The European Tour remains in mainland Europe this week for one of the oldest events on the tour – the KLM Open in the Netherlands. With no PGA Tour event this one will get plenty of the golfing focus.
Romain Wattel won the competition last year and he is back to defend his title with a decent enough cast list lining up to oppose him. We should be in for a decent week on what is a good course to watch on TV.
2017 – Romain Wattel
2016 – Joost Luiten
2015 – Thomas Pieters
2014 – Paul Casey
2013 – Joost Luiten
2012 – Peter Hanson
2011 – Simon Dyson
2010 – Martin Kaymer
2009 – Simon Dyson
2008 – Darren Clarke
For the third time in succession, The Dutch is the venue for the tournament. We are beginning to get a clearer picture of how the course plays and who it suits now. The course itself is a par 71 but it is only 6,983 yards so it isn’t a particularly long course which highlights why scoring has been low. Fairways are of average width, the rough is consistent, greens are huge and there is water in play on over half of the holes so accuracy off the tee and controlling irons is a must.
A look back at the last two years would suggest the leaderboard is covered by players high up on the greens in regulation for the week and full of the best putters, which stands to reason with the greens being some of the best on the tour.
With the Ryder Cup only a fortight away and many of Europe’s elite both in that and the Tour Championship in America next week it is fairly acceptable that the field this week is without some real stellar names in terms of the world ranking.
It does have a few winners from 2018 though with Eddie Pepperell and Joakim Lagergren in the field. Lee Westwood, Ryan Fox and Chris Wood are household names who are teeing it up while Andy Sullivan, Soren Kjeldsen and Ross Fisher also appear this week.
Eddie Pepperell is a 16/1 favourite this week which highlights how open the tournament is I guess. This course should suit him in theory and he’s been in good form over the course of the year so he is a worthy favourite but this doesn’t feel like a tournament that is going to be dominated from start to finish by the market leader. Other than him maybe being a little short there isn’t anything to not like about him but I prefer to look elsewhere.
I took Lee Westwood last week in Switzerland and while you got the impression he was on the fringes of getting deeply involved each time the door opened he soon closed it which makes me think that 18/1 on him could be a little short. The Ryder Cup has to be looming large on his mind now which could be a distraction.
Ryan Fox is 22/1 to win the tournament and if the wind blows and his driver co-operates he should go very close indeed. I’m always reluctant to get too involved in players who have yet to win at a relatively short price especially one who hasn’t exactly been jumping out at us in recent times to suggest he is about to win.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat is a streaky player but if he can keep the ball in play here he could justify the 25/1 quotes on him. Keeping it in play is a big issue as is his recent form where he is without a top 10 in Europe since the BMW PGA back in May. At his best he could win this but his best doesn’t appear to be with him.
Andrea Pavan won on a not too dissimilar course to this a few weeks ago in Prague and he probably needed last week to get back on the golf course and get things out of his system. I’m expecting the Italian to go well again this week. There is no doubt in my mind that the Italians are being inspired by Francesco Molinari winning The Open. Both Renato Paratore and Nino Bertasio have lifted their games since and Pavan too. He doesn’t miss many fairways Pavan and he’s seventh in strokes gained on approach or 13th in GIRs. If the putter co-operates, and it did in Prague and should do on these greens he looks a good bet to me.
Jorge Campillo should be perfectly suited to this course. He is seventh in strokes gained putting on the Tour this year and just inside the top 30 in greens in regulation. That figure would be much higher if he hadn’t got into the last two majors which is a real step up for him right now. In the regular European Tour events this season Campillo has shown plenty of good form and I expect him to go well here too.
George Coetzee ran hot here last year and I would not be surprised to see him go well here again. Statistically he is one of the best putters on the Tour this year and this is generally a layout he will go well on especially if he can keep it in play off the tee. He doesn’t need to pound too many drivers around here so he should be able to do that. The rest of the game should be right up his street so at 55/1 he looks to have every chance. If he was in good form he would be a main pick but there is enough to like to have him on an outsider’s stake.
Adrian Otaegui has been one of my men to go to on the European Tour this season and I’m more than happy to have him on my side this week. He is one of the best in the game from tee to green at the minute and as with most Spanish players he is very good with short irons and around the greens. He is more competent than most on the greens too and so he has everything in line to build on a top 10 in Denmark recently and push for a second win of the year.
If you go by statistics, putting especially, then Christiaan Bezuidenhout has to have a chance here. His ledger this season is one of consistency with a number of top 30 finishes but he is lacking that breakthrough week. It may well come here if his putting ability gains a few shots on the field. It isn’t like he is bad from tee to green but he isn’t going to miss many greens of this size so his comfort with the putter should see him have a good go here.
Back A.Pavan to win KLM Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with BetVictor (1/5 1-6)
Back J.Campillo to win KLM Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 56.00 with 888sport (1/5 1-6)
Back G.Coetzee to win KLM Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 56.00 with Unibet (1/5 1-6)
Back him here:
Back A.Otaegui to win KLM Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)
Back C.Bezuidenhout to win KLM Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Coral (1/5 1-7)