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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Bjerregaard and Olesen look ready to retain their title

Denmark the team to beat in St Albans

Lucas Bjerregaard was awesome in China on Sunday
1 of 1

Sky Sports Golf, midday Saturday

Palmer's top tip
Denmark 7-1

The GolfSixes is a Marmite event – loved and loathed in equal measure – and punters need to treat the latest European Tour offering with more caution than they would a standard tournament. It is impossible to be confident of successfully predicting six-hole sprints.

Over such short matches, anyone can beat anyone, particularly with perfect weather forecast for St Albans and birdies freely available. That said, one team should be clear favourites for the two-day jamboree, and bookmakers are less certain, so an investment is recommended in the defending champions.

Danish duo Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjorn Olesen have already shown their love for GolfSixes, going unbeaten through the group stages last year before beating France and Italy and crushing Australia in the final. The inaugural champions are not being shown enough respect in the market for this edition.

Having experience of the competition from last year is invaluable, given its unusual nature, with walk-on music, mascots, a fourth-hole shot-clock, the compulsory jollity, and, of course, the greensomes format. This type of game is not often played and it suits the combination of Bjerregaard and Olesen.

The Danes are both aggressive players who like to thrash at their ball with their drivers. Getting two bites of the cherry off the tee provides fantastic freedom for this dynamic duo and they should be able to play their second shot from a long way down the fairway at the second, third, fourth and sixth holes.

Only ten players have retained their places in the GolfSixes from last year, and there are only two identical teams – Denmark and Thailand. The Danes are a settled pairing, the only course winners in the field, have been housed in an easy-looking Group A and have arrived in decent form. It was a shock to find prices as big as 7-1.

Bjerregaard was struggling to adjust to life as a father and a golfer – his first child arrived in December – but he closed with a 64 for sixth place in the China Open on Sunday to find his A-game just in time for the Sixes.

Olesen played some solid golf over the final three days in China and he relishes team events. The four-time European Tour champion won the World Cup for Denmark alongside Soren Kjeldsen at the end of 2016.

European Women is the weakest team in the tournament, and highlights the mishmash constitution of this gathering - Mel Reid, who is English, plays for the European Women in an event featuring an England Women side.

Denmark will be disgusted with themselves if they fail to progress from a group containing European Women (Reid and Carlota Ciganda), Thailand (Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee) and USA (Daniel Im and David Lipsky). Denmark should edge Thailand.

From there, the main threats to Denmark are probably Spain (Pablo Larrazabal and Adrian Otaegui), who should comfortably progress from Group B. Group C and Group D are much more competitive.

Staking plan
1pt each-way 7-1 Betfred


Course Centurion Club (first six holes), St Albans, Hertfordshire, England

Prize money €1m (€100,000 each member of winning team)

Length 2,335 yards

Par 24

Field 16 teams of two

Format Teams are split into four groups of four, competing in six-hole round-robin matches on Saturday, before the top two teams from each group progress to the knockout stages – the quarter-finals, semi-finals, third-place playoff and final – on Sunday.

In the group stages, three points are awarded for a victory, with one point for a draw. If teams are level on points, 'holes won' differential will be used to settle ties.

If this method does not resolve the tie, it will be the result of the match between the two countries. If this still does not resolve the tie, it will be decided by a one-hole playoff.

All the matches are greensomes matchplay (both players tee off, the team select their best drive, and they play alternate shot from there). The fourth is the 'shot clock hole', where players taking longer than 30 seconds to hit their shot will be given a one-shot penalty.

Course winners taking part Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjorn Olesen

When to bet By 10.52am Saturday

Last week – China Open 1 A Bjork (40-1), 2 A Otaegui (55-1), T3 J Smith (80-1), J Campillo (40-1), M Wallace (70-1), 6 L Bjerregaard (200-1), T7 A Wu (100-1), J Wang (50-1), P Dunne (22-1), J Choi (250-1)

Course overview The six-hole sprints will take place over a 175-yard par-three, a 476-yard par-four, a 526-yard par-five, a 486-yard par-four, a 136-yard par-three and a 536-yard par-five. The Centurion Club was designed by Simon Gidman in 2013 and woodland flanks the first five holes. The sixth is an open and inviting par-five offering potential last-gasp eagles. Bentgrass greens are firm, true and undulating.

Story of last year Danish duo Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjorn Olesen took the title, defeating Australian pair Sam Brazel and Scott Hend in the final

Weather forecast Clear, sunny and pleasant for both days, with light breezes

Type of player suited to challenge Experience of last year's event is an advantage given the quirky nature of proceedings. Fast players who will not be worried about the shot-clock, and those who relish big crowds, are favoured.

Power off the tee provides an edge because two of the six holes are par-fives and teams get two drives to pick from. Length, allied to accurate approaches and sharp short-game work is the golden ticket

Key attribute Power

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Having experience of the competition from last year is invaluable
E.W. Terms
Sky bet