Brazil 2016: Olympic Golf Course
It took well over a century but golf finally makes it’s return to the Olympics. The lead in has been overshadowed by the withdrawal of many of the top players but that will not take away from what is sure to be one of the highlights of the 2016 games.
The course itself is completely brand and designed by noen other than Gil Hansen. The course was inspired by Kingston Heath and Royal Melbourne so it comes as no surprise to hear it consistently described by ‘Very Sandy Belt’ by the players and their caddies.
There is one glaring difference though… The greens are the opposite of firm. They are playing very soft and that is unlikely to change with average temperatures and winds around the 20km per hour expected through the entire weekend.
Low scores will be the order of the week as the course shapes to play very easy. There is very little rough to speak of and the wide fairways will ensure that players can go pin seeking on more than a dozen of the holes. The fact that it is a new course should throw up some curve balls and The Wolf says to back golfers who can do three key things well: play in the wind, shoot low scores and have target like short irons.
Open Champions Henrik Stenson goes in a very short favourite and despite being in red hot form The Wolf can’t back him at that price. One man he does like though is Patrick Reed. He had a tremendous college record and always plays at his best with the stars and stripes on his back. He has nine top 10’s this season including two runner up finishes and is primed to go one better in Rio.
Emiliano Grillo made global headlines when American Airlines lost his clubs en route to Rio and could complete a fairy tale story with a win at the Olympics. One man that can shoot low is Jhonattan Vegas. The Venezuelan will feel right at home in Rio and has managed a handful of 64’s this season. The say golfers has 4-6 weeks of great golf in them per season and if that is true he is right in the zone. He won the Canadian open last month and that came after a 4th place at the Barbasol Championship where he led heading into the finals round.
Of the roughies we are leaning towards an Aussie – Marcus Fraser. The Victorian has played more than his fare share of golf along the sand belt back home and this course will suit him to a tee. He was on winner on the European Tour earlier this year and is capable of making birdies. He will get some relief at this course with his recent appearances made against top line competition at the BMW International, The Open and PGA Championship. At triple figure odds he is great value.
(ARG) Grillo v Gomez: Grillo ($1.51)
(AUS) Hend v Fraser: Fraser ($2.00)
(GBR) Rose v WIllett: Rose ($1.67)
(ITA) Manassero v Bertasio: Manassero ($1.62)
(ESP) Garcia v Cabrera Bello: Cabrera Bello ($2.45)
Don’t forget to check out our full coverage of the Olympic Games.