Czech Masters Betting Tips: Gavin Green can go well this week in Czechia
The DPWT ended its seven-week run of events in the UK & Ireland with a second victory on tour this season for Ewen Ferguson. Who entered the final round of the ISPS Handa Invitational with a comfortable lead and never looked like relinquishing 1st place, running out an impressive 3-shot winner over compatriot Connor Syme and Spain’s Borja Virto, who took full advantage of a rare step-up from Challenge Tour company to secure his best ever finish on the DPWT.
Whilst it also turned out to be a successful week for last week’s preview as Renato Paratore, in contention through two rounds, rallied from a poor third round to shoot the joint lowest score on Sunday, rising to 4th and securing a full place at 100/1.
Back to mainland Europe this week and the Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort. An event that has taken place every year since 2014, barring 2020 when cancelled due to covid and has always been at this venue.
It’s an event that can be there for the taking if conditions allow, shown by winning scores of -20 from Thomas Pieters in 2015, -22 from Andrea Pavan in 2018 and -19 from Thomas Pieters again in 2019. Though when the weather enters the fray, the event can play significantly tougher, with Jamie Donaldson winning the inaugural edition in 2014 with a score of -14, America’s Paul Peterson shot -15 to win in 2016, -13 was enough to see Haydn Porteous win in 2017 and last year, Johannes Veerman became the second US winner of the event, holding off fellow American Sean Crocker and Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen to win by two strokes on a winning score of -15.
Albatross Golf Resort is a par 72 measuring 7468 yards, originally designed by Keith Preston and opening for play in 2009. Though did undergo renovations in early 2021, where a number of bunkers were removed and the existing ones were strengthened to ask more questions of the players.
This is a big, exposed course, with generous fairways and large, undulating greens. The rough has occasionally been forgiving here though it was noticeable that it played quite tough last year. Something I’d expect to remain this year.
Further defence is found by those remaining bunkers, many of them large and impossible to ignore, whilst there is water in-play on a number of holes, particularly down the closing stretch over holes 16-18 and will play a significant role in deciding the winner come Sunday evening.
This is a course generally setup for bombers with the forgiving nature of the fairways and greens which are easy to find. There are a number of lengthy par 4s, with the 8th, 15th and 17th all measuring over 480 yards, though the rest are generous for the most part, offering many scoring opportunities, including the risk/reward 348 yard 6th.
Both 9s open with a par 5, however it’s the first hole which offers everyone teeing off there the chance of a great start, reachable for all at a mere 538 yards, though the rest aren’t quite as easy, with the 639 yard 9th hole looking particularly demanding.
Whilst the par 3s are typically tricky, possessing some of the most demanding green complexes around the course and protected by everything from bunkers, water and run-off areas.
Though bombers may be favoured, you do have to play well to take advantage of the scoring opportunities at Albatross. The bunkers are easy to find and the greens tough, add into the mix the introduction of some more substantial rough and it will not surprise me if winning scores likes last year’s -15 become the norm.
The bombers paradise notion has been well on show over multiple renewals of this event. Johannes Veerman was more distance than accuracy last year, ranking 17th and 31st respectively. Whilst two-time winner Thomas Pieters has long been one of the longer hitters on tour and ranked 1st in driving distance in both of his victories, as well as 3rd when runner-up to Paul Peterson in 2016.
Add into that 2017 winner Haydn Porteous, who’s always been long off-the-tee and ranked 9th when winning and even Jamie Donaldson in 2014 was certainly not short off-the-tee. Other players to contend over the years like Sean Crocker and Tapio Pulkkanen last year, Adri Arnaus in 2019 and Pelle Edberg in 2015 also prone to giving it a whack.
Though to say that merely hitting it far is enough would be a lie, as both Veerman last year and Pieters in 2019 drove the ball excellently, ranking 5th and 1st off-the-tee respectively when winning, whilst runners-up in the last two renewals, Crocker and Arnaus ranked 4th and 5th.
Strength off-the-tee has typically been backed up by quality approach play, with Pieters ranking 1st when winning in 2019 and Veerman 14th last year. Again the runners-up in those renewals further enhance this feeling, with Crocker, Pulkkanen and Arnaus ranking 1st, 3rd and 11th in approach.
No strokes-gained stats from 2017 backwards, though we can at least see how important play into the greens was, as the top 2 in 2017, Haydn Porteous and Lee Slattery both ranked 2nd for GIR, Whilst Peterson ranked 1st in 2016, Edberg ranked 1st when 2nd in 2015 and Donaldson completed an excellent all-round ball-striking performance in 2014, ranking 2nd in GIR.
It would be fair to say the short-game hasn’t been of as much importance overall in these last three renewals in which we have strokes gained stats. 2018 was very much the outlier in this sense, as winner Andrea Pavan and runner-up Padraig Harrington both lacked quality in their ball-striking but excelled with the short-game, Pavan winning thanks to a huge field-leading performance on the greens, though Harrington ranked 4th and backed it up with a strong performance around-the-greens, ranking 3rd.
Having said that, there are potentially some tricky weather conditions on the way this week and should they arrive, the short-game will be called into question, not just ability to putt these tricky, undulating surfaces but also a good ability to scramble. And if it does indeed play as tough as last year, Johannes Veerman did show the need to back up excellent ball-striking with a strong short-game, as he ranked 11th in scrambling, 14th around-the-greens and 19th in putting. So it feels sensible to put at least some emphasis on these areas this week.
Key Stats: SG: OTT, SG: Approach, Driving Distance
Secondary Stats: Scrambling, SG: Putting
Portugal Masters @ Dom Pedro Victoria
The Portugal Masters at Dom Pedro Victoria would look to work as the best correlation for the Czech Masters. It’s another venue which has been thought of as a bomber’s paradise over the years; exposed with wide fairways, large greens, plenty of sand and water central to deciding the outcome of the event. In addition they’ve also experimented with growing out the rough in recent years to provide more of a challenge off the tee.
Thomas Pieters has won at both courses, whilst Tom Lewis is a two time winner there and possesses a strong record here at the Czech Masters, with finishes of 3rd and 6th to his name. Further form-ties can be found from Johannes Veerman and Jamie Donaldson, who have both recorded top 10s in Portugal, the same for Adri Arnaus. Eddie Pepperell adding to this, with multiple top 10s across both venues.
Abu Dhabi Championship @ Abu Dhabi Golf Club
Host of the Abu Dhabi Championship until this year, Abu Dhabi Golf Club can give us further clues as to who might go well this week. Most courses in the Middle-East are exposed by nature and feature a huge amount of sand, whilst Abu Dhabi Golf Club is also generous off-the-tee.
Jamie Donaldson has won at both courses, whilst Thomas Pieters has three top 5s to his name at ADGC. Tom Lewis and Scott Jamieson have also recorded top 10s at the normally star-studded event.
Scottish Championship/Hero Open @ Fairmont St Andrews (Torrance Course)
I’ll finish with a couple of events in Scotland, starting with the host venue of the Scottish Championship in 2020 and the Hero Open in 2021/22, Fairmont St Andrews’ Torrance Course. Links courses or those attempting to imitate them at least are again exposed by nature and this course has not only proved to be favourable to bombers in just the three events we’ve staged here, but over those three events has managed to form strong form-ties with the Czech Masters.
We see that particularly on this year’s leaderboard. Sean Crocker won that event, having finished 2nd in the Czech last year and was followed home by Eddie Pepperell, who as mentioned has a really strong record here. Further to this we have Garrick Porteous with two top 10s in three events there and possessing a good record in the Czech Masters, with finishes of 9th and 14th.
Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is played across three of the most well-known links courses in Scotland: The Old Course at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. Though on the week of the ADLC, they dial down the difficulty due to the large Pro-Am element to the event, meaning we’re left with three wide open, exposed courses that are usually there for the taking, weather permitting.
Form-ties are plentiful here, with past Czech champions, Andrea Pavan and Jamie Donaldson having finished top 10 at the Dunhill Links. As have runners-up Tapio Pulkkanen and Lee Slattery. Eddie Pepperell and Tom Lewis make an appearance again, with top 10s, a feat also completed by Kristoffer Broberg, who has finished 8th on his only try at the Czech and Renato Paratore, who has a 5th place finish.
The forecast looks a little bleak at the moment, with thunderstorms predicted for the first two days. If this transpires there may be a good few stoppages. Then on Saturday, the storms are said to disappear but the rain will remain and with a strong breeze also in-play, it could be a difficult day of golf, though the bad weather does clear up by Sunday and a likely rain softened course should see plenty of birdies made.
As always, this is to be taken with a pinch of salt, days in advance.
After some really weak fields in recent weeks, we have a bit of a step up in quality this week in Czechia. Two-time champion Thomas Pieters is the highest ranked player in the field at #35 in the world, joined by #100 Victor Perez. In addition to this is the surprise entry of LIV Golf’s Ian Poulter, making his first visit here to Albatross Golf Resort.
Thomas Pieters is a very worthy favourite at 7/1 and as a past champion, he’s the man they’ve all got to beat. Though I want to no part of him at the price. Victor Perez comes next at 18/1, he’s never played here but should suit the course, however his form has tailed off recently and is easy to look past.
The likes of Eddie Pepperell and Richard Mansell come next but I’m going to start this week’s selections at the 33/1 mark with a man who’s been striking the ball really well over the last couple of months and if he can find improvement on the greens, should go well this week, France’s Antoine Rozner.
Czech Masters Tips
- Antoine Rozner 33/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365 – Each Way Extra) – 1.5 pts ew
- Paul Waring 30/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365 – Each Way Extra) – 1.5 pts ew
- Renato Paratore 45/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365 – Each Way Extra) – 1 pt ew
- Grant Forrest 60/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365 – Each Way Extra) – 1 pt ew
- Gavin Green 60/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365) – 1 pt ew
- Alvaro Quiros 150/1 – 1/5 8 places (Bet365 – Each Way Extra) – 0.75 pts ew
Despite some solid performances earlier in the season, including a season’s best 5th at the ISPS Handa Championship in April, Rozner has only recently discovered the strength of ball-striking that enabled him to become a two-time DPWT champion after just two full seasons on the main tour.
Since a missed cut at the Soudal Open, where his typically strong driving was showing signs of revival, Rozner has played seven times, picking up three top 25s and missing just two cuts.
Though his 21st place finish in the Dutch Open was engineered by a strong short-game performance, every start since has seen quality ball-striking, gaining strokes in each of his last 7 starts in approach and 6 of his last 9 off-the-tee. This resulting in season rankings of 45th off-the-tee and 65th in approach, whilst he also possesses that power that so often sees players go well here, ranking 20th in driving distance.
The putter has been in and out, with the two missed cuts at the Scottish Open and last time out in the Hero Open coming as a result of his two worst putting performances of the year. Though prior to that he’d gained on three of his four most recent starts and he has proved an ability to find it quickly, something he’ll need to do this week.
If he can do that, he can use his quality, powerful ball-striking game to take to this course at the first time of asking. His 16th place finish at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on his solo appearance enhances this opinion, whilst he’s been solid on both visits to Portugal. We can even look to both of those DPWT wins in the Qatar Masters and Dubai Championship, coming on typically exposed Middle Eastern setups that often suit the big hitters.
This is simply just a course that should suit the classy Frenchman.
We missed out on a place from Paul Waring two weeks ago at the Cazoo Open in Wales but in that 8th place finish he once again showed how well he was hitting the ball, as he ranked 5th in approach and 11th off-the-tee, something which would present him as a huge danger this week at Albatross Golf Resort.
Waring turned his year around at the Scandinavian Mixed six starts ago, putting up a 10th place finish. Since then he’s produced an excellent run of form, following with a 26th in the BMW International Open, a rare recent missed cut in the Irish Open, where he still hit the ball well and then two top 10 finishes in his last three starts, coming courtesy of a season’s best 2nd in the Cazoo Classic at Hillside and then followed a 30th in the Hero Open with that 8th in the Cazoo Open.
Across those starts, Waring has hit the ball to a high standard, gaining strokes in each of his last five starts off-the-tee and four of five in approach, this seeing him rank 25th and 16th in those respective areas for the season.
In addition to this he’s putting well at the minute, with those recent top 10s enabled by him combining that strong ball-striking with a good week on the greens.
Waring has a mixed record in the Czech Masters, where he’s followed a debut effort of 19th in 2014 with two missed cuts and was 30th in 2019 on his most recent visit. Though we can take encouragement from a strong book of correlating form, with Waring having finished 3rd in the Dunhill Links, 3rd in Portugal and 6th in Abu Dhabi.
Waring is one of the most in-form players in the field with three top 10s in six starts and if he can continue to combine the strong ball-striking with solid putting, not only can he get himself in the mix again but a victory would very much be on the cards.
I felt Renato Paratore was value last week at 100/1 in an extremely weak field. He proved that by finishing 4th, following on from a 3rd place finish in the Cazoo Open a week earlier. Coming into an event that would suit his game even more and with a top 5 to his name already at the venue, this two-time tour winner once again looks decent value, priced at double or more than players who haven’t achieved close to what he as it this level of the game and he can capitalise on that recent upturn in form to pick up title #3 this week.
As mentioned last week, Paratore has been showing some small positive signs in recent weeks with the ball-striking, with his typically strong short-game remaining in good shape. This was once again on show last week, as he ranked 19th in approach after round one and 37th off-the-tee.
With no stats from his second round at Masereene Golf Club available. We have to look at the weekend’s play for clues. Though there’s a surprising lack of strokes-gained stats for the weekend, we can glean something from the basic stats.
His 3rd round was a write-off and ultimately the reason why he wasn’t quite able to contend but he rectified this hugely in his final round, shooting the joint best round of the day, leading the field on the greens, ranking 2nd in scrambling, an impressive 5th in driving accuracy considering it’s a tight course that wouldn’t necessarily suit his eye and 12th in GIR. Providing further proof of a player who is starting to hit the ball much better
If he can transfer that to this more favourable setup this week, which is on show from a 5th place debut performance in 2015 and four made cuts from five subsequent starts at Albatross Golf Resort, Paratore would have every chance of improving further on those last two results.
As a big hitter with a good short-game and showing improvements in approach play in recent weeks, Scotland’s Grant Forrest is very much the profile we’re looking for this week.
His year so far has been a story of two halves. He was solid enough in the earlier part of the year but struggled to make real noise at the top of the leaderboard due to some poor approach play. Though he’s arguably been more inconsistent over the last few months, he’s produced his two standout finishes of the year over this period, when 9th in the Soudal Open and 3rd in the Cazoo Classic three starts ago.
These performances have come just as his approach play has improved, gaining strokes in four of his last seven starts, including a season’s best performance last time out when missing the cut in Wales, a missed cut that came because of a rare poor week on the greens.
The usually reliable driver has gone missing in recent weeks, though he still ranks 75th for the season in that regard and that big hitting represented in a ranking of 38th in driving distance. He does excel with the short-game, ranking 27th for scrambling and 41st on the greens, which will come in handy this week if conditions do make things tricky.
He missed the cut here in 2019 on his solo effort though I wouldn’t look too much into that, as he was in no kind of form, looking particularly poor with the ball-striking. I take confidence from his 1st DPWT victory last year when he picked up the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews, whilst he’s also got a good record in Portugal, finishing 14th and 22nd the last two years.
Forrest’s length off the tee will be an advantage this week, as will that strong short-game and if he can replicate the much improved approach performance he showed over the first two rounds last time out, he can have a good week in Czechia.
Gavin Green is a player who’s been bubbling this year. He finally produced a quality performance last week when 2nd in the International Series Singapore event on the Asian Tour and I’m hoping he can transfer that same level of performance back to Europe this week, on a course where he finished 3rd on debut in 2018.
After a solid start to the year where Green made five cuts on the bounce from March-May, he lost form over his next six starts, missing every cut but has bounced back over recent weeks.
His return to form started in the Cazoo Classic at Hillside, where Green finished 26th thanks to the best approach performance he’s ever recorded. He followed that with a 56th place finish in the Hero Open, where the irons went missing but he drove and putted well, with that 2nd place finish in a strong Asian Tour field last week a really excellent showing.
That approach performance at the Cazoo Classic wasn’t an isolated incident, as he showed positive signs when hopping over to the PGA Tour to play the Barbasol Championship and whilst at his best he’s a good, powerful driver, it’s with the short-game, particularly the putter, that he typically excels, ranking 7th in putting and 15th in scrambling on the DPWT this season.
This was evidenced when he made his debut at Albatross Golf Resort in 2018, finishing 3rd thanks to quality performances off the tee and on the greens. He then finished 58th the year later and can be forgiven a missed cut last year, as his game was in poor shape.
Green is the type I’m expecting to go well this week and though ultimately coming up just shy in Singapore, he should arrive here with plenty of confidence, which can see him reproduce that level of performance he showed in 2018.
It’s been five years since Alvaro Quiros last won and over ten years since he was racking up victories for fun, winning six times on the DPWT between 2006 and 2011, seeing him rise to a high of 21 in the world in 2011. Though there’s been some positive signs in recent weeks, no more on show than when 10th in the Hero Open two starts ago and coming to a course that should suit his power-packed game, he looks as likely an outsider as any this week.
Quiros’ start to the season was a write-off, missing six of his first seven cuts and having to withdraw from the other. Though over his last eight starts we’ve seen a much improved level of form, with him making the weekend on five occasions, including that 10th in the Hero Open.
The quality of Alvaro’s golf has been super encouraging, particularly over the last four starts, where he’s gained in each start with the driver, something he hasn’t managed since the tour started recording SG stats, whilst he’s also found a greater level of accuracy.
In addition, the short-game has also been firing, gaining strokes in five of seven starts around-the-greens and his last two on the putting surfaces. The irons representing the standout area of concern, though again, there have been signs of improvement there too, with him not losing as many strokes as he was earlier in the year.
Quiros hasn’t played here but we know this is the type of course that should suit his eye. We can go back to that most recent victory at the Rocco Forte Open in 2017 to find evidence of that, on the open, exposed Vertura Golf Resort. Whilst if we dig back further we find him winning in Portugal in 2008, with top 10s at Fairmont and in the Dunhill Links to boot.
He’s a proven winner, who has shown an ability to come through out of nowhere. With much of his game looking in a good place right now, arguably more consistent all-round than it has done for a couple of years, he can go well on his first spin around Albatross Golf Resort this week.