Frazzled previews the KLM Open this week from The Dutch Club in Spijk and he has bets on Joost Luiten, Pablo Larrazabal and Callum Shinkwin.
KLM Open Preview:
Since 2001 the KLM Open has being on a rotation exclusively between Kennemer Golf Club and Hilversumsche with the former hosting the event for the past 3 years. However this year it moves to a brand new venue which is the very exclusive club known as "The Dutch" in Spijk.
The Colin Montgomerie and Ross McMurray design was opened in 2011 and was a candidate to host the 2018 Ryder Cup, losing out to Le Golf National. It is a members only club and is rumoured to cost €43,000 to join, so this will be one of the first chances for the average countryman to visit the venue and see the golfers in action.
The course measures 6,981 yards and plays to a Par 71 and like Manx Royal, which is another Monty design, it consists of 5 Par 5 holes and 5 Par 3 holes. It is described as an inland links course, which will provide a thorough test this week, with the rough said to be thick and consistent. Monty has described the greens as the best that will be played on the Tour all year, but he is hardly going to say that they are terrible is he?
Given that we have limited knowledge of the venue, we can only go by the comments, limited video evidence and the traits of other Monty and McMurray designs. These include McMurray designed Celtic Manor course, which staged the Wales Open on the composite course from 2010 to 2014.
In addition Monty designed Irish Open course at Carton House, which has staged the Irish Open on 3 occasions (2005,2006,2013) and is an inland links venue, and while it might be less relevant, he also designed the Royal Golf Club Bahrain, which staged the 2011 Volvo Golf Champions, won by Paul Casey, The fact that Casey's last 3 victories on the European Tour have been the 2011 Volvo Golf Champions, 2013 Irish Open at Carton House and the 2014 KLM Open at Kennemer does provide some correlation, especially given that the first two came each time he was seeking to end a two year wait for a victory. Given that the Kennemer Golf Club has also been compared to The Dutch means that concentraing on event form and form at these other venues may yield dividends.
In addition, the course at Le Golf National which beat The Dutch to the 2018 Ryder Cup venue, is also described as linksy and difficult and Open De France form should be noted, particularly given how well it has tied in with the Wales Open in the past.
Regarding conditions this week, it seems that the wind will pick up to some degree on Thursday afternoon and might provide an advantage to the early starters on Thursday. As always, with an exposed venue like this, the wind will play a very significant role with regard to scoring and my inkling is that the course will not prove to be quite as tough as has been suggested.
Joost Luiten is our first pick this week as the dominance of Noren and Pieters at the front of the market provides us with a bigger price on the Dutchman, who has a fantastic record in this event and very good form on some of the courses mentioned above.
Luiten has been 2nd in the KLM back in 2007 and 3 of his 4 most recent visits have resulted in a win, a 5th place finish and a 6th place finish. He also won the last edition of the Wales Open at Celtic Manor in 2014, which built on previous course form of a 4th and a 2nd place finish. To cement the positives in this regard, Luiten was 2nd in the 2013 Irish Open at Carton House to Paul Casey.
In addition his most recent Top 10 performance was in the Open De France, when he was 9th earlier in the summer, while his best finish in the continental Europe events in 2016 was a 2nd place finish in the Open De Espana at the very challenging Valderrama venue, won by tee to green expert Andrew Johnston.
Luiten has not really been firing in recent events, but they included 2 majors and the Olympics and now that he is back in his home country in a slightly lesser field, he can be expected to produce a big display. Unlike many players, who suffer from the pressure of playing in front of his home crowds, he seems to be inspired by this event and he is our main pick this week at 18/1 with Betfred.
1.75 points each way Joost Luiten at 18/1 with Betfred (1/4 odds - 5 places)
Pablo Larrazabal is our second pick this week after his excellent display last week, when closing rounds of 66 and 65 moved him up to 7th in the European Masters. He has shown some excellent form in this event in the past with a 2nd, 9th and 5th place finish in consecutive years from 2012 to 2014 and he omitted the event from his schedule last year. He is also a winner of the Open De France and was 4th in the Wales Open in 2011.
In addition Larrazabal was 4th in the Irish Open at Carton House in 2013 when he was bang in contention over the 4 days, only to shoot a final round 75 in difficult Sunday conditions. Larrazabal has not really challenged for a title this season so far, but last weekend's form might signal a turnaround for him and he is of interest here at 40/1 with Stan James, who are paying 6 places each way.
1.25 points each way Pablo Larrazabal at 40/1 each way with Stan James (1/4 odds - 6 places)
Our final pick is a player that is having a very solid season and he might have continued that last week, but for falling away with a 74 on Sunday. Callum Shinkwin is an excellent tee to green player and he has Top 10s in the Open De France this season and then on the Castle Stuart links in the Scottish Open. Since then he has cooled off a bit but this venue, which is likely to place a premium on tee to green excellence could be right up his street.
Shinkwin is very powerful off the tee and ranks 13th in Driving Distance. He also ranks 24th in Accuracy and 22nd in Greens in Regulation. This is as good as any golfer on the Tour in 2016 and we would be hopeful that these excellent greens, will make it that little bit easier for him to see the breaks etc. A solid week on the greens is all he really needs to be right up there on Sunday as it has been his Achilles heel to date. In addition he has an early tee slot of 8:00 on Thursday and hopefully he can off to a fast start and give himself something to build on.
The 2016 Ryder Cup team is selected, but Shinkwin knows that the next Ryder Cup will be at the venue where he was 9th earlier this year and he would like to start building momentum for a first appearance in two years. He is very much one of the young guns that can make that breakthrough and at 80/1 with BetVictor, he is worth an interest each way here.
1 point each way Callum Shinkwin at 80/1 with BetVictor (1/4 odds - 5 places)