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Volvo China Open
Volvo China Open
PGA of Australia
Those players who are not in the Top 50 on the world golf rankings will be making their way over to Puerto Rico this week, while Mexico hosts the WGC event.
The Puerto Rico Open has been played since 2008 at the Coco Beach Golf & Country Club with Greg Kraft winning the inaugural event. Developed by Bruce Besse of Willowbend Golf & Land Design, this project was the first Tom Kite Design outside the US and resulted in four distinct 9-hole circuits that were originally called Mountain, Palm, Lakes and Ocean. The Lakes and Ocean nines are now known as the Championship course and the Palms and Mountain nines formed the International.
Located in the Rio Grande area of Puerto Rico, amongst the island's largest concentration of golf courses and although the PGA Tour's Puerto Rico Open is contested on the Championship course, it’s the International that is arguably the more dramatic and scenic of the two designs. Both layouts set off towards the spectacular forested ridge of the El Yunque National Park, then go their separate ways.
The International enjoys a number of substantial elevation changes on its front nine, the second hole, you climb to a wonderfully elevated tee and then play back down the hill to a small, water-defended green and there is a dramatic downhill par-3 at the 8th.
The holes are tight, undulating and lined with dense coastal vegetation, although from many vantages you will enjoy panoramic views over Coco Beach and out to the Atlantic Ocean. The back-nine is a lot flatter and the long buggy ride from the 10th to the 11th takes you into some tight jungle like lined terrain. The 17th shares a double green with the 12th hole on the Championship course. Apart from the resort-style wide fairways of the opening and closing holes of each-nine hole loop the International provides a fantastic challenging with some dramatic vistas.
For another trusted Coco Beach G&CC review click here
My tips to Win:
I must admit I’m surprised that Alex Noren 16/1 – SportingBet – hasn’t broken through on the PGA Tour yet, especially with his attention to detail and diligent practice. It is not as though he is playing badly, Alex has had some steady results and has three Top 15s from his six starts on the wraparound season. This time last year Noren was playing in the WGC event and that may just be the incentive he needs to kick on so he doesn’t miss out on the big tournaments again.
Scott Brown 25/1 ¬– SpreadEx – should come into this week buzzing after his runner-up finish at the weekends Genesis Invitational firing 68s in each of his last three rounds over a tough Riviera Country Club track. Scott is a past champion here and has four other Top 10s – two of which are Top 5 finishes – from his seven starts here
It has been a bit of a rollercoaster start to the season for Tom Lewis 25/1 – UniBet – who sandwich a third-place finish on the European Tours Dubai Desert Classic with two missed cuts, the last coming at the Oman Open where he opened with a round of 66 that put him in great shape, but the wind picked up on the Friday and he missed the cut with a 79. Tom hasn’t played on the PGA Tour this year and has had a nightmare in the three tournaments he did play in last year missing all three cuts. Having said that I do believe the two time Portugal Masters champion has what it takes to do well on the PGA Tour.
Each way tips:
It wasn’t a great start to the year for Cameron Davis 28/1 – SpreadEx – who missed the cut five times from his first six starts, he then followed that run up with a Top 10 at the Sony Open in Hawaii which came after a third-place finish at the Australian PGA Championship on the European Tour and he has been playing steady golf since then. Cameron played in this event for the first-time last year and made the Top 20 and he will be looking to build on that this week.
A slight change as Ian Poulter has withdrawn from the event so I have had a rejig and brought back one of the players that I discarded from my initial picks and that is Beau Hossler 40/1 – with BetFair – who will be playing at this event for the first time – which is the reason why he didn’t make my final selections. The reason he was in my thoughts was because after a couple of missed cuts he had a Top 10 at the Farmers Insurance and has played some solid golf since. I think with this field and that added confidence in his golf game he could be in the thick of it come Sunday.
Fabián Gómez 80/1 – with BetFred – has four Top 24 finishes in this event from six starts including a runner-up finish. Fabián has three Top 25 finishes on the wraparound season so far including a seventh-place finish at the Bermuda Championship, but he also has five missed cuts, but I am hoping the positive vibes of being back here in the Caribbean will see him challenging again this week.
Try Sam Saunders 125/1 – with SportingBet
As always good luck
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