Quick re-cap from Made In Denmark
On a personal note last week was somewhat frustrating, although having great success with picks like Ormsby our first round leader and Suri our eventual well deserved winner. I had too much exposure to players like Dredge and Pieters who missed the cut.
Anyway I like to focus on those positives so lets head back to Suri's extremely impressive win, I couldn't be more pleased for him to have picked up his first. He has looked so impressive all year on both the European Tour and the Challenge Tour. As you all probably know I have consequently backed him heavily in most tournaments and thankfully he has now fully returned that backing after closing out the tournament in a manner often attached to those who have far more experience at this level than himself. Equally I am just as pleased that all of you got to see his potential in full glory and can now back him in upcoming events with greater confidence.
Next Up - D+D Real Czech Masters.
The European Tour now head off to Prague in the Czech Republic to compete for the Czech Masters and for some maybe more importantly start their campaign to pick up valuable Ryder Cup ranking points ready for next years festival of golf in Paris.
We have a very decent field competing in this event, headlined with names such as Pieters, Westwood, Fitzpatrick and Kaymer who will all be extremely keen to get a head start on all those currently away competing for the Fedex Cup. To accompany those star names we have very bright future stars and potential Ryder Cup players like Smith and Detry looking to continue their impressive form and break through for a place next year.
The picturesque Keith Preston-designed Albatross Golf Resort has quickly become a player favourite after first featuring on the European Tour schedule three years ago.
The 7,467-yard par 72 parkland venue has been voted the number one course in the Czech Republic by Golf Digest, and last year it was added to the European Tour Properties portfolio.
Built on old farm land, this layout like many we have experienced recently is extremely exposed, susceptible to the conditions and in particular the winds should they feature this week.
Fairways here are more than generous enough, although players will still have to be cautious in places to avoid well placed bunkering and water hazards. The bentgrass greens are also generous in size, running relatively quick (12ft stimp reading)
In terms of scoring I believe players will have more than ample opportunity to go low this week, especially for those that crush the ball off the tee and hole crucial puts. The par 5's although 2 of them stretching beyond 600 yards should be reachable for a good proportion of the field and if like last year the organisers push up a few tees we may even have a driveable par 4 on offer.
The tournaments set to start with absolutely ideal conditions, very little wind and gorgeous sunshine, however that is due to change quiet rapidly as the day progresses on Thursday. We then have the potential of thunderstorms creeping in and possibly delaying play late into the afternoon rounds. Friday is currently forecast for slightly stronger winds and heavy rainfall throughout the day. We are also expecting a massive dip in temperatures. How all of this will impact play is still not certain but maybe worth paying a little close attention towards to ensure your picks get the best of everything and see the weekend play.
Stats and Strategy
Under normal conditions I don't believe this course suits any particular type of play and we may well see this come the end of the tournament, however due to dipping temperatures and softer ground conditions as the weekday play progresses I am a little more inclined to lean towards some solid yardage off the tee.
Ball striking, greens in regulation and then obviously putts holed should be the formula for success on this course.
As with most events I will be paying attention towards recent form, form on similar style courses and element of course history. Although once again we only have 3 years of previous event history to go on and many new players to this event it won't weight as heavily as the others areas mentioned.
Personally I will be paying close attention to the weather and once I have completed my last bits of research in this area I will post any updates on twitter. Ideally I would like my picks to have as little interruption to there rounds as possible, to be able to take advantage of the better scoring conditions and then utilize those softer surfaces once the weather has passed through.
My Picks and Plays
Jordan Smith $10,500 - With only 3 players on offer in this section I will be siding with recent form and course fit. Compared to Pieters and Fitzpatrick, Jordan is coming into this event with a lot of confidence after his very recent win at The Porsche European Open and then followed that up with a 9th place finish in his first major experience at The PGA Champs. He scores exceptional well on the par 5's and going by prior tournament history this could be once agin one of those stats that separates him from others contending.
I will however have a little ownership of Pieters in GPP as in any tournament he has that incredible talent that could rack up huge points in any line up and I certainly dont want to miss out if he is having one of those amazing weeks.
On the other hand I will have zero ownership of Fitzpatrick, its been a while since we have seen anything impressive from him and although he will be keen to get the right road heading towards another Ryder Cup start I need to see more form before getting behind him and his caddie Jamie.
Julian Suri $9,400 - If you spent time watching Julian Suri win last week in Denmark you certainly don't need me to tell you how good his all around game is. Personally I'm backing him again and even thinking we could see back to back victories. Now he has a taste for winning at this level I fully expect him to push on and potentially compete week in week out. In addition he has that agressive style of play that could do well here and see you pick up plenty of points off the back of the birdies or better I anticipate him making.
Thomas Detry $9,200 - This young player from Belgium is expected to do great things within the game, considered to be version 2.0 of Pieters... So again this great fantastic potential star could roll in with another solid performance on a course that should fit his game perfectly. Thomas finished T14 last week and his best result of the year has seen him placed 2nd. Trending in the right direction and hoping this week sees him with a top 10 place.
Aaron Rai $9,100 - Featured last week in the write up and rightly so featuring once again. especially after finishing T10 in Denmark. Full of confidence, all round solid game, expected to make the cut with ease and has more than enough caliber to contend come Sunday afternoon.
$8,000 - $9,000
Benjamin Hebert $8,900 - Had a great event in Denmark with a T6 placing, has made the cut in all of his last 4 outings and picked up 4 top 10 finishes throughout the season. Style of play should work perfectly here, however he did miss the cut here a couple of years back. Hoping this damages his ownership and not his performance on this occasion.
David Lipsky $8,700 - I sat on the fence with Lipsky in Demark, I wasn't 100% sure if to play him or not, luckily I decide to have a little exposure that helped out considerable. Form coming into the last event wasn't great and although course history was solid I couldn't be fully confident. However this week we now have good form from last week and solid course history so much happier to get behind my US go to pick as I often do.
Ashley Chesters $8,500 - Ashley is one of those up and coming players on my list of those I expect to break through very soon. Looking far more settled now as a pro after making that transition from the amateur game. Has been finding exceptional form, picking up decent placings and now looking like the super talented player he is. This course should suit his game perfectly and if forced to play in rougher conditions is well accustomed to perform even if heavily interrupted.
$7,000 - $8,000
Matt Wallace $7,800 - Matt had a very impressive run out in Denmark earning himself a T6 placing, if not for a few disasters during Fridays round could of been looking much higher up the leaderboard and even potentially knocking Suri off that top spot.
Dean Burmester $7,700 - This pick will only feature in my Gpp line ups. We haven't seen the best from Dean in a while now however he is due to turn that form around and start contending once again. Crushes the ball off the tee and puts like a magician, in my opinion this course could fit perfectly to his game and if he manages to get that putter hot we can expect an abundance of birdies or better. Due to recent missed cuts I expect ownership to be low and therefor this could present a great opportunity to grab a birdie machine at a crazy low price.
Alexander Bjork $7,100 - I have included this well mannered and super calm Swede in countless write ups after having the pleasure of walking 18 holes inside the ropes with him earlier this year. He is without a doubt a solid pick to make the cut and even get himself close to leaderboard come the end of the event. His game has very little weakness and certainly ticks that ball striking box. Highly unlikely to do anything daft out there and consequently happy to roll with him in both cash and gpp contests.
Paul Peterson $7,100 - Last years winner, sure it was completely out of left field and in no way am I thinking he will repeat that this year. However after having made the cut in Denmark and showed well especially on Saturday with an impressive 66. I am hoping the confidence he can take from that and returning to a course where he has experienced success will work for him. At this price I wold be more than happy to take a punt and see him creep inside the top 15.
$7,000 or less
Lucas Bjerregaard $6,900 - Last week Lucas was playing not only on home soil but also at his home course, in many ways this should of presented a huge advantage, yet at the same time it would of pilled on the pressure in a massive way. This course statistically should fit his game much better and with his long hitting capabilities he should be presented with more scoring opportunities than most out there. Hasn't made the cut here in all 3 attempts yet so once again siding more with form rather than history and hoping that I can play the ownership game to my favour.
John Daly $6,900 - I have to be honest and tell you all that I never thought I would be throwing the former big bombing legend into one of my write ups... I came so close to including him for Denmark but ended up avoiding him due to potential ridicule had I got it wrong. This week I'm just hoping he can continue to play as freely as he did at the Himmerland resort and not make me look like the fool that missed out. Btw in case you missed it big bold JD finished T10 with rounds of 67, 70, 65 and 71. Along the way made 1 Eagle and 17 birdies and for those that gambled on him they picked up 85 points in their line ups.
Alexander Knappe $6,900 - Unfortunately Alex burnt me in a few line ups last week, however not one to hold a grudge and certainly not one to be stupid enough to ignore him this week I am putting my confidence straight back into him and hoping that this week he returns back to the form we have seen in events just gone. Priced below $7k got to be worth a punt especially with exceptionally low ownership anticipated.
James Heath $6,500 - Some of you may think i have gone mad including James Heath in my picks but sometimes you have to think a little outside the box in order to be successful and this could be exactly what you need if loading up at the top end. Having not completed an event in any of his 6 European Tour outings so far I highly doubt his ownership will be above 0.5%. Trust me this player is most certainly a ball striker and more than capable of scoring well on a course like this. After digging a little deeper I soon noticed that he has had success here before with a T9 placing back in 2014. To add confidence to this pick of course you want to see more recent form. Fortunately this has been present over the last 2 months on the Challenge Tour and now all he has to do is convert those performances and transition better on the bigger stage.
Next Up For Me
With this weeks write up now complete and published in time for more to enjoy and hopefully take advantage of. I now get a chance to head back out on the course and enjoy another round with the Royal Engineers (Army).
Earlier this week I participated in a charity Texas scramble with a few of our members, had loads of fun and more importantly raised some cash for an incredible cause.. Help for Heroes (who help and support our injured soldiers) Tomorrow battle commences once again but this time in an alternate shot, foursomes match where I get a chance to partner my boss (head pro and former tour player) So best make sure I get my cannons working, bomb it past my competitors and have them shaking in their army boots ;)
Anyway ladies and gents as always I wish you all the very best of luck in your drafts and of course welcome you to fire those questions across to me on twitter should you have them.