European Tour: The BMW International Open Preview

Golfer admires his shot

We take a look at the BMW International Open set to take place between 21 and 24 June in Pulheim. 

It was another tough week for European Tour aficionados in terms of Major success. Tommy Fleetwood’s late surge couldn’t prevent Brooks Koepka becoming the fifth consecutive American Major Champion.

It’s good to see that Fleetwood has honored his commitment and will tee up min Germany this week. The BMW International Open is an event that dates back to 1989 on the European Tour. It was previously held in and around BMW’s home city of Munich, until it moved to Cologne in 2012. This will be the fourth time that this course has hosted this event.

The BMW International Open | 21 June - 24 June | Pulheim, Germany

The course is located between the western cities of Dusseldorf and Cologne and has the distinction of being the only course in Germany designed by the ‘Golden Bear’ himself: Jack Nicklaus. The generally flat, inland course is characteristic of a Nicklaus design. It is fairly forgiving off the tee and places a large emphasis on approach play. Water is in play on six holes and winning scores of -17, -19 and -11 around indicate that birdies are there to be made.

It’s rather strange to see a defending champion sitting At 200/1, but that’s where you will find Andres Romero. Tommy Fleetwood will clearly start as favorite, but that Final Round 63 around the snake-pit that was Shinnecock Hills has seen his price shorten dramatically. Sergio Garcia desperately needs to get back in the zone after a disappointing start to the season that was obviously underlined by that horror-show defense of his Masters title. The likes of Thorbjorn Olesen and Thomas Pieters add some gloss to an event that occupies that post US Open slot.

Past Winners
2017: Andres Romero (-17)
2016: Henrik Stenson (-17)
2015: Pablo Larrazabal (-17)
2014: Fabrizio Zanotti (-19)
2013: Ernie Els (-18)

To Win Outright
Tommy Fleetwood 7/1 | Sergio Garcia 14/1 | Andy Sullivan 16/1 | Thorbjorn Olesen 25/1 | Julian Suri 30/1

Martin Kaymer- To Win 40/1, To Place 17/2
Considering the fact that this isn’t exactly the most compelling field, the enigmatic figure of Martin Kaymer may offer some value this week. The two-time Major Champion has dramatically slipped to number 127 in the world after once holding the World Number One spot in 2011. Though his two Majors have both been won in the States, his form this year Stateside has been dismal, with a tie for 48th at the Masters his best result out of eight events. But he has been better in Europe, with a season best finish of eighth at the Italian Open earlier this month. His high greens-in-regulations stat should come into play on this Nicklaus designed course.

Thongchai Jaidee- To Win 75/1, To Place 16/1
Jaidee may be somewhat over the hill, but four cuts out of five between February and April- culminating in an excellent tie for eighth at a much stronger BMW PGA Championship field- make him a more attractive prospect. So at 75/1 he looks a solid bet this week, especially when you add his course form to that appraisal. He finished in a tie for eighth here in 2012 and a tie for fifth here in 2014. He also happened to win the European Open when it was staged on German soil in 2015. 75/1 looks more than reasonable to me.

David Horsey- To Win 90/1, To Place 19/1
As is often the case with these depleted European Tour fields, it’s perhaps not the worst idea to opt for a player with experience. Horsey has won a fair share and has contended on numerous occasions, and he’s playing on a course that will suit him handsomely. In fact, he finished in seventh place the last time this event was played at Gut Larchenhof in 2016. He recently had a seventh placed finish at the Shot Clock Masters and has tasted victory on a Jack Nicklaus designed course before: he won the 2014 Russian Open title at Tseleevo. 90/1 looks a decent price to me.

The Man to Beat- Thorbjorn Olesen- To Win 25/1, To Place 11/2
The exciting Danish player has had a generally miserable season, until he teed it up in the Italian Open. Winning at Gardagolf Golf Club will have no doubt re-instilled some of the self-belief necessary to compete at this level. The birdie machine is also returning to a course which holds fond memories. Olesen finished in a tie for second the last time the event was staged here in 2016. Clearly Fleetwood will be the man to beat this week, but at 7/1 there really is little value in the exceptional Englishman.

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Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets.net

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