Good Morning Golf Addicts
So this week rather than writing this article from the luxury of my own home I bring this to you from the clubhouse at Hardelot, Luckily I have a few hours to kill this morning before I pick up the bag again for round 2 and loop for my good friend in European Tour Qualifying School.
Unfortunately time is extremely limited and the internet connection not great so I do apologise if certain sections or description come across a little rushed.
Re-Cap Portugal Masters.
Although once again last week wasn't great for me it certainly was for some readers, and couldn't be more pleased to see your success shared through twitter and messages sent to me. Hopefully this week I can join in the Sunday sweat fun and with a little luck compete with you to take down a contest or 2.
Next Up - British Masters - Close House - England
Were in for a bit of a treat this week and in some ways I'm a little gutted I couldn't attend in person and bring you live feedback from the course and range. This truly is an amazing event to watch, littered with a star studded field and on a superb course.
Fortunately where I am and the company I am surrounded by this week I have plenty of resources to tap in to. The Colt course at Close House has been a regular stop for The Europro Tour since the course was openedin 2011 and after chatting with a number of players that have competed there I couldn't have a better understanding of how the course plays and what is required to do well here.
Measuring 6,813 yards this par 71 is spread across a gorgeous 160 acre strip of land that screams out old English and heritage in every direction you look. Even though this is a relatively new build course it has been constructed upon a 250 year old estate in the Tyne Valley near Newcastle in the North East of England. Originally designed by MacPhearson and later tweaked by tournament host and resident touring pro Lee Westwood
The players will face a demanding test this week where it will be imperative to hit fairways, shape the ball and work hard for their scores.
The greens are a mix of bent and poa, very undulating, many tiered and running around 10.6ft on the stimp reading.
Many of the holes here are tree lined, the rough deep in places and plenty of hazards to overcome including 3 lakes and an abundance of well placed bunkering.
Not only do we have a great course to enjoy this week but we have a fantastic representation from some of the best players in the world that come from European soil. This includes the likes of Rory, Sergio, Lowry, Weisberger, Noren and tournament host Lee Westwood. Also included in the field are many winners past and present from the tour and we can expect
Key Stats and Strategy
Driving Accuracy - Although Distance off the tee can offer a huge advantage on a few holes, it is far more crucial to hit fairways and maintain control whilst playing into greens and finding the right areas and levels. Unless your bombers posses an impeccable short game they may well struggle to keep a card in tact and remain competitive.
Scrambling - As mentioned above getting up and down is not always so straight forward on this course, there are many run offs around the greens and plenty of places you can leave yourself short-sided or with awkward chip shots across slopes and tiers.
Greens In Regulation - Players that hit greens for fun will have it relatively easy compared to the rest of the field. This is most certainly a ball strikers course and if looking for guaranteed cut makers this is where you should look first.
Hot Putter - On any course, especially in the modern game this element of the game is as always what separates the field and determines the end results. The greens here are quiet undulating and tough to read. Pace control and superb at holing out from 3-6ft can only be a huge benefit in your line ups.
Recent form and world class talent - What an impressive field we have turning out for the British Masters, not only is there a good handful of household names competing but we have so much talent right now trying to break through or grab a spot in the Race to Dubai and next years Ryder Cup, When it comes down to the final stretch experience can easily account for a shot or two and when stuck between who to pick it may be wise to side with experience to build that bank roll
My Picks and Plays
Alex Noren $10,400 - Although were at a new location this year I'm still backing last years winner to step up and shine once again. Alex really enjoys his golf in England and proof is in his results. This year alone he has managed to pick up a win at Wentworth and a very respectable T6 finish in The Open. The course style here and layout should perfectly suit his game and with the amazing skill set he holds around the greens I fully expect another impressive result in the British Isles.
$9,000 - $10,000
Matthew Fitzpatrick $9,200 - Last time we saw Matthew he won at the Omega European Masters. Needless to say he looked ultra impressive that week but what impressed me most was the strengthened relationship between him and his caddie Jamie. No doubt the pair have high ambitions to secure another Ryder Cup spot and I'm sure they will be keen to keep the ball rolling this time out. Going back to his caddie, Jamie.. One of the best green readers on the planet and a true asset to Matthew's game. I know this might be a bit of a bold statement but I know Jamie very well, having gone to the same college as him and played with him on a daily basis I know this to be extremely true and I also know he learnt many of his skills from one of the best putters to have graced the game in the form of Brad Faxon.
$8,000 - $9,000
Eddie Pepperell $8,800 -
Tyrell Hatton $8,500 -
Lucas Bjerrgaard $8,200 -
Dean Burmester - $8,000 -
$7,000 - $8,000
Nacho Elveria $7,900
Graemae Storm $7,600
David Horsey $7,400
Nino Bertasio $7,200
Aaron Rai $7,000
$7,000 or less
Matteo Manessero $7,000
Marcel Siem $6,900
SSP Chowrasia $6,900
Thomas Aiken $6,900
Felipe Aguilar $6,600
Ladies and Gents I have run out of time at this moment and sincerely apologise for the rushed write up and missing descriptions for for my players, If I find opportunity later today I will update the article and post an updated version this evening.
Time for me now to head out on the course, map the pins and put together a strategy ready to go low and get in the mix amongst the leaders.
As always I wish you all the very best of luck, feel free to fire me those messages through twitter and thank you so much for all the messages I have received so far wishing us the best of luck in our quest to compete on the big stage.