European Tour: GolfSixes Preview

Golfer admires his shot

Our golf writer looks at the unique European Tour GolfSixes event taking place this weekend at the Centurion Golf Club in St. Albans.

In this, the second instalment of the innovative Golfsixes concept, the European Tour will be branching out further into the unknown, with several leading women’s players being invited to participate. Georgia Hall and Charley Hull will compete for the England’s women’s side, while Melissa Reid and Carlota Ciganda combine for a European side. Thomas Bjorn will accompany Catriona Matthew MBE for a European Captain’s team: Bjorn is set to captain this year’s Ryder Cup side while Matthew is set to captain the Solheim Cup side in Gleneagles next year.

GolfSixes | 5 May - 6 May | Centurion Golf Club, St. Albans, England

The two-day event is extremely unique, with sides competing in rapid-fire six-hole matches. The 16 two-man/woman sides will be divided into four groups of four for Saturday’s Round Robin format. The teams will play off a Greensomes format- meaning that the team will choose the better tee shot and play alternate shot from there. The holes aren’t especially long with the tee boxes pulled back, which should mitigate the distance issue that the women players may face. In Round Robin matches teams will earn a point for every hole won, as well as three points for winning the tie. A point will be awarded for drawn ties. The top two sides from each group will progress to the knockout stages on Sunday, where sides will play in quarterfinals, semi-finals and a final- as well as a third/fourth playoff.

Danish defending champions Thorbjorn Olesen and Lucas Bjerregard understandably lead the markets, while the Spanish side inexplicably sits in second. The English side is in fine form, while the South African and Swedish sides certainly have enough talent. South Korea are perhaps the dark-horses this week, while the aforementioned female sides will no look to reward the faith shown in them by the Tour in enlisting their services this week. While I’m a great admirer of the European Tour’s pro-active stance in recent years, how nice would it be to see this format attended by some of the European megastars- Fleetwood, Rahm, and McIlroy?

Past Winners
2017: Lucas Bjerregard and Thorbjorn Olesen (Denmark)

Group A - Denmark, Thailand, USA, European Women
Group B – Australia, South Korea, Spain, European Captains
Group C- France, Italy, Scotland, Ireland
Group D- England, South Africa, Sweden, England Women

To Win Outright:
Denmark 5/1 | Spain 5/1 | England 15/2 | South Africa 8/1 | Sweden 10/1 

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Value Bets

Thailand- Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thonghai Jaidee- To Win 10/1
These two actually competed in last year’s event, but were knocked out in the quarterfinals. That only told half the story, as they had the highest point tally of any side going into the knockout stage. Jaidee’s relative lack of length off the tee is curtailed by Aphibarnrat’s firepower. They are in the same group as the pre-tournament favourites Denmark, but should feel comfortable against the European Woman and a relatively week USA side.

Soomin Lee and Jeunghan Wang- South Korea- To Win 14/1
Soomin Lee and Jeunghan Wang have proven themselves to be reliable competitors on tour and should make a formidable pairing this week. Wang is a three-time winner on tour and Soomin Lee won the 2016 Shenzhen Invitational. And just one look at their group indicates progression shouldn’t be too difficult. The Aussie pair are in poor form while the European Captains are one of the less fancied sides. The Spanish side are second favourites, but it looks as though Larrazabal will be carrying that side. So I expect the metronomic pairing of Lee and Wang to do well this week.

The Team to Beat- Matt Wallace and Eddie Pepperrell- England- To Win 15/2
Pepperell and Wallace will be the home favourites this week, and these team formats are always that little bit more conducive to partisan support. Out of all my picks, England seem to have the strongest group, with a highly competitive South African and Swedish side in there; the England women round off the group. But Pepperell and Wallace are both in excellent form, having both won on the European Tour this year. Wallace won the Hero Indian Open while Pepperell picked up the prestigious Qatar Masters. So this fairly low key looking English side actually boast some pretty impressive form coming into this week.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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