ISPS HANDA Vic Open Preview: How to watch on TV in the UK plus European Tour Betting Tips
There’s a lot you need to know about the ISPS HANDA Vic Open taking place in Australia this week.
For the first time, both the European Tour and women’s LPGA Tour events will take place on the same courses with separate tournaments running concurrently, and most importantly, with an equal prize fund (of $1.1 million each).
Staged at 13th Beach Golf Links in Barwon Heads, Victoria since 2013, all four rounds will be played in alternating men’s and women’s tee times on the Beach and Creek Courses, with the final two rounds being consigned to the Beach course. The key difference is that while both courses are a couple of hundred yards shorter for the women, the Creek Course also has a different par - playing a Par 73 versus a Par 72 for men thanks to the 18th hole, which is a par-four for men and par-five for women.
There is also one key difference to the way the cut is made from a regular tour event. A normal 36-hole cut will reduce each tournament to the top 65 players and ties, but a second, 54-hole cut will follow to reduce each field to the top 35 golfers and ties.
The men’s tournament is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, while the women’s event is co-sanctioned by the LPGA and the ALPGA Tour.
The women's event arguably has the bigger names taking center stage this week, including Georgia Hall, Charley Hull, Minjee Lee, Pernilla Lindberg, Morgan Pressell and several other notable figures in the women's game.
On the other hand the Vic Open is, as usual for an Australian-based event, full of potential home favourites, including the likes of Jason Scrivener, Geoff Ogilvy and Lucas Herbert.
But who should you be backing this week? Find out below (jump to: betting tips)
Par 72, 6796 yards (men) | Par 72, 6479 yards (women)
Par 72, 6940 yards (men) | Par 73, 6573 yards (women)
ISPS HANDA Vic Open: How can I watch the European and LPGA Tour on TV in the UK?
Thursday & Friday
Sky Sports Main Event (04:00), Sky Sports Golf (04:00)
Sky Sports Golf (02:00), Sky Sports Main Event (02:30)
Sky Sports Golf (01:00), Sky Sports Main Event (01:00)
European Tour (jump to: LPGA Tour tips)
Jason Scrivener: 14/1
One of the many Australians in the field, Scrivener is pegged as the co-betting favourite this week on Skybet, and it's easy to see why. In his last five starts worldwide Scrivener has three top 10s and two T16s. He also ranks inside the top five on Tour for both par-three and par-five scoring average, 14th for general scoring average and GIR, and 16th for SG: Tee to green. T11 in 2015 here.
Ryan Fox: 14/1
Also sitting at 14/1, Ryan Fox is the highest ranked player in the field from last years Race to Dubai, and comes to 13th Beach Links following a T6 at the Saudi International last week. Ranks inside the top 20 on the European Tour for SG: Off the tee, SG: Tee to green and GIR. T20 here in 2015.
Lucas Herbert: 16/1
Herbert finished T7 during his last start in Dubai after holding a share of the 54-hole lead and heads to his native Australia looking for his maiden European Tour title. Had an impressive seven top 10s last season, which includes a T7 at a different multi-venue event also played on links courses (the Alfred Dunhill Links Tournament). Ranks 17th for birdie average on European Tour. T6 at Vic Open in 2017.
Jazz Janewattanond: 20/1
His last four starts might have been on a mixture of the Asian and ADT Tour, but three top 5s and a victory (at the Singapore Open two weeks ago) is not to be ignored if he can translate that same form to the European Tour. Debut at Vic Open.
Justin Harding: 28/1
The South African finished with a final-round 63 in Saudi Arabia last week en route to a T11 finish, which followed a T7 in Dubai - so there's no concerns surrounding his form heading in, even if it is his debut. Ranks 4th for scoring average, 9th for birdie average and par-four scoring, and 7th for SG: Putting this year.
Jake McLeod: 33/1
The in-form potential home favourite has gone 1-3-T19-T34 in his last four starts, the latter at the Saudi International last week. He plays predominantly on the Australasia Tour, but with a runner-up finish here in 2017, course experience may give him an advantage.
Oliver Wilson: 40/1
He might be making his first start of 2019 and debut here, but Wilson had back-to-back top 5s in his last two starts on Tour (in South Africa in December). He also claimed two Challenge Tour titles in 2018, and ranks 4th SG: Approach the green, 9th for SG: Putting and 12th for par-four scoring.
Ben Eccles: 66/1
Looking for an each way? Ben Eccles is also making his first start of the year, but finished T6 at the Australian PGA Championship in his last event at the start of December. You could be forgiven for being concerned about the amount of time he's taken off, but Eccles has chosen his first start for a reason: Three top fives in his last four starts at the Vic Open show he's got a huge amount of course form.
Richard Green: 150/1
We'll admit it's a long shot, but bare with us. Green has played in just three events since a T45 at the Nordea Masters in August and has missed the cut in all of them, but he's also had success on this particular combination of courses. Since it moved to 13th Beach Links in 2013, Green has two top 10s and a victory here in six starts, in addition to a T14 and two MC's, so he's clearly someone who can perform here.
LPGA Tour tips: 5 to watch
Minjee Lee: 4/1
Honestly it's hard to look past Australian native Lee as the favourite to win this week. The World No.7 is a two-time Vic Open champion (in '14 as an amateur and again last year), and had an impressive 12 top-10s in addition to her fourth LPGA Tour victory in 2018.
Charley Hull: 10/2
Hull claimed her first win since 2016 in Abu Dhabi in January after two consecutive T15s, and will be looking to hold on to that momentum. It may be her debut here, but she's proved she's in great form, and the bookies are expecting her to do well.
Georgia Hall: 8/1
Before Hall became the reigning Women's British Open Champion and the World No.8, she carved out her career on the ALPG, claimed the Vic Open title by one shot in 2016 - and also finished T3 last year. Back to back top 10s prove she's in form, and likely to be a contender this week.
Anne Van Dam: 28/1
Van Dam has been on an incredible run of form on the Ladies European Tour the past couple of months, posting back-to-back victories at the end of 2018 and a T3 in her first start of the year at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Open. Dam also has course experience, finishing T20 last year and T6 in 2016 in her only two starts.
Caroline Hedwall: 33/1
Hedwall heads to Australia following a T3 at the Fatima Bint Mubarak Open at the start of the year. Prior to that she finished T28 after back-to-back runner-up finishes on the LET, and has solid experience here - a T5 in 2018 and 12th in 2017.