pts ew (12-1, Paddy Power, bet365)