Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour 2020: British Masters

European Tour 2020: British Masters

Damien Kayat previews the British Masters taking place at the Colt Course, Close House, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. 

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

British Masters: Hosted by Lee Westwood

The Colt Course, Close House, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England
Thursday 22 July - Sunday 25 July

Finally. The European Tour returns proper with the start of a six-week British Swing. The ascension of European juggernaut Jon Rahm to the top of the World Rankings should give the tour an added sense of buoyancy this week. The British Masters will be the first of six events played in England and Wales over the next 40 days. Founded in 1946 as the Dunlop Masters, this event was a regular European fixture until 2009 (notwithstanding 1984).  It took a hiatus for a few years, returning to the European schedule in 2015. This used to be one of the premier events on the European Tour but has downgraded considerably in recent time. It has been tradition since 2015 for a leading British golfer to host the event.  Lee Westwood will become the first man to have that honour twice, returning to the scene of the 2017 renewal: Close House.

Just 10 miles west of Newcastle City Centre, Close House is cut against the beautiful Northumberland countryside. This will be the 2nd edition of this event staged here after 2017’s scoring bonanza. The Colt Course is named after famed golfing designer Harry Colt.  He is the renowned architect of various European classics, including Wentworth (the perennial host of the tour’s flagship event). As noted earlier, 2017 was a scoring bloodbath, with Paul Dunne claiming victory in a 20 under score. He had to hold off the challenge of one Rory McIlroy on this relatively small course. Though small, there are severe undulations that will test the vision of the players.

It’s hardly a stellar field in attendance this week, especially with the PGA Championship fast approaching. But in comparison to the two recent fields in Austria, it may as well be the cast of Avengers: Endgame in action this week. Lee Westwood was in decent form pre-lockdown and leads the markets this week. I would sooner avoid him, as the various duties of hosting aren’t exactly conducive to success. Exciting prospects such as Thomas Detry and Jordan Smith will be keen to shake off the cobwebs. Eddie Pepperrell (such an imposing force on the Tour a few years ago) will hope that the comforts of home bring some improved form this week.

Past Winners
2019: Marcus Kinhult (-16)
2018: Eddie Pepperell (-9)
2017: Paul Dunne (-20) * at Close House
2016: Alex Noren (-18)
2015: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-15)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Lee Westwood (9/1)
Thomas Detry (14/1)
Marcus Kinhult (25/1)
Ryan Fox (28/1)
Eddie Pepperrell (28/1)

Value Bets

Chris Paisley
To Win (55/1), To Place (12/1)

I’m opting for home comforts in my Chris Paisley selection. The Hexham boy lives half an hour down the road from Close House.  He never exactly set the world on fire in 2017 (with gleeful home support perhaps putting too much pressure on him). No worries on that account his year. A few months after that performance he won the SA Open. The 34-year-old came within a whisker of claiming his PGA Tour card in 2018, shooting a 61 at the Web.com Tour Championship.  Paisley has won on the Challenge Tour in England and this could be an excellent week for the Englishman to shine.

Robin Sciot-Siegrist
To Win (125/1), To Place (25/1)

My own post-lockdown form as been fairly dismal, with a few near-misses in recent weeks.  But I still like to have one real speculative option, especially in a field lacking true depth.  And it’s very rare that you’re going to find someone at 125/1 in better form. Last week saw him pick up his 2nd top five in five starts. He actually had a four-shot lead going into the final round of the Euram Bank Open. He currently averages 23 putts per round and is ranked 11th in driving accuracy. Those stats are encouraging in what is likely to be a birdie fest. He shot a course record 61 last week, showing his propensity to go low in optimum conditions.

The Man to Beat

Justin Harding
To Win (45/1), To Place (19/2)

This is an option that hinges on instinct.  Harding enjoyed a breakthrough 2019, claiming his maiden European Tour title at the Qatar Masters and finishing 12th at the Masters. He putted magnificently throughout the year, punctuated by his grasp of Augusta’s rapid greens. But 2020 has been slightly more challenging with the putter. Harding is a true workaholic who may have benefited from an extensive break from competitive action. He also played well in the UK last year, finishing 7th at the Alfred Dunhill Links. Harding is a class player in this field and he should thrive this week.

Register Now with Hollywoodbets Mobile