Please note – event starts Wednesday 23rd August
Robin Sciot-Siegrist 1.5 points each-way (advised at 40-1/35-1 fine)
Adrien Saddier – 0.5 points each-way FIRST ROUND LEADER 30-1
With neither of the top two in the rankings taking their place in Geneva, I couldn’t have called this the strongest field possible but getting over the disappointment is easy enough when looking at the opening odds this week. It is perfectly understandable that Aaron Rai and Julian Suri take up the option in Denmark, but this is one of the bigger events on the Tour and it is hoped they return for a couple of the large pots on offer in the four events between September and the Grand Final in the first week of November.
At only 6700-odd yards, the beautiful Swiss course is set up to encourage heavy scoring and we should expect a winning score of between 20 and 28 under the card. A pro-am for the duration of the (hopefully) four days means that those confident in their approach play and putting will have a huge advantage, whilst many of these can sniff the top-15 in the rankings and will want to take advantage of the absence of the top couple and close that big lead they have at the top.
Previous winners indicate that the victor will hold his own in higher grade. Last year’s champion, Dylan Frittelli (unsuccessfully backed round here in 2013), has gone on to settle easily inside the world top-100 whilst Nachos Elvira, Ben An and Kris Broberg have proven themselves at main tour level. Of course, the name Alex Noren stands out from the previous winners but every winner has shown up well in future years and represented the trophy admirably.
Brogerg was winning his third victory of four when successful here in 2012, whilst Hebert matched three wins just twelve months earlier. It is clear we are looking for in-form players that are comfortable with their current status and are seen able to play at a higher level.
It is easy to see why Chase Koepka and Ryan Evans head the market given their seasonal form and the former does have form that seems to make him the outright favourite here. 5th in Norway last week reads well alongside the same position in Denmark and tops off a season of four top-10s, but he still needs to gain a good few points being just 15k ahead of the cut-off point. Whilst he is clearly promising and retains the ‘sexy’ link with big bro Brooks, he hasn’t actually put his head in front yet this season and would have made more appeal at a bigger price with the big two present.
I am not sure the American should be favourite over Evans though. Winning in Turkey reads well in comparison to previous winners, as does the 3rd to Rai in the always high-class Le Vaudreuil Challenge. Indeed with latest form of 10/8/9 through the Scandinavian swing I would have made him five or so points shorter than his market rival. Given the 4th here on his only effort in 2015, even 16-1 is tempting alongside the 20/21 to beat Koepka over 72-holes. I’m going to resist it but it’s very tight indeed.
With the Finnish event so prominant in the form of recent winners it made sense to look at that particular final leaderboard. Unfortunately taking part over a rain-wrecked three days isn’t form to bring into here and I have to down-rate it a tad given conditions won’t be anywhere near as severe. However, regular punt Simon Forsstrom is in fine form and was in front at the time of the abandonment and is playing very well but that withdrawal last week just puts me off even at a pleasant-looking 33-1.
So to the main bet of the week and we look to promising young Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist to land a confident selection.
Without wishing to harp over old ground I backed him in the Italian but he just couldn’t get anything going, recording 25 pars from his 27 holes through 1-9 over the first three days. Whilst he ‘reversed’ the course on Payday, he again couldn’t buy a birdie through that opposite stretch.
I was happy to follow in the week after at the always high-class Le Vaudreuil but again he couldn’t get it going despite a decent top-15 finish. Having recorded the best stroke average when at the University of Louisville, it was only a matter of time before it all clicked and, of course, he wins on a week when I decided not to play.
I am unsure what to make of the Northern Irish win. Given it was a final day matchplay 6-hole shootout the form may be misleading, but that venue again appears in the formlines of previous winners as does the French event in which the 23-year-old has finished 9th in 2015 to back up this seasons’ effort. Getting his head in front can only be a boon for this confident player, his play was described as ‘different class’ when under pressure throughout his victory and, after a week off, he is expected to have a myriad of birdie chances here this week. If they drop he is a huge runner and I fully expected to see him around 30-1 with the front two. Without those, 40-1 and 35-1 were wrong.
If we are mentioning Le Vaudreill as a comparative event in terms of class then last weeks’ winner Clement Sordet has to come into the equation.
Runner-up when a virtual unknown in 2014, he finished 6th in 2016 and 9th this year to prove he is a potential star of the future. Again, based on past winners, the form in Turkey (winner and 5th) and Northern Ireland (winner and 6th) read superbly and the victory in Norway takes any negative away from the idea he is a horses-for-courses player. Although that was the second successive shortened event, he strode away from the field throughout the final stages to win in the style of a very high-class player.
It may be that the Frenchman takes off one day and wins a couple in quick succession but he is averaging one a year through the past couple of years and he hasn’t really got it going in two attempts here so far, never being in the top-20. For that reason he is just left alone in favour of his compatriot.
Despite the ranking of the field, I feel only fifteen or so players can be seriously fancied to win and there is just one 72-hole wager. However, I can’t resist a small bet on the first round leader.
I have followed the fortunes of Adrian Saddier for a while but been frustrated by his inability to kick-on when with a chance to put up a top finish. However, his one win in the Fred Olsen in 2016 came courtesy of a first round 61 and he has proven a decent marker for the first eighteen holes since then.
In 22 starts through all levels last year, Saddier recorded seven top-10s and a further four top-15s, whilst this year so far he has first-round finishing positions of four top-15s and three top-10s. Given those three best efforts came at Le Vaudreuil, the French Open and Portugal Open on the main tour, he may be one to catch early on a quality golf course. At 30-1 he is worth a small bet to find his form quickly.
This is going to be a cracking event that starts one day earlier than usual, but will surely produce a winner to watch throughout the next few years.
Yeah, see ‘watch’ Rolex. Yeah. Cheers