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Ballantine's betting preview

By David John Last updated: 20th April 2010


One of these big names is Dave John's top pick at this week's Ballantine's Championship in South Korea. Click to find out who!

Kim (third from the right if you include the girls) - can make it two wins in 2010.

Kim (third from the right if you include the girls) - can make it two wins in 2010.

The most obvious player to start with when looking ahead to this week's Ballantine's Championship is YE Yang.

The Korean major winner arrives on the back of victory at the Volvo China Open and returns to Jeju Island where he grew up on a vegetable farm before becoming involved in golf at the relatively late age of 18.

Yang admitted to being pretty nervous as he bids to live up to the huge expectations from the home galleries.

That adds to the pressure for him but to counter that, he has become an extremely good player and his victory in last year's USPGA Championship makes this type of situation one he should relish.

He tied for 43rd in this event back in 2008 but has a wealth experience to draw on since and is clearly a leading candidate at a best price of 13/1 with Sky Bet to record back-to-back titles on the European Tour.

His final round in China was far from foot-perfect but in testing conditions he showed all the right qualities by getting the job done - he must go well.

I have had this event in mind for Anthony Kim for some time and I am not going to desert him with the 11/1 available just about making him a backable price.

2009 on the PGA Tour in the USA was a bit of a write off for Kim by his own admission although he did bank almost $2 million.

Niggling injuries and a childish attitude at times to the game halted his progress following his two-win campaign in 2008 that really announced his arrival on the big stage.

An adjusted approach for 2010 has already paid dividends with a victory in Houston which was followed by a blistering closing 65 at The Masters which hauled him up to third place at Augusta.

Having tarken last week off, he tees it up with no little confidence at the moment. He said: "As far as my form is concerned, I've been scoring well. I've been playing pretty good golf.

"Pretty happy about how I'm playing, but mostly about how I'm chipping and putting. So if I can keep that up, I should be in good shape."

It is good to hear that Kim's short game is in good order as windy conditions are forecast once more on Jeju Island and the ability to make a score around the greens will be vital this week.

With a Korean heritage, this is an important week for Kim and he must be on the shortlist with a T5 in the event back in 2008 to build on.

We look to Ireland now for our next two picks - hardly original but Graeme McDowell and Peter Lawrie should both make an impact at 22/1 and 70/1 respectively.

McDowell was the champion back in 2008 but rather made a mess of his defence with rounds of 76-73 leading to a missed cut and the weekend off.

But he looks well worth another chance as his victory two years ago was after a spectacular seven iron to a foot on the third play-off hole eventually which got the better of Jeev Milkha Singh.

The pair were seven shots clear of their nearest rivals and I am sure McDowell will be keen to set the record straight this time around after his rather sheephish effort in 2009.

His T8 in China last week was solid and a closing 68 sets him very nicely indeed in a bid to regain the title.

Lawrie can't be far away from a win himself and his closing 66 in this event last year shows he can handle the conditions.

He has been knocking on the door already in 2010 with three top-10s to date and it can only be a matter of time before things all fall into place and notches a really big finish.

This part of April is very much his time of year with next week's Open de Espana an event in which Lawrie also excels and I expect him to be a player to follow over the next fortnight.

Favourite Ernie Els is a major threat with two wins under his belt already in Florida.

This is his first long-haul journey of the season and he has put his resurgence down to less travelling from his new base in the United States.

He has arrived in Korea nice and early though to get settled in and his top five finish here 12 months ago bodes well but another big performance.

Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee is another player in the mix though a recent elbow injury sustained at The Masters will not have been helped by his exploits on the 72nd hole in China where he spent 10 minutes hacking around in some very thick rough.


3pts win Anthony Kim at 11/1 (bet365, Blue Square). Keen to do well in this event and recent form makes him the man to beat.

1pt e.w. Graeme McDowell at 22/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 bet365, Paddy Power). Winner here in 2008 and can make another bold bid.

1pt e.w. Peter Lawrie at 70/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Boylesports). Knocking on the door in 2010 and has come good in April before.

  • Preview posted at 1430BST on 20/04/2010.

    David John

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