Winner’s Share – €333,330
Course – Golf Club Gut Larchenof (7,228 yards Par 72)
Our 2014 Picks – Franceso Molinari (T12), Pablo Larrazabal (T8), Chris Wood (T33), Fabrizio Zanotti (WIN)
Alright so who enjoyed Chambers Bay last week? Chris Kirk didn’t. Ian Poulter didn’t. But we did. Okay the greens were more unpredictable than the British weather but it sure gave us one hell of a spectacle. As for Jordan Spieth, the guy’s an animal.
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned from golf it’s that there’s no time to rest and here we are in Germany for what is going to be a great 4 days. After a brief change to Cologne last year the Open heads back to Munich where you could say is home. 8 out of the last 10 events have been on this course.
The first thing we feel compelled to note is the US Open and how that will take its toll on those making the journey across the Atlantic this week. Ernie Els, off the back of his T4 at Merion in 2013, is the only person in recent times to have carried anything over from the major to Germany. To expect players to come straight from Chambers Bay, given how tough it was, to the flat fairways of Munich is a tough ask. Their game and setup for last week would have been completely different to the norm, fair play to anyone who makes that transition a smooth one. We’re staying clear.
Last time the event was held on this course we talked about driving accuracy being important and although it’s nice, it’s not a must around here. Fairways are generous. What we can’t ignore is the GIR trend around the Munich track. 2011 winner Pablo Larrazabal ranked 2nd for the week in GIR. Joost Luiten, T3, ranked 3rd GIR. And the last time it was held here in 2013, Ernie Els ranked 1st GIR – Martin Kaymer finished 4th, ranking 2nd GIR.
This all make sense when you take into account what the course is like. Plenty of trees, plenty of water and plenty of reasons to be finding the fairway. As has been proven in the past, when you find the short stuff there are plenty of birdies out there. Nick Dougherty got it to -22 in 2009 while David Howell got to -23, the highest score in the last 10 years. The winning average is up there at nearly -18.
All this said means the event will be won and lost from the fairway – iron players will thrive. Take a look at some of the winners around here: Els, Larrazabal, Howell, Horsey, Kaymer, Stenson. Getting it close and bringing your ‘A’ game around the greens is what’s going to get it done here.
If there’s one thing we like, it’s a good iron player.
DON’T FORGET – Our weekly competition with renowned magazine Golf Monthly continues, take a peak at the end of our selections to see how our stakes have been distributed this time.
You can 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!
Thomas Bjørn (40/1 Stan James)
We’ve systematically eliminated a lot of the top guys this week, mainly due to participation at Chambers Bay. But one man we can’t get off our list is Bjørn.
His 2nd the last time it was held here showed despite his advancing years he’s still one the best around in Europe. He was tied with South African Els with 6 to play but a poor drive on 14 put pay to any chances he had of lifting the trophy. Despite this, he showed he had to the course nailed, finding plenty of birdies and ranking 15th GIR & 3rd putts per GIR for the week.
Unlike most, the Dane comes to Munich with plenty of rest. He last played 3 weeks ago at the Nordea Masters. And one thing we know about Bjørn is when he putts well he’s dangerous. In Sweden he ranked 1st putts per GIR. Two weeks prior to that, he finished T11 around Wentworth ranking 6th GIR. Now, if he can pull these two facets of his game together and rekindle the sort of play he found around here 2 years ago, we’ll be all over it.
Scott Jamieson (66/1 Various)
Like the Dane that precedes Jamieson, this is man in good touch with a nice week’s rest under his belt.
The Scot has been playing solid stuff for nearly 2 months now, just not grabbing the high finish he deserves. Albeit in a lesser quality field, his T11 at the Lyoness Open 2 weeks ago finally gave us a glimpse of him mixing it at the top end of the leaderboard.
Before Austria, Scott teed it up at the tough links of Royal County Down. Despite finishing T30, he ranked 7th in both driving accuracy and GIR. So his game is definitely there.
We know on a flat track Jamieson has the ability to go low and find plenty of birdies which is exactly what he did around here in 2011, finishing with a final round 64 on his way to a T3.
We feel he is ready to burst and 66/1 looks like a good price to us.
Retief Goosen (90/1 Coral)
Okay, the course form of this man is sublime. Have a look: 2011 (3rd), 2009 (3rd), 2008 (13th), 2006 (2nd), 2004 (6th). Goose used to be a legend on the European Tour but lately we’ve not seen a lot of him. At 46, he’s still got a lot to give.
On paper this might look like a bit of an obvious pick given his love for the Munich-based course but it’s not. We’re taking into account the form we’ve seen across the pond. The South African finished T3 at this season’s Frys.com Open while his T8 at the Northern Trust could have been so much better after leading for the first 3 rounds. Now, to be leading on the PGA Tour shows you’re in good touch.
Rarely does he make the journey over to Europe so his love for this course alone is enough for us to jump all over the 90/1 on offer.
Bernd Ritthammer 200/1 (Paddy Power)
Only right we finish with a German in his home Open.
With all eyes on Kaymer and Kieffer in particular this man could genuinely sneak up on everyone. His T7 at the Nordea Masters 3 weeks ago saw him rank 4th putts per GIR, 10th GIR and 16th driving accuracy. Everything was working well. That finish was the 4th best of his career.
The only time he teed it up at Munich, 2 years ago, he finished T22. He had a lot less European Tour experience and was nearly double the rank he is in the world right now. The German only has 2 career top 10’s on the European Tour, both of which have been in his last 5 events. He’s taking it to a new level at the moment and what better stage to properly announce yourself than the BMW in Munich?
Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly. It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters! We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.
It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets. Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.
Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows –
£2.45 e/w on Thomas Bjorn at 40/1 (Stan James)
£1.25 e/w on Scott Jamieson at 66/1 (Paddy Power)
£1.00 e/w on Retief Goosen at 90/1 (Coral)
£0.35 e/w on Bernd Ritthammer 200/1 (Paddy Power)
Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.
Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)
Current Standings after 23 weeks
European Tour: £1.00
PGA Tour: £1.00
European Tour: £-96.95
PGA Tour: £-50.95
Golf Monthly leads by: £148.90