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Kenya Open tips: Thriston Lawrence looks good value to bounce back from recent setbacks

After a one-week break, the DP World Tour shifts its focus to Africa, from where golf pundit Martin Colwell has picked out his best-value contenders for the Kenya Open

Kenya Open key stats:

  • When: February 22-25 2024
  • Where: Muthaiga Golf Club, Karura, Kenya
  • How long: 7,138 yards - par 71
  • What to expect: Tight undulating track with numerous lakes and ponds
  • Who won last year: Jorge Campillo (-18)

The reduced strength of this week’s field is reflected in the fact that we have three joint favourites priced at a tentative 14/1- the Scot Ewen Ferguson, Ryo Hoshino from Japan and the South African Thriston ‘The Piston’ Lawrence.

If we are looking for winners, then it is probably safe to exclude Ferguson, who is a regular top-20 finisher, but without the staying power to get himself across the line. 

Hoshino has the most ability of the market leaders and can go on to bigger things after raising his game to new heights to land the Qatar Masters by a stroke in Doha a fortnight ago. 

However, of the three, it’s Thriston Lawrence who catches the eye the most, especially now back at altitude in an African environment he tends to revel in. 

He finished 2023 with four top-11 finishes and hit the ground running this year when runner-up in the Dubai Invitational. He then missed two cuts, but looked a little more back to his old self in Qatar, and after a welcome week off, this set-up should suit his game nicely.

Suggested bet: Thriston Lawrence each-way in the Kenya Open

 

The betting soon spreads out to bring in Alex Fitzpatrick at 20/1, and he must have a chance in this weak field if playing anywhere near to his best, although since his breakthrough consistency has been a problem. 

At the same price, French raider Romain Langasque is a talented golfer, and if he finds his game this week then he should be up in the mix, but he does struggle to win, and 20/1 is borderline value each-way.

When hunting each-way value in a weakened field, it might be wiser to look deeper in the market for the likes of Shubhankar Sharma at 40/1. He began the year with a couple of promising finishes in the Middle East before missing the cut in Doha. 

He is not long off the tee, but what he lacks in distance he more than makes up for in accuracy, which should serve him well around this tight course. He has also won at altitude so it would be no surprise to see a bounce-back performance here.

Suggested bet: Shubhankar Sharma each-way in the Kenya Open

 

Outsiders to watch:

  • Jesper Svensson (33/1) - Trending on tour in 2024, the promising Swede looks like a talent and has a chance to break through in Kenya.
  • Masahiro Kawamura (33/1) - Runner-up here a year ago and T7 in the Dubai Desert Classic last month, so no forlorn hope in this company
  • Nacho Elvira (33/1) - Talented Spaniard who has put in some good showings in recent weeks, and looks set to convert a good start before too long.
  • Ashan Wu (50/1) - Won this event by 4 shots in 2022, so clearly likes the course and would love to rekindle that success following compatriot Hideki Matsuyama’s win at the Genesis Invitational.
  • Filippo Celli (100/1) - Well placed going into last Sunday before fading, but knocking on the door of a frame finish before too long
  • Freddy Schott (100/1) - Inconsistent, so could easily blow up here, but in a weak field his odds might seem very big if able to hold his game together for four days.

Suggested bet: Freddie Schott each-way in the Kenya Open

 

Suggested bet summary:

  • Tristan Lawrence (14/1) - 2.5 points each-way 
  • Shubhankar Sharma (40/1) - 2 points each-way
  • Freddie Schott (100/1) - 0.5 points each-way

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