There were two surprise winners over the weekend, Andrew Johnston, his maiden win on the Spanish Open and Branden Grace in the USPGA at Hilton Head. The other surprising element of the Spanish Open was that the winner carded an over the par total, the first time this has happened since Justin Rose won the U.S. Open in Merion in 2013 and on the European Tour since 20 years ago when Ian Woosnam won the Scottish Open. Joist Luiten maintained his fine form finishing second. Second too was Luke Donald who had slumped to 95th in the rankings. The 38 year old did not seem to have the competitive steel of Grace as he was tourney leader after 3 rounds but the South African, a powerful finisher, won by two strokes.
Betting wise I had backed Kevin Na for a top five finsh and Soren Kjeldesn, another in top form also finished top 5. Steve Palmer did not have a column in the Racing Post so Ian Wilkerson, a Scottish football analyst took the reins. I did not fancy any of his predictions except Joost Luiten but did not back him. Luke Donald has a fine record at Hilton Head so it was surprising that pundit Jeremy Chapman find not advocate him.
Over the weekend I was called by a close friend who adopts a more research driven approach to golf considering the data of previous winners, winds and so forth. My own view is that luck plays an important role in any sport. Such cerebral analysis might have produced a profit on Donald but does not cater for the wayward shot into the woods that ended up with a good lie as happened with Donald. Nor in football does it take into account bad refereeing decisions and fortuitous deflections which you see in every game. It is because the bookies will always outwit any system that I’m happy to confine myself to a tenner.