Re-cap Nordea Masters, Sweden
Such a shame we didn't get the epic battle between Stenson and Noren that everyone hoped for, however its always good to see a new winner on tour (even if you didn't pick them.)
Instead we got treated to a little dance from Levy and a slightly cringe worthy welcome home for Stenson on the 18th green, I think even the ice-man himself blushed a little with the sounds of 'ice, ice, baby' being blasted from the speakers.
All that aside Renato Paratore certainly earned his victory in Sweden. The field was strong, the conditions were tough and the scoring very restricted. A final day round of 70 was just enough to get ahead of Fitzpatrick and Wood and two clear of Coetzee's clubhouse lead that was helped by a very impressive round of 66 on Sunday.
I must admit I felt a little for Chris Wood as he came up 1 short in Sweden, however every cloud has a silver lining and in Chris's case this couldn't be more true... He has now pulled out from this weeks event in Austria and grabbed himself a last minute spot at Erin Hills. Great news for Chris and unfortunately bad news for the Lyoness Open and a lot of people who hoped to Draft him this week at a crazy low price.
My picks last week mirrored the wet conditions and below average scoring, far from a disaster but so frustrating. 14/18 made the cut and I had a few in the top 10. Up until the weekend things were looking great with loads of line ups competing for top spots, however my drafts slipped away, as did the $'s and I think I barely managed to break even this side of the pond. Anyway it was great too see some better success from other readers and hopefully this week there will be even more and I can join in the delights of the final day sweats.
Next Up - Lyoness Open, Austria
The European Tour now moves on to Austria where it will host its 12th staging of the Lyoness Open. Were also back at Diamond Country Club for the 7th consecutive year. In many ways its nice to have an event where course history and knowledge can be factored in and going on past history has served very well in previous years.
We will have an extremely weakened field, this obviously comes with no surprise with all the top talent now heading off to compete in next weeks US Open at Erin Hills. So once again we have many players that usually compete on either the Challenge Tour or other regional Tours making up the numbers.
Tournament Ambassador and homeland star Bernd Weisberger will be the main attraction on offer and big time bookies favourite to win this event for the second time. As I mentioned above there will also be a lot of talent on offer from smaller tours, personally I enjoy these opportunities as it often gives a chance to see a little more of the lesser known's and hopefully use some of my knowledge on these players to our advantage
Diamond Country Club always poses a strong test, scoring rarely gets out of control and no doubt our winner will be looking for a final target somewhere close to -14.
The course is set amongst stunning Austrian Countryside, it has a par of 72, the usual 4 par 5's, 4 par 3's and 10 par 4's all ending in a layout that measures 7,417 yards. Water lurks on 9 of the holes and many a hole has that card wrecking factor to consider.
The course record here held by Daniel I'm is only 64, this was tied by Adrian Otaegui last year. Would love to see someone go much lower this year but if they do its gonna take the right conditions, some excellent golf, a little luck and huge balls.
Key Stats and Strategy
I believe course history will hold a lot of value here, knowing when to play conservatively and when to be aggressive is so important here.
As always form and confidence will also hold some weight.
The type of players that stand the best chance to be in the right position come Sunday afternoon will be those that hit fairways and greens. You want your stat men this week. Bombing not necessary but ball striking will be. Of course a hot putter helps and this will probably be the stat that separates those at the top and our eventual winner.
Personally I will also be taking a punt on a few from the Challenge Tour, with the field being very similar and the scoring there exceptional. I have high hopes some of the birdie machines that less people know of come good for me.
So we have Bernd Weisberger and Joost Luiten in this section and I'm reluctant to play either. If I do play one of them it will be a little Weisberger. He's the tournament ambassador, former winner and Mr cut maker with 11/11 accompanied with a win and 4 top 10's. A no brainer compared to Luiten's zero top 10's, lack lustre form and high price. However I would also be a little cautious overloading with Weisbereger, Erin Hill's is just around the corner practice time there will be crucial if Bernd wants to compete and if he doesn't see the weekend in his home event I'm sure a solid performance in the US Open will ease his disappointments.
$9,000 - $10,000
James Morrison - Solid competitor and extremely reliable to score well on tougher courses, Finished 4th here last year. Missed the cut at Wentworth, hopefully this lowers ownership a little and James has taken advantage of some time to get well prepped for Diamond GCC.
Benjamin Hebert - Really impressed last week in Sweden witha top 10, hasn't missed a cut since February and now playing a course that statistically fits him perfectly, good chance to pick up another decent placing in this weakened field.
$8,000 - $9,000
Julian Suri - I recently posted on twitter ' next time Suri features make sure you play him' and even though his price is massively high I'm sticking with this. His form on both the European and Challenge Tour is more than impressive. He is an absolute Birdie Machine and very capable of super low scores. If anyone is gonna take down the course record I think it will be him
Steve Webster - Steve has been making his money making cuts and avoiding big mistakes, this fits the nature of this course perfectly and why he had a solid performance here last year with a top 20.
Trevor Fisher Jnr - I got burnt by him at the Rocco Forte Open, but once again I'm gonna take a little gamble with him here. When playing well can get on good birdie streaks, often competes at the top in the Challenge Tour and Sunshine Tour. This is all thanks to unreal ball striking, exactly what's needed in Austria.
$7,000 - $8,000
I believe there could be a lot of good plays from this range, these are my top 5.
Max Orrin - I will only be playing Max in Gpp because of his aggressive nature that doesn't necessarily fit the course. However with that said he is also playing some solid golf right now and moving in the right direction. If Max gets it going and make his usual high number of birdies and eagles he could not only finish well but score huge in your draft.
Eddie Pepperell - I'm sticking with Eddie again this week, he finished T8 in Sweden and has been in other recent fine form. Eddie needs to be in a good place to compete well and right now he's floating on a cloud. Only concern is the distraction of his trip coming up to Erin Hills, however at the price I simply have to play him.
Dylan Frittelli - Obviously there is the concerns of the last 2 missed cuts, luckily I was off him for both of those but I have no doubt he burnt a fair few in recent weeks. Super talented player, always in the mix when playing well and worth a gamble with his lower ownership in Gpp.
Mikko Korhonen - Well suited to the course and good course history, capable of repeating or bettering his T6 finish in 2015.
Prom Meesawat - 5/5 cuts made so far on the Euro Tour with 3 finishes inside the top 15. Should be a safe bet to make another cut and I like the chances of him competing on the final day leaderboard.
$6,000 - $7,000
Alexander Bjork - Cant tell you how pleased I am to see this player at this price. When I was chatting to both player and caddie at Walton Heath it was one they particularly fancied. There is an abundance of course knowledge on the bag for Alex to take advantage of and a game that suits.
Sebastian Soderberg - 6/6 cuts so far, thanks to his very reliable consistent play, expected to make another cut and therefor holds good value for that reason alone. Not sure if he can win here but might scrape a top 10.
Miguel Jimenez - Resident, honour member and involved in its re-design, just like Ernie at Wentworth always worth a punt on a course they should know how to play better than anyone.
Matt Ford - As always I will be wishing Matt well in his pursuit to regain his full Euro Tour card, I admit the course length concerns me a touch, however this is hugely outweighed by his short game and bogey avoidance skills, The cut mark shouldn't be too low a number nor the final score, all well suited to his solid consistent scoring.
Adrian Saddier - Another cut maker with 6/6 so far this year, in an event where scoring isn't super low, getting through the cut still gives you a big chance to place well. Wont play much of him but think he is worth a draft or two.
Tom Lewis - Crazy price for Tom considering the form he has been in, if your looking for real value and a player to be in contention come end of play Sunday I think he his your pay this week.
Daniel I'm - He was very unlucky to miss cuts in his last 2 events, He is playing really well at the moment and been striking it well. Holds the course record of 64 here so worth every $ of his super low price.
Then there's JBE Kruger - I just don't know what to do here... every time I play him he burns me, every time I fade him he burns me. So this week I'm just gonna sit on the fence and only stick him in one draft. That way, any way I look at it I win and I can move on from my building hatred towards him a little.
Anyway after this it's US Open week, cant wait to see how the players tackle what looks to be a brute of a course at Erin Hills. I might do a little piece on Euro players featuring but in the mean time if you have any questions get in touch through Twitter and I will try my best to help. Also please share your successes, thoughts and opinions its always good to get a little feedback and get ideas on what else holds value to you as the reader.
Best of luck to you all and fingers crossed for that big payout.