Porsche European Open Preview

The Porsche European Open Preview

Our golf writer takes a look at the Porsche European Open set to get underway this Thursday. 

With the golfing universe still coming to terms with the melodramatic tension supplied by American wunderkind Jordan Spieth, the European Tour turns its attention to Germany for this year’s edition of the European Open. Founded in 1978, the European Open has led something of a nomadic existence.

It was formerly played exclusively on British courses, with Turnberry even hosting the event in 1979. The K Club hosted the event from 1995 to 2005, giving it a semblance of permanence. But the event disappeared in 2009 and was reestablished in 2015 as an event to highlight the best courses that Germany has to offer- with Porsche’s sponsorship no doubt a factor in the revamp.

Green Eagle Golf Course, North Course | Thu 27 July - Sun 30 July | Hamburg, Germany

The first two editions of the renewed European Open took place in Bavaria on the Bad Griesbach course, but this year sees the event move to Hamburg and the foreboding Green Eagle Golf Course. The North Course at Green Eagle Golf Course is one of three at the 186 hectare venue. It is a veritable monster par 72, measuring in at well over 7,500 yards. The par 72 course is ranked as the most difficult in Germany as well as being amongst the ten most oppressive courses in Europe at this moment. The greens have allegedly got the highest slope rating on the tour. So I wouldn’t expect Alex Levy’s winning score of (-19) to come under any great threat this year. With a monstrous length and five 5’s expect driving distance and par 5 scoring to be of paramount importance.

Three Americans remain for this week’s European Open. Jimmy Walker- recently diagnosed with Lyme disease- has had a wretched season and will be looking for some momentum ahead of his PGA Championship defense. Patrick Reed heads the markets- alongside Charl Schwartzel- while the mercurial Pat Perz rounds up the American contingent. Thorbjorn Olesen and Joost Luiten head the European charge while Levy returns to defend his title. Matthew Southgate had an encouraging Open Championship and will feel buoyed going into this week.

Past Winners
2016: Alexander Levy (-19)*playoff
2015: Thongchai Jaidee (-17)

To Win Outright
Patrick Reed (12/1), Charl Schwartzel (14/1), Thorbjorn Olsen (22/1), Joost Luiten (22/1), Alex Levy (25/1)

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Value Bets

Richie Ramsey To Win (30/1), To Place (13/2)
The Aberdonian is not amongst the biggest hitters on the tour. That would make his selection seem somewhat counter-intuitive giving the way I have touted the length here. But he is accurate off the tee and should be able to avoid the numerous water hazards that pollinate this course. He is in a rich vein of form following that second place finish at the Irish Open a few weeks back. The three-time European Tour champion had a creditable top 25 finish at Royal Birkdale and will go into this tournament with loads of confidence.

Chase Koepka To Win (75/1), To Place (16/1)
The younger brother of US Open champion Brooks Koepka has not surprisingly experienced an upswing- fitting choice of verb- in his form since big brother took his first major tile. The Challenge Tour player has had two top 5’s in four stars since his brother’s win at Erin Hills, which has seen him rocket inside the top 15 of the Challenge Tour rankings. The 23 year-old is following the trend of his brother and close friend Peter Uihlein, trying to forge his identity on this side of the Atlantic before attempting to conquer the trickier landscape that is the PGA Tour. He is a great athlete and should have the strength to compete on this monstrously long layout.

Lucas Bjerregaard To Win (110/1), To Place (24/1)
The Dane should find this course to his liking giving his distance off the tee and ability to make hay on the Par 5’s.  He actually has some course experience after finishing in a tie for 34th here in the Challenge Tour event 7 years back. As far as triple figure punts go, you could do a lot worse than Bjerregaard. His best finish on tour remains that agonizing 2nd place behind Justin Rose in 2015 at the Hong Kong Open. He did however team up with Thorbjorn Olsen to claim the GolfSixes event earlier this year. His best finish of late- a tie for 7th- came at the lengthy Diamond Country Club in Austria, further enhancing his status as a specialist on longer courses.

The Man to Beat: Alexander Levy- To Win (25/1), To Place (11/2)
Out of the market leaders, Levy is defiantly the most tempting at (25/1). The enigmatic French talent can be brilliant when he gets going, evidence as recently as that 66 in the second round at Dundonald. Let’s also not forget that the big-hitting French talent won in China as recently as three months ago. He also has shown the capacity to contest a defense, finishing 3rd at the 2015 China Open in defense of his title. He represents good value considering he has won twice in his last 21 starts. He also finished 3rd in the 2013 BMW International Open in Germany, showing he should feel fairly comfortable playing here.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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