Tue, Nov 22, 11:32am by Senior Writer
Australian pair Adam Scott and Marc Leishman go into this weekend’s World Cup of Golf at Melbourne’s Kingston Heath as $5.50 favourites with Sportsbet to defend the title won by Scott and Jason Day three years ago.
A dominant display by Day spearheaded that 2013 success at nearby Royal Melbourne Golf Course, but the world no.1 has opted to rest his troublesome back rather than return home to defend his title.
Leishman, a top-five major placegetter on three occasions, is No.53 in the world but was fifth in the recent CIMB Classic on the US PGA Tour and is well-grounded in playing in Melbourne’s famous sand belt, having grown up in Victoria.
Scott’s Australian Open showing was a little disappointing as he struggled on the Royal Sydney greens to finish in a tie for 14th, six shots off eventual winner Jordan Spieth.
The partnership between Scott and Leishman will be crucial, with the return to the 2011 format, where it is now a 72-hole stroke play.
The first and third days are in the foursomes format, which sees players take shots alternatively, while the second and fourth days are four-ball best ball, where the only best score counts.
The alternate shot will be a particularly interesting challenge for the teams, but given Scott and Leishman’s superior experience on the sandbelt courses, it is little wonder they are favourites.
Japan are second pick at $8.50 and feature rising star Hideki Matsuyama, who is now world No.6 after his recent seven-shot win in the HSBC Champions event in China. That makes him the highest ranked golfer in the event.
Matsuyama is the next global superstar of golf and Aussie fans are blessed to get a chance to see him in action alongside Ryo Ishikawa.
The United States are $9 and are missing top-10 ranked players Dustin Johnson, Spieth and Bubba Watson.
Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker are ranked 12th and 20th respectively and are hardly mugs. Fowler finished top five in all four majors in 2014, while Walker of course won the 2016 US PGA at Baltusrol.
Given they are the only team with two players inside the top 20, they look good value.
Spain join them on the third line of betting on $9, with Rafael Cabrera-Bello, currently world No.32, leading the team after finishing third in the World Matchplay in March. He is joined by Jon Rehm, who recently turned professional after a stellar amateur career where he was world No.1 and he was the low amateur at the 2016 US Open. He’s a player well worth following,
England ($12) are represented by consistent European Tour players Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan, while 2016 US Open runner-up Shane Lowry pairs with 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowall to represent Ireland ($13).
The surprise packet could be South Korea, who are $17 to win the tournament. An-Byeong-hun and Kim Kyung-tae may not be household names, but they have outstanding career records and will be more than competitive.
Sweden are $13 and feature Alexander Noren, who is currently world No.9 and has cause to be named the most in-form golfer in the world this year. He has won four tournaments since July including the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa by six shots last week. He is partnered by David Lingmerth, who was 12th in this year’s US Open and won on the US Tour last year.
Suggested Bet: The US look value at $9.
World Cup of Golf – Sportsbet market
South Korea $17
New Zealand $29
South Africa $29
Chinese Taipei $126
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