European Tour: Omega European Masters Preview

Golfer admires shot with wood in hand

We preview this week's Omega European Masters to be hosted by Crans-Sur Sierre, Switzerland from 7 September. 

The 71st edition of this event- in various incarnations- sees the players return to the idyllic Crans-Sur Sierre resort in Switzerland. It’s no wonder that current Masters champion Sergio Garcia- a former champion here- calls this picturesque area home.

In actual fact, one look at the former winners of this event highlights the enduring quality of this event. Seve Ballesteros won the event on 3 occasions, while the likes of Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal, Thomas Bjorn, Alex Noren and Miguel Angel Jimenez have won this event.

Omega European Masters | 7 September - 11th September | Crans-Sur Sierre, Switzerland

The Par 70, 6,848 Yard layout is hardly the most daunting test on tour. The small, upturned saucer greens are almost a source of derision in some circles, while the dramatic altitude shifts could take some time for the uninitiated. So length off the tee will not necessarily be the key to success, with certain positions on the fairways making approaches to the green almost impossible. Seve’s renovation in 1999 left the golfer with more decisions to make. The stretch of 3 consecutive par 4’s between 5 and 7, all measuring under 365 yards, leave the filed with moral dilemmas about whether to take on the greens.

The field this week is actually fairly strong, perhaps exacerbated by the fact that the FedEx Cup is on a hiatus this week. The European Tour finally takes centre stage, and defending champion Alex Noren is unsurprisingly leading the markets. Tommy Fleetwood has had a major breakthrough year and is giving Noren a run for his money in most markets. European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn is in attendance, which should add a certain frisson to proceedings. It may leave the likes of Lee Westwood and Danny Willett even more motivated to outshine their opponents this week.

Past Winners
2016: Alex Noren (-17)*playoff
2015: Danny Willett (-17)
2014: David Lipsky (-18)*playoff
2013: Thomas Bjorn (-20)*playoff
2012: Richie Ramsey (-16)

To Win Outright: Alex Noren 8/1, Tommy Fleetwood 11/1, Bernd Wiesberger 25/1, Matthew Fitzpatrick 28/1, Richie Ramsey 28/1

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Value Bets

Jamie Donaldson- To Win 45/1
It hasn’t exactly been the best couple of years for the former Ryder Cupper, but there have been some encouraging signs of late that the Welshman could be getting back to somewhere resembling his best form. He had his best finish of the season at the Nordea Masters in June- with a T7th- and he has had a few top 20’s in the last month or so. But perhaps the greatest indicator of his potential this week is his form at this idiosyncratic course. He has three top 10 finishes here and will feel emboldened by a field bereft of true depth.

Victor Dubuisson- To Win 90/1
The enigmatic Frenchman is a slightly hair-raising one for punters, giving his tendency to alternate between the sublime and the ridiculous at will. But the Frenchman has some prior form at this course, surely enough to make him a steal at 90/1 to win. He has finished 3rd here in 2013, whilst shooting 65 and 67 in the first 2 rounds of the 2014 renewal. He has 2 wins and 17 top 5’s in his last 100 starts, perfectly encapsulating his hit and miss tendencies. I remember him being approximately 40/1 for the DP World Tour Championship in a much stronger field. So it stands to reason that the Frenchman- capable of contesting whenever his game is hot- should be fancied in a less star-studded field at this price.

Tom Lewis- To Win 100/1
Tom Lewis remains as one of a handful of players to lead a Major Championship as an Amateur. However, the 2011 European Tour Rookie of the Year has had a run of dreadful form in the last few seasons that has seen his star greatly diminish. But his form seems to have returned from nowhere this season, with only one missed cut since the Joburg Open. Since then he has amassed 4 top 20 finishes, and his precise iron game should be well suited to this course. He finished T3 in Prague last week, finishing 3rd for GIR in the final round.

The Man to Beat- Lee Westwood- To Win 28/1
The 1999 champion has been one of the most consistent performances at this course, and represents far better value than the frankly mercenary prices offered to Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood. The Englishman also had an encouraging week in Prague last week, finishing in a tie for 9th. He will be motivated by the presence of next year’s European Ryder Cup captain: Thomas Bjorn. He finished T4 last season and has 2 other top 6 finishes in his last 5 trips. His precision iron-play will be key here, while he remains one of the most brutal hitters on the tour.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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