Frazzled previews the 2016 Lyoness Open and has a number of selections this week in what is quite a poor event for the main European Tour. These are Joost Luiten, Magnus Carlsson and Daniel Im.
Event & Venue:
The Lyoness Open takes place this week, but it looks one of the weakest events that we will see in Continental Europe this season. It is again placed the week before the US Open and that coupled with the small purse means that most of the top European players have given it a miss. The exceptions are Chris Wood and Bernd Wiesberger, who are possibly obligated as previous champions and also Joost Luiten, who is also a previous winner of the event, but who also needs a win to try and sneak into the US Open field at Oakmont next week.
After getting a 50% increase in prize money this year to swell the pot to €1.5 million last year, it made very little difference to the field quality and the prize fund has once again returned to €1 million, so there was little incentive for many of the bigger names to assemble at the 7th edition at Diamond Country Club.
Diamond Country Club opened in 2000 has played host to this event since 2010. The course measures 7,458yards this year. It was designed by Jeremy Pern and plays to a Par 72. It is quite an exposed flat course with lots of water hazards in play off the tee, including on two Par 3 island holes on the front 9.
There are two relatively straightforward Par 5 holes on the front 9 which were ranked the 2nd and 3rd easiest last year and in general the first 6 holes are where birdies are to be found, with the exception of the difficulty 2nd. The final 4 holes also contain a number of birdie opportunities and it is the middle holes from 7-14 which provided the real test last year, with 5 of the 6 most difficult holes on the course in this stretch. This should be remembered if playing in running and it could provide some opportunities if there is liquidity in the markets (which has to be a doubt given the event).
The course is a real tee to green challenge. The fairways are reasonably wide, but the rough is consistent and penal and the last cut was on Monday when it was 83mm. Therefore accuracy off the tee will be important. There are water hazards on 13 holes, including island greens on the 2nd and 6th holes. The greens are of average size and finding these Greens in Regulation (“GIR”) will be vital this week, while of the winners at this venue, only Luiten ranked worse than 11th in Scrambling, so a solid around the green game will be very important. Current form has not proved to be especially important at this course over the past few years, although it never hurts.
Given the absence of many top players, there could be clues to be found away from what would normally be the main focus of research and form in pother Austrian events on the Challenge Tour could be used as some sort of guide. The Karnten Open has been held on the Challenge Tour for a number of years now and although it is a shorter venue, it can provide some clues as to this week. In addition, form at other Jeremy Pern designs could be worth a look at and the ones that we can find are listed below. He has been responsible for the design of a number of courses on the Challenge Tour.
- Toya G & CC which held the 2009 DHL Wrocklaw Open
- Golf De Toulouse Seilh, which staged the Allianz Golf Open Toulouse from 2009 to 2012.
- Golf De La Wantzenau, which staged the 2010 Allianz European Strasbourg in 2010.
Dylan Fritelli is a former winner of the Karnten Open in 2013, as is Gary Stal in 2012, while Bernd Wiesberger previously won the 2010 Allianz European Strasbourg on that Pern design and has followed up here.
Of those at the front of the market, Joost Luiten makes easily the most appeal, despite the fact that he fell rapidly away at Wentworth after being bang in contention after round 1, but he still ranked 8th in Driving Accuracy and 7th in GIR at that tricky venue despite his poor weekend. He has been 3rd, 1st and 3rd in 3 appearances here and with the incentive of trying to beat a poor field and secure a US Open spot, there is everything to play for. He also has the incentive of trying to secure a Ryder Cup spot, both as an automatic and a possible wildcard with Ian Poulter out of contention.
The weekend at Wentworth continued what has been a little drop off in form for Luiten ever since he secured finishes of 6th in Thailand and then consecutive runner up spots in the Open De Espana and the Shenzhen International. However a return to a venue that he clearly excels at and one which provides some of the best putting surfaces on the European Tour really should provide him with few excuses if he is not able to take a lot of beating. With Wiesberger and Wood possibly having Oakmont in the back of their minds and with the former always under pressure at this venue, Luiten looks the most solid of the market leaders and he is worth a decent bet at the 15/2 odds with Betfred. We are going win only as there is little value in the place market, but we are not putting anyone off hedging their bets with the place addition.
3 points win Joost Luiten at 15/2 with Betfred and 888Sport.
Magnus Carlsson has not played in this event since 2013, but his form on his 3 appearances was quite solid with finishes of 19-30-18. He is having a relatively disappointing season, as despite a good finish of 26th in Abu Dhabi and 9th in Perth, he has shown very little otherwise. However this is a course and class of field that could provide him with a chance of a very decent payday. He is very solid from tee to green and as usual he ranks highly in the GIR stats at 28th. His weakness is generally his scrambling, but if he can have a solid week around the greens, then he could figure highly given his tee to green quality. He has contended in the past in much better fields than this, even if he can disappoint on the final day and finishes such as 6th in the Irish Open in 2014 and 9th in the Qatar Masters are very solid in the context of the field this week. He is not really worth playing in multiple markets and we would prefer to back him each way in the outright market with a view to trading some of the win bet if he gets himself into contention on the Sunday.
1 point each way Magnus Carlsson - Outright at 70/1 with Skybet
Our final bet this week is Daniel Im.
Im is a player that could do with a big week, as after a solid start to the season, things have not gone smoothly for the past 2 months. He posted some excellent finishes earlier in the year with a 3rd in the Joburg Open and 6th in the Indian Open, bit other than a 47th in the Trophee Hassan, he has missed every cut since that excellent effort at Delhi Golf Club. However the drop in class that this event represents does provide him with an opportunity to produce one of his best displays of the season. He has course form, given that he was 7th here in 2014 after closing with a brilliant 64 and it was at this time last year that he was winning on the Challenge Tour in nearby Switzerland in the Swiss Challenge.
Im is not the longest by any means off the tee, but he is accurate, ranking 31st in Driving Accuracy and he is a very solid 44th in Scrambling. If he can have a good week with his irons and a solid week on the greens, then we could see a big week from him. He is worth a small interest in the outright market at 20/1 and a further interest in the Top 20 market at 15/2 with Stan James.
0.5 points each way Daniel Im - Outright at 200/1 with Paddy Power and Betfred
1 point win Daniel Im - Top 20 Finish at 15/2 with Stan James
Others that we had looked at and will dabble at big prices on Betfair are Borja Virto, who was 6th in the Karnten Open last year and has had a pretty decent season including a 9th place in the China Open and Mike Lorenzo Vera. The latter finished 11th last year, has had some good finishes this season and has also been 4th in the Karnten Open and also 4th in the Allianz Golf Open Toulouse on a Jeremy Penn design. He might be worth a dabble at 100/1 even if he is not being put up as an official bet.