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Czech Masters Tips: Best bets for this week's event on the European Tour

Czech Masters Tips: Danie Van Tonder features.
Czech Masters Tips: Danie Van Tonder features.

With the UK swing in the rearview mirror, attention now turns to mainland Europe. For a three week stint that includes a couple of very familiar courses that haven’t been seen since 2019, due to the pandemic. First up is the Czech Masters, taking place, as always, at Albatross Golf Resort in Prague.

The Albatross course is a 7467 yard par 72 and was designed by Keith Preston, opening for play in 2009. A rather exposed parkland course with plenty of water in play. Though the fairways are relatively generous, the rough is thick and will make it trickier for those who hit errant shots off the tee, to hold their spot on these large, undulating greens. With plenty of run off areas and heavy bunkering waiting to collect the less precise iron shots.

A long, relatively generous course, it’s easy to see why, over the six years this event has been staged, that big hitters have fared well here. Although, for every Thomas Pieters and Adri Arnaus at the top of the leaderboards, there’s a Paul Peterson and a Lee Slattery, showing that shorter hitters can also go well.

Golf odds

There’s been real variety in winning scores here. Three very low scoring affairs, with winning scores of -20, -22 and -19, intertwined with more modest winning scores of -14, -15 and -13. Though it must be said that even when the winning scores have been low, a few players have often separated themselves from the rest of the field. 

In 2018, when Andrea Pavan putt the lights out to win on -22, Scott Jamieson and Lee Slattery finished 7 shots behind on -15, which was good enough for 4th. A similar story in 2019, with course specialist, Thomas Pieters hitting the ball beautifully on his way to a score of -19 but -14 proving good enough for a 5th place finish. This course has teeth and even though the odd player or two can often excel enough to go really low, the majority of the field find this course a decent test.

It’s a really weak European Tour field. Danie Van Tonder and Sam Horsfield are the highest ranked players at 96th and 98th respectively and are the only two players from inside the world’s top 100 to tee it up. 

Czech Masters Tips

Golf tips
Jacques Kruyswijk each-way (7 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-08-17 15:10 Odds subject to change.

There’s very little that appeals here at under 25/1. Plenty who could go well but most with question marks too big about them, to back them at such prices. Instead, I’ll start with a couple of South Africans, the first a player having an excellent year, who’s a little less exposed at this level than those ahead of him in the betting, big hitting Jacques Kruyswijk.

No matter where he plays this year, whether if be South Africa, on the European Tour or on the Challenge Tour, Kruyswijk continues to perform. Just one missed cut in 15 events, recording top 10s on five occasions. 

He’s teed it up on the European Tour 7 times this year and has finished top 20 every time. 5th in both the events in the Kenyan double header at the start of the year, he then finished 7th in Austria on his next start. Fast forward past a solid run of results on the Challenge Tour/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned events, he had a 19th place finish in the Scandinavian Mixed on the European Tour, 17th in the BMW International and on his two most recent starts finished 10th in Wales in the Cazoo Open and 11th at the ISPS Handa World Invitational. A really excellent book of form by anyone’s standard.

It’s easy to see why he has such excellent form when you look at his stats, which show no real weaknesses. 11th on tour tee-to-green, owing to being excellent across all three of those measured areas of the game, 12th around the greens, 26th in approach and 37th off the tee. This level of play is going to get you good results but when you also take into account he’s currently rated the 5th best putter on the European Tour, you soon realise why he’s been able to build the book of form he has this year.

The positives don’t stop there, as the course clearly suits. He’s played in this event twice, recording finishes of 7th and 23rd, really fitting the bill of those bigger hitters that have gone so well here. 

With form in Austria and Wales, two courses which correlate well, this is likely the type of course he will get his first victory at this level. It looks only a matter of time with the quality he’s currently showing and I rate him the best bet this week. 

Danie Van Tonder each-way (7 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-08-17 15:10 Odds subject to change.

A much more volatile game than his compatriot but capable of exhilarating golf and already a winner on tour this year. Van Tonder has only played here once before, missing the cut in 2015 but he’s 10 times the player now and this looks a course which sets up well for the 2nd of my big hitting South African duo.

His form has been a little in and out since winning in Kenya earlier in the year, though did record his best finish since June last week when finishing 21st in the Cazoo Classic. He was pretty solid across the board there, particularly excelling around the greens, something that has been a feature of going well here in recent years. 

He’s 2nd off the tee and 21st in driving distance. The iron play is solid but as mentioned, the short game has proven important here because of the run off areas around many of the greens. The quality he showed last week around the greens was no flash in the pan, as he ranks 25th in scrambling this year.

A good record the last couple of years in the Alfred Dunhill at Leopard Creek further enhances his chances here, as it’s another course with form ties to this week’s venue. Finishing 39th and 6th there the last two years.

He can be a little erratic but with 5 wins in 12 months he has shown himself to possess an excellent winning mentality. With a course that sets up well for him and a field weaker than usual in Europe, he has a good chance to make it 6.

Maverick Antcliff each-way (7 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-08-17 15:15 Odds subject to change.

There were a few from the mid-range of the market that appealed but I just couldn’t get away from the quality tee-to-green game that Maverick Antcliff possesses.

This is his 2nd year on the European Tour, qualifying after a really excellent year on the China Tour in 2019. One which saw him top the order of merit there, winning 3 times and finishing in the top 10 on 9 other occasions.

An excellent ball-striker, ranking 12th in approach and 35th off the tee, Antcliff backs this up by being a solid scrambler, where he ranks 48th. The putter is of obvious concern, ranking 163rd on tour, though in the last renewal of this event in 2019, the top two, Pieters and Arnaus, ranked 52nd and 60th for putting respectively. Occupying the top of the leaderboard purely on the quality of their tee-to-green game and the hope is Antcliff can do the same if the putter fails to fire.

With just 5 missed cuts in 21 and a couple of top 10s, it’s been a solid year for the talented Australian but with a tee-to-green game as good as he has, he’ll no doubt be disappointed that he hasn’t threatened the top of the leaderboard a little more often. Hopefully he puts that right in Prague this week.

Bryce Easton each-way (Betfred)
Odds correct as of 2021-08-17 15:15 Odds subject to change.

A couple of longshot selections, the first making it a trio of South Africans, with Bryce Easton.

Two top 10s in his last four starts, I was a little surprised that Easton was as big as this in the market, in this strength of field. On both of those occasions, every part of his game fired and if he can reproduce, he’s sure to go well.

He hadn’t played much on the European Tour until the last few weeks, before showing up in Wales at the Cazoo Open four weeks ago, finishing 8th. Already a positive as a correlative course but it was the quality of his game that stood out. Ranking 19th tee-to-green, playing well in every aspect and 15th for putting. A combination which will always see you nearer the top of the leaderboard. 

He then responded to a MC next time out by finishing 10th in the Hero Open, with a similar story in terms of his game. A solid 44th tee-to-green, 9th in scrambling and 3rd in putting.

He’s only played here once, finishing 51st but did manage to bookend the event with a couple of rounds in the 60s. With that performance in Wales boding well, as well as him also going well in the aforementioned Alfred Dunhill, he comes to a course that should suit, in good form and can bounce back from a narrow missed cut last week. 

Nicolai Von Dellingshausen - Top 10 finish
Odds correct as of 2021-08-17 16:35 Odds subject to change.
Nicolai Von Dellingshausen each-way (5 places)
Odds correct as of 2021-08-17 15:15 Odds subject to change.

After going close in Tenerife earlier this year, where he was unlucky in having to contend with Dean Burmester playing lights out golf, consigning him to a 2nd place finish, Von Dellingshausen has found the going a little tough. Missing all but one cut in the following seven events but offered promise on his latest start in the Hero Open and can go well at a price this week.

He finished 34th that week, playing well tee-to-green, ranking 25th and drove it excellently, ranking 13th off the tee. With the putter the only thing stopping him from a higher position on the leaderboard.

He’s a big hitter, ranking 42nd in driving distance and 49th off the tee. His iron play leaves a little to be desired but he makes up for this on and around the greens, where he ranks 15th for scrambling and 33rd for putting.

He’s a three time winner on the Pro Golf Tour and really battled well on the Sunday when 2nd in the Tenerife Open, only losing out to an inspired Burmester. I think he’s got potential to be a player at this level and should appreciate the drop in field strength this week, as well as a trip to a part of the world he’ll be more than familiar with.

I will also recommend him for top 10 with the best price e/w only paying 5 places.

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