European Tour: Nordea Masters Preview

Golfer admires his shot

Our golf writer previews a low-key Nordea Masters taking place between 16 and 19 August at the Hills Golf and Sports Club. 

A change of date has severely affected the quality of the field for this week’s event. It’s rather a tough sell one week after the year’s final Major to attend a low-key event such as this one. Formerly known as the Scandinavian Open, the Nordea Masters was created in 1991 when the Scandinavian Enterprise Open merged with the PLM Open.

Like many of Europe’s dwindling events, the tournament actually has a surprisingly strong pedigree. Monty won the event three times while Lee Westwood captured three titles. Major Champions Nick Faldo, Vijay Singh, Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott have also tasted success in this event.
 Nordea Masters | 16 August - 19 August | Hills Golf and Sports Club, Sweden

This will be the first time in 22 years that the event returns to Gothenburg. The Hills Golf and Sports Club is located four miles from the country’s South-West coast. It is cut amidst a typically picturesque wooded landscape with plentiful water. Co-designed by Steve Forest and Arthur Hills, little is known of a course that’s greatest previous accomplishment was hosting a Challenge Tour event in 2008. The course is entirely bentgrass and is said to offer very generous fairways. Subtle slope changes were made to the greens as recently as October 2017, highlighting the difficulty of making predictions this week. Water will be in play on nine of the holes.

Only two of the world’s top 100 golfers will be in attendance this week. World Number 41 Thorbjorn Olesen is the clear favourite and class act in the field. Home favourite Alexander Bjork will fly home hopes high in the absence of Henrik Stenson. Soren Kjeldsen has had his battles with consistency but could exploit a particularly weak field this week. For all of Keith Pelley’s innovations this season, this event almost singlehandedly accentuates the true issues that are currently facing the European Tour.

Past Winners
2017: Renato Paratore (-11)
2016: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-16)
2105: Alex Noren (-12)
2014: Thongchai Jaidee (-16)
2013: Mikko Ilonen (-21)

To Win Outright:
Thorbjorn Olesen 10/1 | Joakim Lagergen 22/1 | Soren Kjeldsen 25/1 | Thomas Detry 25/1 | Hideto Tanihara 25/1

Value Bets

Jens Dantorp- To Win 66/1, To Place 14/1
Jens Dantorp looks likes tremendous value this week. You just have to look at that amazing performance at the Scottish Open to understand how undervalued Dantorp is this week. He led the Rolex Series Event during the third Round en route to a tie for third overall. Granted, he did miss the cut last season, but that broke a sequence of five consecutive cuts made in this event. Out of those five cuts he made three top 22 finishes. That includes a tie for third back in 2015. One also has to consider how the dynamic of this event will have changed with the drastic dip in class this year.

Scott Jamieson- To Win 80/1, To Place 17/1
In a field without much in the way of perennial contenders, often a journeyman pro with eclectic spheres of influence can prove a solid bet. Just look at Jamieson’s adventures on tour last season. He finished in a brilliant solo second at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. That combined with a T6 in AndalucĂ­a and a T3 in the Hero Indian Open exemplifies his ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions. That will come into play this week at a course that is nigh on unknown to most of the field. He has some form this season, with a solo seventh at the Tshwane Open and a creditable tie for 12th at the BMW PGA Championship. He finished in a tie for 13th in his last start at the Porsche European Open. He also managed a decent tie for 21st in a much stronger field in last year’s Nordea Masters.

The Man to Beat- Thorbjorn Olesen- To Win 10/1, To Place 22/10
If there ever was a week to safely go with a 10/1 favourite, I couldn’t think of a better one than this. Yes, there may be potential questions of jetlag following Olesen’s extensive activities of late, but Olesen is far and away the class act in this field. In eight starts he has one victory and two other podium finishes. He also tied for 12th at Carnoustie before a brilliant performance at Firestone. He finished in a tie for third in a stellar WGC field before faltering to a slightly underwhelming T56 at the PGA Championship. Olesen is an absolute birdie machine and I feel that his supremacy should tell this week. 

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Written by Damien Kayat for

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