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Rickie ready to rock in Albany

Rickie ready to rock in Albany

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The Hero World Challenge is one of the most exclusive tournaments on the calendar and with a select field of just 18, the level is sure to be high in the Bahamas.

Nine major winners are in contention at the par 72, 7,400 yards Albany Course, where the wind can often be the main deciding factor on a week known for low scoring.

Fowler to win @ 31/4

Form has often been the indicator coming into this event and Rickie Fowler had finished second at the OHL Classic the week before last year’s triumph and looks to be playing well, coming home fourth at the Shriners and 16th in Mayakoba.

Fowler fired a brilliant closing 61 to win 12 months ago, a result that came off third-place finishes in the previous two years and is a player who often thrives in breezy conditions due to penetrative ball flight.

Add that to him being 18th in the strokes gained standings in the embryonic PGA Tour campaign and third in scoring average, he looks primed for a victory after so far failing to get the job done in 2018.

Finau to win @ 15/1

There may well be other players better fancied, but the likes of 27/4 favourite Justin Rose and 31/4 Dustin Johnson hit the ball too high to succeed in Albany meaning Tony Finau stands out as a real option.

The American is a debutant at the Hero World Challenge but appears to have the characteristics to thrive at this course, especially when you consider he topped the Par 5 Performance stats for 2018.

Finau’s problem seems to be getting over the line, as he showed in losing out in a play-off at the recent HSBC Champions and one PGA Tour victory on his CV seems an anomaly for such a talented player.

This being a smaller field event, with perhaps a more relaxed feel to it, the situation may play into his hands and the fact his price seems to be creeping in suggests he is well fancied by those in the know.

Reed to win @ 19/1

Finally and it would be almost fitting if in pantomime season everyone’s favourite villain, Patrick Reed, once again finds himself in the thick of the action having been the runner-up in 2016.

Reed was trending nicely before finishing in a tie for 45th last week in Hong Kong but is not a player who seems to be troubled by travel, having finished in a tie for seventh at the WGC-HSBC Champions and then going on to finish joint-second at the DP World Tour Championship.

Another player with a penetrative ball flight, the Texan will be determined to show he has one more big performance in him after a big year which has included breaking his major duck at The Masters.

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Jack Ogalbe Jack has been a sports betting writer for over a decade and has an excellent strike rate with his suggestions. A semi-professional footballer, runner and cyclist, his sports knowledge is second to none and he knows all the stats and facts you need when considering a punt.