We take a look at the favourites for the Perth International this week.
It may appear to some that the ISPS Handa Perth International being held at Lake Karrinyup this week is some flash in the pan tournament with little or no significance. Co-sanctioned by the the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour, there is plenty at stake for many of the players in the field; Race to Dubai points, tour of merit points, world ranking points, and obviously money. Not to mention the winner receives a berth in the World Golf Championship HSBC Champions event.
The event will be broadcast to 350 million homes in over 65 countries and it is the richest in Australia this summer. A $2million purse is on offer and even those who have pocketed a bit of appearance money to grace the fairways of Lake Karrinyup will be more than happy to grab a decent share of it.
So who are the favourites to win this week? According to the bookies, it’s these five:
Jason Dufner ($7)
There may not be a more unassuming golfer than Jason Dufner. He looks like he’s just woken from a nap, or at least about to have one, but he’s had an incredibly successful few years. In his last 10 starts, Dufner finished the year with one victory, a second place, five top-10s and nine Top-30 finishes.
Dufner has played in Australia on a number of occasions and finished third at the Australian Masters in 2009. He will adjust easily at Lake Karrinyup and we’ll see him in the top 10 for most of the weekend.
Charl Schwartzel ($9)
Charl Schwartzel broke a lot of Aussie hearts when he beat Jason Day and Adam Scott to win the 2011 US Masters with some incredible golf. He has struggled for form this year and I’m a little surprised at his short odds but should feel reasonably at home in Perth with plenty of South Africans cheering him on.
As a side note, Schwartzel appeared to be one of the more relaxed guys at last year’s Presidents Cup who was prone to a gag or two at the expense of Ernie Els. Funny bloke, and I can see him finding some form this week.
Bo Van Pelt ($9)
Not surprisingly, the three biggest draw cards at the Perth International round out the top three favourites. Bo Van Pelt isn’t exactly well known in Australia but he has slowly gone from your everyday PGA Tour golfer to one of its best, despite not claiming a win in 2012.
He finished the year very well with two Top-10 finishes at the final FedEx Cup events and pocketed just over $3million in 2012. Keep an eye on him as he did well post-season last year with a win in Malaysia.
Greg Chalmers ($15)
Here is the guy that should be outright favourite and at $15, Greg Chalmers is a pretty good bet. Chalmers returns to his home town of Perth after a very good end to his PGA Tour season. A top-10 finish at The Barclays finally saw Chalmers with some confidence and played decent golf in his final two FedEx Cup events.
Chalmers currently sits at 58th in the world golf rankings. A top-50 spot by the end of the year guarantees him a spot in all of next year’s majors and WGC events. Back home, good form and an incentive to perform. Snake’s your man.
Brett Rumford ($26)
Another Sandgroper, Brett Rumford will feel right at home at Lake Karrinyup this week. Rumford is one of those golfers who I’ve often felt is only a few tournaments away from going to the next level, but has frustratingly fell short of a big victory on a number of occasions.
Rumford has had a disappointing year by his standards, especially off the tee. If he straightens up he will be looking for at a good finish in Perth. Sponsored by Perth Tourism, I’m guessing they’ll be hoping for a good finish too.
OPINION Tiresome shake-up of professional golf is a circus and bad for public golf
Open champion Cameron Smith won't comment on LIV Golf League rumour
WATCH Shoe Golf with Jimmy Fallon and Michael Strahan
Nick Faldo breaks down as he departs golf commentary
Ashleigh Buhai wins the AIG Women’s Open after play-off for first major title: video highlights