10-1 Siem can shoot low and push for Wales win
STORY SO FAR
THONGCHAI JAIDEE has won four events on the European Tour, but all of them have come in Asia. Now the Thai terror has a chance to claim his first title on the mainland, taking a one-shot lead into the final round of the Wales Open.
Jaidee was a 125-1 rag at the start of the Celtic Manor shootout, but he is no bigger than 3-1 with 18 holes to play. The leaderboard is congested, though, so several players still have high hopes of catching the pacesetter.
Pre-tournament favourites Francesco Molinari and Paul Lawrie are not really among them though. Molinari has a ten-shot deficit to make up, while Lawrie also needs to produce Sunday fireworks if he is to triumph from eight behind.
-7 Thongchai Jaidee
-6 Ross Fisher, Joost Luiten
-5 Tim Sluiter
-4 Carlos Del Moral, Marcel Siem
-3 Mark Foster, Richard McEvoy, George Coetzee
3 T Jaidee, 100-30 R Fisher, 4 J Luiten, 10 M Siem, 16 G Coetzee, 20 T Sluiter, 22 C Del Moral, 33 bar
THONGCHAI JAIDEE has never looked at ease when contending for titles away from his Far East comfort zone and the Thai is a vulnerable leader going into the Celtic Manor finale.
He made some schoolboy course-management errors over the closing holes of round three and is likely to wobble further in the heat of a Sunday shootout.
Ross Fisher has made a welcome return to form this week at the scene of his Ryder Cup debut and the Englishman has more chance of finishing the job, but it has been almost two years since he seriously contended for a title. A toe injury which saw him hobbling in the latter stages of his third round will not help his cause either.
Cardless Dutch youngster Tim Sluiter is playing under enormous pressure and likely to wilt, Carlos Del Moral usually disappoints at the business end of tournaments, while English duo Mark Foster and Richard McEvoy don't hole enough putts to be considered possible winners from four off the pace.
The trio punters should be concentrating on are George Coetzee, Joost Luiten, Marcel Siem.
Coetzee could easily throw in a low final-round to reward RPSPORT followers who supported him ante-post at 20-1 - the brilliant South African is a birdie machine - but some back-up is definitely needed.
Luiten rocketed up the leaderboard yesterday with a 64 and may have found top gear again after a quiet few months. He won his maiden European Tour title in November (Johor Open) and is a quality ball-striker on the upgrade.
Slightly better value for victory, though, is Siem, who has been hitting his ball with great assurance for several months. The German is long overdue a second European Tour title and this is the sort of grade where he can prosper.
This time last week, Siem made a hole-in-one on his way to a final-round 69 at Wentworth and seventh place in the European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship. He was fourth in the Dubai Desert Classic in February, runner-up in the Avantha Masters the following week and has twice finished in the top-15 on the Twenty Ten Course at Celtic Manor.
Siem should shoot in the 60s today and go close to landing the trophy, seeing off Del Moral and Sluiter in the 11.35am threeball, while Coetzee also looks a solid wager against McEvoy and Foster in the 11.25am match.
Another appealing threeball punt is Romain Wattel to beat Lorenzo Gagli and Keith Horne in the 10.40am joust. Wattel enjoys this track and has been a much more convincing operator this term than his playing partners.
M Siem, 2pts 10-1 general
M Siem, 2pts 6-5 bet365
G Coetzee, 2pts 11-10 general
R Wattel, 2pts 11-8 general