Hatton in Time for First Win at the Omega European Masters
The European & Asian Tours combine again for their annual dual ranking event in Europe, the Omega European Masters from the Cran-sur-Sierre GC in Crans Montana, Switzerland. The event is formally the Swiss Open and has been part of the tour since it started in 1972, whilst it has been dual ranking since 2009, and last year's winner David Lipsky was the first Asian Tour player to triumph. Back in Europe so an hour ahead, getting underway at 6.15am UK time, on the 23rd July.
The Course & Past Winners
Probably the first thing to note before I start on the course is that the event has been shifted forward in the calendar from the late Aug-early Sept slot to mid-July, where it was last held in 1977 and Seve picked up the first of his 3 wins here.
In terms of views from the course there are few to match the Crans-sue-Sierre GC, with views of the Alps and the Pleine Monte Glacier, it's certainly one of the most picturesque courses.
Once again it will be a par 70 having changed last year when 43 yards were cut from the 14th and it became 6,848 yards. Quite short for modern courses and made shorter by the altitude played high up in the Alps. The Alps also mean the course is quite undulating, and it also tree lined.
The recent winners have been:
||Players Under Par
||JIMÉNEZ Miguel Angel
Having said last year how many victories have been by big margins there was a second playoff in succession. As a short course the scoring is quite easy with 13 under the worst score since 1997 which is the period I've looked from.
I quite like to find a golfer who calls the town or the course home and so is likely to have a greater knowledge of the course, and so an advantage over the field. Well that happens this week as Sergio Garcia
lives in Crans for part of the year. Mind you he's not made the effort to play here for a while as his last appearance was in 2006 when he finished in 4th defending the title he won the year before. Whilst before that he was 3rd in 2004 and 19th in 2002, the first time he played here. He has the 6th best average round here at 68.50 and 9th best at 75% (12/16) of rounds under par. The only player from inside the top ten in the World here this week at 10th he finished 6th last week at St Andrews, and had been 25th at the Travelers Championship in the US before that, the week after 18th at the US Open. Had missed the cut at the Irish Open, with 22nd in his home Open de Espana, and was 2nd at The Players.
I thought last week I had found a good pick for The Open in Tommy Fleetwood
as he had an excellent record at St Andrews. However it all went wrong in the second round when a 76 left him a shot the wrong side of the cut mark. His form before that had made him tempting with 27th at the US Open, 11th & 10th and two more top ten's in his previous five events. Whilst here he has a good record here like he did at St Andrews having been 19th in 2012 on his debut, 9th in 2013 and 5th last year, an improving record. A 73 in 2012 is his only round over par so at 92% is beaten by just one player who also beats his average round of 67.67.
Also with an excellent record at St Andrews going into last week and Danny Willett
kept that going for the first couple of rounds with a 66 & 69, before a weekend 72 & 70 left him in a tie for 6th. That had followed missed cuts at the US Open & the Open de France, but had also been 6th in the Irish Open. He was also 3rd at the WGC Cadillac Matchplay with two more poor results before Ireland, missing the cut at The Players and 38th at Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship. He has a solid record here with a runner up spot in 2012 and 5th last year, and between 23rd on debut in 2009 and 42nd in his other four visits. His average round of 68.67 is 11th best in the field and 67% (16/24) rounds under par.
The recent winner of the Open de France was Austrian Bernd Wiesberger
, which he followed with 68th at St Andrews last week. Does seem to put bad performances behind him with a good one as he was 2nd in Ireland following two missed cuts before that, and immediately followed it with two more before 27th in Germany and then his win. Missed the cut on his debut here in 2012, 6th in 2012 and then 13th last year, not playing in 2013. On of a few alongside Garcia with an average of 68.50, and 70% (7/10) rounds under par.
One of the better performers here over the last four years has been Jamie Donaldson
who was 3rd in 2011, 9th in 2012 and 7th last year, but did miss the cut in 2013. Mixed performances before that with 13th on debut in 2001 which he followed with 18th in 02, but then missed cuts in 03, 05, 06 & 08, before a 23rd in 2010. So only an average round of 69.59 which is 25th best in the field and 69% (22/32) rounds under par, but that improves to 68.00 & 94% over the last 4 years. He's been playing in the US mainly this year and has struggled at times but did manage 8th at The Players, before an 18th back in Europe at Wentworth, before missed cuts in the Fedex St Jude Classic & the US Open. Headed back to Europe and results have improved with 20th, 31st & 49th over the last three weeks in France, Scotland & at St Andrews.
Earlier in the year I ignored Richie Ramsey
in Morocco as he arrived off 4 missed cuts & a withdrawal but he then picked up the win, so I probably shouldn't ignore him now despite 57th, a missed cut & 68th in the last three weeks. Prior to Morocco his previous win had come here in 2012 did miss the cut in defence of his title, but was then 8th last year. Missed the cut on his first two visits in 2009 & 10, and 34th in 2011 to round out his visits here, all for an average round of 68.94 which is 18th best, and 67% (12/18) rounds under par.
Usually for an event there are a few players who have made just one previous appearance and managed a top 10 or 20 and so sit atop the stats I prepare. This week there is only one of those and that is Tyrrell Hatton
who was 3rd here last year on his debut and is the only play with all rounds under par and nearly two shots clear with an average round of 65.75. Has shown glimpses of his promise during the year with 6th in Abu Dhabi to start the year, 8th in the Volvo China Open, and 4th in the Irish Open. He was also going well in France three weeks ago before a final round 74 dropped him to 12th, followed that with 22nd in Scotland and a missed cut last week.
Three at longer odds are also worthy of a mention, starting with the 2007 Challenge Tour winner Michael Lorenzo-Vera
who played here in 08 & 09 having gained his card, and he finished in 14th & 19th in what has been his only visits here. Just one even par round in that time so 88% (7/8) rounds under par which is 3rd best and an average round of 68.88 which is 13th best. Edoardo Molinari
won the Challenge Tour a couple of years later in 2009, and then finished 2nd here in 2010 and 12th in 2011, before injury troubles meant he didn't play in 2012 & 13, returning with 13th last year. He was also 14th in 09in a rare outing on this tour, but had missed the cut in four of his previous five visits. An average round of 69.71 and just 57% (16/28) rounds under par but since 09 that does improve to 67.56 & 94% (15/16) rounds under par shooting no worse than a 70, but had opened last year with a 62. Final one is Alejandro Canizares
who has also had a good recent run with 9th in 2011 & 4th in 2013, missed the cut in between but didn't play last year, three missed cuts, an 11th & 54th before that in his 5 other visits, averaging 69.75 which is just behind Molinari and 54% (13/24) rounds under par.
Problem for Molinari & Canizares
is their recent form, particularly Molinari who has only one result inside the top 20 with 15th in the Tshwane Open, but since then missed his next three cuts, a withdrawal and then another missed cut. Made the cut in France with 57th, but then missed both cuts in the last two weeks. Canizares didn't play last week but missed the cut in France & Scotland, had been 53rd in Germany before that and a reasonable 13th in Sweden. Lorenzo-Vera
is a little more interesting with 11th in the Lyoness Open, a missed cut in Germany, 6th in his native Open de France and 31st in Scotland at Gullane.
An American raider who has stayed over since St Andrews last week is Patrick Reed
who is the second ranked player in field. He was 20th in last week's Open Championship, and before that 29th at the Greenbrier, did miss the cut at the Travelers, 14th at Chambers Bay for the US Open, and 26th at the Memorial. So in good form in what are events with stronger fields than this one. He does of course make his debut here.
As do a couple of young bucks in Korean Jeung-Hun Wang
& another American Paul Peterson
, both of whom have been in good form on the Asian Tour. Wang has three 2nd place finishes and a 3rd so far this year on a variety of tours in Asia. After 14th & 15th in the dual ranking Maybank Malaysian Open and True Thailand Classic early in the year he was 2nd on the PGA Tour China in the Buick Open, and another 15th in Indonesia. A couple of poor results in Mauritius and back on his home Korean Tour before his excellent run started with 3rd at the SK Telecom Open on the Korean Tour, 2nd at the Lanhai Open on the PGA Tour China, and 2nd again at the Thailand Open on the OneAsia Tour, whilst he was 20th in his last outing.
has a little more interest and he was 5th & 60th in Malaysia & Thailand at the start of the year, 10th in the Hero Indian Open, 8th in the Indonesian Masters, dropped to 55th in Mauritius and 6th in the Queens Cup last time out on the also undulating course on Koh Samui. What is perhaps useful is that the Delhi GC in India is a tight course where keeping it straight is key, and he is currently 2nd in driving accuracy on the European Tour & 7th in Asia.
Missing for the first time in 25 years here is Miguel Angel Jimenez
Ok it is dual ranking and so I think I will go in double handed and although making his debut I like the form & straight hitting of Paul Peterson
. On a short course he may not be too disadvantaged given he doesn't hit it too long.
My other choice is a bit tougher as Garcia, Willett, Fleetwood, Wiesberger & Hatton all have good form here, but a downside as well which just gives me a doubt. Garcia is quite short at 7-1, whilst Willett & Wiesberger both have some poor recent form in amongst their good results. However I think missing the cut last week could be a little bit of a blessing for Fleetwood & Hatton as they will have had an extra day's rest and not had the extra mental strain of waiting around to play last week. Fleetwood does have the slightly better form before last week but I think an event like this could give Tyrrell Hatton
the first win he has been knocking on the door for.