The DP World Tour heads to the Swiss Alps for a huge week of golf as the Omega European Masters is played as the only tournament taking place on the main tours and with the backdrop of it being the last qualifying event for the European Ryder Cup team.
Thriston Lawrence won’t have any worries about making teams but he will be looking to make a successful defence of the title that he won a year ago, although he will have to do so against a much better field than he beat in 2022.
2022 – Thriston Lawrence
2021 – Rasmus Hojgaard
2019 – Sebastian Soderberg
2018 – Matthew Fitzpatrick
2017 – Matthew Fitzpatrick
2016 – Alex Noren
2015 – Danny Willett
2014 – David Lipsky
2013 – Thomas Bjorn
2012 – Richie Ramsay
We are back at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club this week. This course is up in the Swiss Alps and offers up some picturesque views so it is always a good one to watch on the TV with the wonderful backdrop on show. The course itself is a par 70 which only measures 6,808 yards although with the altitude it is at, it isn’t going to play anything like that yardage through the air. There have been no changes to the course of any note.
The defence of this course as well as the breeze high up in the mountains is the small greens which can be quite hard to find so we are looking for excellent iron players and ones with a decent short game because inevitably some greens will be missed and then it is a case of getting up and down. This tends to be a course for specialists so previous form round here can be a big thing. Distance control at altitude is another thing to look for.
This tournament was always going to attract a decent field. It often does but when you consider that it is the only event on the big tours and the last qualifying event for the Ryder Cup a decent field was guaranteed. The former US Open and twice winner here Matthew Fitzpatrick headlines the field this week. He is one of a dozen players in the top 100 in the world rankings who will have a tee time in the Swiss Alps this week.
Among the other top 100 players are Adrian Meronk, Victor Perez, Pablo Larrazabal, Adrian Otaegui and Rasmus Hojgaard for whom this is the last chance to work their way into the Ryder Cup team courtesy of the European points list. The defending champion Thriston Lawrence, Robert MacIntyre, the PGA Tour star Justin Suh and Thorbjorn Olesen are some of the other leading lights in the field while Alexander Bjork sits just outside the top 100 in the world rankings but is in the top 10 in the Race to Dubai standings.
Matthew Fitzpatrick has won this tournament twice and isn’t just here to win the title for a third time but he needs a decent week to be an automatic qualifier for the Ryder Cup. He doesn’t really need to worry about not making the team because he is guaranteed a pick if he needs it but everyone wants to qualify by right. He clearly loves this event and this course and is a worthy 17/2 favourite to secure his place in Rome in style.
Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard are the 18/1 second favourites this week. Hojgaard has seen his brother win this tournament and probably fancies a slice of the action. He was sixth in Scotland and third last week in the Czech Republic so he is in decent form and looking to build on a T29 on debut here last year. Aberg tied for fourth in Prague last week and is beginning to show his credentials at this level. He is on debut here which might catch him out against some course regulars.
It is a big week for Adrian Meronk. Many think the 20/1 shot is guaranteed a wildcard pick whatever happens this week but he can guarantee his spot in Rome if he goes well. The Pole has seen his form level up over the last couple of months or so which isn’t ideal and at the very least he will want a positive week to remind Luke Donald why he should be picked. Meronk has fair efforts of T27 and T38 around here and will be looking for more here.
Alexander Bjork is next in the betting at 22/1. He comes in here off the back of a T14 finish in the Czech Masters last week on a course which probably doesn’t suit his game, or is better suited to many others at least, so that bodes well for his chances. The Swede has three top 20 finishes in the four tournaments he has completed around here so the test and the conditions don’t worry him. The only question is whether he is a little short in this company given that it is more than five years since he last won.
I’ll take just the one main bet this week. That comes in the form of Matt Wallace, who got back to winning ways on the PGA Tour earlier in the year when he took down the Corales Puntacana Championship to add to his four DP World Tour wins and he showed last week that he is still a cut above this level when he was second in the Czech Masters. Wallace hasn’t really been spoken about for the Ryder Cup team but a PGA Tour winner who finished second last week would be hard to leave out if he goes as well again here.
That is perfectly possible too because he was the closest challenger to Thriston Lawrence here a year ago and he comes here with extra confidence and probably a better all-round game. One of the keys to success for Wallace last week was his eighth ranked strokes gained around the green and he ranked the same for strokes gained on approach. If he has that iron play with him this week then he could be very tough to stop.
I’ll go with three outsiders this week with the first of those being on a Spanish player who is renowned to be a good scrambler in Jorge Campillo. Like Wallace, Campillo has also won this year. He won in Kenya earlier in the year and there are plenty of similarities between the courses there and here. Campillo tied for fourth here a year ago and six of his last eight rounds around this golf course have been under par. In fact, Campillo sat tied for third and one shot off the lead after 54 holes here in 2021 before finishing with a mare of a 75. He is better now though and a T3 through 54 holes followed by a T4 finish suggests this is a track that works for him. He’ll do me as an outsider bet this week.
Sebastian Soderberg has been a winner here in the past and I’ll pay to see if he can get back in the winning enclosure here. The Swede has been a little more hit and miss by his standards this season but he went acceptably on his title defence here and then finished T14 here a year ago so this is a course which gets his juices going. Soderberg has just four top 10 finishes on the DP World Tour this season but two of those were where the air is a little thinner at the Jonsson Workwear Open and the Barracuda Championship. It seems he plays these altitude events well and I’ll pay to see what he has in him here too.
Marcel Schneider is fourth on the DP World Tour this season in strokes gained around the green and that gets upgraded to number one in scrambling so the German has every chance of being a factor this week on a course where scrambling is a big part of the game. Schneider was seventh here last year with a pair of 67s and a pair of 66s which is no mean effort and he won in Switzerland on the Challenge Tour so this part of the world brings the better side of his game out. He has plenty of good form numbers on tracks where scrambling is key this season and I’ll pay to see how far that short game takes him here.
Back M.Wallace to win Omega European Masters (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 26.00 with Betway (1/5 1-7)
Back J.Campillo to win Omega European Masters (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 71.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)
Back M.Schneider to win Omega European Masters (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 91.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)
Back S.Soderberg to win Omega European Masters (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-8)
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