European Tour: British Masters

Golfer admires shot with wood in hand

Our golf writer preview the British Masters which is set to get underway this Thursday 28 October at the Close House Golf Course.

Finally, some form of respectability returns to the European Tour. I have been somewhat curmudgeonly of late about the lack of depth in the fields, but the end of the FedEx Cup has brought some star power. Rory and Sergio bring some much needed glamor and have hugely increased the profile of this event. Alex Noren will be looking to defend the title while Lee Westwood plays host to the event, keeping up the tradition started by Ian Poulter in 2015 and repeated last year by Luke Donald.

The British Masters | 28 September - 1st October 2017 | Close House Golf Course

Close House Golf Course is a relatively unknown quantity, having only been completed in 2011. The course was co-designed by Lee Westwood alongside legendary course designer Harry Colt. It is a picturesque tree-lined course that measures a very tame 6,900 yards. That is a slightly misleading number however, with a few challenging par 3’s dispersed throughout the layout. There is penal rough, so players looking to eviscerate the ball off the tee to exploit the short course may find themselves in agricultural territory.

McIlroy will be hoping to add some gloss to what has been a forgettable season. Endless fiddling with his game and background dramas have seen him relinquish his grip on instant recognition amongst the world’s current best players. Sergio Garcia’s year has gone in a similar direction after winning that breakthrough Masters title. It actually became slightly unbearable how much he luxuriated in it. Clearly Lee Westwood will be a threat as the host, while the likes of Wiesbegrer and Noren lurk menacingly in the pack.

Past Winners
2016: Alex Noren (-18)
2015: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-15)
2014: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (-12) playoff
2013: Lee Westwood (-15)
2012: Johan Edfors (-11)

To Win Outright: Rory McIlroy 13/2, Sergio Garcia 8/1, Alex Noren 14/1, Bernd Wiesberger 20/1, Lee Westwood 20/1

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Value Bets

Eddie Pepperell- To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)
Eddie Pepperell is one of the form players on the Tour and represents astounding value at 35/1. The Englishman has just come off three consecutive top 5 finishes. Sure, the fields haven’t always been electrifying, but there has certainly been some solid golf played tee-to-green by Pepperell. Since his T16 at the Open, I have kind of been fascinated by his development. His last two performances- in particular- have been on tighter, shorter courses, which should bode well for this relatively meagre course. He has also shown an affinity for links-style course, with T8 finishes in both Sweden and Ireland.

Graeme Storm- To Win (90/1), To Place (19/1)
I’m opting for the local connection and a man who is relishing his chance to compete just up the road from where he stays. Storm has had excellent results at Wentworth, and many are expecting this course to play similarly to that one. Strom had a long injury hiatus with a wrist issue, but he roared back into contention with a T3rd finish in Portugal last week. Strom began the year in fierce mode, famously holding off the challenge of a roaring Rory in South Africa. I think that he looks like amazing value at 90/1.

Chris Paisley- To Win (125/1), To Place (25/1)
Paisley had a decent week last week, with a T12th finish that included an excellent 6 under second round. He also had 2 top 5’s in August, indicating that his form is certainly decent for a 125/1 shot. Also, I tend to think that these players who have been in consistent form get harshly treated by bookmakers when the big boys role back in to town. But for me the most important fact- coupled with his form- is that he is one of the tour professionals at Close House. He has a distinct 1up over the majority of the field who have barely played the course.

The Man to Beat- Shane Lowry (28/1), To Place (6/1)
This one may strike one has something of a shot in the dark, but Lowry has always had the ability to perform well on courses that are conducive to low scoring. Additionally, very few players have experience on this course and that makes his 28/1 valuation all the more enticing. He sparkled in the 2nd round last week in Portugal, with a fabulous 64 that highlighted his best attributes. He has generally performed well when returning to European shores this season, with a T20 at the Irish Open and a T6th at the PGA Championship.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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