Last weeks golf
-21 with just one bogey in four rounds and yet Danny Willett still couldn’t give us a win. However, all five picks made the weekend and Wood, Sullivan and Quesne all appeared in the top ten at some point during the first three rounds. So it is safe to say we aren’t quite getting the run at present to get us back into the green for 2016. -13% on ROI for the year is not a disaster – golf betting is a marathon, not a sprint. However, we are some way off the 2015 mark of +77% ROI. So, really, any kind of profit from here will require at least one elusive winner before the year is out.
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Tournament History & Field
The European Open returned to the schedule last year after a five year hiatus. Previously a nomadic event played across multiple courses across GB & IRL, pleasingly for both players and golf punters alike, the event returns to Germany and the Hartl Golf Resort, Bad Griesbach, for a second year running.
Thomas Pieters and Martin Kaymer head the field. A week before they appear in the Ryder Cup. Last year’s champion Thongchai Jaidee is here to defend alongside other star names including Bernd Wiesberger and Anirbarn Lahiri.
This time last year saw Jaidee give me a 66/1 winner in this event. The same weekend I bought my first child home. So here’s hoping on her birthday weekend we can land a similar win!
This weeks layout at Bad Griesbach will consist of five par three’s, four par five’s and the remaining nine holes, par four’s. A yardage of circa 7,188 is below average and judging by the names on last years leaderboard, this course can potentially be over powered by the big hitters. The short holes come at the 2nd, 4th, 7th, 14th and 17th with the three on the front nine all measuring over 217 yards. The par five’s ranked the four easiest holes last year with the toughest stretch coming between holes four and seven. These four holes ranked the 4th, 5th, 2nd and 3rd hardest respectively in 2015.
One thing to take note of. A few players and caddies have been tweeting some remarkable shots of parts of the golf course which are literally under water. Even if they manage to tidy it up before Thursday morning, we can still expect a very scoreable golf course, with damp fairways and soft greens.
Last weeks rain that hit the Italian Open should thankfully avoid our German venue this week. Saturday the most likely day of seeing some light showers. Temperatures will be in the last teens with the wind peaking at a high of just 8mph on Friday PM. There might be a slight draw bias favouring the late/early starters at this stage, given low winds forecast all day Thursday. It should pick up on Friday afternoon.
Last years European Open & Key Stats
1st – Thongchai Jaidee (-17) – DA 45 DD 28 GIR 17 PPGIR 25 Scrambles 16/18
2nd – Graeme Storm (-16) – DA 1 DD 17 GIR 1 PPGIR 26 Scrambles 10/13
3rd – Pelle Edberg (-14) – DA 45 DD 6 GIR 30 PPGIR 2 Scrambles 12/20
4th – Scott Hend (-13) – DA 41 DD 3 GIR 56 PPGIR 3 Scrambles 21/26
T5 – Lucas Bjerregaard (-12) – DA 55 DD 5 GIR 17 PPGIR 48 Scrambles 13/18
T5 – Jamie Donaldson (-12) – DA 24 DD 24 GIR 7 PPGIR 51 Scrambles 10/15
T5 – Ross Fisher (-12) – DA 55 DD 11 GIR 45 PPGIR 18 Scrambles 15/23
T5 – Rikard Karlberg (-12) – DA 45 DD 8 GIR 49 PPGIR 1 Scrambles 12/24
Clearly what you do off the tee in regards hitting fairways doesn’t matter here. Only Graeme Storm finished inside the top 24 for driving accuracy (DA) – it is advantageous to be long though, with five of the top eight finishing 11th or better for driving distance (DD) for the week.
Scrambling looks to be the key statistic, with champion Jaidee, runner-up Storm and 4th placed Scott Hend all managing to scramble for par at better than 70% of the time. Rikard Karlberg scrambled poorly at 50% in comparison, still finishing some 5 shots behind the winner despite making 24 birdies to Jaidee’s 19 for the week.
In fact, the key to Jaidee’s success wasn’t the amount of birdies he made – it was the fact he only made two bogey’s all week. There are plenty of Birdie opportunities at Bad Griesbach, but perhaps saving par on the tricky holes or when out of position looks to be vital.
Some weeks you just have to go with the obvious. Alex Levy played some terrific golf in Milan on his way to a T7 and appears to be running into some hot form, highlighted by his third round 63 (-8) in Italy. This was his third top ten in eleven outings. Now, the two time 2014 ET winner looks ready to win again. News that the course is damp, aligned with low winds, means the layout should meet the requirements of the Frenchman. He ranks 31st for scrambling on tour this season – my key stat for the week.
The big hitting Indian has plied his 2016 trade over the pond on the PGA Tour. He now comes into this week slightly out of form, hence the big price. Lahiri was last seen on the ET back in his home event, the Indian Open. This was back in March where he finished a T2. A T6 at the Dean and Deluca PGA event in late May was when he last threatened the top of a leaderboard. Yet, in this field, I reckon he is a cut above. His scrambling stats aren’t great but look out if he does start peppering those soft greens – he is 29th on the PGA Tour’s one putt % stat and inside the top 5 for putters from inside 8ft and 6ft – useful in an event where birdies will be available and holing out key.
There is something about the enigmatic Spaniard that makes me want to back him whenever his price goes about 70s. A MC in Italy last week is nothing to worry about as I was impressed by his T7 in Crans recently. A course in which he’d missed over 80% of cuts previously. He also missed the weekend here last year, but notably has won two of his four ET trophies in Germany, including last years BMW event. 41st on the tours scrambling stats is positive as is his ability to go low when his putter gets hot.
Another who sits in the tours top 45 scramblers is James Morrison. The Englishman has course form here after a T12 last year, including playing the last 25 holes bogey-free. He shot four under par rounds for the week. Last week he finished down at a lowly T61 but he overall stats were decent enough, including 16/23 successful scrambles.
First Round Leaders (FRL)
Fancies in this market will be posted on my twitter handle @herefordrich once the draw has been completed.
Prices correct at time of writing.