The Australian Open returns to The Lakes Golf Club, NSW, for the first time since 2012 and a brief glance at previous winners at The Lakes is all you need to know about what type of test we are looking at.
2012 – Peter Senior
2011 – Greg Chalmers
Peter Senior and Greg Chalmers!
Both are/were short hitters (i should add that 2 years ago Peter Senior was out-driving one of the longest hitters at my local club at the pro-am, so it’s all relative…) so we don’t want to be looking at bombers around this place necessarily.
It is a par 72 parklands course and short at 6,910 yards, there are trees and bunkers on the front 9 and lots of water on the back. You need to think your way around here and you need to be a good putter. The greens are big and undulating and 3 putt avoidance will be one of the keys to building a decent score.
So who wins it?
Americans Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Keegan Bradley are vying for favouritism with young Aussie Cameron Smith with PGA Tour stars Abraham Ancer and Ben An in the next group with last year’s winner Cameron Davis and European Tour player Anirban Lahiri.
Kuchar won last week for the first time since 2014 so he’ll be in a relaxed state of mind but that can work both ways so we’ll give him a swerve.
Cam Smith has had some brilliant results in the US in 2018, none better than his 5th placed finish at The Masters and he was 6th on the PGA Tour in 3 putt avoidance in 2017 but $9 best odds? No thanks.
Keegan Bradley looks the best bet at the top of the market. He has returned to close to his best form after dropping out of the world’s top 100 in 2017. He won the BWW Championship in September and finished 6th in his last start. He is accurate off the tee and has been putting brilliantly.
2 units Keegan Bradley at $12 with NEDS
Anirban Lahiri is the player I like from the next group as his game should be perfectly suited to The Lakes and he looks like he’s just returned to form with a T10 last week behind Kuchar at the Mayakoba in Mexico.
1 unit Anirban Lahiri at $29 with NEDS
A player who has been making big waves on the PGA Tour – China Series is Kiwi, Nick Voke. He made 14 of 15 cuts in his first year as a professional, winning three times. He spent 4 years at IOWA State University and was quoted as saying he was a bit rusty before his T55 at the NSW Open last week. He should be ready to go here and at the sort of odds we may not see for long about him winning an event of this standard.
1 unit win Nick Voke at $61 with TAB
1 unit top 5 at $13 with TAB