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The British Masters Preview
Our golf writer takes a look at the betting for the British Masters at the Grove which gets underway this coming Thursday.
Luke Donald will host this year’s addition of the British Masters at the Grove in the rolling Hertfordshire countryside. He takes over the patriotic duties from the more flamboyant Ian Poulter, host of the tournament at Woburn last season. Matthew Fitzpatrick outlasted Soren Kjeldsen last season in a terrific face-off between the two. The parkland layout will make for an intriguing challenge as the Race to Dubai heats up. The Kyle Phillips designed course offers an exciting mix of drivable par fours and longer holes, meaning that there should be plenty of opportunities for players to be aggressive off the tee.
The British Masters returned last year following a six-year absence on tour. This hardly comes as a surprise giving the slightly roundabout nature of the European Tour in general these days. Tyrell Hatton will be feeling confident following his long-awaited maiden title at St Andrews last weekend. His good friend and runner-up at that event - Ross Fisher - will also be hoping to continue the momentum. Bernd Wiesberger is the current betting favourite following a slew of consistent performances while Alex Noren will be hoping to dispel a disappointing final few rounds in Scotland last week.
There is a typically strong British contingent this week, with defending champions Matthew Fitzpatrick desperate to regain form that has been seemingly drained by Ryder Cup exigencies. Danny Willet and Shane Lowry lurk menacingly in the field while Andrew Johnston will no doubt enjoy a huge share of audience admiration.
The British Masters | Thursday 13 October - Sunday 16 October | At the Grove
2015: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-15) | 2008: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (-12) *won in playoff | 2007: Lee Westwood (-15) | 2006: Johan Edfors (-11) | 2005: Thomas Bjorn (-6)
Bernd Wiesberger (12/1), Alex Noren (14/1), Ross Fisher (20/1), Shane Lowry (25/1), Danny Willet (25/1)
Bradley Dredge (35/1 Win & 15/2 Place)
The Welshman has found a spring in his steps in recent weeks, having almost missed out on his tour card for the last two seasons. After two second placed finishes at the Irish Open and the Made in Demark tournament, he has finished tied for 13th at the Porsche European Open and tied for 11th at St Andrews in the last few weeks. He seems to be in decent form and seems a really cheeky bet to win at 35/1. Two second place finishes do indicate a desire to be near the top of the leader board.
Andrew Johnston (40/1 Win & 17/2 Place)
‘Beef’, as he is affectionately and sometimes slightly irritatingly known, has enjoyed a breakthrough year thus far. Having won in Spain, he captured the imaginations of golfing enthusiasts on both sides of the pond with his gregarious, authentic demeanour. The Donald Trump of European golf? He may not enjoy that comparison, but he does show a liking for parkland layouts. He won at Valderrama and finished in a tie for 7th at Wentworth. He definitely seems good value at 17/2 to place. He also lives down the road from the course and will be the nominal home crowd hero.
Matteo Manassero (250/1 Win & 55/1 Place)
This one is my shot in the dark. The Italian has actually enjoyed something of a barren run on the tour. Following an excellent 3rd place finish at the Scottish Open, the enigmatic Italian missed four of his last five cuts on tour. But this is a man who can hit greens in regulation when he needs to - a key demographic in conquering this course. Tiger Woods hit 90 percent of greens in regulation on way to winning the WGC American Express Championship nearly a decade ago. Mannassero also has a positive history in England with a victory in the 2013 BMW PGA Championship.
The Man to Beat
Bernd Wiesberger (12/1 Win & 26/10 Place)
I know there is not much value in backing the pre-tournament favourite (see above for that), but I really feel that the metronomic Wiesberger is due a victory. He has finished in the top ten in his last three starts on the European Tour. Few can forget his painstaking defeat to Joost Luiten in the KLM Open when it looked like he was poised to take victory. I was impressed by the way he rallied following a poor opening to last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links, ultimately finishing in a tie for 7th.