Bourdy For Birdies In Hong Kong
Hong Kong Open
Miguel Angel Jimenez heads the betting for the Hong Kong Open where he hopes to make it three-in-a-row…
The Hong Kong Open was established in 1959, and has been part of the European Tour schedule since 2002. The prize fund of $1.3m is not big by Tour standards, but what the event lacks in financial rewards, it makes up for in ranking points.
The move back in the calendar from its usual slot in December makes it the penultimate chance for players to secure their spot in the world’s top 110 and earn a place on the European Tour’s Final Series.
The tournament is played over a composite course at the Hong Kong Golf Club at Fanling, comprising holes from the Eden Course and the New Course. Both courses are short, so big hitters will have no particular advantage, and the layout doesn’t present too many challenges. The fairways are tree-lined but generous, and accuracy with the irons is probably the most important requirement for success.
In The Bunker
Since the Hong Kong Open was co-sanctioned by the European Tour, there have been thirteen editions and Miguel Angel Jiminez has won four of them, including the last two. Not surprisingly, he has been installed as antepost favourite, but I think he is worth opposing this week.
In 2012 and 2013 he went into the tournament in some sort of form, but he’s finished outside the top fifty in his last three outings and hasn’t played in a month. He’s currently 10/1 and I think better value lies elsewhere.
Like Jimenez, Gregory Bourdy is a former winner of this event, but unlike the Spaniard, he goes to Hong Kong in some kind of form. He’d been out of sorts since his top ten at the Irish Open in June,
but at the curtailed Portugal Masters last week, he shot a 67 in his opening round and followed up with a 65 to end the tournament in seventh. At 20/1 he’s an excellent bet to win in Hong Kong for a second time.
David Lipsky played this event for the first time last year, finishing inside the top fifteen and after a season in which he secured his breakthrough Tour win, the young American is a decent bet for success in Hong Kong. He followed that victory at the Omega European Masters with a fourth-placed finish at the Selengor Masters and is clearly in decent touch this autumn. Back him at 28/1.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat is playing the Hong Kong Open for the fourth time, and has yet to finish outside the top thirty, his best being a seventh in 2011. The reigning Asian Order of Merit champion has had a quiet season, but showed good form to finish second in the Asia-Pacific Diamond Cup a couple of weeks ago and is worth including on your shortlist at 33/1.