European Tour: Porsche European Open Preview

Golfer admires his shot

Our golf writer looks at this week's European Tour-sanctioned Porsche European Open set to take place at the Porsche Nord Course in Hamburg. 

The European Tour will have no doubt enjoyed a collective psychological boost from Francisco Molinari’s remarkable victory at Carnoustie last week. It broke a run of five consecutive American Major victories and will have enthused Thomas Bjorn no end.

First played in 1978, Bobby Wadkins won the inaugural European Open at Walton Heath. The course would remain a nomadic event on the European Tour until it was rescinded in 2009. The event was re-established in 2015 and was played at Bad Griesbach for its first two renewals. It moved from the Beckenbauer Course to the Green Eagle Resort last year and the picturesque resort once again dons hosting duties.

Porsche European Open | 26 July - 29 July | Porsche Nord Course, Hamburg, Germany

Formerly known as the North Couse, the Porsche Nord Course is an absolute monster. As par 72 measuring a staggering 7,583 yards, the Porsche Nord Course is clearly going to test these players first and foremost on the tee-box. Currently the longest course on the European Tour, the Nord Course is allegedly said to be amongst the top 10 longest courses in the world. It is a flat, parkland style course with fairly wide fairways. A real issue here is that water in play in some form on virtually every hole. This will once again put pressure on the play from the tee while Par 5 Scoring may prove crucial negotiating this monstrosity.

A few of the US PGA Tour regular players have remained in Europe for one last week before returning stateside. One can only imagine that this is an attempt to chalk up an event in order to keep their European tour-cards. In Patrick Reed’s case, the pugnacious American sits second behind Molinari in the current Race to Dubai standings. Paul Casey may have Ryder Cup considerations while Bryson DeChambeau, Pat Perez and Charl Schwartzel add further pizazz to proceedings here. Defending champion Jordan Smith is in attendance while Alex Levy returns to a course that he seems to adore.

Past Winners
2017: Jordan Smith (-13)*playoff
2016: Alex Levy (-12)*playoff
2015: Thongchai Jaidee (-19)
2014: no event
2013: no event

To Win Outright:
Patrick Reed 9/1 | Paul Casey 10/1 | Bryson DeChambeau 16/1 | Charl Schwartzel 28/1 | Pat Perez 30/1

Value Bets 

Scott Hend- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
Currently sitting 37th in total length off tee on the European Tour, 44 year-old Aussie Scott Hend has the power that is necessary to contend on this gargantuan course. Emerging from a fairly rough patch over the last few months, Hend has started to once again produce the golf that has seen him win two European Tour titles. He finished seventh at the BMW International Open, whilst he also picked up 14th place finishes in both the ItalOpenopen and the Scottish Open.

Sam Horsfield- To Win 50/1, To Place 11/1
Much like last year’s winner Jordan Smith, European Tour rookie will be hoping to capitalize on his promise in this event. He had a near miss at the Tshwane Open earlier this year, much like Smith did at the SA Open last season. He then managed to regain some midseason form with a 15th place finish at the BMW PGA Championship, impressing everyone with his composure playing alongside Rory McIlroy in the third round. He finished 24th and 23rd in the Irish and Scottish Open respectively, highlighting his ability to mix it up in Rolex Series fields. Ian Poulter’s protégé showed at Tshwane that he has the capacity to deal with the firmer course conditions expected this week.

Lucas Herbert- To Win 80/1, To Place 17/1
22-year-old Lucas Herbert is one of the up and coming European Tour players who is absolutely brimming with potential. The Aussie certainly had an interesting first trip to the Open, making the cut in his first appearance despite having to play with borrowed clubs. He averages 4.5 on the par 5’s over the last three months, which places him near the head of the field in a category that should prove significant this week. He has third place finishes in Sicily and the World Super 6 and could be a dark horse in this relatively weak field.

The Man to Beat- Alex Levy- To Win 30/1, To Place 13/2
Perhaps one of the harder players on tour to back with supreme confidence, the immensely talented Frenchman is experiencing a bit of a lull in his game right now. After winning the Trophee Hassan II back in April it looked as if the mercurial Frenchman was finally playing the type of consistent golf that could launch him into Ryder Cup contention. Levy will be desperate to play the Ryder Cup in Paris and returns to a course that certainly suits his eye. He won this event in 2016 and lost in a playoff last year. 30/1 looks a decent bet in this mediocre field.

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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