The European Tour heads back to Germany this week for the BMW International Open, the last event in which qualifiers for The Open can come via the Race to Dubai rankings so for a number of players teeing it up this will be a big week.
This event was unable to be staged last year so Andrea Pavan finally gets to defend the title that he won two years ago. He’ll defend against a decent field which has four eye catching entrants which we’ll get to later.
2019 – Andrea Pavan
2018 – Matt Wallace
2017 – Andres Romero
2016 – Henrik Stenson
2015 – Pablo Larrazabal
2014 – Fabrizio Zanotti
2013 – Ernie Els
2012 – Danny Willett
2011 – Pablo Larrazabal
2010 – David Horsey
We are back at the Golfclub Munchen Eichenried this week, the course which has hosted the event in the odd years previously. The course is a composite course which plays to a par of 72 and measures 7,284 yards so it isn’t terribly long. Since we were last here the course has undergone a lot of changes with all the greens being dug up and new undulations put into them so it might play a little trickier than it previously did.
The finishing three holes are the highlight of this course where water is in play but by and large the fairways are pretty big here so once again we’re on a second shot golf course where a hot putter is very much the requirement of the day. The top 10 was littered with players who ranked highly in strokes gained tee to green two years ago and with the changes made to the course I think that and the approach shots is the angle to attack here.
I mentioned above that there are some standout players in this field and they are the PGA Tour stars Viktor Hovland, Louis Oosthuizen and Sergio Garcia as well as the leading home player Martin Kaymer who tees it up wanting to win a home event. Recent Made in Himmerland champion Bernd Wiesberger is in the field as is twice winner Antoine Rozner. Sam Horsfield adds to the players who have won over the last year who tee it up here.
Dean Burmester is yet another recent winner who is in the field and then there are class acts like Thomas Pieters and players who are due to breakthrough such as Matthias Schwab. Other notables in the field include Andy Sullivan, Rasmus Hojgaard, Eddie Pepperell and previous winner Pablo Larrazabal. The Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington is also in the field both to try to win the tournament and to keep his eye on his potential team players.
Viktor Hovland is a 7/1 favourite to win the tournament this week. I wouldn’t worry too much about him leaving the US Open in the second round as he cited having sand in his eye and if there is any truth in that then he will surely have got that sorted out by now. His only previous sojourn to Europe this season saw him finish sixth at the Saudi International so he has a fair pedigree over this side of the Atlantic. This is his first go at this tournament though which is the only concern. The price isn’t for me anyway so I’m happy to leave him alone.
Louis Oosthuizen could easily have won the last two major championships but he has found one too good for him on both occasions. He will tee off as an 8/1 shot to lift the title but anyone who is deeply involved in a major has to feel it the following week, particularly here when he led the US Open four holes from home. Oosthuizen has the game to go very well here and he has played the tournament back in the distant past but last week and the long flight must take it out of him so he isn’t for me either.
Sergio Garcia is another with all the tools to win this tournament and at 12/1 we are getting towards a more acceptable price. Garcia doesn’t look in the best form with four missed cuts and a couple of fairly tame top 20s in his last six starts. His record when he comes and plays in Europe is pretty strong it has to be said but I wonder if off the back of four rounds at Torrey Pines if he’ll be in the best shape mentally for this week. He has a couple of second placed and a couple more top 10s here so if he is tuned in he could be the one to be on.
Bernd Wiesberger won the Made in Himmerland at an absolute canter a few weeks ago to propel himself right into the Ryder Cup qualification picture and he’ll need to keep winning to fully push his way into that side. He’s had a couple of disappointing efforts since his win in Denmark and has only made the top 15 once in six starts around here so that concerns me. You can get 20/1 on the Austrian winning here which might look big at the end of the week but I don’t really fancy him here.
I’ll go with a couple of main bets for this week and they are both smashing the tee to green starts which I really think is the thing to focus on this week. Antoine Rozner was the winner of the Qatar Masters earlier in the season so if we didn’t know that he could win at this level that proved it but it is his effort at The Memorial in America recently that caught my eye. There, in a strong field on a tough golf course, he finished in the top 20 but ranked 11 in strokes gained tee to green and second in strokes gained on approach, gaining more than eight shots on a field which included Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Bryson DeChambeau and a whole host more. There might be some decent players in this field but it certainly isn’t as elite as that one was. Rozner has won twice on the European Tour in the last seven months and the way he is hitting it he is primed for another big week here.
I’ve been championing the credentials of Ryan Fox for a few weeks and he has delivered on the statistics I wanted him to but not produced the results I wanted, however on a tough track in the Porsche European Open the last time we were in Germany he finished very well to sit just outside the top 10 on a tough golf course. This track should suit him. He has ranked fifth in his last two events in strokes gained from tee to green and now that he is more active than at the start of the year his putting should come into a nice groove. The new greens here largely renders putting statistics and history irrelevant so I’m happy to sit on the ball striking skills of the New Zealander this week.
I’ll go with four outsiders this week as there are a few players I want to keep onside. I usually have Adrian Otaegui onside this time of year and after his run at the Scandinavian Mixed I’m certainly not leaving him out of the equation now that he is in form. He is a previous winner in Germany having won the Paul Lawrie Matchplay in this country in the past and arrives here off the back of a fantastic effort in Sweden where he finished second to Jonathan Caldwell. He led the field in stroke gained tee to green and approach, gaining more than 11 shots on the field in both disciplines and that elite level ball striking could have him go very well here, especially if his usual quality with the putter returns on unfamiliar greens for everyone. He’s well worth a punt this week.
The other three are all players I’ve been on at various times this year in Louis de Jager, Maverick Antcliff and Jacques Kuryswijk. I’m not going to expand too much on this trio as regular readers will know all too well why I like them but they are all leading players from tee to green and I’m certain that there is a European Tour win in all three of these players and given that none of them have done the San Diego to Munich trip this week this might be the week where they land their title.
Back A.Rozner to win BMW International Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Betfred (1/5 1-6)
Back R.Fox to win BMW International Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 36.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)
Back A.Otaegui to win BMW International Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 61.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)
Back them here:
Back M.Antcliff to win BMW International Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-7)
Back him here:
Back L.de Jager to win BMW International Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with BetVictor (1/5 1-6)
Back him here:
Back J.Kuryswijk to win BMW International Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 126.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-7)