Review & Betting Guide to the Ballantines Championship

Blackstone GC East 4th

The 4th hole on Blackstone GC east course © Peter Corden

Richie Ramsay

Richie Ramsay 22/1 © Kevin Murray

This week the European Tour tees up in South Korea at the JMP designed Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon, South Korea. This undulating tree lined track has received rave reviews since it open in 2009, in which it features exposed rock faces and plenty of water to catch those wayward shots.

There are new tees on the 17th making the hole 40 yards longer. The forth hole is probably the most spectacular hole on the course with its panoramic views and dramatic drop from the tee down to the fairway.

Tournament Director David Williams said: “On the fourth hole we now have the option of moving the tee forward and making it driveable. It’s a stunning hole and makes for very exciting golf”. “The whole course will provide a tough challenge for the field. It’s long, but it’s not all about power and long hitting; it’s a thinking player’s course. It’s also very scenic with fantastic views, creeks, lakes and forest glens”. “There are a couple of excellent par threes which are long and over water – the seventh and the 12th holes. It’s a young course as it only opened a couple of years ago and every year it will mature and get even better”. “It’s hilly so it will be physically demanding as well, and the greens are undulating and offer some testing pin positions”.

Felipe Aguilar 35/1 © Kevin Murray

My tips to win:

Richie Ramsay 22/1 has a very steady record this year, finishing in the Top 25 three times from the five times he’s teed it up so far this year on the European Tour. Richie had a runner-up finish here last year and seven other Top 20 finishes, including his win at the Omega European Open. I am sure being back at Blackstone GC will bring back some positive memories for the Scot.

I am going to stick with Victor Dubuisson 28/1 again this week he was disappointing at last weeks Open de Espana, shooting a final round 78 saw him go backwards down the learderboard when I thought he would challenge. We did tip him at the Malaysian Open and he didn’t disappoint with his Top 5 to finish in the money places. Victor seems to like this part of the world as he had a third place finish here last year shooting a final round 66. I am hoping those positive vibes will come back once he arrives here.

I could feel a bit like after the lord major show picking Felipe Aguilar 35/1 this week after tipping him a couple of weeks ago at the Avantha Masters and making the play-off at last weeks Open de Espana. But Felipe is in great form and he finished in the Top 10 at last years Ballantine’s Championship, I think missing out on a win and playing on a track he seems to enjoy, will spur the Chilean on this week.

Edoardo Molinari

Edoardo Molinari 50/1 © Keith Allison

My each-way tips:

Its been a frustrating season so far for Edoardo Molinari 50/1 missing five cuts on the spin in his first five tournaments and anyone who plays golf will know how much confidence plays out in your mind. Edoardo’s second place finish at the Trophée Hassan II seems to have put him back on track and Molinari’s final round 68 was one of the best rounds of the day on a tough final day at last weeks Open de Espana. Hopefully the early season horrors have been put to bed and he gets back to challenging the Top 5 places on a regular basis.

I have been looking at Magnus A. Carlsson 66/1 for the last couple of weeks and his Top 10 finish at last weeks Open de Espana has pushed me to pick him this week. Magnus has now had three Top 20 finishes this year and has shot a couple of 65s this season, but he seems to always throw in a mid 70 round, but he did produce four consistent rounds in Valencia and I think he will carry that form on here this week.

My outside tip:

This week I am going for Gareth Maybin 100/1 Gareth will becoming into this week in confident mood after his final round 67 in tough conditions at the Open de Espana to take his second Top 20 finish of the year. Gareth does also have a good record in the Ballantine’s Championship he had a runner-up finish in 2010 and seems to enjoy playing in this part of the world.

For updated betting odds during the tournament go to


TOPICS: Golf, Golf on the Web, Off course, Tournament reviews and betting guides

ABOUT: James Mason

James Mason is a contributing writer for Golf Monthly magazine, producing destination reviews, technical and equipment reviews and blogs. He was also part of the judging panel for the 2010 Top 100 courses in Great Britain and Ireland. James has written equipment reviews and technical features for Greenside magazine, destination features for Golf World and Going for Golf magazines and interviews for Middle East Golfer.

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