Frazzled previews the European Open Golf from Bad Griesbach and he has a couple of selections in an event weakened by the Ryder Cup from Hazeltine next week.
The European Tour has been good to this column in our last two previews with Alex Noren and Joost Luiten landing our last two headline bets at 18/1. After a week of holidaying, it has been a bit of a catch up week and the preview will be concise and to the point rather than providing in depth detail about the event etc.
The European Open returned last year after a break since the 2009 renewal and on a course that consisted of relatively generous fairways and quite slow greens, it was Thongchai Jaidee that prevailed over Graeme Storm. The two leaders were however only 2 of the 3 players that filled a Top 8th berth, that ranked outside the Top 11 in Driving Distance (Storm was 17th) and power off the tee seemed to confer a big advantage.
This year the Bernard Langer designed Beckenbauer Course has been flooded nearly right up to this event and the course is likely to play wet. However the greens are reported as running to 11.6 on the stimpmeter, which is faster than last year and with the rough also thicker, there may be more of an emphasis on tee to green accuracy than we originally thought, when beginning to pen this preview. Indeed Peter Uihlein was quick to respond to a tweeter today, who suggested accuracy was largely irrelevant.
@JohnDoe2k9 clearly you've never been there. Accuracy is extremely important and rough is thick. I'd do some research before making a bet 😉
The course measures 7,188 yards and plays to a Par 71. so based simply on its measurements, you would not expect a huge benefit to the big hitters. However there are 3 Par 5s that measure 578 yards, 514 yards and 566 yards so there could be plenty of eagle opportunities.
The last time we selected Levy was in the Shenzhen International, when in a weather interrupted event, he traded at odds on during the final round, only to miss a few crucial putts and eventually fall to 4th place behind Soomin Lee. His form tailed off a little from then, but he has looked right back to his sharpest recently with an 18th in the European Masters and then a 7th last weekend in the Italian Open, where he will be disappointed that after going out in the final group, he was unable to post a low score and a 71 caused him to lose ground on Willet and Molinari. However he was excellent from tee to green in that event, ranking 4th for Driving Distance and Accuracy and 24th for GIR. If he can bring that standard of ball striking to this venue, then he should be very hard to keep out of the places.
Levy is a player that can shoot extremely low scores and he is also a player that has proven that he can win on wet courses, with his victory in the 2014 Portugal Masters. He was a little disappointing in this event last year, but arrived here in moderate form and on the back of last week's 7th placing, he looks good value this week at 35/1 with Paddy Power, who are paying 7 places each way.
1.5 points each way Alexander Levy at 35/1 with Paddy Power (each way 7 places)
Bernd Wiesberger is our second pick this week at 16/1 and he is a player that will be looking at next week's Ryder Cup and thinking he really could have been part of that team. He did not put in the performances necessary but the manner in which his game has improved recently suggests that he could take plenty of beating this week.
After finishing 11th in the Olympics, despite an opening 74, he has since chased home the inspired Joost Luiten in the KLM Open, where despite a closing 65, he was unable to catch Luiten who shot a 63 to win by 3 strokes. That was his best main tour finish since the Open De France, where he was 11th and it is worth noting that he is also a winner of that event and that the first two home in this event last year, are also Open De France winners.
Wiesberger is very long from the tee and his around the green game has improved bundles in recent seasons. He ranked highly in the putting categories last time at the KLM and a similar week on the greens should propel him to a very high finish. With the likes of Thomas Pieters and Martin Kaymer possibly having one eye on next week, he is worth backing each way with Paddy Power, availing of the 7 places offered.
1.5 points each way Bernd Wiesberger at 16/1 with Paddy Power (7 places each way)