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PREVIEW: 2022 DP World Tour – Cazoo Classic

Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour’s Cazoo Classic.

Image copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Damien Kayat previews the 2022 edition of the DP World Tour’s Cazoo Classic.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

2021/2022 DP World Tour
Cazoo Classic
Hillside Golf Club, Southport, England
21st-23rd July

Rory McIlroy seemed to be the only one who didn’t read the script last Sunday. Cast in the leading role as golf’s saviour, Rory just had to shoot a decent final round to lift the Claret Jug.

But despite nailing the pace of the greens, Rory just couldn’t get any putts to drop. In sharp contrast, Cam Smith went on a putting rampage on the back-nine. You could actually feel the St Andrews crowd deflating as the holes went by.

It doesn’t help matters that Cameron Smith seems to be open to the idea of a switch to LIV Golf. Just to add a bit more melodrama to proceedings, Donald Trump is urging PGA Tour professionals to take the money and switch allegiance to LIV Golf.

As if we needed any further evidence that LIV Golf was a tacky, financially motivated enterprise.

The DP World Tour migrates south from Scotland to England this week. This event has a fairly confusing origin story.

The Hero Open was staged in 2020 during the post-lockdown period. It was billed as the first edition of the English Open since 2002. But that event moved to Scotland last year.

This week’s event, the Cazoo Classic, was billed last year as the new rejuvenation of the English Open. But it would appear that the DP World Tour is now pioneering this as the 2nd edition of the Cazoo Classic.

It would seem that nobody is that interested in resurrecting the old English Open. Perhaps the DP World Tour is intent on creating events that are divorced from deep European Tour associations.

The tournament is moving from last year’s venue, London Golf Club, to Hillside Golf Club in Southport. Hillside Golf Club actually hosted the 2019 edition of the British Masters.

It may depress those fanatical Rory supporters looking for an escape from links golf. This is an underappreciated links test that populates the famous ‘Golf Coast’.

The fact that Royal Birkdale neighbours this course is probably one of the chief reasons it doesn’t get the credit it deserves. A typical British links layout, Hillside’s difficulty will largely depend on the weather.

Players will need to contend with a variety of challenges (fescue and pot bunkers chief amongst them). This course is also a rarity in that it’s a links that features some trees. It’s a lot tighter around here than St Andrews.

Players will probably need to favour accuracy over distance this week. In some ways, this week’s test is a more holistic test of the modern golfer than St Andrews.

Players will need to shape their shots around the numerous dog-legs. I would look for players with sound links experience this week.

Robert Macintyre makes a worthy favourite this week. The Scot finished with rounds of 69-68 to finish 34th at the Open. More importantly, Macintyre enjoyed his breakout performance at Hillside, finishing in a tie for 2nd at the 2019 British Masters. 2019 British Masters champ Marcus Kinhult will also be in the field this week.

South African Thriston Lawrence performed ably at St Andrews and has been one of the most consistent performers on the DP World Tour this season.

British Masters champ Thorbjorn Olesen will be looking to make it a British double this week with success at Hillside. Elsewhere, the likes of Marcus Armitage and Matthew Jordan will no doubt enjoy plenty of home support.

Past Winner

2021: Calum Hill (-16)

Betting Favourites (To Win):

Robert Macintyre (12/1) Thriston Lawrence (18/1) Oliver Bekker (20/1)
Adrian Otaegui (22/1)
Romain Langasque (22/1)

Value Bets

Romain Langasque- To Win (22/1), To Place (48/10)

Langasque was the 2015 Amateur Championship winner at Carnoustie (showcasing his ability to win on links layouts).

The 27-year-old underachiever has shown his propensity for playing in British conditions. He made his breakthrough at the 2020 Wales Open. He was also 8th at the British Masters in May.

He has looked back to his best at times this year (along with his 8th at the British Masters he had a 7th at the Scandinavian Mixed and a 5th at the BMW International). This quality ball-striker should revel in these firm, fast conditions.

Ewen Ferguson

To Win (80/1), To Place (17/1)

Ewen Ferguson hasn’t really lived up to his post-Qatar hype. The 26-year-old Scot won his maiden title in spectacular fashion in March. It was sweet revenge for Ferguson after he blew a four-shot lead at the Kenya Open earlier this year.

Since then, Ferguson has started well in many events. He shot a 67 at both the Irish and Scottish Opens.

But he just hasn’t been able to follow through of late. I think he should thrive in this links test. He won the Boys Amateur Championship at Hoylake as a 17-year-old.

His performance in Doha is also a good indicator of possible success: Doha has proven to be a great barometer for links success in recent years.

The Man to Beat

Thriston Lawrence- To Win (18/1), To Place (39/10)

Thriston Lawrence won the inaugural event on the DP World Tour (the embarrassingly organized Joburg Open hosted in November). Since then, the powerfully built South African has continued to produce some excellent results.

A 3rd place finish at the Irish Open bodes well for this week. He also played well at St Andrews last week, momentarily surging on Sunday before the back nine sent him reeling to T42.

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