The Royal Pines Resort in Queensland hosts the fourth edition of the Australian PGA Championship, where Cameron Smith will defend the title he won in a play-off 12 months ago. The par 72 Championship course measures just over 7,300 yards and features tight fairways, undulating greens and a host of bunkers. There are some lengthy holes, including four huge par fives and a 230-yard par three. The inaugural edition of this tournament was won by Nathan Holman in 2016, before Harold Varner III took the title a year later.
Three players dominate the betting for this tournament, including the defending champion Smith and Varner, who is something of a course specialist. However, the market leader is Marc Leishman, the winner of last month’s CIMB Classic on the PGA Tour. Leishman, the world number 21 who finished fourth here last year, is at 5/1* across the board. Smith, ranked 33rd in the world, has posted four top 10 finishes in his last eight starts and can be backed at 6/1* with Bet365, William Hill, BetVictor and Paddy Power. Varner, who has also been in good form of late, has finished second, first and sixth on his three visits to the Royal Pines Resort. The American is a 9/1* chance with Ladbrokes, Coral and Betfred. There’s a leap in price after the top three to the Australian duo of Jason Scrivener and Lucas Herbert and Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, who are all available at best odds of 20/1*.
When he missed the cut on his debut here three years ago, Jake McLeod was a novice making only his ninth appearance in the professional game. He has made great strides since then, finishing 25th in 2016 and in a share of 11th place last year. He arrives for a fourth shot at this event in confident mood, having won the NSW Open three weeks ago before finishing third at the Emirates Australian Open. That result moved him up to 160th in the rankings, a leap of more than 400 places since July. He is available with every bookmaker at odds of 40/1*.
Matthew Millar has been around the scene for a long time without making too much of an impression, but the 42-year-old is currently in a purple patch that marks him out as a contender this week. A run of four top fives and a share of 14th place in his last five appearances has taken him within touching distance of his best ever ranking and he is reaping the rewards for playing more regularly – he has played 20 tournaments so far in 2018 compared to an average of just 13 over the last eight seasons. Those 20 starts have brought a win and seven other top 10s. He was sixth here in 2015 and looks a good each-way bet at 60/1* with Paddy Power.
Sean Crocker is a young player we’ll be seeing much more of in the coming years after his impressive first year as a professional. The 22-year-old American, who was born in Zimbabwe, has earned a place on the European Tour after five top five finishes in eight starts on the Challenge Tour. Less than 18 months after making his first appearance he is already in the world’s top 200, while he made an impact on his debut here last year too, when he shared seventh place. He’s 33/1 in places, but Ladbrokes and Coral are offering best odds of 50/1.*
|*All odds quoted are subject to change|