The Porsche European Open dates back to 1978, near the inception of the European Tour as a whole. American Bobby Wadkins won the initial instalment. This may actually prove quite portentous, with a number of high-quality Americans in the field.
2019 European Tour | Porsche European Open
The Porsche Nord Course, Green Eagle Golf Resort, Hamburg, Germany
Thursday 5 September – Sunday 8 September 2019
2019 European Tour | Porsche European Open
It was a nomadic fixture on the tour until 2009, but it made its return to the European fold in 2015.
The first two editions of this event were played on the Beckenbauer Course at Bad Griesbach. The event relocated to Hamburg in 2017, finding a new home at the Green Eagle Resort. The Porsche Nord Course is a veritable monster, regarded by many as the most difficult course in Germany.
With an official length of around 7,800 yards, this monster parkland-style course is actually measured as one of the world’s top 10 longest golf courses. But the officials have tended to manipulate the length of the course at a whim, with the European Tour’s website listing it at 7,583 yards. In any event, it is certainly a significant size.
In 2017 there had been rain, which really encouraged the big hitters to shine. Last year Richard McEvoy won in dry conditions, which tended to minimize the effects of the length. While it has been a hot, dry period in Germany, some very recent inclement weather could possibly bring out the beast once again.
The bentgrass/poa annua greens are also notable on for having the highest slope rating on the European Tour. Perhaps the most defining feature of this course is water. Water is a threat on nearly every hole, with firm conditions making it especially hard to hold certain greens.
It was quite something to see the European Tour shine last week, free from the extensive shadow cast by the PGA Tour. Rory McIlroy once again exhilarated, only to falter in a five-man playoff of all things. This is the final week before the PGA wraparound season commences, and as such a few of the PGA Tour’s biggest names are in town.
Future Major champion Xander Schauffele heads the markets this week while fellow FedEx Cup challenger Paul Casey returns for another crack at this title. Patrick Reed returns for the 3rd consecutive time while Matt Kuchar looks to rediscover the form that saw him dominate the opening salvos of the PGA Tour.
2018: Richard McEvoy (-11)
2017: Jordan Smith (-13)*playoff
2016: Alex Levy (-12)*playoff
2015: Thongchai Jaidee (-19)
Xander Schauffele (6/1)
Paul Casey (7/1)
Patrick Reed (8/1)
Matt Kuchar (14//1)
Thomas Pieters (15/1)
To Win (35/1)
Levy is a previous winner of this event, claiming the last title at Bad Griesbach in 2016. He tends to perform well in these parkland-style European courses. Just look at his early 3rd place in Eichenried at the BMW International Open. He also has intimidating course form at Green Eagle, missing a short putt in 2017 that would have won him the title.
He is in improved form, finishing 18th in Prague prior to a 5th place finish at the Scandinavian Invitational. His missed cut last week at Crans can be forgiven: he has missed five of seven cuts in the Alps, which is a course that doesn’t really suit his power-based approach.
To Win (52/1)
Acting on the hunch that some recent wet conditions may lengthen this behemoth, Aussie Lucas Herbert could be an excellent dark-horse pick, especially in the place markets. He had a real breakthrough in 2018 but has struggled to live up to that in 2019. But his recent performance at Crans indicates that he may be trending upwards. He shot closing three rounds of 67,67 and 64 to obtain a top 10 finish.
Even if the course doesn’t react to recent weather conditions, Aussies love playing on firm golf courses and he should embrace this challenge.
The Man to Beat
To Win (7/1)
It was tempting to opt for Schauffele this week. The young American is a dead-cert future Major Champion in excellent form. He also has a German father, which may give him some insider knowledge. But I just had to opt for the ultra-consistent Casey this week.
Casey finished just behind Schauffele at East Lake – unable to fully overcome his handicap he would ultimately tie for 5th.
Casey tied for 6th here a year ago, shooting three consecutive rounds of 69 prior to a deflating Sunday 73. The Valspar winner had seven top 10’s on the PGA Tour this season, with 15 top 25’s highlighting his awesome consistency.
Written by Damien Kayat for Hollywoodbets.