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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Hero Indian Open (2024)

The DP World Tour makes its final stop before The Masters with a stop in India for the Hero Indian Open.

Outside of a three year hiatus due to COVID, this event has been in existence since 1964 and up until 2000, was held exclusively at either the Delhi Golf Club or Royal Calcutta Golf Club.

It has been a part of the DP World Tour Schedule since 2015.

Since 2017, the event has been held at The Gary Player Course at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

The challenge does not get any easier as last week’s Porsche Singapore Classic played at the Laguna National Golf Resort in Singapore on what is regarded as one of the toughest tracks in all of Asia. The Gary Player Course is regarded as one of the toughest tests in all of professional golf.

The Field

Many of the Tour’s best and those that make their way over from either the PGA Tour or LIV Golf Tours will be idle this week.

Instead, this field is once again headlined by Rasmus Hojgaard who will be making his debut at this event this year and opens as the odds on favorite to win.

Joining him is Yannik Paul, who finished runner up to fellow German Marcel Siem a season ago. Siem will not be back to defend his title but Paul will be in attendance this week looking to one up his final position from a season ago.

Other notable names teeing it up this week include Jordan Smith, Richard Mansell, Anirban Lahiri, Ewen Ferguson, Joost Luiten and Shubhankar Sharma.

Stephen Gallacher (2019) and Lahiri (2015) are the only two former winners to be included in this week’s field.

The Course

As previously mentioned, The Gary Player Course at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, India is regarded as one of the most challenging tracks in the world of professional golf.

It plays as a Par 72 at roughly 7,293 yards. The yardage is hard to pin down as it is listed at as much as 7,600 in previous years but has played more to the tune of 7,200 yards.

The fairways are narrow with some undulation. Water is also in play on seven holes this week - one, five, six, eight, nine, 16 and 18.

The course is wall-to-wall Bermuda, including the greens. These greens are large and undulating.

To put into perspective how challenging this course can be, in the first two visits here (2017 and 2018,) just three golfers managed 72 holes without making at least one double bogey.

Eddie Pepperell once suggested the course had been designed by Satan. “Literally every shot, something can go wrong,” said Pepperell. “It’s quite a walk and mentally it will be very draining to stay up there, if you’re up there the whole week in contention.”

Matt Wallace, the 2018 victor, said, “Every hole is a double-bogey waiting to happen.”

In all, this will be a true test of not only a complete golf game, but can fare to play more to the mental side of things than not. Golfers will need to accept that they’ll have some bad holes this week but it’ll be those who can bounce back on the very next hole that will have a chance this week.

The Weather

There is a zero-percent chance of precipitation across all four days this week. Temperatures will be what we saw last week in Singapore as they are set to begin at 94-degrees on Thursday before falling to 90-degrees on the weekend. Golfers will be welcomed to much lower humidity than what we saw a week ago however. Winds will be at the highest on Sunday at ten miles-per-hour and will range from seven-to-nine miles-per-hour for the other three days. Outside of it being warm, the weather looks to be on our side this week.

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Scrambling

  • Bogey Avoidance

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT) / Driving Accuracy

Betting Card

Jordan Smith (+1800)

Smith comes at the top of my model this week. He’s currently sixth on Tour in GIR%, seventh in bogey avoidance, tenth in SG: TTG, 19th in SG: OTT, 20th in driving accuracy, 26th in SG: APP and 91st in SG: PUTT. Although the putting figure leaves a bit to be desired, Smith gained 0.38 strokes on the green per round last week in Singapore and 0.80 at the Jonsson Workwear Open. Smith placed T21st last week at the Porsche Singapore Classic but placed T2nd at the Jonsson Workwear Open a few weeks back. He also placed fourth at the Dubai Invitational. With the way his putter is trending, I’m playing two units on Smith this week.

Bernd Wiesberger (+3300)

We haven’t seen a lot of Wiesberger this season, but what we have seen is consistency. He’s played in four events on the season with a worst finish of T37th at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship. He comes into this week on the back of back-to-back T16th finishes at the Porsche Singapore Classic and the Bahrain Championship. He also placed T21st at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic. What Wiesberger brings is experience, being an eight time winner on the DP World Tour and when it comes to a course like this, that experience for the mental side of the game will be crucial. He’s also currently second on Tour in GIR%, third in SG: TTG, tenth in scrambling, 11th in bogey avoidance, 14th in SG: APP, 52nd in SG: OTT and 59th in driving accuracy. The knock to his game is his putting, as he ranks 127th in SG: PUTT. He’ll need to find a hot flat stick to compete this week. I’m playing a unit on him.

Frederic LaCroix (+4000)

If you’ve followed me at all during this DP World Tour season, you know I was all over LaCroix early on. He’s since cooled off but what he did early on can’t be ignored. He had a stretch of events where he placed T5th at the South African Open, third at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and T4th at the Bahrain Championship. He is currently seventh on Tour in SG: TTG, 13th in both SG: APP and GIR%, 18th in driving accuracy, 19th in scrambling, 20th in SG: OTT and 29th in bogey avoidance. The knock to his game, like Wiesberger, is his putter as he ranks 116th in SG: PUTT. However, during his run of success early on he gained 0.28 strokes putting per round at the Bahrain Championship and 0.67 strokes at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship. We can hope he finds his putter this week. I’m playing a unit on him.

Daniel Hillier (+6000)

Looking at Hillier’s results for the season, you won’t see a golfer in great form. He missed the cut last week in Singapore and has a best finish of T23rd at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship on the season. However, if you take a dive into his stats, we’ll find a golfer that matches up well to this course and offers some value. Hillier is currently tenth on Tour in SG: OTT, 20th in SG: APP, 23rd in GIR%, 28th in driving accuracy, 54th in bogey avoidance, 55th in SG: TTG, 101st in scrambling and 110th in SG: PUTT. Dating back to his last made cut at the Qatar Masters, Hillier gained 0.91 strokes putting per round. If he can find that type of success with his putter this week, he has a chance to claim his second DP World Tour victory. I’m playing a unit on him.

Darius van Driel (+15000)

I’m not sure what van Driel has done to deserve the disrespect on the books that he continues to see each week but from a betting stand point, I’ll take it. He won not that long ago at the Magical Kenya Open and also placed T4th at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and T9th at the Joburg Open on the season. He placed T21st a week ago at the Porsche Singapore Classic as well. He’s currently ninth on Tour in SG: TTG, tenth in SG: APP, 11th in GIR%, 16th in driving accuracy, 55th in bogey avoidance, 83rd in SG: PUTT, 95th in scrambling and 117th in SG: OTT. I’m playing a unit on him as well.

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