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BMW International

Pablo Larrazabal 25/1

Zander Lombard 80/1

Guido Migliozzi 125/1

Shubhankar Sharma 150/1


Scottie Scheffler 6/1

Tom Kim 35/1

Sahith Theegala 55/1

Chez Reavie 200/1

Chex Reavie Top-20 5/1


In what seems an intense season for golf, the tournaments simply don’t let up.

After a tiring US Open, new hero Wyndham Clark joins world numbers one to six at the long-standing Travelers Championship, whilst Adrian Meronk heads 10 players of the US Open field travelling from Los Angeles to Munich for the BMW International.

TPC River Highlands can play to the long hitter with little penalty from average rough, but both Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, sharing four victories between them, take pains to mention the importance of being in the fairway. For players such as these, it is as simple as fairway, wedge, fairway, wedge.

On the rotating courses in Munich, the class elements have proven superior, with Viktor Hovland, Ernie Els and Martin Kaymer leading the way. However, both Kaymer, Thomas Pieters and Matt Fitzpatrick have also been defeated by less fancied rivals, and there is a case for saying the very top of this particular market is easily opposable.

Best bet of the week remains two-time course winner Pablo Larrazabal in Germany. ‘Still’, because even though the bookmakers have cut the 30-1, he remains 10-odd points bigger than the likes of Rasmus Hojgaard (failed to convert at least four genuine chances at his last 16 events) and the same price as Romain Langasque, a player with obvious credentials but without a victory since August 2020.

The 40-year-old Spaniard is currently playing as well as he has done, with four wins in 27 starts, and credentials that fit the ideal profile for the event.

Pablo ranks 14th in overall performance on tour for the last six months, making gains from tee-to-green despite typical mercurial driving. Despite that, his short game is in top order, ranking in the top echelons of this field for scrambling, around-the-green and putting.

There is plenty of evidence of a linksy background to contenders here, and the selection’s form at Abu Dhabi (see Pieters for similarity) sees a victory from Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, and a runner-up behind Tommy Fleetwood, and a top-10 containing Kaymer, Weisberger, Lee Westwood and Henrik Stenson, all players with wins or top placings here.

Form in Malaysia behind Shubhankar Sharma correlates nicely given the Indian’s two Abu Dhabi top-10s and a 7th place in Turkey (see last year’s champ). In second place, Jorge Campillo links nicely, as does Ryan Fox, with a 26th, 14th and third around Eichenried.

Despite the missed-cut at LACC, Pablo proved his well-being during the first round, being one of only three players to hit every fairway. Should he repeat that, or much of his form of 2023, he must go close to nabbing his third win of the year and his highest ever world ranking.

I’ll back up the main bet (by some way) with cross-doubles involving, among others, South African Zander Lombard, extremely unpredictable but who, this year, has a runner-up at Ras Al Khaimah (Meronk in fourth, Hojgaard sixth), 6th in Singapore, and another second place at home in Steyn City. It may be of note that Shaun Norris, winner of the Steyn City Championship in 2022, finished in the top-10 behind Hovland here a year previous.

I’m intrigued by the two runnings of the Rocco Forte Open, one of the great links correlations. According to OWGR, Lombard’s play-off loss to Alvaro Quiros in 2017 is his best ever effort, finishing a shot in front of last year’s BMW champ, Li.

Further to that, in 2018, the top 10 contained Andy Sullivan (fifth here in 2021), Dodo Molinari (third and 21st here) and Andrea Pavan (beat Fitzpatrick in 2019).

The first of the final two to go into the plan is Guido Migliozzi, who has shown enough in a 20th in Abu Dhabi, 23rd in Japan and 14th in Korea this year to think he may be on the way back to the form that won three events in his early career. In Kenya he beat subsequent BMW top-10 finisher Justin Harding, in Belgium another in Darius Van Driel, whilst he was too good for Hojgaard in France less than a year ago.

Past form sees a pair of top-15 finishes at the US Open and form at Qatar, Oman, Turkey and Crans.

Lastly, back to Sharma, he of that Maybank form, and a runner-up behind Pieters at Abu in 2022.

In that particular event, the top-20 contained Rafa Cabrera-Bello (a pair of bronze medals here), Hovland, Weisberger, Horsfield, Bjork and Hojgaard.

Best efforts in 2023 include a seventh place at Abu to start the year, while the last of three subsequent top-16 finishes came in the Netherlands less than a month ago. I’ll take the chance at the price.

Over at River Highlands, I can’t ignore the best player in the world.

At just one point shorter than for the US Open, Scottie Scheffler makes a great appeal against market rivals with question marks.

There is little point on repeating what the 26-year-old has achieved over the last couple of years. Oh, it’s six wins, a green jacket and four other major top-10s – but it simply has not stopped.

The 26-year-old’s worst finish this year is 12th, the last seven outings (including three majors) see an average final position of around seventh place, he ranks top five in almost every stat apart from the glaring loss on the greens.

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that, despite the putting woes, the favourite has been just two or three strokes away from listing another four ‘w’s on the card. With improving course form of 47th (11th at halfway) and 13th last year and with a measure of improvement with the flat stick last week – that’s enough for me. Shove him in your doubles with Pablo.

Alongside the obvious, I’ll take Tom Kim, whose tee-to-green game looked back to form at LA last week, and who has previously managed to overcome lack of course knowledge to thrash Wyndham specialist Sungjae Im and Summerlin constant Patrick Cantlay for his two wins last year.

It’s been an up-and-down year for the popular Korean but not without promise.

The year opened with a solid top five finish around the unsuitable Kapalua and a top six at the Dye-influenced American Express. Things have been up-and-down since but top-20 at Augusta and 23rd at Quail Hollow work fine given his fledgling career.

Whilst neither the second major nor Memorial were much to write about, he bounced back to form last week when becoming only the fifth player in US Open history to shoot a front or back-nine 29.

Ranking fourth for greens-in-reg, top-10 for tee-to-green and fourth for putting average, the 20-year-old sounded happy with his return to form and the outing on a shorter track has to suit even more.

Sahith Theegala made his professional debut at this event three years ago, and it’s about time he nabbed that first solo victory.

Much has been expected of the 25-year-old winner of the big three college awards, and he deserves to take revenge for unfortunate defeats at both the Phoenix Open and at this event last year.

His bad luck at the 17th hole in Scottsdale meant he couldn’t compete with Scheffler and Cantlay in the play-off, and he made an incorrect shot at the 72nd hole a year ago. Back 12 months and it’s doubtful this excellent prospect would repeat the decision to play straight over the lip of the fairway bunker.

Leave that aside and the 2022 season finished with three top six finishes, including a further runner-up at the RSM Classic, before he showed off some sparkling iron play alongside Tom Hoge to win a pairs event.

2023 has seen the selection make 14 cuts from 14, including finishing fourth at Torrey Pines and sixth at Riviera. A top-15 finish at Bay Hill completed a more-than-satisfactory trio of results at elevated events.

Since then, Theegala has recorded a top-10 at Augusta, fifth at Dye-designed Harbour Town and last week’s top-30 at the US Open, and he surely comes here ready to perform.

Chez Reavie, 2019 Travelers champion, is a solid bet at 200/1 after making his fourth cut in a row at the Canadian Open, his seventh from eight starts.

Since winning this event, the 41-year-old has finished 46th, 25th and eighth around here, whilst back-form also includes three top-20 finishes at Deere Run, a trio of top-10s at Riviera and a victory in Canada, the highlight of five top-25 finishes at that event, similar to the form he has shown here.

Through a number of players, including 2021 champ Harris English, his play-off loss at the Phoenix Open reads nicely, and whilst his win at the Barracuda last year was a league below this one, it came after a steady run of form that is similar to the one he is currently recording.

Just two months ago, Reavie posted a sixth place in Texas and an 11th at the Masters, whilst his 65 at the final round at Oakdale came via a closing 28, a rare beast indeed.

5/1 for a top-20 is a very tempting prospect for this course specialist, but we might as well have a go for the big one too.

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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