Australian PGA Championship Preview7 min read
The final tournament of 2019 takes place this week with the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines in Queensland. Adam Scott headlines the field after the Internationals’ unsuccessful attempt to win the Presidents Cup against USA in Melbourne last week.
Royal Pines again hosts this tournament with the tree-lined 7,380-yard par 72 scorable but challenging in the forecast winds expected this weekend.
Scott is an unappealing favourite at 11/2 after flopping at the recent Australian Open. It is three years since his last victory and the 39-year-old played five matches at the Presidents Cup, losing his last two contests. Scott missed the cut on his last start at this event in 2017 and can be swerved at short odds.
Cameron Smith is harder to dismiss with the talented Australian winning at Royal Pines for the last two years. The defending champion’s singles win against Justin Thomas at the Presidents Cup is a significant boost and he is an obvious threat this week. But Smith faces the pressure of attempting a third successive win here and has also only managed one top ten since the end of February.
Champ to contend on Australian debut
Cameron Champ has demonstrated his immense potential with two wins already on the PGA Tour and the American appeals to upstage the two home favourites on his first start in Australia.
Champ is blessed with phenomenal power and has the talent to compete at the highest level over the next decade. The 24-year-old broke through early on in his professional career with a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship last year.
The hype for Champ went into overdrive after his first victory and he struggled during much of this season, partly due to injuries and loss of form, before landing his second title at the Safeway Open in September.
Last seen competing in Japan at the Dunlop Phoenix in November, Champ played nicely for a tie for eighth. The PGA Tour‘s longest driver put in some positive work with coach Sean Foley last week and is confident about performing strongly in Australia.
Harold Varner III, another powerful American, won at Royal Pines three years ago, with Champ capable of emulating this success. With a place in the top 50 of the world rankings within range, Champ can end the year triumphantly with an overseas title at 14/1.
Denzel Ieremia comes in this week following a record-breaking win in New Zealand and the emerging talent can ride the momentum with a big week on the Gold Coast.
Ieremia was in phenomenal form at Mount Maunganui, shooting 29-under-par for a seven-shot victory. With such a dominant performance fresh in his memory, it would be no surprise if he contends at Royal Pines.
Ieremia has been building up to this win impressively, finishing sixth at the NSW Open before a tie for fifth place in a stronger field at the Australian Open. The 23-year-old New Zealand golfer turned professional after excelling at Iowa State University and has already started to make a name for himself.
Ieremia is in the form of his life and looks worth backing at 40/1 to threaten back-to-back wins.
Chalmers can roll back the years
Greg Chalmers has only just returned from an 18-month injury layoff but the two-time Australian PGA champion could repeat his previous triumphs at a big price.
Chalmers tore a ligament in his spine but produced a remarkable performance on his comeback, finishing joint fifth at the Australian Open. Excited about his return to fitness, the 46-year-old is determined to make the most of his final years at this level.
Chalmers won at Royal Pines five years ago and has a stellar record in the biggest Australian events. A two-time Australian Open champion, Chalmers knows what it takes to win if he gets into contention. His recent work with coach Brad Hughes has paid off and Chalmers believes his ball-striking is the best it has ever been.
Resurgent Chalmers should not be underestimated this week and appeals at 100/1 each way.
Nicolai Hojgaard can take inspiration from his identical twin brother and contend for a first win at generous odds.
The 18-year-old watched Rasmus deliver a stunning performance to win the Mauritius Open this month and will be hungry to follow in his footsteps. Nicolai has been touted as the more talented of the twins and will be determined to get off the mark quickly after Rasmus’ remarkable breakthrough win.
Hojgaard has already made an impression during his short time on the European Tour. The teenager finished second behind Sergio Garcia at the KLM Open in September – a performance which marked him down as a star of the future.
The Denmark prodigy knows he is talented enough to win and it seems only a matter of time before he is lifting a title. His brother’s success is a great motivator and Hojgaard merits support to join him as a champion at 100/1 each way.
Cameron Champ Each Way
Denzel Ieremia Each Way
Greg Chalmers Each Way
Nicolai Hojgaard Each Way