The Russian Open | Thursday 03 September - Sunday 06 September | Skolkovo Golf Club
The European Tour heads to Russia this week for the M2M Russian Open, hosted by Skolkovo Golf Club. This event marks the start of the race to get into Europe’s 2016 Ryder Cup team so although the field pales in comparison to that found in the Deutsche Bank Championship, this will still be an event that most golf fans are keeping a close eye on. A quick look at the field makes one doubt whether any of these players have a chance of actually making it into that team but nonetheless, this will be an interesting event.
The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is owned by one of Roman Abramovich’s companies and you can be sure no expense was spared in creating a world class venue. It’s been said that the course is one of the more picturesque in Russia and with a number of hazards in play on almost every hole it is also one of the more difficult. There are 113 bunkers waiting to punish those wayward drives and approaches and there is no shortage of water either as six lakes can be found around the course. This means that accuracy is at a premium this week and those who hit the ball straight will be at a distinct advantage. Apart from that it is anyone’s game and this looks like it will be a tight contest.
To Win Outright
Maximilian Kieffer 7/1
Bradley Dredge 12/1
Michael Hoey 12/1
David Horsey 14/1
Robert Dinwiddie 16/1
Michael Hoey (12/1 a win, 26/10 a place)
Michael Hoey has found a bit of form lately and finished inside the Top 5 in the Paul Lawrie Match Play a few weeks ago against some pretty stiff competition. Although the format played there was vastly different to your average tournament on the Tour, that performance would have given him a bit of confidence and he’ll be looking forward to returning to Russia which has been a happy hunting ground for him in the past. Against this field I give Hoey a real chance, each way is the bet for me.
Scott Jamieson (28/1 a win, 6/1 a place)
Scott Jamieson is one of those players who excels against weaker fields and he’ll be licking his lips at the prospect of taking on this lot in Russia. As the season draws to a close players like Jamieson start looking for gaps to get themselves in the running for the Dubai World Tour Championship and Jamieson will know that a win here will pretty much guarantee his place there. He came close last year and ended up finishing third. I don’t see any reason why he won’t go close again this week. Each way is the bet for me.
David Drysdale (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
David Drysdale is yet to win on the European Tour but he’s been close on more than one occasion and I reckon he could have a real chance in Russia this week. He looked to be in consistent form last time out in the Czech Republic on his way to a Top 30 finish and although he never looked like winning, he was striking the ball well and played some consistent golf. Surprisingly, he seems to thrive in Russia and I’m hoping that’s the case this week. Each way is my bet on Drysdale.
Damien McGrane (50/1 a win, 11/1 a place)
Anyone can win this week so it’s worth having a look at some of the bigger priced players and of those, McGrane seems to make the most appeal. Although he’s struggled for most of the season he came out firing last week and finished inside the Top 10 and I’m hoping that he carries that form through to Russia this week. Last year McGrane lost in a play-off in this event, let’s hope he goes one better this time around. Each way is my bet here.