The European Tour hammers its pegs into German turf for the “European Open” this week. After home winners in the last two events – Luiten in Holland and Molinari in Italy – one would be sensible to assume Martin Kaymer would be the bookies’ favourite. You’d be wrong, just.
Instead it’s Thomas Pieters who, at 9/1, is assumed to be the man to beat. That’s not surprising given his form before a wasp sting prevented him from competing in the KLM Open two weeks ago but, with the Ryder Cup just eight days away, the young Belgian will be regretting having this event on his schedule.
Then there’s Kaymer, also off to Hazeltine but as someone who has already been there and done it. He will be keen to put on a strong showing in front of his home fans but given the remote location of course, two hours east of Munich, one questions just how many fans will travel to see what is a relatively weak field.
That being said, lots of players will be playing the course for the first time on Thursday as, in addition to the pro-am, all practise rounds were cancelled due to the torrential rain early in the week. That will suit the more experienced guys.
Here are my picks –
Alexander Levy – 35/1
The Frenchman has had a decent return from injury with a 18th and 34th place finishes earlier this month. Despite playing in the final group last week on his way to an ultimately disappointing 7th place finish, the overall signs are positive. The course in Italy had been absolutely pounded by rain to the extent that clean and place rules were in operation, and it’s the same case here in Germany. 55th here last year but he at least has experience on the course.
His short history of wins on the European Tour have come in wet conditions and he’s my number one pick here.
Nicolas Colsaerts – 50/1
With the wet weather the course becomes that extra bit longer. Colsaerts is one of the longest in the field and has the experience to deal with situations such as the one presented to the field over the next four days. Should be able to pull out a more accurate 3 wood and still be able to take advantage of the course in a way other’s just can’t.
Martin Kaymer – 11/1
The real class player in this field. Even with Ryder Cup thoughts on his mind it’ll be a surprise if he’s not there or there abouts on Sunday afternoon.
David Lipsky – 66/1
Lipsky is one of the few Americans plying his trade on the European Tour and I was surprised to see that he’s down at #61 in the Race to Dubai points list. Having recorded two top 10’s in his last four events, in addition to a T16 in Milan last week, he looks relatively good value at 66/1.
Tommy Fleetwood – 33/1
A man who’s returned to form in recent weeks, it had previously looked like 2016 was going to be a write off for the young Englishman. Three top-16 placed finishes over the last four events interestingly coincided with the decision of Nike – his main sponsor – to quit the club manufacturing business (interesting because McIlroy won in the States the event after they announced the decision). Based on current form and the field here, there’s no reason why Fleetwood can’t push for a top 5 or better.
Selected bets – £6
Levy – £1 EW
Colsaerts – £0.50 EW
Kaymer – £0.50 EW
Lipsky – £0.50 EW
Fleetwood – £0.50 EW