Ben Coley bagged bumper each-way profits with 400/1 and 70/1 tips last week, and now has six selections for the Omega European Masters.
2pts e.w. Adri Arnaus at 50/1 (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
1pt e.w. Guido Migliozzi at 50/1 (General 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
1pt e.w. Andy Sullivan at 55/1 (Coral 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
1pt e.w. Marcus Kinhult at 66/1 (Betfred 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
1pt e.w. Lee Slattery at 125/1 (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
0.5pt e.w. Oliver Wilson at 250/1 (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook
Three of the top 10 in the Race to Dubai are in Switzerland for the Omega European Masters, a fabulous event on a unique golf course and one which marks the turning of the tide after a post-Open lull. From here through Denmark and on to Wentworth, it’s a big run for the DP World Tour, and with Ryder Cup venues and a return to St Andrews soon afterwards, the next six weeks will make for fabulous viewing.
For now of course it all happens without the genuine superstars, who are still scrapping for the FedEx Cup, but to be frank it could be a satellite tour event and Crans-sur-Sierre would still be worth tuning in for. This is as good as it gets when it comes to backdrops, whatever trigger-happy DP World Tour social media staff might tell you during the Middle East swing, and a quirky, fun golf course serves as the perfect canvas for one week only.
Anywhere else, and Crans would risk being a little bit silly. It’s a course made up of a collection of driveable par-fours which threaten to randomise things a little too much, and there are good shots which get punished by a bounce or a tree branch here and can cause a good deal of frustration. So too can greens which are small and perched up, demanding precise approaches, sharp short-games, and the forgiveness of the mountain air.
With a picture-postcard town offering something for everyone, it’s fair to say this is an event many players have circled in the calendar from the minute a schedule is released. And, for Ryan Fox, Robert MacIntyre, Adrian Meronk and Rasmus Hojgaard, it’s also one which allows them to ease back into competitive action as they set their sights on the BMW PGA Championship which is now just a fortnight away.
All of them have the potential to rip apart this course, even if it’s no pushover and may be toughened up by a spot of rain and cool conditions. But with MacIntyre unable to capitalise on a hot putter so far this summer, Meronk’s short-game still a worry and Fox having perhaps gone off the boil in what’s been a draining season already, only defending champion Hojgaard makes serious appeal among the quartet who make up the very top of the market.
Last year’s smash-and-grab to pip Bernd Wiesberger showed how effective he can be here, 10th place in Scotland two starts ago is a very strong piece of form and it’s unlikely this first proper title defence is a problem, but he has struggled to put four rounds together all year and that’s enough to put me off at odds of 25/1.
Instead, the headline vote goes to ADRI ARNAUS, who strikes me as hugely overpriced at the 50/1 quoted in bet365’s Each-Way Extra market, which has him alongside a collection of lesser players.
Arnaus is 20th in the Race to Dubai having enjoyed a breakthrough campaign, winning his first title in the ISPS Handa Championship having gone close in Saudi Arabia and South Africa before that.
His improved approach play and putting have matched up with his prodigious length to make him one of the very best players on the circuit, something we all knew he was capable of becoming. He ranks sixth in this field in strokes-gained total and unless he arrives at an event like this amid a terrible slump, the days of 50/1 and 20th in the betting really ought to be behind us.
The reason we’re getting these odds – and to be clear, he’d be a bet down to 33s as I believe he belongs up with Hojgaard and company – is that on the face of it, he is in what you might call a post-win slump. But three of his seven starts since that Spanish victory have been in majors, another in a world-class event on links turf, and it’s not at all surprising that his results don’t look especially impressive.
Look beyond them and you’ll see that he hit more greens than anyone in the Open, where he ranked eighth in strokes-gained approach but was abysmal with the putter. That had also been true in the previous week’s Scottish Open, where this time his driving was elite only for slow, links greens to throw his improved putting completely off course.
Whether he can find the remedy here in Switzerland may well determine how well he does but I really do not believe there’s any cause for alarm as to the state of his game, and that makes him a standout contender even before we consider that he was a single shot outside the play-off here in 2019, when bossing the field with driver on what was his first visit to the Swiss mountains.
Second in Kenya and at Valderrama and also a first-round leader at Wentworth, he has form at correlating courses which confirms that there’s much more to him than bomb-and-gouge, and if he does arrive here in his best shape he ought to do plenty of damage. That’s not a given, and we saw last week that perhaps a month off left Thomas Pieters rusty, but at these odds we’re fully compensated for all such doubts.
Marcus Armitage got engaged here five years ago and played well that week, as he did on his return when opening up with a round of 63. His trademark iron play returned in the Cazoo Open last time so there’s a lot to like about the consistent Englishman, who seems to have found something with the putter albeit hasn’t been driving the ball as well as he can.
He’s on the shortlist along with Antoine Rozner, who was the best player in the Czech Masters from tee-to-green but again missed a host of short putts. He also led the field in that category here last year, shooting a final-round 62 to climb to 13th place on his course debut, and if he can stop missing the hole from five feet then he’s sure to go well.
The trouble is that’s been a significant problem which now stretches back four tournaments, and tidying up those putts is likely to be vital here. Holes like the fifth, sixth and seventh in particular will provide players with up-and-down opportunities and I’d just be worried Rozner misses too many of them, which combined with a shorter price in a stronger field is enough to look elsewhere.
Instead I’ll row in again with ANDY SULLIVAN, selected when placed in Wales last time and when making a fine start to this tournament before fading last year.
He was a 40/1 chance back then but returns in better form and at bigger odds, having finished eighth in the Cazoo Classic, down the field purely because of his putter in the Hero Open, and then third at Celtic Manor when pretty much everything came together.
It was nice to see further improvements in his approach play, Sullivan producing his best figures of the year to rank ninth, and the same is true of his driving which had been good for a while but stepped up a notch. It was his best ball-striking performance since 2020 and says much about the direction his game is heading.
We gave @AndySulliGolf 500 balls to see if he could make a hole-in-one.
Here’s what happened…#ChaseTheAce pic.twitter.com/JA9CJmNohS
Sullivan’s Celtic Manor record before the Cazoo Open was one of unfulfilled promise, and that’s also true here in Crans. He’s shot 74-66 to miss the cut by one, 74-67 to miss the cut by one and 67-73 to miss the cut by one in the past, and been 30th when second after an opening 65. That was all before last year, when he shot 64-66 to lie second at halfway, but then 73-74 over the weekend to fall to 40th.
All of this tells me he can win a European Masters if, as he alluded to last year, he stays patient and takes chances when they arrive. That’s something a lot of players talk about here as anyone making pars at those short par-fours will feel they’re giving up too much ground, and yet if you’d shot four 66s you’d have won three of the last four renewals.
It’s really not as straightforward as it can look, this course, and Sullivan’s precise ball-striking should be a good platform for what might be an even more demanding week should the worst of the forecast weather arrive. All four of his DP World Tour wins had been flagged in previous starts and he looks a good bet at 50/1.
Cool conditions often favour Scandinavians and they’ve won six of the last 12 renewals, so next on the list is MARCUS KINHULT.
Back when he was a top-class amateur, the Swede shot 65-66 to lie fourth at halfway here in Crans, and since returning with a card in his pocket he’s made all three cuts regardless of the state of his game. Last year for instance he finished 47th which was his best finish in 18 starts until he signed off the year on a more positive note, while in 2019 he finished 12th to finally get back to form four months after his win.
Kinhult shot back-to-back rounds of 65 over the weekend of that renewal so we know he can score at the course, and what I particularly like about his play in 2022 is that the best of it has coincided with a return to places where he’d succeeded in the past.
At Hillside, scene of his first DP World Tour win, he led the field in strokes-gained tee-to-green and finished third. At Muthaiga, a course where he’d been 12th on his sole visit five years ago and one which correlates with Crans, he finished eighth. At Doha, where he threatened to win when third on debut, he matched that effort despite a slow start.
That’s what makes me believe he’ll come alive back at Crans, but since missing the cut narrowly in a high-class Scottish Open, truth be told he’s played well regardless. First came that third place at Hillside, but he then shot a second-round 64 at Galgorm Castle in a performance which was better than it looks (officially MC, but was 39th after three rounds in a different format), before finishing 23rd on a long, soft Albatross course in Prague last week.
Kinhult was making his debut in the Czech Masters and I thought it was a performance packed with promise. Not only did he continue to drive the ball well, something he’s not always done, but he dropped shots on just two of the 54 holes they played, both in clumsy fashion. For the remainder of the week he was excellent, despite conditions very much being against him.
Here in Switzerland, conditions will be back in favour of a player who ranks eighth in scrambling and 10th in strokes-gained around-the-green. Crans is one of the handful of courses where these categories take on added importance and a sharp short-game, combined with the accuracy he’s shown here at his best, can carry this fine talent a very long way.
Kinhult’s compatriot Alex Bjork will look to this fortnight as a chance to double his tally. He’s got a very solid record here in Crans, has gone close at Fanling which stacks up really well through players like Scott Hend, David Lipsky and Miguel Angel Jimenez, and has been in decent nick despite a cooler-than-usual putter of late.
He’s respected but I’ll take the added volatility and value of GUIDO MIGLIOZZI at around the 50/1 mark.
It’s been a difficult year for the Italian, who has had to adjust to wearing glasses on the golf course which really seems to have set him back. However, having managed zero top-50 finishes from January to May, he’s managed 10th, 14th and 18th over his last seven starts, so things are definitely looking up.
His driving remains a problem and that’s a concern, especially as it’s the club he leaned on to take seventh place here last year. However, everything else he did at Galgorm Castle last time was very good and there’s been a significant upturn in his iron play lately, with his performance last time out his best for almost a year.
With his short-game very good in general and the putter having fired often enough, I wonder if he might just find something off the tee under these very different conditions. For the most part at Crans, which is at 3,000ft above sea level, players can hit irons off tees, and there’s a certain freedom which comes with thrashing driver towards the green at holes like the par-four seventh.
Showing @matthew_jordan7 my famous stinger 🚀
Watch the @CallawayGolfEU Toptracer Challenge 👇pic.twitter.com/AqCG65l7jP
He’s certainly found comfort here in the past, finishing 33rd on debut where he opened with a round of 65 and signed off with a 66, and then when shooting a final-round 65 last year, and is one of those players who helps underline certain correlations having triumphed at Karen in his rookie season.
Placed in the US Open last summer, Migliozzi is precisely the kind of class act who could make a late bid at securing his card from 139th in the Race to Dubai, and this risk-reward course is probably his best chance to contend. Given the vast improvement he showed at Galgorm Castle, where 18th place was a big step up on form figures of 67-MC-MC, he’s considered worth the risk.
The accurate Adrien Saddier made his European Tour debut here a decade ago and hasn’t missed a cut in four visits. He could go well as could Daniel van Tonder, a very different player but one who won with a hit it, find it approach in Kenya, is really sharp around the greens, and is playing better than his form figures might suggest.
However, pick of the outsiders and by some way is LEE SLATTERY.
Sixth here in 2017 and 13th last year, Slattery has a good record at the course and there are signs he’s getting more and more comfortable with every visit. Stretching back to a second-round 62 five years ago, his last 15 rounds here show an average of 68.1, with two of the three payers who dip below 68 having won this title.
Slattery’s 13th place a year ago was his best finish throughout the whole of 2021 and came courtesy of the sort of approach play we’ve seen from him again recently, ranking 11th last week, 17th in the Cazoo Open, 20th in the Cazoo Classic, and on course for similar only to miss the cut in his other two starts during this run.
🥈 70/1 each-way tip Gavin Green
🤑 400/1 each-way tip Jake McLeod places
👏 It could have been even better but 40.5 points of profit for @BenColeyGolf continues another superb season! https://t.co/FY6boMxzXA
As touched upon last week he had an excuse when selected in Northern Ireland, where he was stung by a wasp on the first tee and required medical attention, and I thought 13th place in Prague was a fine effort. Yes, he’s gone close there before, but the course has increasingly become the domain of big-hitters and he wasn’t far off placing despite giving away ground off the tee.
It was encouraging to see putting improvements and to underline just how well he’s hitting it, Slattery ranks second among this field in greens hit over the last three months, and seventh over six months. Those charts are littered with players who’ve won this year and with Slattery having done so late in the season twice before, such a lofty ambition might not be beyond him.
Certainly, if he brings the game he showed in Prague with him to Crans, the fact this is a better course for him ought to offset the increased field strength and have him fighting it out for place money.
Max Kieffer’s win might provoke further improvements from Marcel Schneider, who was there to congratulate his friend, and his long-game has been good lately. Given his exploits with the putter earlier this year that’s a nice combination, so don’t be surprised if he shows up well on his debut at the course.
The German I really liked at a fancy price, however, was Nicolai von Dellinghausen.
He’s had a couple of chances to win at this level despite limited playing opportunities, and when bossing the Pro Golf Tour in 2017 won at a very similar course in Austria. It’s not that long since he took fifth place in a high-class BMW International Open and his ball-striking in Northern Ireland last time was very good despite a missed cut.
At times an electric putter, I’ve a feeling he might really like this so with Kieffer to act as inspiration, he’d have been chanced at as big as 300/1, until I discovered he’s been undergoing treatment for Lyme disease. Though compatriot Sophia Popov showed that need not mean the end of his ambitions in professional golf, it can be seriously debilitating and for now it’s difficult to recommend a bet even at such odds.
Instead then I’ll roll the dice with OLIVER WILSON, who has six top-25 finishes from 10 visits to Crans, including last year when 21st.
At his best, Wilson contended here in four of his first five visits, his two missed cuts coming when his game was in disarray, and an outstanding short-game certainly helps explain why he’d like it here. Wilson remains top-notch in that category (top five in this field) and he’s highly capable with his approaches too, as we saw when ranking second at the Hero Open and 20th last week.
I always love staying in St Andrews & this time was no different, it’s such a special place.
An up & down week at The Hero Open. Some dodgy driving but much improved iron play & couldn’t get it in the hole so t41 for me.
Onto 🏴 pic.twitter.com/4PvmtOrYJ3
As with a couple of my selections, Albatross was always likely to be a bit too much of a slog and having contended in Kenya and Hong Kong, he’s far better suited to this kind of challenge. My hope is that he can get away with the odd errant tee shot which is part of the deal when backing him, and should that be the case the rest of his game is certainly good enough to have a run at this.
There are some courses, such as last week’s, where destructive drivers should be the first ones crossed off the list. At Crans, that inbuilt randomness and the nature of the holes upon which driver is required afford us the opportunity to take a bit of a chance, and I’ll do that with a likeable player who also has his sights set on keeping his card.
Posted at 1920 BST on 22/08/22
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