Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: European Tour 2020: The Hero Open (English Open)

European Tour 2020: The Hero Open (English Open)

The Hero Open (English Open)

The UK swing of the European Tour got off to a fairly entertaining start-notwithstanding the fairly abject field. Renato Paratore underlined his status as one of the most exciting young talents on the European Tour. This week marks the return of what was once an integral part of the European Tour: The English Open. 


Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

The Hero Open (English Open)

Forest of Arden Country Club, Birmingham, England
Thursday 30 July- Sunday 2 August

Darren Clarke actually won the last edition at this very course: Forest of Arden Country Club. This course was once a sacred jewel in the European crown, regularly hosting both the English Open and British Masters. It’s slightly sad that it took a global catastrophe to bring it back into rotation (silver linings can at least be diverting). The field bears the brunt of a concurrent WGC event and next week’s US PGA Championship. But the inclusion of Thorbjorn Olesen intrigues, with the Dane’s sexual assault case, postponed due to the Coronavirus.

Situated in the English Midlands, Forest of Arden Country Club has been a regular fixture on the tour since the early 1990s. It was designed by British architect Donald Steel and is a fairly typical parkland layout.  The Arden Course will play host this week. It is mainly occupied by tourist golfers and will likely be in forgiving shape this week. The fairways are generous whilst the rough can be quite wild. But the par 5’s are quite minute by modern standards. 20 years ago, this course was dominated by precision-based merchants. But I think the contemporary bludgeoners could lay waste to this course, especially if the weather is subdued.

While it’s hardly a stellar field this week, there are quite a few high-quality players bubbling just below superstar level. Youngsters like Paratore and Thomas Detry could be the future of European golf. Eddie Pepperrell showed glimpses last week of the form that got him within an inch of Ryder Cup selection. More sage professionals like Andy Sullivan and Joost Luiten lurk menacingly while there’s the whole Olesen sub-plot to consider (I sounded a little too People Magazine there). Justin Harding came through for me to some extent last week (though a middling Sunday put pay to his Championship chances). Victorious Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn will make a rare appearance this week. This should prove a gently distracting appetizer for the more pyrotechnic affair in America. And let’s not forget that this British swing offers 10 places at this year’s US Open to those who perform consistently.

Past Winners (For purely historical relevance)
2002: Darren Clarke (-17)
2001: Peter O’Malley (-13)
2000: Darren Clarke (-13)
1999: Darren Clarke (-20)
1998: Lee Westwood (-17)

Outright Betting (To Win)
Joost Luiten (12/1)
Thomas Detry (18/1)
Andy Sullivan (20/1)
Ryan Fox (22/1)
Eddie Pepperell (25/1)


Value Bets

Robert Rock
To Win (60/1), To Place (13/1)

Rock is an excellent links exponent, riding high off a top 5 finish at Close House last week. He could be a real contender for the US Open spots if he keeps his form up. He has lost in an Irish Open playoff and finished seventh at the Open Championship. But its actually his form at this very course that sets him apart. Back in 2003, he played here while still making his living as a coach: he would go on to finish in fourth place. He was born just 30 miles away from the course and has a great affection for it.  He only made three bogeys in his final three rounds last week. Looks a great option to place.

Adrien Saddier
To Win (70/1), To Place (15/1)

Saddier is a player who is accurate off the tee and fits the old-school model of what it takes here. Saddier has a third-place already this season and currently sits 15th in driving accuracy. His disappointing missed cut last week only makes him a more attractive price. Prior to that result, his form figures read 3-12-18. He just needs to put that second round 75 at Close House out of his mind. If his putter runs hot, Saddier could be a dark horse in the place markets. 

The Man to Beat

Rasmus Hojgaard
To Win (35/1), To Place (15/2)

While many eyes will be on fellow Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, I’m more interested in teenage sensation Rasmus Hojgaard. His runner-up finish last week was just another expression of how talented this young guy is. He has a great British pedigree, similar to many Scandinavians. He won the 2016 McGregor Trophy as an amateur in East Sussex. He also helped Continental Europe to victory in the 2017 Jacques Leglise Trophy in Ireland. He was then part of the Danish team that won the 2018 Eisenhower Trophy. Hojgaard is already off the mark on the European Tour, having won the Mauritius Open last year. He could decimate this course if he finds his rhythm.  

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