Tuesday, 20 September 2016

The European Open - Bad Griesbach


The European Open returns to Bad Griesbach and it will be the last event in Europe before The Ryder Cup so it comes as no surprise to see two European Ryder Cup team mates, Thomas Pieters and Martin Kaymer head the betting. What may be a bit surprising is that it's the Belgian that goes into the tournament as favourite to win ahead of two-time Major and local hero, Martin Kaymer! Pieters returns this week having had to pull out of the KLM Open a couple weeks ago due a bee sting and with a wet course in play this week his length could well be a factor come Sunday afternoon.


The Course


The European Open returned to the schedule twelve months ago here at Bad Griesbach having been dropped from the schedule since it was last contested at the London GC in 2009 and 2008. It did have a home at the K Club in the preceding ten years. Thongchai Jaidee won here last year with a -17 score and it looks like those with a strong tee to green game should do best here. "The Beckenbauer" course, one of six 18-hole courses at the resort is a 7100 yards,par-71 course with five par-3s. Stats from last year suggest those that can get it down there and actually hole some putts will do well. With water in abundance, accuracy is important but with recent downpours the course should play soft and long although the weather forecast is good for the tournament. I would favour Pieters over Kaymer based on the conditions.

The Shortlist

Twelve players made it to my final shortlist this week but truth be told it was a struggle to get it down from 24. Some of those omitted at the final cull included Kaymer himself, Hend,Bland, Karlberg, Stone, Campillo, Hebert, Morrison, Otaegui, Green, and Paul Dunne.

Thomas Pieters is becoming one of Europe's stars and hes been in fantastic form this summer having won in Denmark the week after coming 2nd in the Czech Republic. He also finished 4th in Rio. Four TOP10s in his 16 starts this season the Belgian quite rightly got the final call up by Darren Clarke to play in this years Ryder Cup, possibly over Russell Knox. He can warm up for his debut next week with a solid showing here but at the price he can be left out of our staking plan. Likewise for Bernd Wiesberger, who should have a good week, he's at 16s which  I think is way too short to be confident in expecting a victory here. Instead I'll stick with Tommy Fleetwood again @ 34.00. Tommy produced the TOP10 requested of him last week and it was very encouraging to see a final round score produced to bring him into the week here. He must be buoyed by the past few weeks as he's started to get involved on twitter again! I wouldn't back him at less than 34.00 though,but he's a contender here for sure.

Ricardo Gouveia won on this course on the Challenge Tour a couple of seasons ago and he may just respond to playing it again here this week.From his 19 starts this season, the Portuguese player has produced 4 TOP20s and he can grab another here. He may lack a little off the tee  though so strong iron play will be called for if he is to get into contention and put the two missed cuts behind him from Holland & Italy recently.

Peter Uihlein suffered a wrist injury earlier in the season and returned to action at the Paul Lawrie Matchplay where he lost his opening round match at the 2nd extra hole to Oliver Fisher, who eventually won the 3rd place play-off. Uihlein missed the cut last week despite solid 69-70 rounds so the selection this week is taken in the hope that he's fully fit and ready to add to his 3 TOP10s from his previous 11 starts this season. The American certainly has the length for The Beckenbauer and can boast solid putting stats.At 140.00 on the exchanges he's worth chancing but perhaps he is a better speculation within the TOP20 market @ 5.50

I was quite tempted by the 70.00 on offer for Anirban Lahiri but recent form suggests he should be watched this week rather than be backed. Instead, I'm going in again on Ross Fisher @ 51.00. Ross hasn't had the best of seasons again this year and its been awhile since he last won.Indeed, he is a former winner of this event having won at the London GC in 2008. Ross averages just under 300 yds off the tee and is accurate in doing so and ranks very highly for GIR. He lets it all down on the dancefloor though. Ross is 15/18 this season with 4 TOP20s and was 5th here twelve months ago having arrived on the back of 3 straight missed cuts! He was ranked TOP10 that week in the Europeantour "Putts per Round" category. That result backs up his obvious liking for playing in this part of the world having produced 6 TOP20s from 9 BMW International Opens. There is plenty of talent within Ross Fisher and his 5 European Tour victories probably don't account for that ability. This is a player that defeated Anthony Kim in the 2009 World Matchplay Final, the same year that he lead all 4 Majors at one point. Its been awhile since the Englishman asserted himself like he did back then but perhaps he can take some inspiration from Francesco Molinari's win last week in that they both are coached by Denis Pugh. Pugh who resides in Munich should have his team well catered for this week, let's hope they don't indulge in the wiessbier too much during Oktoberfest.

Selections:

1.00 pts win T. Fleetwood @ 34.00
0.25 pts win R. Gouveia @ 150.00
0.25 pts win P.Uihlein @ 140.00
1.00 pts win R. Fisher @ 51.00
1.50 pts TOP20 R. Gouveia @ 6.50
2.00 pts TOP20 P. Uihlein @ 5.50
2.00 pts TOP10 R. Fisher @ 6.50