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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Stylish Stalter can push Aphibarnrat all the way

Frenchman looks the best value selection

Kiradech Aphibarnrat is 2-1 to triumph at The Dutch
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Story so far

Kiradech Aphibarnrat holed a long birdie putt at the 18th hole of round three to edge one shot clear at the top of the KLM Open leaderboard at The Dutch course, Holland.

Aphibarnrat, who was freely available at 50-1 for the title on tournament-eve, is 2-1 favourite with 18 holes to play. The Thai holds a narrow advantage over European Tour maiden Romain Wattel.

Lee Westwood is the biggest name on the leaderboard, the former world number one sharing fourth place, three shots off the pace.

Joost Luiten topped the ante-post betting, but the Dutchman flopped on home ground, missing the cut by a shot. Bernd Wiesberger, the highest ranked player in the field, is seven shots behind Aphibarnrat and 50-1 for a remarkable final-round fightback.


-14 Kiradech Aphibarnrat
-13 Romain Wattel
-12 Joel Stalter
-11 Lee Westwood, Sebastian Heisele, Joakim Lagergren
-9 Justin Walters, Austin Connelly, Matteo Manassero, George Coetzee
-8 Matt Wallace, Richard Finch
-7 Eddie Pepperell, Ashun Wu, Bernd Wiesberger

Best prices

2 K Aphibarnrat, 4 R Wattel, 7 L Westwood, 8 J Lagergren, 14 J Stalter, 22 S Heisele, 25 G Coetzee, 40 A Connelly, 45 M Wallace, 50 B Wiesberger, M Manassero, 66 E Pepperell, J Walters, 100 bar

Final-round advice

Kiradech Aphibarnrat drained a magnificent left-to-right slider to close round three, then bowed to the astonished galleries, the Thai seemingly loving every minute of being in the thick of things.

Aphibarnrat, a calm man who spent some time living as a monk in 2014, has a strong temperament and is always to be respected when in contention for low-grade titles like this one.

The chunky Thai already has three European Tour victories under his belt, having turned 28 in July, and it is probably not the mental side of things which will deny him a fourth in Holland on Sunday. Technically, though, there are a couple of question marks.

Firstly, loose driving has always been an issue for him, and waywardness off the tee has destroyed many an Aphibarnrat scorecard. Secondly, he may still have a lot of swing thoughts in his head, having started working with new coach Pete Cowen in January. Swing changes can take an age to become second nature and it has been almost eight months since Aphibarnrat seriously contended for a European Tour title. Is he comfortable enough to successfully defend a one-shot lead?

The best-price 2-1 Aphibarnrat is not quite juicy enough to take the risk. But where does the value lie? Romain Wattel found his A-game in round three with a bogey-free 64 and is obviously a threat, but the maiden typically tightens up badly when in with a breakthrough chance.

The putting of Lee Westwood will probably cost him victory, while Joakim Lagergren may prove too wild from tee to green. Austin Connelly, a Racing Post Sport ante-post selection at 150-1, has an opportunity to claim the place money, but will need serious fireworks to catch the leader.

The most attractive outright wager at this stage is Joel Stalter, who was quietly impressive in the final group in round three, swinging smoothly and impressively. At 14-1, from two shots behind, alone in third place, the 25-year-old Frenchman is being disrespected.

Stalter's maiden Challenge Tour victory came just over a year ago, and two birdies in his final four holes of round three have set up an excellent opportunity on the main circuit. He restored some confidence after a lean spell with fifth place in an Alps Tour event last week and has carried that form to Holland. Bet365 are going 14-1, offering each-way terms of a quarter the first three.

J Stalter
1pt each-way 14-1 bet365

He restored some confidence after a lean spell with fifth place in an Alps Tour event last week
E.W. Terms
Sky bet