The DP World Tour heads to the Low Countries this week for the Dutch Open, to be hosted by Bernardus Golf Course in Croimvoirt.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
Bernardus Golf Course, Croimvoirt, Netherlands
Last week’s drama at Southern Hills was agonizing viewing for aficionados of European golf. Justin Thomas held his nerve to claim his second Major Championship in a chaotic event that was as temperamental as the Tulsa weather.
McIlroy, Fitzpatrick and Fleetwood flirted with contention on the final day. But you always had the feeling that they would somehow self-implode. McIlroy looked visibly shaken after yet another close call in a Major Championship.
But you can’t expect to win Majors with a dysfunctional wedge game. The DP World Tour offers some comparatively stress-free action this weekend with the latest instalment of one of the granddaddy events in European golf: the KLM Open.
An event in decline?
The Dutch Open has been an ever-present fixture on the European Tour since its inception in 1972. It’s had some illustrious former champions, with names such as Locke, Ballesteros and Langer etched into its history.
Sergio Garcia won this event as recently as 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled due to Covid, making this the 102nd staging of this event. It has lost some of its lustre in recent years. Though in fairness, which European event hasn’t?
This is further evidenced by the fact that KLM have withdrawn their sponsorship for this year’s event. This is a nomadic event and this will be the second consecutive edition held at Bernardus Golf Course.
Bernadus – a true links test
This course was designed by American architect Kyle Phillips. Phillips is a links specialist who is responsible for masterpieces such as Kingsbarns and the Grove. Though it is described as a Heathland test, Bernardus is a true links assignment.
It has typically wide-open fairways that make driving accuracy somewhat irrelevant. I’m inclined to favour length over accuracy this week: this is a bit of a beast at 7, 425 yards.
It’s hard to make too many assumptions about Bernardus after just one edition. But it’s an extremely gettable course that requires birdies (though there is some expected this week). This could devolve into something of a putting contest come Sunday afternoon.
Plenty of contenders this week
Kristoffer Broberg returns to defend his title this year. The Swede held on to win last year despite a farcical Sunday implosion. Bernd Wiesberger makes logical sense this week after a creditable top 30 finish at Southern Hills. But he’s been slightly tepid with the putter this season.
Pieters won the Abu Dhabi Championship in January (which happened to be played on another Kyle Phillips design: Yas Links). But he has been pretty subdued since that victory.
The Hojgaard twins are in town while British Masters champ Thorbjorn Olesen looks to add another chapter to his rehabilitation narrative.
2021: Kristoffer Broberg (-23)
2020: event cancelled
2019: Sergio Garcia (-18)
2018: Ashun Wu (-16)
2017: Romain Wattel (-15)
2016: Joost Luiten (-19)
To Win Outright:
Bernd Wiesberger 20/1 | Thomas Pieters 22/1 | Adrian Meronk 22/1 | Jordan Smith 25/1 | Ryan Fox 25/1
Ryan Fox-To Win 25/1 | To Place 11/2
Ryan Fox has already won on the DP World Tour this year and this course sets up perfectly for him. The New Zealander is a true links specialist (he finished runner-up at the 2018 Irish Open). He pummels the ball down the fairways and will have a real license to let it rip this week. He was third in Belgium this month and finished 15th around here last year. He is ranked inside the top 10 for scoring this season and looks terrific value at 25/1.
George Coetzee- To Win 55/1 | To Play 12/1
I think this looks like a good price for five-time European champion Coetzee. The South African has been operating nicely below the radar this year. He finished ninth at the Ras al Khaimah Classic, 4th at the MyGolfLife Open and third at the Sunshine Tour Championship. His aggressive style should be well suited to these sprawling, open fairways. But crucially, Coetzee is perennially one of the most consistent putters on the tour. This should come in handy on a course this inviting.
The Man to Beat- Bernd Wiesberger- To Win 20/1 | To Place 44/10
I think Wiesberger is of exceptional value this week as a 20/1 favourite. As I noted earlier, his putting has been something of a let-down this season. But he did finish inside the 30 for Putting Average at a punishing Southern Hills course. I think this could give him the impetus to succeed this week. He is an excellent links player who has the imagination to score on a course like this. He won last year’s Made in Denmark after missing the cut at the US PGA Championship. He looked far more competitive at Southern Hills and I think he will be dangerous this week.