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2016 KLM Open Preview
The KLM Open gets underway this Thursday and we've got some fantastic tips for you!
The heavily skewed relationship between the European Tour and its U.S counterpart is perhaps felt most pointedly during the lucrative Fed Ex Cup swing. The tour is ripped of many of its star attractions - lured by the potential ten million dollar pay-out that the U.S golfing machine offers in that feverish race to the Tour Championship. It does offer various players an opportunity to stake their own claim in the Race to Dubai, while simultaneously encouraging interesting results that could be beneficial to the seasoned punter.
Alright, to be honest, Alex Noren’s victory in the Omega Masters was hardly surprising: the metronomic Swede has been the picture of consistency this season. But then you had strong showings from the likes of Canizares and Bland. There is a window for some savvy speculation while the big boys are away, and this week’s KLM Open should be no exception. The tournament is being hosted by the Dutch in Spijik, an inland links style course designed by everyone’s favourite Scottish curmudgeon: Colin Montgomerie.
So expect a stereotypically punitive links set-up. There are lakes and burns with a dramatically undulating landscape. The greens are apparently also lightning fast, adding that extra dose of volatility to what is setting up as a formidable challenge for the golfers. Though not especially long at 6518 metres, the foreboding links set-up earned this modern slice of Dutch-Scot course consideration for the Ryder Cup 2018.
KLM Open | 8 September - 11 September | The Dutch Golf Course
2015: Thomas Pieters (-19) | 2014: Paul Casey (-14) | 2013: Joost Luiten (-12) *won in playoff | 2012: Peter Hanson (-14) | 2011: Simon Dyson (-12)
Thomas Pieters (15/2), Alex Noren (17/2), Byeong Hun An (16/1), Joost Luiten (16/1), Thongchai Jaidee (25/1)
Nicolas Colsaerts (33/1 Win & 13/2 Place)
Belgian golfing enthusiasts- now there’s a sentence - will no doubt be counting on the magnificent Thomas Pieters to underline his recent Ryder Cup wildcard selection with another strong showing this week. But it is another Belgian who has caught my eye. Nicolas Colsaerts - the man who once obliterated a golf ball 447 yards in Wales - has progressed so steadily this season that no one seems to have noticed. The Belgian has had 8 top 25 finishes in his last twelve starts. He finished 3rd at the Nordea Masters and enjoyed a tie for third at Castle Stuart - giving us fair indication that the man can master Links conditions. The early weather forecast seems to indicate that the Dutch could experience some blustery conditions this week Colsaerts is coming for a solid top 25 finish in Switzerland and is a solid outside bet.
Joost Luiten (16/1 Win & 32/10 Place)
Bound to receive boisterous partisan support, the 2013 champion - making his first appearance since the Olympic Games - will be a force to be reckoned with. He missed the cut in both the Scottish Open and Open Championship, which perhaps doesn’t auger well for this links course. But the man does have six top ten finishes this season as well as a tie for 5th at the Alfred Dunhill Championships. But it’s perhaps a 2014 finish that is his best portent. It’s difficult to sometimes gauge a course as new as this one, but the Dutchman was a winner at Celtic Manor in 2014. Ross McMurray was one of the chief designers of both links courses, which seems to indicate that Luiten’s eye may well suit the Dutch. With a highly respectable driving accuracy of 63 percent this season, look for the Dutchman to avoid trouble and be in the mix.
David Drysdale (125/1 Win & 25/1 Place)
Considering that I have fancied a Dutchman in this Dutch-links hybrid, it seems rather fitting that I go for a Scot. Drysdale has had a typical David Drysdale season. Slow at first, his season has meandered along until a sense of conviction appeared in the final straight. He finished in a tie for 12th this week and started to show some form. When you combine that with a tie for 13th at Castle Stuart and a more than respectable tie for 18th at the Alfred Dunhill, Drysdale starts to look like an intriguing prospect at 25/1 to place.
The Man to Beat
Alex Noren (17/2 Win & 17/10 Place)
The Swede has been ruthlessly efficient in his rise to number 8 in the Race to Dubai. His playoff victory in Switzerland was his second victory of the season following victory at Castle Stuart. The man has the temperament for links golf, and his putting is seriously deft. This will come in handy on a course where the greens on said to touch 12.5 on the stimp meter. I just think that Noren is playing some serene golf at the moment and will be looking to gain further ground on the absent European heavyweights.