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Golf previews

Hero World Challenge 2018 Betting Preview

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Wednesday 28th November 2018

Hero World Challenge 2018 Betting Preview

Event name: Hero World Challenge 2018

Location: Bahamas

Event date: 29/11/2018

The Hero World Challenge is an exclusive 18-man event run by the Tiger Woods Foundation, and hosted by the wonderful, Albany resort in The Bahamas.

Comprised of the world’s 11 top-ranked players, as well as the four winners of recent major PGA Tour events, the defending champion and two Sponsors’ Exemptions, this is an exclusive field. The two non-qualifying players that have received the exemptions this week are Gary Woodland and Keegan Bradley.

Favourites

Due to his spectacular form throughout 2018, which culminated victory at the Turkish Airlines Open last time out, Justin Rose starts the week as joint favourite here. He has finished 8th or better in each of his last six starts, including his win last time out and 2nd place finishes at both the BMW Championship and Dell Technologies Championship. Course form of 13th on debut and a withdrawal in 2016 meant a poor start to life around this course, but a 5th place finish 12 months ago suggests he can play well enough here. Given his form this year, he will expect a career-best finish at this event this week.

Next up in the betting is the man who has lost his World no.1 status to three different players (Rose, Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas) this season, Dustin Johnson.Looking to bounce back from a disappointing T30 finish at the WGC HSBC Champions event last time out, Johnson will try to find his fourth win of 2018. It has been another impressive year for the American, and concerns about Johnson’s winning mentality are long gone, at least in regular events anyway. He will hope to double his major win tally in 2019, as he’s yet to add to his 2016 U.S. Open victory, but until major season starts again he will have to “settle” for winning these sort of events. Despite finishing 15th out of 18 here in 2015 and 14th in 2017, Johnson does still have his 3rd place finish in 2016 to lean on – proving what we already know, that he can play well anywhere.

After losing out to Phil Mickelson in the winner-takes-all, $9m “The Match”, Tiger Woods will be hoping for better luck when hosting this week. Injury issues have limited Woods here, finishing 15th and 9th in two starts, but it was in 2016, when finishing 15th that he made the most birdies (24) in the field. Too many double-bogeys, which came due to rustiness around the greens, meant Tiger couldn’t contend two years ago, but this year could be different. He won the Tour Championship back in September to complete his comeback, but his effort against Mickelson proves there is still some work to do, so Tiger will be hoping the competitiveness of a four-round event will bring the best out of him.

The third player in the field this week to reach #1 this year is Justin Thomas, who has won 7 times on the PGA Tour, since the start of 2017 and 9 times overall. In his sole visit here, Thomas finished 11th last year, with three rounds of 70 or better let down by a third-round 74. Given the continuation of his strong form in 2018, Thomas will be expecting a better showing second time around here. His T36 at the CJ Cup last time out was uninspiring but he was 12th or better in six of his seven starts before that, including when winning the WGC Bridgestone Invitational.

When looking for a course horse, there is no one better here than Rickie Fowler. Before winning last year by four strokes, thanks to a final-round 61, Fowler had played at Albany twice before, finishing 3rd on both occasions. He shot 21-under-par when 3rd in 2015, 13-under-par in 2016 and 18-under when winning in 2017, so he is a combined 52-under-par at this event, when held at this course. His course record, coupled with his recent form of three top-8’s and a 16th on his last four starts, Fowler could well be the man to beat here.

2018 has been a fruitful year for Bryson DeChambeau, as he took his win tally on the PGA Tour to five, after winning four times since the start of June. Three of those victories came within his last five starts, as he won the first two FedEx Playoff events, before starting the new season off with a win in his first start, at the Shriners. Three weeks of rest since, DeChambeau will be keen to make sure he puts in another strong performance and end the year with a good result. 2019 will be the year he looks for a breakthrough in the major championships, so any more winning experience he can get before the major season starts will be a bonus. This will be the first time he tees it up at Albany, but chances are he’ll enjoy the course.

Dark Horses

It’s hard to suggest anyone is a Dark Horse in an 18-man field, but there are some good players outside the top-6 in the betting to focus on.

Patrick Reed is one of the “outsiders” this week, but his record here is very good, and the current Masters champion is in good form to boot. In three starts here, Reed has finished 2nd, 10th and 5th, and with two straight top-7 finishes at the WGC-HSBC Champions (T7) and the DP World Tour Championship (T2) preceding his latest effort (T45 Hong Kong Open), Reed can turn up and play well here once again.

Bubba Watson won the first renewal held here at Albany in 2015 and a year later he finished 6th, after firing a 63 in round 2. That was the lowest round shot by anyone that week, and were it not for a 3rd round 75, he may well have made it back-to-back wins here. He didn’t get the chance to play a year ago, but three wins this year ensure he’s back and he looks overpriced in the market this week.  

Predictions

Recommended Bet: Dustin Johnson win at 8/1 with Bet365 - BET HERE

Recommended Bet: Henrik Stenson to be top Swede at 4/5 with Bet365 - BET HERE

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