Course – Kennemer G&CC (6,626 yards par 70)
We’re back after a one-week break, apologies for the lack of previews last week! But it was probably a good thing as David Lipsky would not have been the first player on our minds…
If you watched it, Lipsky played one of the strangest shots we have ever seen. 80 yards left to the pin, just needs to get it on the dance floor and 2 putt for the title. He decides to lay up into thick rough to the left of the green – thankfully, he got up and down and the decision can be seen as a good one. But we don’t like seeing tournaments won like that, do we?
Onto Holland now, for the KLM Open. It was cracking scenes last year as Joost Luiten, orange jersey and all, won his home Open. It’s an event that has always attracted quality fields with the likes of Seve, Bernhard Langer and Lee Westwood winning here. We’ve been generous to Lee there… It’s a track that when you see it, you will know exactly who suits it. It’s also a course that has been used on and off, coming back here last year after a 3 year break.
The course is a really tight, windy links track with thick rough and undulating fairways. Players need to be finding plenty of greens, putting well and scrambling when they need to.
Let’s just run through some of the winners on this course – Simon Dyson (loves links), Darren Clarke (loves links), Ross Fisher (loves links) – you get the picture.
Despite Luiten’s tee to green prowess, it was actually his putting that got the job done last year. He ranked 6th in both putts per round and putts per GIR, whilst only 47th in GIR. So it does suggest a particular importance on the short game and links experience.
If you enjoyed Graeme Storm’s hole in one last week, how about this. An ace at the 15th this week will earn you a trip to space worth around $100,000…
Don’t forget to follow us throughout the week on Twitter @downthe18th for the latest news, betting + banter. Please get in touch and let us know what you think of our picks and who you fancy as well!
Shane Lowry (28/1 Various)
We know what Lowry does, his game is perfect for links golf. But why this week at these odds? It was over the weekend last week that we really got impressed by him and he reminded us of the form he was in a few weeks back. 4th Scottish Open, 9th Open and a cut made at the PGA meant it was a quality few weeks for the Irishman.
He managed to finish T13 in Switzerland, finding less than 50% of fairways, so with a bit of work this week on the driving, there’s no reason why he can’t win this thing. Finished 26th here last year and 15th in 2009 at this course.
And he deserves something after sharing the incredible hole-in-one moment with Graeme Storm last week – maybe he could be off to space this week…
Jonas Blixt (50/1 Ladbrokes)
The Swede is a bit of an enigma it has to be said. For a 2-time PGA Tour winner, runner-up at the Masters by the age of 30, 50/1 sounds absurdly high odds. But is it.
Jonas has an incredible knack of going for weeks without playing well at all, and guess what, he’s in one of those spells now. Since his 2nd at the Masters and T16 at the BMW the month after, his best finish was T36 at the PGA Championship. A missed cut at The Barclays put pay to his play-off hopes in America, so now he has decided to return to European soil. He currently lies 18th in the Race to Dubai so with a win here, he could catapult up the rankings. McIlroy, some 4.5million euros ahead, is perhaps a little tougher to catch mind.
So you can call this a risk, but if the Blixt turns up that we have seen glimpses of over the past 2 years, 50/1 looks like a snip.
Scott Jamieson (80/1 Various)
Scott the Scot is another quite obvious pick but again at cracking value in our opinion. He, like Lowry, enjoyed a great spell of golf a few weeks back during the links tournaments. His T8 at the Scottish Open followed a T18 in France. Has since finished 3rd in Russia and T9 in the Czech Republic.
So again, with only a T36 last week, why now? Well he ranked 10th driving accuracy, 21st GIR and even 8th distance showing tee to green he is on top of things. And that was on a course arguably not suited to his game. Putting was poor last week and that would be our only worry. But coming to a tournament where he did finish 4th, not on this course, in 2012 he should be full of confidence.
Tyrrell Hatton (80/1 BetFred)
Once again, great value. Despite a shocking first name, volatile temperament and questionable putting stroke, at only 22, this lad has a big future. He burst into the European Tour after a run of 4 top 10’s in the final 5 Challenge Tour events in 2013. So he has talent. As you can imagine, 2014 has been a rollercoaster but ultimately a very successful one. T10 Abu Dhabi, T2 Joburg Open, T4 Scottish Open and T3 last week have been some of the highlights.
Given his tremendous play last week where he ranked 8th accuracy, 5th GIR and 20th putts per GIR, he will still be buzzing with confidence. What makes us more interested is that T4 at the Scottish Open we just mentioned. The courses have similarities and more importantly shows he has the short game for links golf. He ranked 3rd putts per round and 10th putts per GIR over the 4 days in Scotland.
And having been paired with David Lipsky on the final day in Switzerland, he will have seen exactly what it takes to get the job done.
David Lynn (66/1 Paddy Power)
We actually managed to get the Englishman at 90/1 when the odds were first released meaning 66/1 makes him somewhat less appealing. Even so, this track has brought the ultimate consistency from his game. 7th 2006, 12th 2007 and 12th 2008 means he certainly knows the layout. Not to mention he won this tournament in 2004, claiming the first of only 2 European Tour titles.
But this year we have rarely seen the man who finished 2nd at the 2012 PGA Championship, 1 of only 3 cuts made in major tournaments. So when he wants to, he can compete with the best of them. A win in Portugal last year showed us once again he’s a top player.
It was his top 25 last week and short game stats that have ultimately convinced us to go there in Holland. He ranked 9th putts per GIR and 17th putts per round. If he transfers that onto a course he knows very well, it could be the perfect combination.
Brett Rumford (200/1 Stan James) (20/1 Top 10)
Firstly, why not at this price. The Aussie, who tore it up in 2013, has arguably the best short game on the European circuit. Question marks always surround his tee to green game but when he putts well, he wins. And last week, he ranked 1st putts per round and 5th putts per GIR. Admittedly, his T13 in Switzerland was the first cut he made since early June but coming to a course he did finish 17th on in 2007, it does seem like a cracking option. 20/1 top 10 sounds even more appealing!
Let us know your thoughts on our selections and who you fancy this week! @DownThe18th