Francesco Set For Chinese Glory


After Lee Westwood’s comfortable victory in Malaysia last week, the European Tour has now shifted its attention to the Volvo China Open.  Many expect that Ian Poulter will back up his fellow countryman’s success this week and continue England’s Asian invasion, but I am not one of them…

There is no denying that Poulter loves playing in the Far East, with two victories and three places in his last eight starts. He is certainly the obvious choice amongst the golf expert tipsters, but 2014 has provided the golfing world with a long list of surprise winners and I believe this week will continue the trend.

So who is going to win you ask? Well, I am not one to delve into the stats and facts of the professional golfers on tour and the history of the tournament in question. Predicting a winner, in my opinion is 25% knowledge and 75% luck, especially based on this year so far. I think I possess a strong knowledge of the European Tour, as I watch it from start to finish on a weekly basis. Also, being Irish means that luck is never far away, although it is not always of the good sort.

Drum roll please…the winner of the 20th Volvo China Open to be held at Shenzen Genzon Golf Club, will be…Mr. Molinari. Which one? Francesco, the shorter one of the two brothers! OK, it will not be a huge surprise if he wins, but he is not expected to by the masses! The world number 52 (a 25/1 shot) has had a very consistent season so far, with a top 5 finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month, being his best result this year. The Italian (not so much stallion) has yet to finish outside the top 40 in his seven starts in 2014, and this is one trend that I can all but guarantee will continue. I feel that now is the time for his consistency to pay off. All I need is the 75% of luck to back me up…

When I looked through the field for this week’s tournament, two other unfancied golfers caught my eye for a potential Top 10 finish and one other so called ‘outsider’ looks good for a top 5 finish. The South Korean, Jin Jeong (18/1 for a top 10 finish) has the smoothest swing in the game at the moment, in my opinion (even though he missed the cut last week in Malaysia!). The current holder of the Perth Open will win again, maybe not this week, but I suspect he will be much higher up the leaderboard than last week, especially if he can add some heat to his putter.

Two other players to keep an eye on are both from Australia. No, the defending champion, Brett Rumford is not one of them… instead I am interested in the 2013 OneAsia Order of Merit winner, Matthew Griffin and Mr. 55 himself, Rhein Gibson. Griffin plays in Asia all year round and I feel he is due to make an impact on the big stage this week. At 18/1 for a top 10 finish, it is worth a small punt…

Rhein Gibson, who has qualified for this year’s Open at Royal Liverpool G.C, is having a solid year. An astonishing closing 62 at the Indonesian Open a few weeks ago, almost saw him come from nowhere to lift the title, where he eventually finished second. A very commendable tie for fourth place at the China Masters last October, which was won by Charl Schwartzel, proves that Gibson will go into the tournament this week with an abundance of confidence and a top 5 finish this week (at 25/1) is worth a flutter.

I will be crossing my toes and fingers this week hoping that these four golfers do not let me down. Just remember that golf tipping is 75% luck, so if I am lucky, you will be too! PS Any errors in the article are due to me being an amateur…

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