By Michael McGill

The Australasian Tour heads north this week to Queensland for the Australian PGA Championship at the Palmer Coolum Resort.

This will be the last year of the resort hosting the event. It has been here since 2002 however a new home will be found for 2013.

Palmer Coolum Resort is owned by mining magnate Clive Palmer. He has painted the fairways of the course with signage advertising his own companies.

There is even a life-size Dinosaur replica next the 10th tee. Clive and the Australian PGA have been at logger heads for some time.

The course is a Par 72 and measures 6850 yards. Players will need to plot their way around this course as there are many well positioned bunkers that are sure to cause a few problems. Water also comes into play on several holes.

The Australian PGA Championship dates back to 1905 and over the years has had many big name winners such as Gary Player, Sam Torrence, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman.

Looking at the winners board since 2002 you will notice that all the winners have been Australians. Names like Greg Chalmers (2011), Peter Senior (2003,2010), Robert Allenby (2005,2009), Geoff Ogilvy (2008), Peter Lonard (2002,2004,2007) and Nick O’Hern (2006). They will all be back teeing it up this week in what is a truly open field.

The bookies have the Top 5 in betting as:-

John Senden 10/1- Eleven tournament starts for six Top finishes. Was a 2 shot leader heading into last round of Australian Open last week.

Geoff Ogilvy 10/1- Course form of 8th, 1st, 7th, 2nd, 63rd. Coming off a 23rd at last weeks Australian Open.

Greg Chalmers 11/1- Defending Champion. Also won last years Australian Open. Eight starts here for a win and two Top 5′s.

Marc Leishman 19/1- Six starts at Coolum. Two Top 10′s being in 2011 and 2009.

Nick O’Hern 19/1- Course specialist. Nine starts for seven Top 10′s. Won here in 2006.

So who will hold aloft the Joe Kirkwood Cup for 2012?

The three selections for this week are-

Brad Kennedy 60/1 

Brad plays on the Japan Tour and has had 20 starts this season.

Four of those were Top 10 finishes including a win in the Mizuno Open in June.

While he missed the cut at the Australian Open last week, his form prior to that was very good. 14th in the Golf Nippon Series JT Cup, 9th at the Casio World Open, 39th in the Dunlop Phoenix and 9th at the Taiheiyo Masters.

When to comes to the Australian PGA Championship Brad has had seven starts on the Coolum course. His finishes starting from last year have been 12th, 14th, 15th, 24th, 15th, 21st and 20th. All inside the Top 25!!

Last year on the Australasian Tour he won the New Zealand Open, was 6th at the Australian Masters and 12th in the PGA Championship. He also had four Top 10′s on the Japan Tour from 14 tournaments.

At 60/1 Brad Kennedy represents great each way value.

Nick O’Hern 20/1 

When it comes to horses for courses you can not go past Nick.

He has played in nine of the last ten PGA Championship tournaments at Coolum and his form starting from last year reads as 6th, 3rd, 5th, 20th, 1st, 3rd, 4th, 14th and 8th. Those numbers are good in anyones book!

The only down side is his form on the PGA Tour this season. The only highlight was a 3rd at the St Jude Classic.

He is coming off a 10th place last week at the Australian Open in shocking windy conditions.His fourth round was an even Par 72.

Last year in Australia he was 4th in the Open and 6th in the PGA Championship. He also closed the PGA Tour season with a 6th in the Childrens Miracle Network Classic and 6th in the McGladrey Classic.

Now that he is back on a course that he loves we can expect to see another great finish from Nick this week.

Michael Hendry 40/1

If you want a player who is in career best form then look no further than Michael Hendry.

From his Eight starts on the Australasian Tour this year he has put together some impressive numbers. 7th Australian Open, 10th New Zealand Open, 6th Australian Masters, MC WA Open, 4th Perth International, 1st NZ PGA Pro-Am, 11th QLD PGA and 3rd Victorian Open.

You can also throw in a 7th on the OneAsia Tour at the China Masters.

For a guy in red-hot form it would not surprise to see him finish high on the leaderboard again.

Good Luck and Good Punting.

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