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European Open Betting Tips: Back John Catlin Each-Way in Hamburg

European Open tips: John Catlin relishes tough golf courses and conditions and our man Jamie Worsley thinks he will go well this week. Read why below.
European Open tips: John Catlin relishes tough golf courses and conditions and our man Jamie Worsley thinks he will go well this week. Read why below.

Sometimes you feel lucky to get a winner, others you feel unlucky to not, but rarely do you go through those same emotions in such a short space of time in the same event.

Victor Perez went from looking in control of the Dutch Open, to looking completely out of it over the space of a few holes, thanks to a quite remarkable run of golf from Ryan Fox, who chipped in twice in a row; first for birdie, then eagle, also going on to hole a 40+ footer for birdie a couple of holes later. Taking a 3-shot lead in the process and looked as though he’d coast to victory.

That was until he made error after error on the par 5 18th hole leading to a double-bogey and letting Perez back into it, who needed to shoot -2 over his final few holes to win outright, -1 for a playoff. No foregone conclusion for either considering the course wasn’t playing all that easy. 

Perez then holed a bomb of his own on the 17th hole to tie Fox at the top and gave himself a 7 footer on the last to win the thing outright, only to miss that gilt edged chance, forcing a playoff.

The incredible drama not over as Perez more than evened things out with Fox’s earlier magic touch, holing a series of incredible long range putts to not just keep himself in it but take the title on the fourth playoff hole. Giving us an overdue victory at 50/1 and along with Matt Wallace placing at 80/1, a good week for the preview.

Onto this week, as the DP World Tour continues its journey around mainland Europe. This time we head to Germany for the Porsche European Open at Green Eagle Resort’s monstrous North Course.

The Porsche European Open has a long, prestigious history on the DP World Tour stretching back to 1978 and has been won by many a great name; Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer and Sandy Lyle to name a few. Though this will only be the 5th time it has been hosted here at Green Eagle, having first staged the event in 2017.

The event returned last year following a 12-month hiatus due to the covid pandemic. With the pandemic once again having an impact on last year’s event, as travel restrictions in Germany caused the event to be reduced to a 54-hole tournament. Marcus Armitage triumphed there, flying through the field with a final round 65, the best of the round by 3 shots, to pick up an emotional first DPWT victory. 

The Course

Green Eagle Resort’s well-manicured North Course is a 7603 yard par 72. Much of this long, open course’s length comes from its five par 5s, with all measuring over 590 yards and three over 600 yards, including the vast 647 yard 9th hole and the ridiculously long 705 yard 16th hole. Though the par 5s are long, they do still rank as predominantly the best birdie chances, besides that 16th hole. Four of them coming on your back nine, with three in your final four holes of the round. 

The quirks in this setup don’t just stop there as the rest of the course is made up of five par 3s and just the eight par 4s. Though they are all much more standard in length, with all of the par 3s below 200 yards and the par 4s possessing five above 460 yards and three below 400.

So what of the course itself?

This open and exposed course is tough tee-to-green, with the fairways generous in places, though penal should you miss, protected by swathes of water and plenty of large, strategically placed bunkers. 

Though it’s the greens that ask the biggest questions here. Big and undulating, with many two-tiered. Not only putting strain on the putter but require precision iron-play to make sure you find the right area of these complexes. With that water and sand once again in abundance should you miss the putting surfaces.

This is a challenging golf course, right from first to last shot and has seen an average winning score of -11.5 in the four renewals since 2017.

You could be forgiven for looking at the length of the course and instantly favouring big hitters, though it has very much been shown that you require accuracy around here, not just brute strength. 

Marcus Armitage kind of defied this belief last year, very much reliant on an excellent short-game over the three-rounds, though did manage to shoot that best round of the week in the third round when finding more accuracy off-the-tee. Of the other three winners here, Paul Casey ranked 8th in driving accuracy in 2019, Richard McEvoy ranked 6th in 2018 and Jordan Smith ranked 7th in 2017.

Further proof of this can be found outside the winners too, as out of the 11 players to finish 2nd or tied 2nd in those four renewals, 9 ranked inside the top 17 for driving accuracy.

That isn’t to say hitting it a long way can’t be an advantage, as Casey and Smith both ranked amongst the longest drivers when they won, but you can’t just bomb and spray it all over the place, you have to combine it with accuracy.

Not just important to produce precision iron play and find accuracy off-the-tee but the short-game will be hugely tested too. Quality scramblers have littered the leaderboards here, with Armitage and Smith the best ranked of the winners, ranking 6th and 8th respectively. Whilst runners-up like Darius Van Driel last year, Matthias Schwab, Bernd Ritthammer and Robert MacIntyre in 2019, Renato Paratore in 2018 and Alexander Levy in 2017 all ranking top 5 in scrambling. 

Though I think quality iron play is needed into these greens, you are going to find yourself not just a long way from the holes multiple times throughout the week but also having to go up/down a tier. With that in mind I think three-putt avoidance should also prove key this week. 

In short, you’ll have to drive the ball well and straight, hit your irons well and straight, scramble well and putt tough undulating greens adequately, often from distance. Not too much to ask, right?

Correlating Courses

It may seem counterintuitive to compare a 7600 yard course with one almost 1000 yards shorter, though there are plenty of form-ties between here and Himmerland Golf Resort, host of the Made in Denmark from 2014-2017, and again from 2019. Though much shorter it’s an exposed resort course with plenty of water in play. 

2017 European Open champion, Jordan Smith has finished 3rd there, whilst last year’s champion, Bernd Wiesberger has finished 5th here in Germany. Marcus Armitage also possesses a top 10 there, whilst Robert MacIntyre has finished 2nd at both courses. Guido Migliozzi, Benjamin Hebert and Pablo Larrazabal strengthen the ties further, possessing top 10s in both events.

Diamond CC, home of the Austrian Open, is another long, tough, watery resort course that correlates nicely with Green Eagle’s North Course.

Marcus Armitage has a 4th place finished there, whilst Richard McEvoy has twice finished inside the top 5. Runners-up here in Germany, such as Darius Van Driel and Matthias Schwab both have top 10s in Austria. With past Austrian champions, Mikko Korhonen, Joost Luiten and Bernd Wiesberger all going well at Green Eagle.

As a big open course with fairways of a generous width and large greens, there’s no surprise to see plenty of form-ties between Green Eagle and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Jordan Smith has a top 5 there, whilst Richard McEvoy has recorded a top 10. Matthew Southgate has been runner-up at both, Benjamin Hebert appears again, with a top 10 at both, as do Matthias Schwab and Renato Paratore. With Jeff Winther and Nacho Elvira also possessing decent finishes in both events.

Finally, the Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club can provide further clues. Again, it’s a long, tough course, with plenty of water in-play and large, tricky greens; an event where strong ball-strikers often thrive. 

Paul Casey has won both events, whilst two of the other three winners here at Green Eagle, Marcus Armitage and Jordan Smith, have both gone well at Emirates GC. Robert MacIntyre, Edoardo Molinari and Thomas Detry all tie the form in again, with multiple top 10s between them in Dubai.   

The Weather

There is some stormy, wet weather forecast before the start of the event, which should make an already long course even longer. Though this is set to disappear before the start of play, with pleasant dry conditions predicted for much of the four days. Before the potential of more rain on Sunday.

The Field

We have a good DP World Tour field teeing it up this week. Much the same as last, though enhanced by the arrival of Tommy Fleetwood, as well as Robert MacIntyre and Adri Arnaus both entering the fray. They’re joined by two of the more experienced European players, in the shape of Martin Kaymer and 2023 Ryder Cup captain, Henrik Stenson.

European Open Tips

 

Golf odds
Rasmus Hojgaard - Each Way 7 places)
25/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-31 14:25 Odds subject to change.

Hojgaard has already amassed three DP World Tour victories in his short career and comes into this event in excellent form this season; where he hasn’t missed a cut, has recorded five top 20s in ten starts and with finishes of 16th in the British Masters and 10th in the Dutch Open as his latest two efforts. 

Despite this, he’s priced higher than players who either aren’t in as good form or find winning a lot more difficult than the impressive young Dane.

Rasmus’ approach play has been pretty strong for a number of months now and sees him rank 39th on the DP World Tour this season, something that has been very much on show in those latest two starts. Though it was the improvements made with the driver last week, where he recorded his best performance of the year off-the-tee, that stood out most. A similarly high standard ball-striking performance would surely see him go well here this week and improve on his modest record in the event. 

That modest record has seen Hojgaard miss the cut on his debut at the Porsche European Open in 2018, though he did return and make the cut last year, producing an eye-catching performance on these tricky greens. Also worth noting that he was hitting the ball terribly before this event last year and arrives for his third go at the course in much better form all-round, particularly with the ball-striking. 

He hasn’t made a huge amount of starts at the correlating events mentioned, though amongst them are some encouraging nuggets of form courtesy of a 9th place finish in the Dubai Desert Classic last year and also a 12th place finish in Austria, also last year on his only start in the event.

Hojgaard has quickly built up a reputation of having a superb winning mentality. With his long-game in fine form at the minute and coming here off the back of that season-best driving performance last week, he looks well placed to tame the “Green Monster” at the third time of asking. 

Thomas Detry - Each Way (7 places)
40/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-31 14:30 Odds subject to change.

Arriving off the back of two missed cuts, Belgium’s Thomas Detry doesn’t initially jump off the page. Though last week in the Netherlands he produced one of his best tee-to-green performances of the year, missing the cut by just the one shot because of an unusually poor display on the greens.

If he can bring that tee-to-green game with him this week, at a course in which he has a strong record and typically putts the greens well, he can finally find that breakthrough victory. 

Up until those latest two appearances, Detry’s year could’ve best been described as solid but unspectacular. A 9th place finish at Ras Al Khaimah earlier in the year is his best performance, though he did go well in the PGA Tour alternate event, the Corales Puntacana, finishing 15th, with a collection of 50-something finishes to boot.

Looking at those performances this year, we find a player who really hasn’t been all that far away, evidenced again last week with all of those clubs in the bag working bar one. This the story of the year, where he’s largely driven the ball well but had the odd shocker, with the same being said about the putter. Though he does rank 10th in three-putt-avoidance, which could be important on these large, tricky greens this week. 

The irons have been a little more underwhelming but there has been quality in there, particularly in a three event run in the Middle-East earlier in the year and last week produced his best approach performance of the year, if only over two rounds. Putting everything together at the same time has clearly been the problem.

This quality all-round game is one which has enabled Detry to build up a strong record here at Green Eagle, where he’s improved on every visit. He followed a 37th place finish on debut in 2017, with a 13th place finish in 2018 and then an excellent runner-up performance last year, thanks to an excellent tee-to-green performance. 

Correlating form is encouraging too, with Detry possessing top 10s in Austria and Dubai, also going well at Himmerland and in the Dunhill Links in the past. Not just that but his runner-up finish last year not the only time he’s gone close in Germany, as he finished 2nd in the BMW International Open in 2017.

As a former high class amateur, and a winner in his first pro season on the Challenge Tour in 2016, I think there’s few who thought Detry would not have added to that entering his 6th season on the DP World Tour. With a game that is closer than his form figures suggest and an excellent record at this week’s venue, I think this week is the week where he can break that duck.

Marcel Schneider - Each Way (8 Places)
55/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-31 14:30 Odds subject to change.

Marcel Schneider has been a bit of a late bloomer in the pro ranks. Turning pro in 2012 after an excellent amateur career that saw him reach as high as #6 in the rankings, it took him six years to find that breakthrough win on the Challenge Tour in 2018. He followed that with another two last year and with a strong series of recent result, whilst also having previously gone well around here, he can add to those by winning his first DP World Tour title this week.

After starting the year missing his first six cuts on the bounce, Schneider has turned around his fortunes in a big way over his last four starts. That original upturn came in the Catalunya Championship, where he finished 13th; and following a minor blip with a MC in the British Masters, he’s responded by going 7th at the Soudal Open and 3rd last week at the Dutch Open.

He’s putt well on recent starts and ranks particularly high in the three-putt-avoidance stat, ranking 6th, though was solid enough on the greens in that earlier part of the season; with the reason for his improved results being finding form with the long-game, particularly his irons, ranking 6th in approach last week and 7th at the Soudal Open. 

Whilst not to the standard of his approach play in recent weeks, the driver has been behaving much better too, where he’s started to find much more accuracy.

This strong approach-play and more accurate driving is what helped him to an excellent 7th place finish here last year, along with an excellent week on the greens. His 2nd appearance in the event following a withdrawal in 2018. In addition to this, Schneider’s best DPWT performance to date came with a 2nd place finish in the Austrian Open in 2020, further encouragement as to his suitability to this test.

There’s little not to like about Schneider’s chances this week. He has the talent, the current form, the course form and the correct parts of his game firing at just the right time. He can use all of this to pick up a first DPWT title this week in his native Germany.

US Open Odds
John Catlin - Each Way (7 Places)
70/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-31 14:35 Odds subject to change.

With wins at Valderrama and in Austria, John Catlin is a player who relishes tough golf courses and conditions. Despite missing the cut last week there were positives, not least him producing his best approach stats of the year and he can bounce back from that this week at another testing venue. 

His form this year has been lukewarm, with just the four missed cuts but only one top 10 to go with it and his two best performances coming out on the Asian Tour. Though despite the underwhelming results on the DPWT, his game has shown life.

Over his last five starts, since the tour moved on to mainland Europe, Catlin has largely driven the ball excellently and ranks 42nd on tour this season, also finding plenty of fairways, ranking 34th. The rest of his game hasn’t quite fired as consistently, though there have been positive signs there too, with the short-game, both with the putter and around-the-greens looking good in the British Masters and as mentioned produced his best approach numbers of the year last week before missing the cut in the Netherlands.

This all-round quality that he can produce is what has helped Catlin to 3 DPWT titles in the last two years. All coming in tough conditions, on tough courses and with him complimenting strong tee-to-green performances with a good week on the greens. A gritty, accurate type who just seems to know how to win. 

This wasn’t on show on his only try around this course in 2019, though his career has taken off in a big way since then and he’s arguably a different player. Instead we can take confidence from that victory in Austria last year, a place where he’s also recorded an 8th place finish. 

His win in Austria came off the back of a missed cut the week previous and following a similarly steady run of form. Catlin can build off the positive approach performance last week and if able to reproduce that with the quality he’d been showing off-the-tee for the last two months, can find his best finish of the year so far.

Kristoffer Broberg - Each Way (8 Places)
100/1
Odds correct as of 2022-05-31 14:35 Odds subject to change.

Kristoffer Broberg returned to action following a two-month absence last week as defending champion at the Dutch Open, producing an impressive 14th place finish, his best result of the year. He managed this thanks to a best tee-to-green performance of the year and can kick on from there this week in Germany.

That tee-to-green performance was not out of the blue, as Broberg has been hitting the ball well all year. Gaining strokes off-the-tee in six of seven starts, ranking 33rd for the season and in approach in five of seven, ranking 31st. 

It’s been the short-game causing all of the problems and undoing all of the good work he was doing with the ball-striking. Though he did look good around-the-greens last week.

A replication of last week’s tee-to-green performance would surely see Broberg go well this week, at a course where he has had a previously tough time; after being disqualified on debut in 2017 and missing the cut last year. Though these results came before last year’s resurgence.

I’m confident he can perform around here thanks to some strong correlating form, with a 2nd place finish at Himmerland, 6th place finish in Austria and 9th place finish in the Alfred Dunhill Links to his name.

With the way Broberg has been hitting the ball this year, he made instant appeal this week. Add it to the fact he maintained that form last week following such a long absence, in turn producing his best finish of the year and he looks an attractive prospect this week on a course where strong ball-strikers often thrive.

Golf betting tips
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