The European Tour remains at the same venue as last week for this unique Cyprus Shootout at The Aphrodite Hills Resort, Paphos.
This completely brand new tournament and format looks very competitive with the favourite SP sitting at 28/1. When is the last time you ever seen a favourite start off at 28/1 at any sporting event never mind a golf tournament?
With this in mind there is almost definitely value to be had in this field so it’s all about conquering this new format to pick the winner come Sunday.
The new format will include the 105 competitors playing two rounds of normal stroke play with just 32 making it through to Saturday.
For the third round the scores will be completely reset then the top 16 will qualify for the Final Round Shootout on Sunday with the scores reset yet again.
There will then be a final round lowest score shootout or playoff to decide the winner, who will collect the £200k first prize.
Last week I advised Sami Valimaki would shine in the sun and he didn’t disappoint. My 10/11 NAP landed with the Finn beating Antone Rozner in a 72-hole match bet.
I also selected him to win the tournament at 33/1 EW so if you got the 6-place money on offer with most firms then well done to anyone who backed him.
With this new tournament layout consistency will be key this weekend since you'll have to qualify twice to have a chance in the final round shootout on Sunday. With this in mind I’m going to stick with Sami Valimaki yet again to produce the kind of form he’s been showing recently.
The tall Finn opened up at 50/1 with most firms but they soon realised and he has now been cut down to a best price 30/1 at bet365.
As I mentioned in my preview last week he has already won an event on the European Tour at a coastal course like this and he is in the form of his life, as proven with a 6th place here last week whilst leading the tournament on many occasions throughout the weekend only to slip away on the final few holes.
For my next selection I like the look off Garrick Higgo at 33/1 EW with Ladbrokes.
The South African was magnificent with the putter here last week and finished T3rd.
Higgo has won two events this year; The Portugal Open and The Tour Championship. He is amongst the top 100 ranked golfers in the world at the moment and if he can just sharpen up on his driving accuracy and greens in regulation figures then he can allow his putting to take care of the rest.
I definitely think with the qualifying element in mind Higgo can use his experience and expertise to make it through to that all important final round shootout on Sunday and be in amongst the final 16 to fight it out for the £200k first prize.
For my final selection I’m going to advise the young impressive 19 yrs old Danish superstar Rasmus Hoggard. The Dane is in sensational form at the moment and it’s hard to believe just how young this lad is. He has two European Tour victories under his belt already; The Mauritius Open in 2019 and since lockdown he has been on fire winning the UK Championship.
He has also since finished 2nd at The British Masters and 3rd at the English Championship. Hoggard is always amongst the birdies and it’s only a matter of time before this youngster goes on to win much more and this could be his weekend.
I won’t be selecting a match bet this weekend as the firms are only offering 36 hole match ups because of the qualifying format. I feel players will be more careful and cautious with their play to be involved in the final 32 therefore it’s not necessary to hit the lowest possible score, it’s more important to be still contending come Saturday.