The European Tour put itself back on the map last week with a tremendous renewal of the Omega Masters in Crans and this weeks KLM Open will hopefully prove to be as riveting. It returns to The Dutch course in Spijk and having held the event there for the last two years we know a good deal about the course.
This is an inland links style course which requires a good deal of accuracy throughout. Water comes into play on a bunch of holes and given the linksy nature of the track you can easily find yourself in tall grass. It isn't overly long but no doubt requires a good tee to green game.
Last year I talked about the links form heading into here and it rang true with our bet Aphibarnrat having a nightmare up 18 whilst lying in 2nd spot. Connelly, Pepperell, Westwood, Wood, Wiesberger and Lagergren all scraped inside the top ten and all have shown form on links before. Again I'll be looking to those who have shown something on these types of courses to play well again this year.
Westwood is an uneasy favourite for me and early shows of him being fav over a few others have rightfully flipped and he now sits 6pts bigger than Pepperell on the exchanges.
He is playing well and finished tied 3rd here last year so he must have a chance although he shirked the chance of a win yet again in Denmark a few weeks ago and I'd rather play a few others who may not find it as difficult getting over the line.
It was a toss up for me between Sullivan or Pepperell and I've opted for the former. Pepperell has displayed a linking for links golf down the past few years with numerous high finishes including a 2nd in this years Scottish Open.
He is a worthy favourite although I am wary of getting involved with him at such short prices, I don't know if he warrants that just yet. Andy Sullivan isn't setting the world alight but at double the price of Pepperell on the exchanges I'd rather take the chance on him.
30th last week in Crans was respectable but promised a bit more. Nevertheless it hinted at some sort of return to form. His best finishes all season have come on tracks where similar tests to this week were required. 6th in the Dubai Desert, 3rd in Sicily and 6th in Ireland show he may be ready for this test.
He missed the cut last year but hadn't played in the previous 5 weeks and had shown no form. I am hoping this week will be different and he is a shade better value than the englishmen ahead of him in the market.
Jeunghun Wang is a three time European Tour winner and having just turned 23 still remains relatively unpopular in the betting market. This week he comes to the Dutch for the first time but has to be given a chance after last weeks performance.
He finished 12th in Crans which was a welcome return to form having missed his three previous cuts before last week. He ranked inside the top ten in putting stats and most aspects of his game were in full working order.
He won in Doha in 2017 and given what we know about the winners there down the years and their ability on links then he is a lively runner if the links element of this track holds up this week like last years leaderboard.
Ryan Fox is an easy one to back this week given the form he has shown on links to this point in his career. Last years form in the middle of the summer was backed up once again by a very narrow, unlucky defeat in Ireland finishing runner up to Knox then posting a 6th placed finish in Scotland the week after.
These types of test suit the Kiwi and it is surely only a matter of time before his talent translates into a win on the big tour. He ranks 9th in strokes gained off the tee this season and inside the top 20 in GIR which will be an important stat this week. A solid all round game which should suit this track.
Like Fox, Lagergren has the same win in Northern Ireland to his name at the Galgorm but he is one who has equally performed well on links tracks. Two top 5s in the Dunhull Links, runner up in Qatar and a top 5 in Madeira were results before this season that showed he was capable on these type of tracks. His win in Sicily this year was a confirmation of this as a windy seaside track again played into his hands. A 12th spot in the Irish Open this season is another pointer.
He has finished 9th and 20th here the last two years so clearly likes the track and last weeks missed cut at Crans doesn't particularly concern me with the nature of the course. A shade overpriced this week I believe. Pavan, Pepperell and Haotong Li were close to making the grade this week also.