The Hero Indian Open | Thursday 19 February - Sunday 22 February | Delhi Golf Club
After two weeks in Asia the European Tour will finish it’s visit to the continent in India at the Hero Indian Open, hosted at Delhi Golf Club. This time around the forgiving courses of Thailand are a thing of the past and players are in for a tough time on a course that features tight, tree-lined fairways which punish wayward drives and approaches. As this is a new event on the calendar there’s not much to go on but a bit of research shows that the course is short and manageable if you’re accurate. Although the field is weak there are players who have a bit of experience here as this course has hosted events on the Asian and Indian Tours, although no-one keeps a close eye on either of those so players who have fared well are relatively unknown. You’d do well to expect the guys with a bit of experience to be in the mix come Sunday though so don’t be afraid of the unknown; this is an event that could be won by a local player.
Bearing all of that in mind, it’s tough to imagine how these minnows will fare on Day 4 when they play with the more experienced European Tour campaigners so it may be worthwhile biding your time and getting your bets on a bit later. There should be some guys with experience in the mix by then and by giving yourself a few days to gauge who manages the layout you could find some value on those a few shots off the pace on Sunday. Whatever your strategy is, if you find a winner here you’ll have bragging rights for a while and that alone makes it worth having a dip. So where does the value lie at the moment? Let’s have a look.
To Win Outright
Anirban Lahiri 7/1
Mig. Angel Jimenez 11/1
Scott Hend 20/1
Jeung-Hun Wang 22/1
Wade Ormsby 22/1
Arjun Atwal (55/1 a win, 12/1 a place)
There are a few players who will arrive here who know this course well and very few of them will be as familiar with the layout as one of India’s favourite golfing sons, Arjun Atwal. A decade ago he was arguably the biggest name in Indian golf and although he no longer competes at the level he did back then, Atwal has enjoyed a fair amount of success on the Indian Tour over the past few years. On that Tour he’s always performed well in Delhi and hopefully this week won’t be much different. 55/1 is a huge price; each way is the bet for me.
Kevin Phelan (55/1 a win, 12/1 a place)
Backing an Irishman to fare well in India may seem like a bit of a stretch but this week Kevin Phelan looks like he may be worth a small bet in pretty average company. He’s not a player many punters out there are familiar with and he lost his card last year but he’s a very accurate driver of the ball and he does have what it takes to finish inside the Top 5 on his day. He won’t be playing much golf at this level this year but hopefully that motivates him to come out firing when he is given the opportunity. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Phelan on Thursday, he may just surprise everyone.
Jyoti Randhawa (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
Based on course form alone you cannot leave Randhawa out of your selections this week. Sure, he hasn’t done much over the past few years but for some reason whenever he arrives in Delhi he clicks and plays great golf. That was evident when he pulled off back-to-back wins in 2006 and 2007 and although his last win was in 2009 he should be in the mix come Sunday. He’s a clean striker of the ball who will have the full support of his home crowd behind him so don’t discount the Indian stalwart. 50/1 is about right; I’m backing him each way this week.
Shiv Kapur (25/1 a win, 11/2 a place)
A clear indication that I’m grasping at straws is the fact that my spell check recognises none of the players I’ve tipped so far but fortune favours the brave and it’s time I ventured into new territory. Last year I would have made Jimenez my best bet based on his experience alone but this time around I’m looking for locals with knowledge of the course and bar one or two, no-one knows this layout like Kapur. Two Top 5s in his last few starts show he’s able to go close and clearly the bookies agree because they’ve seen fit to price him up at 25/1. It may seem unlikely but tournaments like this can offer a few surprises so don’t be shocked if Kapur is in the mix come Sunday. Each way is my bet here.