LAST week I mentioned Emiliano Grillo was one to watch this year but even I was shocked when he won the Frys.com Open on Sunday at 50-1.
He certainly put me through the hoop when he missed a three-footer at the first extra hole but all was forgotten when he birdied the same hole next time round. So after my 35-1 winner with Matt Fitzpatrick at Woburn and 103pts profit a fortnight ago it was another great weekend.
At the Portugal Masters Chris Wood was never going to catch Andy Sullivan on the final day but my 20-1 shot pick added to my tally of second-place finishers this season with a solid 68.
I can’t pick winners every – although I usually manage a runner-up – but let’s go for three in a row. And thanks to everyone for the kind comments – much appreciated.
The Euro Tour moves to China this week for the last tournament before the Final Series in the Race To Dubai. The UBS Hong Kong Open returns to Fanling where this competition has been played for the last 57 years. It is a composite course of the East and New courses and although not long the rough can be quite penal in places.
Every time I look at the participants here I can’t get passed Fitzpatrick. He’s ninth in Driving Accuracy (71.2%) and seventh in GIR (75.6%) which is what is needed on this course. The boy is hot just now and if he has recovered from his British Masters win he will do well here.
The Englishman is third favourite behind big guns Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson – and that shows how far he’s progressed in such a short space of time.
I was impressed with Eduardo de la Riva hitting four rounds under 68 in the KLM last month and finishing T2. In the Portugal Masters last week he hit 65, 67, 68 and 71 (T3) and is in form but has pulled out the Hong Kong event which is a disappointment.
So instead I’m on Anirban Lahiri who has had a great season, having won more money in his first season than any other rookie and sitting 16th on the Race to Dubai list.
With four top-six finishes from his last six outings including T5 at the US PGA his form is up there with the top guys. In the three Asian Tour tournaments he has played this season he’s won twice. His driving accuracy is over 60% and GIR 71% so those stats alone make him one to follow.
The PGA Tour moves from the wine country of the Napa Valley to the lights of Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Ryan Moore had a nine-under par weekend at the Frys.com and looked good. He won here at the TPC Summerlin in 2012 and has another two top 10s. At the Frys his GIR stats were 72.2%, driving accuracy was just over 55%, but his putting was good, averaged 28 putts per round, which will come in handy. Missed the cut last year but has the knowledge to get round this course and do well.
You can’t take anything away from Kevin Na’s performance last week apart from the fact he took a driver off the fairway at the second extra hole and duck-hooked it. Why his caddie allowed him to take that out the bag when Grillo had landed in the bunker was beyond me.
His driving accuracy stats at the Frys was over 66% and GIR 76.39 and the fact he won here in 2011, with the memories of that win, this could be the best place for him to play after last week.
Matthew Fitzpatrick 2pts ew (16-1, Betfred, Ladbrokes)
Lahiri 1pt ew (25-1, Ladbrokes)
Ryan Moore 2pts ew (25-1, Ladbrokes, bet365)
Kevin Na 1.5pts ew (28-1, Coral)