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BMW International Open 2016 Preview
Our golf scribe previews this week's European Tour event, the BMW International Open, which starts on Thursday.
The European Tour is back online this week as we head to Germany for the BMW International Open. Despite filling an unwanted place in the schedule – coming just a few short days after the US Open – the event has managed to attract a decent bunch of players.
The big-three for this week are former winners Sergio Garcia and Danny Willett, plus twice runner-up Henrik Stenson. However, after a gruelling week across the Atlantic, it’s anybody’s guess how they’ll show up here.
As for the course itself, the 7,228 yard Par 72 Jack Nicklaus design has played fairly easily in recent years. The fairways are flat, there’s a bit of leniency for the errant off the tee and there are two reachable Par 5’s where players will look to score.
I’ll be taking a slightly different approach this week, with a couple new categories to determine my selections. Hopefully, we’ll get some joy out of it.
BMW International Open | Thursday 23 June - Sunday 26 June | Gut Laerchenhof Golf Club
2015 - Pablo Larrazabal -17 | 2014 - Fabrizio Zanotti -19 (Playoff) | 2013 Ernie Els -18 | 2012 Danny Willett -11 (Playoff) | 2011 - Pablo Larrazabal -16 (Playoff)
To Win Outright
Sergio Garcia 15/2 | Danny Willett 9/1 | Henrik Stenson 9/1 | Joost Luiten 22/1 | Andy Sullivan 30/1 | Rikard Karlberg 30/1
By the numbers
4 – Four of the last five European Tour events played the week after the US Open have been won by players who didn’t compete in the major. Hangover.
28 – This will be the 28th edition of the BMW International Open, the longest consecutive sponsor of any current European Tour event. Loyal.
24 – There have been 24 different winners from the previous 27 editions of the event. Cosmopolitan.
3 – The last three European Tour events to be played at Golf Club Gut Laerchenhof have all been decided by play-offs.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (80/1 Win & 18/1 Place)
“The Barnrat” comes into this event under the radar, showcased by his generous odds of 80/1. Having spent much of the season hacking away in the States, the burly Thai returns to the European Tour, where he already has three victories despite his relatively young age. He’s come up short in some top-quality fields across the pond, but the drop in class should see him come into contention. If he can rediscover the form that saw him to victory twice last year, the 80/1 is going to look a gift.
Scott Hend (55/1 Win & 12/1 Place)
While Hend has become a bit of a specialist in Asia, I fancy the big-hitting Aussie could show up well on the mainland this week. While the world’s best were tormented by Oakmont last week, Hend was busy winning the Queens Cup on the Asian Tour. It was his second victory in four months and 13th overall. That’s a pretty prolific strike rate and coupled with his fourth place finish here last year, albeit, on a different course, it makes him worth taking a punt on. If Hend can reproduce the form shown during the first three rounds of the BMW Championship three weeks back, he could be well in with a shot come Sunday.
Nicolas Colsaerts (40/1 Win & 88/10 Place)
Colsaerts has been a decent earner for me this season, picking up place finishes in Mauritius and Sweden, the latter in his last outing. The Belgian Bomber certainly has the distance to go low on this shorter layout, but it is his GIR percentage which really gets me excited. His percentage of 75.3 is second only to Henrik Stenson in players on show this week. It will be a big surprise if to me if he doesn’t feature this week, and if he can transfer those places into wins, we’ll be in for one helluva ride.
Horse for the course
Henrik Stenson (9/1 Win & 2/1 Place)
If it’s course form you’re after, then the Swede has some of the best around. His figures read 46-MC-13-MC-2-6-6-2, so he clearly likes the venue even if he’s yet to win here. Last week he began the US Open with a one-under-par 69, before everything went south on a dreadful second day. However, he finished fourth at the Nordea Masters, the last event he played in Europe. He lost a four-man playoff at this course in 2014, finishing at -19 and tied for second. With a bit of luck, Stenson could well pick up his first title since 2014 this week.