isps handa world invitational

We have the Olympics tournament this week, while on the European Tour we have another new, hybrid tournament the ISPS Handa World International. Although strip away the sales pitch, and it will play pretty much as a regulation European Tour event (and from a betting perspective this is how it’ll be treated).

A mixed men/women line-up, but unlike the recent Scandinavian Masters, there are two leaderboards, not one combined listing.

ISPS Handa World International: The Tournament

Here’s the official take on this week’s European event… “the $3m ISPS HANDA World Invitational is one of the most innovative events in world golf. Two separate tournaments (144 men and 144 women) competing on the same courses at the same time, for two equal prize funds of $1.5m each in this first of its kind event in the Northern Hemisphere. This is a tri-sanctioned event between the European Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour.” In other words, despite all the window-dressing, it’s almost business as usual on the men’s and women’s circuit – the only difference is these two events are taking place at the same course. One thing to note, there will be a cut after Round 2 (the top 60 players progress) and after Saturday (only the top 35 will play Round 4 on Sunday).

ISPS Handa World International: The Course

The host venue is Galgorm Castle, situated North-West of Belfast. The course hosted last year’s Irish Open. Again, according to the official literature it is… “one of Northern Ireland’s finest parklands. The Championship layout is nestled in the heart of the historic 220-acre Galgorm Castle estate. Consistently rated as one of the best championship courses in the leading industry golf publication rankings”. The players will play each of the Galgorm course (7,005 yards) and the adjacent, older Massereene course (6,827 yards) on Thursday and Friday then, after the halfway cut, it’s two rounds at just the main championship course. Both parklands layouts should prove more of a test of precision over power, although scoring should be good if conditions allow.

ISPS Handa World International: The Field

For the men’s tournament, there are 144 players lining up. Andy Sullivan is the $10 outright favourite with TopSport.

ISPS Handa World International: The Weather

The players will see the weather improve through the week, with the daily precipitation forecast of 80%-30%-20%-10% over the course of the tournament. Temperatures will only peak in the mid 60s on Friday, with plenty of cloud cover. Wind speeds will be breezy at 10-15mph for the four days.

ISPS Handa World International: Value Bets

John Catlin $23 with TopSport
It’s no great surprise that the American won the Irish Open here in 2020, with his arrow-straight game an ideal fit for Galgorm. That victory was the middle of three European Tour successes since the middle of last year as Catlin has become a very potent threat on tour, when conditions suit. He currently ranks 8th Driving Accuracy, 11th Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green and 27th Strokes Gained: Around The Green – which explains why he figures so highly on my ratings this week. The key to his chances, like many golfers, is if the putter is warm. Occasionally stone-cold, but when he putts well, Catlin is a potential winner every time he tees it up – he ranked 9th Putting when winning for us recently in Austria. This isn’t a strong field, and with positive vibes from last year, Catlin looks a very decent EW bet here this week.

Nicolai Hojgaard $58 with TopSport
Much like Shinkwin, Hojgaard is another monster off the tee – ranking 7th for Driving Distance. But as his ranking for Greens-In-Regulation (20th) would suggest, his iron play is just as reliable. And but for his main weakness (putting) then the young Dane would surely have emulated his twin brother, Rasmus, who is already a European Tour winner – when landing the Mauritius Open for us at 200/1 in 2019. But on the pick of his form, Hojgaard is right in the mix this week for me. Last time out he was 14th in the Cazoo Open, and has posted Top 10s in Austria and the Canary Islands. In what looks a very open tournament, the Danish golfer is another who merits support.

The Golf Insider is a GUN. Look at these winners, all since the start of 2020...

Martin Laird $201, Rasmus Hojgaard $151, Mark Hubbard $126, Marc Warren $101, Sam Burns $67, Tyrell Hatton $51, Peter Malnati $46, John Catlin $46, Talor Gooch $41, Harold Varner $36, Harris English $34, Robert Macintyre $31, Adri Arnaus $26, Connor Syme $26, Scott Jamieson $24, JB Holmes $21, Seamus Power $21, Dustin Johnson $21

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