I WAS about to celebrate a wire-to-wire win last week when Graeme McDowell blew the WGC-HSBC Champions last week. After leading for three round the Irishman missed a 10-footer on the last to force a play-off.
Meanwhile, Bubba Watson holed from sand at the last to make the play-off then won it against Tim Clark. McDowell's place gave me 15-2 winner but the 30-1 for champion would have been much sweeter.
There are still four players in with a chance of winning the Race to Dubai but with this week’s tournament at the Montgomerie Maxx Royal in Turkey being the penultimate tournament Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia and Marcel Siem have to do the business to keep the pressure on Rory McIlroy.
McIlroy will finish the season with at least 5,427,869 pts (his current total with a last-place finish) and if Donaldson wins this week and next he will have 5,790,483 pts leaving McIlroy to finish fifth or better to stay ahead of the Welshman.
Donaldson had a poor 77 in the second round of the HSBC Champions last week but came back with a 68 and 71. His 24th place was the worst finish since August but he has had four top-seven finishes in five in that time and he can do it here this week.
Last week Henrik Stenson had a horrendous 81 in the third round but came back strongly with a 65. I’m going to take that round as just one of those days and pick him again this week. His stats are still good and I can see him having a good end to the season.
One man who is having a good end to the season is Thorbjorn Olesen. He won the Perth International at the end of October and had a good tied sixth last week in Shanghai. He needs to improve his driving accuracy (58.69) but he makes up for it slightly with GIR of 69.82. Could easily be in the top five this weekend so a definite each way.
One of my favourite players is back on the European circuit again. Brooks Koepka is another whose driving accuracy and GIR haven’t been that good but since going back to the US for the start of the 2015 season he’s improved both quite a bit. As I’ve said many a time this boy is good and well worth keeping an eye on in so we’ll have a small each-way wager.
15pt staking plan
Jamie Donaldson 3pts ew, 18-1 William Hill
Henrik Stenson (ew) 2pts ew, 12-1 Ladbrokes
Thorbjorn Olesen (ew) 1.5pts ew, 30-1 Betfred
Brooks Koepka (ew) 1pt ew, 35-1 sporting bet