After a thrilling 4 days at Merion, the tours once again disband and the European Tour moves this week to Germany, for the second instalment of a BMW sponsored tournament in 2013. After a 1 year spell in Cologne, the BMW International Open returns to its spiritual home in Munich, where the tournament will be celebrating its 25th anniversary. We’re on a hot streak at DownThe18th at the moment, we backed Mikko Ilonen and Joost Luiten in the last 2 events, so we really want to keep it going this week!
The Golfclub Munchen Eichenried is playing 7,157 yards this week, and yet again is one of those where accuracy is needed, not length. It is a tree lined affair and Pablo Larrazabal during his win in 2011 ranked 2nd in driving accuracy, so be sure to drive it straight this week. Although the big-hitting Dustin Johnson has made the flight over this week to try and disprove that theory! But from previous winners on this course (Larrazabal, Horsey, Kaymer, Howell, Jimenez, Westwood, Bjorn) you can gauge that iron play and accuracy is going to be crucial. And we say it every week, but GIR will once again be vital with Larrazabal also ranking 2nd in that on his way to winning in 2011. The Spaniard’s putting was comparatively awful that week ranking 51st in putts per round, so being deadly on the greens isn’t imperative but it could make the difference come the end of day 4. There are quite a few water hazards and bunkers spread around the course, which also makes keeping the ball in play even more vital!
Of course being the week after the gruelling, mental and physical examination that was Merion, we have decided to stay clear largely of people who competed in the US Open, although one person we really like just had to make our list. Stenson has proved in the past you can come here and play well on the back of a US Open appearance, but we just don’t feel confident at all backing people such as Garcia, Stenson, Els, Johnson and the like. And at 14/1, we really do feel it makes Stenson un-backable.
And please keep an eye on Thomas Bjorn this week, the forecast is for rain and lots of it. And Mr Rain from Denmark will be having the time of his life when the heavens open. He hasn’t quite made our 5, but he will do well without doubt. As long as it rains of course.
NB: Stan James are offering 6 places this week.
Ross Fisher (30/1 Paddy Power)
The Englishman has somewhat dropped off the radar the last few months, or even years, and it’s quite sad. Fisher had a pretty crazy spell from ’07 to ’10 bagging 4 European titles and putting in good performances at all 4 majors, including a 5th place in the US Open! (A US Open style of golf will be needed to win this week). He went onto be part of Europe’s victorious 2010 side that overcame a very strong American team. But since then, Ross would be disappointed at how things have progressed. But at the end of 2012 Fisher secured his place on the PGA Tour and after a mediocre start to the season, there have been really promising signs of late. A 10th place at the Wells Fargo Championship followed by a T32 at the BMW PGA and then an 8th at the Nordea Masters is very positive. In that 8th place Fisher finished off with a 64 and was close to breaking the course record at one point! And in Germany, he has finished 9th, 2nd (ranked 1st in driving accuracy) and 12th in his last 3 starts, so he enjoys it here! He is also ranked 8th in GIR on the PGA Tour, which will be perfect for this week. We really like how Fisher is playing at the moment and coming onto a track he knows well, it could make for a very good 4 days.
Paul Casey (50/1 Stan James)
Casey even more so than Fisher has really dropped off the golfing radar the last few years, and therefore is a gamble. Since dislocating his shoulder in 2011, it has been a massive battle to regain the form that saw him reach as high as number 3 in the world golf rankings. With 11 European Tour titles and one PGA, Casey really should not find himself at these sorts of odds. But he does, and we want to take advantage of it this week. Last week at Merion really did shout to us that Casey is back to his best. The course is one of the hardest around and Casey handled himself well, making the cut and still being in with a shout at the start of day 4. His iron play and driving really was reminiscent of the old Casey we know and love. And this week, Paul comes to a track that he REALLY likes. In the past 12 years he has record three 3rd places, two 7th places and only missed two cuts. If he is ever going to rekindle the sort of form we know he is capable of, it will be in Munich. And on the European Tour in 2013, Casey ranks 3rd in GIR! Just like Fisher, this could be a turn in Casey’s career that is much needed this week.
Felipe Aguilar (80/1 Paddy Power)
The Chilean is probably more of a cast iron pick than the previous 2, just because of how solid he has been playing in 2013. More often than not Aguilar has been contention at the end of most tournaments he has competed in the last few months, and it is incredible that he finds himself at such high odds! Felipe has finished in the top 10 in 4 out of his last 6 tournaments, not bad eh? And statistically, he is a perfect match for this week we feel. He ranks 13th in driving accuracy on the Tour this year and 8th in GIR. And if you’re worried about course form, fear not, Aguilar finished 14th the last time it was held in Munich and then 4th in 2009. So he has the minerals to do very well on this course. It’s as simple as that, the Chilean is a great fit this week and represents really good value.
Graeme Storm (200/1 Coral)
We can certainly feel a Storm brewing in Germany this week, and we think the 35 year old Englishman has a great chance. Graeme is peaking just at the right time for this event after recording his first top 10 of 2013 2 weeks at the Lyoness Open. We were genuinely shocked when the odds were released that Storm could be got at such high odds, we thought at one point he might even be double figures! It’s his consistency on the German track that really excites us. He’s never missed a cut here in over 10 years of playing the tournament and has only finished outside the top 40 once in the last 7 years, with his best finish being 4th in 2009. Perhaps a win is a big ask, so a top 10 finish could really represent some good value. But with his course form, anything is possible.
Alex Cejka (150/1 Coral)
It is only right that we get a German in our picks! With Kaymer at short odds and Kieffer not in the sort of form we would like, Cejka is lucky enough to get our seal of approval this week. We watched last week’s Web.com Tour event closely and Cejka featured heavily throughout, but dropped off on day 4 to finish 28th. Now it’s not amazing, but it is signs that he playing some good stuff on a high quality Tour coming into his native event, which he will be buzzing for. But if you thought Storm’s course form was respectable, wait till you hear the German’s! Two 3rd places, a 2nd place, 16th and 21st have been his finishes in the last 10 years, not bad at all. Cejka has 4 European titles already to his name, so he certainly knows how to mix it with the best of them. We’ve highlighted it will take a US Open sort of game to win in Munich, and Cejka’s most recent performances at the Major have been 41st in 2012 and T8 in 2010. Alex has also represented Germany on countless occasions alongside Martin Kaymer, most recently in the 2011 World Cup where they came runner up to USA which included a certain Matt Kuchar. He’ll certainly have that German passion flowing through his veins. Again Cejka does represent good value, considering his track record in Munich.