THE BMW Masters gets underway early on Thursday morning at the Lake Malaren GC, Shanghai with 40 million points over the next four weeks up for grabs in the Race to Dubai.
All European earnings were converted to points after the Perth International last week and the winner of each of the next four tournaments will gain 1.66m points.
Rory McIlroy unfortunately will miss this week but there are still seven of the Ryder Cup heroes taking part and I’m on one of them to do the business. Victor Dubuisson had a great Ryder Cup, a T5 in the Volvo Matchplay and a second last week in Perth, so is playing well.
He’s had four top-10 finishes in his last seven tournaments and although he had a bit of a blip in the middle of the season he has bounced back and is due a win soon.
I’m also taking Brooks Koepka again and I’ll not apologise for doing it as I think he’s going to win sometime soon. He’s back on the European Tour after a brief foray home in the US where he had two top-10 finishes.
His form over the last six tournaments has been impressive (T15, T3, T11, T9, T8 and T4) so looks a good each-way bet. His driving accuracy is around 60% and GIR over 70% and average putts is under 30. He only turned pro in 2012 and this 24-year-old is one to keep your eye on.
Dutchman Joos Luiten is another who is having a fine end-of-year run. A win at the Wales Open with four top-five finishes out of five tournaments is by any standards a great sequence of results. His stats aren’t brilliant but with driving accuracy at 61.63%, GIR 68.67% and putting under 30 he still manages to get into contention. Expect the same from him this weekend.
Form is the key this week and I have to go with another guy I’ve been following over the past month or so, Tommy Fleetwood. With four top-fives from last seven tournaments he fits the bill. His stats are good, especially GIR which is 72.59%. He is 17th in European rankings and has earned more than £1million this year.
My final pick is Chilean Felipe Aguilar who in the European stats is 11th in driving accuracy (71.5%) and fifth in GIR (74.4%)although his putts per round let him down with 30.5. He’s not had a great season although he did win the Championship at Laguna National. But an each-way bet might be worth a go.
Over in Kuala Lumpar the CIMB Classic takes place with a good turnout from the PGA Tour for the $7 million purse, among them FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel.
Those who follow my tips will know I tend to stick to players for a while and one of them is Paul Casey. He did us a turn earlier in the year when he won the KLM Open and I can see him doing it again. His GIR is impressive at 73.79 although he needs to work on his driving as his accuracy is down at 57%. Worth a small each-way.
And finally I can’t leave Sergio Garcia out. He’s the favourite at 10-1 but the man is a class golfer and I can’t see passed him.
15pt staking plan
Paul Casey (1pt ew) 33-1 Coral
Sergio Garcia (2pts win) 10-1 bet365
Brooks Koepka (1pt ew) 20-1 bet365
Joos Luiten (1pt ew) 22-1 Stan James, Coral
Tommy Fleetwood (1pt ew) 33-1 Betfred
Felipe Aguilar (0.5pt ew) 100-1 Stan James