Winner’s Share – €166,660
It’s another tough week in Europe. Going onto an unknown track with a relatively weak field when all eyes will inevitably be on the start of the FedEx play-offs over in America. Much was the same last week but with Marc Warren making it a good and profitable week for us, we take that confidence into the Czech Masters.
At nearly 7,500 yards you can already write off quite a few people who will struggle with the length of the track. The Albatross Golf Resort puts a lot of impetus on ball striking. Long, straight hitting is the order of the day but with pretty large greens out there, putting is key too. Finding the right tier on these greens and being a confident lag putter will go a long way this week. The fairways are generous but if you do stray, some links-style rough awaits. Except for the size of the greens, they are defenseless and someone who hits it long and plays aggressive could go low.
All eyes and cameras will be on Ryder Cup hopefuls Donaldson, Gallacher and Luiten with the points cut off just another week away. Their intentions are clear as without the Ryder Cup, it is highly unlikely they would have shown up this week.
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Emiliano Grillo (55/1 Bet365)
The Argentine is destined for a great career but has yet to really make his mark on the European Tour. His length off the tee, putting ability and aggressive style makes him the perfect player for this course. We say he hasn’t made his mark, but he did have quite an opportunity back at the Africa Open this year but, when holding the 54-hole lead, opened with a 9 on a par 4. Such is his grit; he birdied the last 5 holes to claim a top 5 finish. His best finish of the year was a 2nd place behind Stephen Gallacher over in Dubai, on a course that isn’t too dissimilar in terms of length.
It’s almost a certainty if he carries on playing like he is, a win is not too far away. And in a field like this with all eyes on America, these are the weeks to get your maiden win. Over in Denmark he ranked 3rd for driving distance and in the top 25 for accuracy, GIR and putts per GIR.
Thomas Pieters (70/1 Bet365)
Much like Grillo, the Belgian is someone who has all the tools to go a very long way in the game. He hits it far, has an array of shots with his irons and has shown he has the pedigree finishing 2nd at the Spanish Open and recorded two further top 10’s in Russia and Malaysia since April.
Only Koepka and Colsaerts average longer distance off the tee in Europe for 2014 and that stat alone could make Pieters hard to beat. His last appearance was a T6 in Russia where not only was he hitting the ball far, but found 75% of fairways.
And the fairways should be much easier to hit this week. He also ranked 4th putts per GIR and 2nd putts per round – so it’s hard not to like him!
Just like Grillo, needs a win to announce himself and these events are the perfect place to do it.
Rikard Karlberg (66/1 BetVictor)
Although we don’t see as much of Karlberg as some of the European Tour regulars, he is another exciting prospect at only 27. He has recorded 2 top 10’s in his last 5 starts including a T9 last week in Denmark. The Swede averages 290yards off the tee which will be fine and has been in good form. He was top 25 for both GIR and putting in Denmark and then top 10 for both in Russia. Ranks 28th in putting on the tour for 2014 and is just a really solid pick for this week.
Paul Waring (66/1 Coral)
It’s the Englishman’s consistency off the tee that draws us to him this week. He regularly averages over 290 yards and with two top 25’s in as many recent starts, he is a man in some form. His T21 at the Scottish Open was impressive in a tough field and will be taking confidence from that coming to the Czech Masters where the field is not so impressive. 17th putts per round in Denmark will be much needed coming to a course with huge greens. It’s a pick that perhaps does not inspire but Waring has all the tools to be right up there on a track like this.
Let us know your thoughts on our selections and who you fancy this week! @DownThe18th