Damien Kayat previews the DP World Tour's Porsche European Open taking place at the Green Eagles Golf Courses (North Course) in Germany.
2021/2022 DP World Tour
The Porsche European Open
Green Eagle Golf Courses (North Course), Germany
Ryan Fox to build on positive result last week?
Ryan Fox came through for me last week, further enhancing his reputation as a links specialist with an excellent runner-up finish. Pity he had that implosion on the final hole.
The ever-mercurial Victor Perez swooped in and won the eventual playoff (claiming his 2nd DP World Tour title in the process). The tour moves to Germany this week for the Porsche European Open.
First staged back in 1978, this event was a nomadic ever-present on the tour until 2009. It returned to the European itinerary in 2015 and has been held in Germany ever since.
The first two editions were played at the Beckenbauer Course in Bad Greisbach. But it moved to Green Eagle Resort in 2017. This will be the fifth Porsche European Open hosted at Green Eagle (the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic).
Curiously, all four previous champions have been Englishmen: Marcus Armitage won his maiden DP World Tour title at last year’s abridged tournament.
Monstrous North Course to provide stern test
The North Course at Green Eagle is nobody’s picnic. This beast is believed to be amongst the ten longest golf courses in the world. Depending on what tees are used, the course will play around 7,600 yards this week.
This baby resembles a Major Championship layout. The flat parkland course has inviting fairways but plentiful water. In fact, water is in play on 17 holes. But perhaps the trickiest facet of the North Course are these simply gigantic greens (seriously, it’s like the Shire out there).
A mix of Poa Annua and Bentgrass, these greens have mammoth undulations that will require deft touch and great scrambling skills. Despite appearances, approach play will take centre stage this week.
Players will need to find the right contours of these greens. Richard McEvoy’s 2018 victory over Bryson DeChambeau bears testament to that.
Fleetwood favourite in humdrum field
Tommy Fleetwood is certainly the star name in this fairly humdrum field. But the Englishman hasn’t won a title since 2019. That type of gap would have seemed incomprehensible three years ago.
But his recent top-five finish at the PGA Championship seems to suggest that he could be in the mood to tame this fearsome test.
Adrian Meronk has been one of the steadiest players on tour this season and it’s surely just a matter of time until he wins his maiden trophy.
Pablo Larrazabel has been enjoying a golden season and he could very well be in the mix this week.
Victor Perez will be looking to make it back-to-back titles with success this week.
The affable Englishman Marcus Armitage is back to defend his title in what is a very open tournament.
2021: Marcus Armitage (-8)
2020: no event
2019: Paul Casey (-14)
2018: Richard McEvoy (-11)
2017: Jordan Smith (-13) *playoff
2016: Alex Levy (-19) *playoff
To Win Outright:
Tommy Fleetwood 11/1 | Adrian Meronk 20/1 | Robert Macintyre 22/1 | Rasmus Hojgaard 25/1 | Jordan Smith 25/1
Thorbjorn Olesen- To Win 40/1 | To Place 17/2
I know I said that power isn’t necessarily everything around this monster. But it doesn’t hurt. Olesen’s driving game should put him in decent positions out there. Despite missing last week’s cut, Olesen has been in fine form during this period of his career rehabilitation. He picked up four consecutive top 33 finishes that culminated in that terrific victory at the Belfry a few weeks back. Olesen has gained shots on the field for approach this season. This may not be a links layout. But green complexes as intricate and sprawling as these open themselves up to the links specialists.
Kristoffer Borberg- To Win 125/1 | To Place 25/1
I’m opting for Kristoffer Borberg as my outside chance this week. He actually did pretty well last week, finishing 14th while defending his KLM Open title. That was more than satisfactory considering he just came back from a two-month layoff. But his noteworthy stats from last week correlate well to success at this venue. He finished first for GIR and third for SG: Off the Tee. He is a great iron player who should suit this challenge perfectly.
The Man to Beat- Jordan Smith- To Win 25/1 | To Place 11/2
This one seems like a bit of a no-brainer. Course experience could prove vital around this behemoth. And Jordan Smith won the inaugural staging of this event at Green Eagle, beating Alex Levy in a playoff in 2017. He has also rediscovered some of his best form, claiming six top 20 finishes since the start of the year. This includes runner-up finishes at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and the MyGolfLife Open. He seems to be on an upward trajectory and 25/1 to win seems more than fair.