A tough race to call

by Golfer on

A popular place for keen students of golf during the Nedbank Golf Challenge is the practice tee, and many fans, after watching the players warm up, can be seen heading for the bookmaker’s offices prior to the players teeing off. At this year’s event there has been added interest shown by the betting public, because there are odds offered on the results of the Nedbank Senior Golf Challenge – contested by an 8-man field. Before the start of play, Nick Price was chalked up at the outright favourite to win at odds of 7 to 2, David Frost was priced at 9 to 2, with both Fred Funk and Jeff Sluman fancied at 5 to 1. Probably the students of form would have believed that these were reasonable odds, but at one point it seemed that Fulton Allem, who was something of an outsider priced at 10 to 1, might upset his more fancied rivals and the former Freestater set a cracking pace getting to 4-under par at the turn, and was three shots clear of the field.

Standing(left to right): Ernie Els, Anders Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ross Fisher, Justin Rose, Robert Allenby and Retief Goosen.

Standing(left to right): Ernie Els, Anders Hanson, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ross Fisher, Justin Rose, Robert Allenby and Retief Goosen.

A double-bogey on the 11th hole followed by two more dropped shots and a birdie saw Allem finish on 1-under par, and he cannot be discounted. After round one price and Sluman shared the lead on 2-under. (The rank outsider according to the bookies was Tommy Armour III, who was on offer at 12 to 1, and the American shot a round of 73 – only three shots adrift and certainly not out of it after round one. Besides bets being offered on the overall winner, wagers can be taken on the low round of the day and “match bets” – where a player can be backed to beat his playing partner. In the main event, Lee Westwoodwas priced at 7 to 2 to win the tournament; Ernie Els was second favourite at 9 to 2, with Retief Goosen 7 to 1. The two outsiders were Anders Hansen and Miguel Angel Jimenez (25 to1). The best bet of the day was undoubtedly the odds offered on Padraig Harrington to shoot the low round – his supporters collected adds of 13 to 1.

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