The Swiss Alps take centre stage on Thursday after Thomas Bjorn reveals his Ryder Cup picks this week. There has been a lot of talk about who will get into the team last minute and who deserves to be chosen and once it is all said it done it will be an interesting task deciphering who is better equipped to take on Le Golf National at the end of the month.
This week though we have one of the best events of the year and from a punting perspective always lends itself to a bet with course form and recent form usually holding up. Noren has won twice here, Fitzpatrick, Dredge, Karlsson and Jimenez have both a win and a second place to their name with Bjorn having notched two wins and 2 second places.
This is clearly a place upon where you can play well year after year and it would be foolish not to consider this a telling trend when looking at potential winners. The course is at altitude and as we know requires an accurate long game. Trees come into play with those straying off course and a good scrambling game is always required to contend.
Matt Fitzpatrick is a worthy jolly with tremendous form around here in recent years. Win-7-2 are his last three tries here and having backed him at $126 in 2015 when he came up a shot shy I do still have nightmares. 7th last week shows he is beginning to hit some form and everybody knows how highly I rank this lad.
He doesn't look like getting a Ryder Cup pick and I feel that could possibly derail his week. He might be disappointed and slightly left out of the Ryder fold come Thursday and his effort last Sunday may have just taken a lot out of him. At $13 I am prepared to let him go in favour of some juicier prices.
Sam Horsfield (best price $71) looks like one of the tastier bets of the week to me given how he played last week for a top ten. Recent top 25 finishes in Ireland and Scotland were more than respectable and a top 20 finish at Wentworth this season is a good sign he can cope with a tree lined course. 4th in the Super 6 event in Perth was also interesting as lake Karrinyup is another tree lined track.
Most interesting of all though is his runner up finish to Coetzee in Pretoria earlier in the season. That tree lined course is also played at altitude so everything appears to point in the right direction for Horsfield this week on his debut at Crans. Chalked up at $71 is a big enough price to get me involved.
Despite some early money for Richie Ramsay (best price $61) this week $61 is still out there and I find it hard not to include him in my staking plan. He will be battling to add his name to the list of double champions here down the years. Ramsay is an expert at playing the right courses and he doesn't waste his time going to places where he doesn't think he can perform with the best. Last week and this week is different.
A quirky track last week in Denmark played into his hands and he was speaking positively on social media about his game having finished 12th. Crans is right up his alley also with two top tens posted after his victory in 2012 cementing this place as one of his favourite haunts on tour. I expected closer to $41 for Ramsay after last weeks effort and giving the trend here about course form he must be included at these odds.
Erik Van Rooyen (best price $46) has been a nearly man all year and although somewhat suspect when it comes to the crunch of an event I wouldn't be surprised for him to get it right some time soon.
The South African has posted four top ten finishes this season with two of those being top 5s in his last four events. 4th in the Irish and 5th last week in Denmark are impressive results for Van Rooyen who is learning as he goes having reached a career high of 126 in the world rankings.
He ranks 4th in Greens in Regulation this season having played a lot of events and if his long game remains in this nick he must hold a lively chance. He finished 10th in Pretoria as well this year which as I mentioned earlier bodes well for a few rounds at altitude. He has a tendency not to finish off events in the same fashion in which he starts so I'll have a small bet on him first round leader also.
Adrian Otaegui (best price $67) is another lively runner this week and has already been shortening. With two wins and a runner up on the tour in the last 18 months he is certainly one of the more recent successful golfers in the top half of the betting. The Spaniard won the Belgian Knockout earlier this season adding to his Paul Lawrie Matchplay win the year before. He ran Alexander Bjork very close in China this year also finishing one shot shy of the Swede after 72 holes.
It was a toss up between these two who to back this week with Bjork finishing 16th on debut here last year. Recent performances just mean the Spaniard shades it. Bjork missed the cut last time out in Sweden by 5 shots which wasn't anything to be proud of. Otaegui finished 10th last week in Denmark and these tree lined tracks are where he excels.
He was 6th at Pretoria in 2015 also which is another plus I'm looking to. He ranks inside the top 25 in GIR and is 4th this season in scrambling. Everything points towards a good performance with the only negative being he hasn't done anything special here in the past few years. That being said I think he should be shorter than Bjork in the market and fingers crossed we've gone with the right one.
Finally I am going to finish off with two folk out of form but could be dangerous around this track. Paul Dunne (best price $67) has struggled most of the summer with his hand and had surgery to remove a cyst recently.
He was struggling through the pain barrier during the 'links' season in Scotland and Ireland and has still to come out the other side. I have always considered this track to be right up Dunne's street although a missed cut and 70th finish in two appearances isn't setting the world alight.
He turned up at $51 last year ranked 176th in the world. Now he ranks almost 100 places better and has a win at the British Masters and a runner up spot in the Open De Espana to his name since this time last year. He has struggled of late which means there is a top price of $67 out there.
This has to be taken because he was going off a lot shorter earlier in the season and if he arrives fit in Crans he could hold a lively chance. Similarly Mikko Korhonen (best price $126) finally gained his maiden victory this season at the shot clock masters and swiftly followed that up with a runner up finish in the BMW.
He has gone off the boil since but must be taken seriously around a track that could play into his hands when he is firing. He was 3rd in Pretoria this season also so at 3 figure prices is another worth a small win only bet this week.