Tuesday, 30 August 2016

European Masters 2016 - Crans sur Sierre


Always one of the favourite stops on the European Tour for the players, and their wives/girlfriends, the Omega European Masters takes this place at Crans-sur-Sierre GC in Switzerland. Masters champion, Danny Willett will defend as he looks to hone his game before meeting up with his Ryder Cup team mates later this month.

The Course


Crans-sur-Sierre is a par-71 played at altitude. It should not present any advantage to the longer hitters but should reward those with a strong GIR game at present and those that scramble well. Whilst the course won't play as long as the measurements on the card suggests, emphasis should also be on how the players score on the par-3s. An interesting stat from the 15thClub(see right) shows that these and the GIR/scrambling requirements proved pivotal twelve months ago with driving distance having little importance in comparison. We have five par-3s this week where three of them played as the 2nd,3rd and 4th most difficult on the course(holes 11,16,3)


The Ones to Beat

The Masters and defending champion, Danny Willett heads the betting market and given his form over the summer, we can be confident in getting the favourite beaten this week. Willett does have strong course form though having finished 2nd in 2012 and 5th in 2014 along with his victory here last year. Fellow Englishmen, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan follow him in the betting but both are easy to oppose as well, with the former returning to action here following an injury, and the latter coming into this on the back of another missed cut in Denmark having done the same in Prague the week before. Both will be looking to put their games right before they make their Ryder Cup debuts for Europe. The event hasn't seen the defending champion defend successfully since Seve did in 1978.

Selections

Benjamin Hebert produced yet another TOP20 last week in Denmark for the blog, yielding his 6th TOP20 from his 17 strokeplay starts this season and is now at 53rd on the R2D. Ranked inside the TOP10 currently for GIR, the Frenchman can continue to yield similar results and boost his bank balance as well as our own. The 29 year old will make his third appearance this week at Crans, and despite poor course form he does represent value @ 5.50 to grab that TOP20 again.

Richard Sterne is showing solid form of late and he too can continue to improve his position on the R2D  and climb within the TOP60 having posted his sixth TOP20 from 13 starts for the season. Sterne's career has been blighted with injuries but the 35 year old is a class act and has returned to action in eye-catching form. TOP10 last week in Denmark came on the back of TOP15s in Scotland and France so his form is solid. He's well worth adding to the staking plan @ 3.00 for a TOP20 here.

Ricardo Gouveia has gradually been finding his feet on the European Tour and recent results may just give him the confidence to progress further and capture his maiden win. Last week saw him produce his 4th TOP20 of the season (2 xTOP10s) and the three-time Challenge Tour winner knows how to maintain form. His 8th place finish last week is encouraging and he will be eager to get going here. He's a bet for me this week @ 4.50 for a TOP20.

Lastly, it's been awhile since I backed Tommy Fleetwood, mainly due to his swing changes and subsequent dip in form but the Englishman arrives at a course that he clearly likes this week. He did miss the cut last year but posted 19-9-5 progressive form the previous three years. If he's striking his irons this time round he'll figure on the leaderboard. A TOP20 finish last time out in nearby Czech Republic should be a confidence boost ahead of this event. With progressive form of late complemented with his fondness for the course here, Tommy is worth a punt in the outright market @ 67.00 as well as the TOP20 @ 3.75. Tommy despite "poor" 2016 form has posted 5 TOP20s from his 16 starts.

Staking Plan


0.25 pts win T. Fleetwood @ 67.00
1.75 pts TOP20 T. Fleetwood @ 3.75
2.00 pts TOP20 B. Hebert @ 5.50
2.00 pts TOP20 R.Sterne @ 3.00
2.00 pts TOP20 R. Gouveia @ 4.50