Hero World Challenge

hero-world-challenge-golfThe Hero World Challenge, an invitation-only event featuring just 18 players, gets underway at the Albany course in the Bahamas on Thursday and the first round two-balls have thrown up some interesting pairings, not least Patrick Reed against Tiger Woods, now ranked 898 in the world. The Albany is an exposed, links-style course and, with windy weather forecast, should suit Reed better than his illustrious playing companion, who makes his first start since August last year.

Fellow Texan Jordan Spieth, also grew up playing in the wind and comes into the tournament on the back of a victory in the Australian Open two weeks ago. He finished fourth in this event last year, on this course, and can use his superior scrambling skills to good effect against Matt Kuchar.

South Carolinian Dustin Johnson heads the outright market alongside Spieth, but could only finish 15th last year and hasn’t played since finishing tied 35th in a WGC-HSBC event in China in October. He makes little appeal at odds-on in the first round two-ball betting against Brooks Koepka, who finished runner-up in the Shriners Hospitals Open on his last outing and has plenty of links experience.

Selections: First Round Two-Balls, Patrick Reed (8/15), Jordan Spieth (4/6), Brooks Koepka (6/5), 1-point Win Treble (4.62/1 with bet365)

UK Championship Snooker, Round 1, Wednesday, November 23

uk-championship-snookerMark Joyce versus Lee Walker (19.30)

Mark Joyce, ranked 45 in the world, is favourite (1/2) to beat Lee Walker (13/8), ranked 84, but the Walsall professional has yet to progress beyond the last 64 in seven tournaments in 2016 and lost 5-3 to the Welshman in the last 128 of the World Open in Yushan, China last June. Walker regained his place on the World Snooker Tour courtesy of his performances in European Tour events, in which he reached the last 32 on three occasions, in 2015/16 and subsequently reached the last 32 of the Paul Hunter Classic in August. He may just have the edge again this time.

Peter Ebdon versus Wang Yuchen (19.30)

Former World Champion Peter Ebdon, now ranked 34 in the world, is a short price (3/10) to see off Chinese teenager Wang Yuchen (5/2), ranked 102, and probably rightly so. A quarter-final in the Indian Open in Hydrabad last July, he lost 4-3 to Nigel Bond, is the best result Ebdon has to offer recently, but he should have too much tactical nouse for his young opponent.

Rod Lawler versus Anthony Hamilton (19.30)

The erstwhile “Sheriff of Pottingham”, Anthony Hamilton, has slipped down the rankings after chronic neck pain in recent years, but looked a certainty to reach the final of the Northern Ireland Open last weekend before feathering the cue ball. He has the distinction of being favourite (4/6) to beat Rod Lawler (6/5), despite being ranked 11 places lower than his opponent, at 67, by World Snooker and can make amends, at least to some extent, against an opponent who is solid enough, without being anything special.

Selections: Lee Walker, Peter Ebdon, Anthony Hamilton, 1-point Win Treble (4.68/1 with bet 365)