OHL Classic Betting Tips & Predictions
The PGA Tour takes a rare sojourn away from the US of A and instead lands in Mexico for the OHL Classic.
Not for the first time in 2016 we saw a 100/1+ winner last week in Nevada – this time the Aussie, Rod Pampling, at 150/1, and so attention turns to an event which has delivered some unusual winners in the past too.
This week we’re heading to Playa Del Carmen to the El Camaleon club, a venue which witnessed Graeme McDowell’s surprise triumph in 2015 in a play-off over Russell Knox and Jason Bohn. It’s going to be humid and windy – this is a coastal-lying track – and we fancy that those with experience playing Links golf, and those from the South Coast of America, will flourish.
El Camaleon is a short stretch at just 6,978 yards (Par 70), and given its exotic location the players will be faced with Paspalum surfaces rather than the more common Bermuda or Bentgrass in the States. That delivers a different challenge in ball striking and course management.
Players will need to plot their way around effectively, but don’t be fooled into thinking this will be a bore fest: the last three winning scores have been -21, -18 and -17.
Context is key, so let’s follow McDowell’s progress in 2015: he ranked 16th for Driving Accuracy, 56th for Distance, 30th for Greens in Regulation and fourth for Putting. So, getting the ball in the right areas off the tee and then taking advantage on the dancefloor is the key to a winning performance this week.
Former winners here include McDowell, Harris English, Johnson Wagner and John Huh, so the message is clear: back neat-and-tidy players who can do the business on the Par 4s this week.
Russell Knox (win only)
The Scot lost here in a play-off last year, so it’s fair to say that this El Camaleon set-up suits his eye. Handy then that he comes here this week on the back of a pair of top-10 finishes in Malaysia and China.
Those two events were played on these Paspalum surfaces, and Knox delivered combined GIR and Driving Accuracy stats of 77% and 75% respectively from his trip to the Far East; very nice indeed.
As a Scot, Knox is no stranger to Links golf and of course in playing breezy coastal stretches, and so he should feel right at home here. Other good performances in the Sony Open and St Jude Classic confirm his status as an excellent wind player.
He’s already won twice in 2016, how about the hat-trick here?
Marc Leishman (each way)
It is almost a year to the day since Leishman won the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, so there is clearly something about the early winter that he enjoys. He should certainly take a lot of pleasure from an El Camaleon track ideally suited to his game.
Just three weeks ago Leishman was crashing into the top five at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and his GIR number there – 82% – indicates just how well he is striking the ball at present.
It’s early days of course, but his seasonal stats are outstanding: nobody has hit more greens this season than the Aussie, while in ranking second for Birdie Average and 16th for Driving Accuracy we start to build a profile of a potential winner.
Leishman is a former Open runner-up, so Links golf is no problem to him, so let’s take a punt on a proven winner at a decent price.
Billy Hurley III (each way)
Hurley ranks inside the world’s top 25 for both Driving Accuracy and Strokes Gained: Putting so far this season, so naturally we’re interested at anything in excess of 80/1.
A tour winner as recently as June at the Quicken Loans National, Hurley finished fifteenth at last week’s Shriners Championship and that was an excellent performance; finishing with two rounds of 66 and a GIR stat of some 75%. H gives it a whack off the tee too, which no doubt helped his playing of the Par 5s in -8.
At this kind of price, a proven winner with a top 25 in a major in the past six months – at a course that suits him – is an absolute must back.