HERE we go again. Another year of hopefully ace golf and Ace selections.
Our man Ace Venturer enjoyed a successful 2015 and to tee off 2016 he is travelling all the way to Hawaii for the PGA Tour’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions. What a way to start!
Ace says: There are only 32 players taking part but with the likes of Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson involved it could be an exciting tournament.
Defending champion Patrick Reed is also down to play the Plantation Course and I’m taking him to retain the title. His form over the latter months of last year was superb and that’s while playing in America, Europe and Asia.
It was a busy schedule for Reed but hopefully he’s rested up over the past month and is ready for battle. With the wide fairways and big greens it’s not just a putting contest and last year Reed was T15 or worse in GIR and fairways hit but was 2nd in scrambling. This year he’s 4th in GIR (82.4%), has fairways hit of 69.05% (45th), and is first in scrambling. Obviously he likes the course and well worth a bet.
Kevin Kisner did me a good turn when he won the RSM Classic (20-1) in November and I'm looking forward to him doing the business again. He also had a brilliant second in the WGC-HSBC Champions a couple of weeks before and certainly has the game.
He came to the fore last year with three seconds and his win at the RSM this season has show his progression. It looks like his stats have all improved on last season, driving accuracy of 70.54%, GIR 73.95%, and strokes gained:putting of .972, and overall his game looks better than last year.
Meanwhile, at the Glendower Golf Course, Johannesburg, the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour co-sanction the BMW South African Open. Defending champion Andy Sullivan returns and will be trying to emulate Trevor Immelman in 2003-04 and defend his title.
Sullivan’s win last year was the start to a great season for the Englishman, winning the Joburg Open and the Portugal Masters thereafter. He was also runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the DP World Tour Championship. Could have another good year, starting in Johannesburg.
I also like South African Jaco van Zyl. After a couple of seconds and thirds last season it’s about time van Zyl got his first win on the European Tour. If he can slightly improve on his stats from last year, driving accuracy of 67.5% and GIR 70.5%, he will be in the mix.
Twenty-three-year old Frenchman Gary Stal won his first European Tour event, the HSBC Golf Championship, at the beginning of last year but didn’t really follow up on that spectacular win. I expect him to move upwards this year and wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes at the top end of the field.