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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Ryan Fox is in with a sniff of glory at World Super 6

New Zealander can flourish in unusual format

New Zealand's Ryan Fox
1 of 1

Starts 10.40pm Wednesday
Live on Sky Sports Golf, 5am Thursday

The World Super 6 made its debut on the European Tour last year and was hailed a huge success.

Crowds lapped up the mixed strokeplay and matchplay format, won by local favourite Brett Rumford in Perth, but having a series of six-hole matches to decide a tournament winner was not every punter's cup of tea.

Those who had backed Rumford to win the tournament would have been aghast on Saturday to see him five shot clear after three rounds only to have four short-form clashes to get through to make sure he got his hands on the prize.

That scenario has led to Sky Bet posting only a market on the 54-hole winner at this stage while many firms accompany that offering with a tournament winner market as well.

So it is a matter of personal taste whether punters wish to concentrate on the finding the tournament winner, adopt a three-round approach or a mixture of the two.

Each has its merits and disadvantages, but with a long way to go before the champion is crowned, a lot can happen so selections will be based on the 54-hole market, with a chance to go in again before the matchplay stage.

Wilkerson's top tip
Ryan Fox 25-1
There are some more familiar names in this week's field with Lee Westwood and Andrew 'Beef' Johnston making the trip to Western Australia, and former Masters champion Danny Willett heads down under in search of some much-needed confidence.

However, the field does not look particularly strong and there is a good opportunity for New Zealander Ryan Fox to make a bold show in the first three rounds.

Fox reached the matchplay stage last year, only to fall at the first hurdle on Sunday, but he heads to Lake Karrinyup at least safe in the knowledge that he is capable of putting together three solid rounds.

He should be confident having claimed third spot in the Maybank Championship in Malaysia last week, which lifted him after some inconsistent results in Europe in the last 12 months. 

However, some of those average efforts were against fields that were much stronger than the one he will face this week and if he can produce the form that saw him post consecutive top-ten finishes at last year's French, Irish and Scottish Opens, he will have a good chance.

Next best
Yusaku Miyazato 33-1
The tournament is co-sanctioned by the European, Australian and Asian Tours and it would not be a surprise if one of Japan's finest, Yusaku Miyazato, shows his ability.

The 37-year-old has been around for a while - he shot two holes in one in the same round at the Reno-Tahoe Open in 2006 - but despite the disappointment of missing the cut at last month's Sony Open in Hawaii, he has been in some blistering form.

Miyazato claimed four victories, two second places and eight other top-ten finishes on the Japanese Tour in 2017, while his 27th at last week's Maybank Championship included a 66 and a 67 on Friday and Saturday.

Other selections
Brett Rumford 35-1
Seung-Su Han 50-1
Brett Rumford's backers were left to sweat last year after he completed the three strokeplay events five shots ahead of the field before holding his nerve to come through four knockout matches and claim his sixth European Tour title.

While course experience was not a big factor in the Perth International at Lake Karrinyup - three of the last five winners were event debutants - the fact that it is Rumford's local course where he frequently practices can hardly be regarded as a disadvantage.

His short game is a big strength that can come to the fore and he was able to rest away from last week's sticky heat in Malaysia having played well in patches on his way to a tie for 37th at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Like Miyazato, Seung-Su Han is another Japanese Tour regular who can make a big impression.

The 31-year-old from Incheon has risen to 87th in the world rankings, having had a victory, three seconds and three thirds in Japan in 2017.

He should also be spurred on by a decent showing in the Abu Dhabi Championship, where he finished 27th after recovering well from a disappointing opening 73.

Others to note
Lee Westwood
Westwood has to be considered a force in this company, particularly if he can replicated the form he showed in hitting 62 in his second round at the Maybank.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat
The burly Thai will be a popular attraction in Perth and could flourish with the support of the crowd. He has missed just one of his last 16 cuts.

David Lipsky
The American finished ninth at the venue in the Perth International two years ago and has decent recent form. He was 17th in Malaysia last week after taking sixth at the Dubai Desert Classic.

Danny Willett
With one top-20 finish in the 20 tournaments he has played in the last year, the former Masters champion is a treble-figure price and will probably be delighted to make the cut.

Andrew Johnston
Beef will pull in the crowds and should be encouraged by his ninth in Abu Dhabi and finishing 27th last week.

Staking plan
R Fox to be 54-hole leader
1.5pts each-way 25-1 bet365, Betway
Y Miyazato to be 54-hole leader
1pt each-way 33-1 Betway, Boyles, Sky Bet
B Rumford to be 54-hole leader
1pt each-way 35-1 bet365
S-S Han to be 54-hole leader
1pt each-way 50-1 Betway

The lowdown

Course Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Perth, Australia
Prize money €1.26m (€210,255 to the winner)
Length 7,143 yards Par 72 Field 156

Course records – 72 holes 259 Ernie Els (2003 Johnnie Walker Classic) 18 holes 63 Retief Goosen (2002 Johnnie Walker Classic), Craig Spence (2003 Johnnie Walker Classic), James Morrison (2014).

Course winners taking part Thorbjorn Olesen, Brett Rumford
When to bet By 10.40pm Wednesday
Where to watch Live on Sky Sports 4 from 5am Thursday
Time difference Perth is eight hours ahead of the UK and Ireland

Last week – Maybank Championship 1 S Sharma (50-1), 2 J Campillo (100-1), T3 P Larrazabal (125-1), R Fox (90-1), T5 N Bertasio (150-1), R Ishikawa (125-1), K Joshi (500-1), H Tanihara (80-1), D Frittelli (25-1).

Format Last year was the first time the mixed strokeplay and matchplay format was played on the European Tour and it was hailed as a big success. 

The tournament will be a conventional strokeplay event for the first three rounds before a series of knockout six-hole matches will decide the winner on Sunday from the top 24 players.

The competition is also sanctioned by the Australasian and Asian Tours.

Course overview Lake Karrinyup was first used on the European Tour for the 2002 Johnnie Walker Classic and staged the Perth International between 2012 and 2014 and last year, when it moved from October to be played in February.

The course was designed around bushland and a natural lake. It is hilly with wide fairways and hard and fast greens. It is littered with bunkers, and water comes into play only at the third hole.

The uphill 454-yard par-four sixth is the most difficult challenge, while the 220-yard par-three eighth is another brute. The short, downhill par-three 12th has a tiny green which is notoriously tricky to hit when the wind is up, which is often the case in Perth.

Scoring opportunities are plentiful, though, with four short par-fours of 322 (first hole), 376 (ninth), 368 (tenth) and 330 (14th) yards.

Three of the four par-fives (the third, 11th and 15th) are also there for the taking, but the 612-yard seventh is no pushover. As with most Australian courses, there is bundles of pace and borrow in the greens, along with plenty of run-off areas around them.

Weather forecast Don't expect any rain but winds are expected to reach 15mph and could prove a factor, particularly during afternoon play.

Type of player suited to challenge With wide fairways, this is a course where accurate iron-players should thrive. An ability to handle wind is required. A soft touch on and around slick greens is essential as is a firm grasp of the novelty of the event.

Key attribute Touch/putting

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He should be confident as well having claimed third spot in the Maybank Championship in Malaysia last week
E.W. Terms
Sky bet