European Tour: D&D Real Czech Masters Preview

We preview this week's D&D Real Czech Masters set to get underway on 31 August at the Albatross Golf Club in Prague. 

With the FedEx Cup Playoffs holding sway over the broader golfing consciousness, there’s once again a slightly decimated look to proceedings for the 4th installment of this event. Thomas Pieters is once again the main attraction- the Belgian wunderkind has done well by the European Tour with consecutive appearances in Denmark and now the Czech Republic.

While he missed the cut in Denmark, few will bet against a player with an impeccable record at the Albatross Golf Club. He has finished 1st and 2nd in his only 2 appearances here, and he will no doubt be keen to reaffirm his status as one of the premier players on the European circuit.

D&D Real Czech Masters | 31 August - 3 September | Albatross Golf Club, Prague

At around 7,467 yards, this Keith Preston creation is home to some truly monstrous holes. While it does measure at a generous 400 metres above sea-level, the par 5’s stack up against any of the monoliths found in America. The one measures at around 639 yards, clearly demonstrating the importance of driving both accurately and prodigiously. It is a parkland style course with gently undulating fairways. The winds look modest this week and it doesn’t seem as if the weather will play a huge factor.

There are some recognisable faces this week, with Medinah hero Martin Kaymer likely to draw large galleries. Former Ryder Cuppers Jamie Donaldson and Matthew Fitzpatrick will be looking to reenergize slightly flagging seasons. Lee Westwood will also be in attendance, while plenty of Challenge Tour ingénues will be looking to make a breakthrough in more favourable waters.

Past Winners
2016: Paul Peterson (-15)
2015: Thomas Pieters (-20)
2014: Jamie Donaldson (-14)

To Win Outright: Thomas Pieters 8/1, Jordan Smith 12/1, Matthew Fitzpatrick 16/1, Lee Westwood 18/1, Martin Kaymer 18/1

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Value Bets

Jordan Smith- To Win (12/1), To Place (7/2)
The young Englishman has had an exceptionally impressive rookie year, claiming a remarkable victory in July’s European Open. He followed that with what can only be described as a sensational T9th at Quail Hollow, comfortably duking it out with the crème de le crème of the golfing world. He finished 2nd for GIR that week, exemplifying the quality of his iron play. He also possesses a runner-up finish at the 2016 Czech Challenge, which was his last visit to the country. He looks set to thrive this weekend and could yet become England’s next great major hope.

Thomas Detry- To Win (25/1), To Place (11/2)
With all of the fanfare surrounding the phenomenal Pieters, it’s easy to overlook another bright, young Belgian star. Detry was the runner-up as recently as June in Germany. The Belgian rookie followed a last 16 appearance at the Paul Lawrie match-play was followed by a credible T14 appearance at the Made in Denmark event last week, crushing the weekend with round of 65 and 69. He has been inside the top 6 for putting average in 3 of his last 6 stroke-play events, and I expect him to be a contender should his short-blade remain disciplined.

Garrick Porteous- To Win (100/1), To Place (22/1)
The 27-year old played Walker Cup golf with both Jordan Smith and Matthew Fitzpatrick, and he comes off the back of his first Challenge Tour title earlier this summer. He will relish the weakened field, particularly giving his record in the country. He is a former winner of the Czech Amateur Championship, and his victory on the Challenge Tour was in Prague. Upon invite to the Czech Masters 3 years ago, Porteous wildly over performed and finished 9th on just his 13th professional appearance.

The Man to Beat- Thomas Pieters- To Win (8/1), To Place (7/4)
Pieters leads the field, and with his form at this event, it’s hard to look past the imposing Belgian. He had his breakthrough victory here before losing in a protracted Sunday battle with Paul Peterson last season. He may have missed the cut in Denmark last week, but it was rather misleading. He made nine birdies over the first 2 days- the same amount as David Horsey and eventual champion Julian Suri. He just had two horror Friday holes on the 2nd and 6th. His huge length gives him a distinct advantage with the size of these par 5’s. Pieters also possesses that uncanny ability to bounce back from adversity: he finished 4th at the masters following an abject week at Bay hill; he finished 4th at Firestone after a no-show at the Open.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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