The venue: Hillside GC, Southport, England
Date: May 9-12, 2019
Course stats: Par 72, 6,953 yards
Course summary: Considered by many as worthy of holding an Open, Hillside is a course of contrasts. The front nine is exceptionally well manicured, to a links style that reminds of Carnoustie, while the back nine plays host to the wild dunes you’d expect to see in Ireland. The 10th is one of the best short par 3s in Britain, while the view from the 11th is breathtaking.
Purse: £3 million
Defending champion: Eddie Pepperell (-9)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 10.30am and 3.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 10.30am and 3.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf, 12.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf, 10am
British Masters betting tips: Steve’s players to follow
Victor Dubuisson (40/1 with bet365) finished just outside the top 10 in China and that was his fourth top 20 since returning from long-term injury at the back end of last year.
The Frenchman is an elegant ball-striker and Hillside could very well find favour with the 2014 Ryder Cup hero.
Dubuisson is currently hitting more than 70 per cent of his fairways off the tee – his best European Tour stats for five years – and is also getting back to his best with his approach shots.
His form on links tracks is patchy but he did finish inside the top 10 at nearby Hoylake in the 2014 Open, and also can look back at a decent displays in the Scottish Open and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the recent past.
I’ll also have another small, and speculative, punt on another player who has suffered with injury but may be showing signs of being on the comeback trail.
The last of Bernd Weisberger’s four European Tour titles came in 2017 but a wrist injury a year ago left him sidelined for seven months.
It was bound to take some time to return to tip-top shape from that kind of setback and he’s spent more than his fair share of weekends at home this year.
But the Austrian (55/1) followed up a tied 23rd in Morocco with a tie for 14th in China and might soon be ready to challenge once again.
Jordan Smith (25/1) could have won the British Masters 12 months ago but for a poor final round. A closing 73 meant he had to settle for tied 3rd as Eddie Pepperell took the honours but the Englishman seems to be to be knocking on the door for his second European Tour success.
Tied 5th last week, that followed a top 20 in Morocco and a top 10 at the Maybank Championship so the 26-year-old is definitely firing on all cylinders.
And what of the host? With the PGA Championship in New York next week meaning the field is shorn of some of the continent’s bigger players, Southport native Tommy Fleetwood is definitely the class act.
But it’s proved incredibly difficult to both host and try carry off the crown. Justin Rose finished top 10 last year but was never really the mix, while Lee Westwood led briefly at Close House before fading away in 2017.
Runner-up at the Zurich Classic with Sergio Garcia last time out, that was a step up on a couple of ordinary displays.
If he can repeat the form that saw him play well for so long at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players, he’d have every chance.
I’d be surprised, though, if he wasn’t presenting the trophy rather than picking it up come Sunday afternoon.
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