Paul Williams' tips for the 2011 BMW International Open
Congratulations first of all to Rory McIlroy for an incredible performance at Congressional to capture his first Major and, on the strength of that performance, the first of many! Congratulations also to our PGA Tour tipster Steve Bamford who picked Rory as his top tip (22/1) and also 2nd place Jason Day (45/1) as his second choice - that's also an incredible performance! Let's try and get more of the same in Germany this week...
The European Tour makes its annual trip to Munich this week for the BMW International Open. Its €2,000,000 prize fund has attracted some top names including reigning PGA Champion Martin Kaymer, World Number 11 Dustin Johnson and the ever improving Sergio Garcia, as well as household names such as Retief Goosen, Paul Casey and Miguel Angel Jimenez. Kaymer is quite rightly the favourite, however 10/1 about the German - who won here in 2008 - suggests the bookies aren't running scared over his chances after some indifferent form of late.
To help us in our quest to unravel this field and pinpoint the winner, we do have 15 years' worth of course history to help this week - somewhat of a rarity for the European Tour this season! Winners have tended to be of high quality with names such as Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood all winning here at the Golfclub München Eichenried in recent years. The course itself is relatively straightforward after a few weeks of tough, fiddly tracks and, with good weather, a score in the region of 20 under is typically required to be in the hunt late on Sunday afternoon - the long range forecast at the time of writing is for Thursday rain followed by a relatively calm weekend.
A par 72 resort-style layout measuring a smidgen over 7,000 yards means that low scoring is essential to success and those hoping to be in contention will need to go low, particularly if the rain softens the greens. The only consistent statistic here is that you must hit plenty of greens on the week and putt very well to compete - other than that, long/short straight/wayward - all have a chance here. Players who tend to perform on tougher courses may well find the scoring required here too low for their liking, therefore aggressive players who can score heavily may be the best options here. My selections are as follows:
Looking at the favourites, it's quite straightforward to cross a few of them out....Kaymer's not been himself for a few weeks now, Johnson's never really performed that well in Europe, Garcia's struggling with the putter still...as is Francesco Molinari. I'll cover the Italian sensation Matteo Mannassero off later in my tips as a 'saver' bet, however for me it could be time for the highly talented Bristolian to break his duck as a Pro.
Rory McIlroy's win will have resonated with Wood - if McIlroy's let Majors slip through his hands before his success last week, then Chris Wood is equally guilty of missing excellent chances to win his first European Tour event. Majorca last month, South Africa in January and perhaps most notably Wentworth last year all presented Chris with a guilt-edged chance of snatching his first European Tour event which he failed to take on each occasion. He flattered to deceive on his last start in Italy after a cracking first 2 rounds, ultimately finishing 24th, however don't mistake that for a dip in form - Wood is playing the kind of golf that could easily see him win here if he can emulate the bouncebackability shown by Rory.
This course will suit Wood down to the ground - any errant drives won't be overly punished and his strong GIR game will set up countless birdie opportunities as he'll be using his wedge into the green more often than not this week. If he has a good week on the greens, and holds his nerve on Sunday, he stands an excellent chance of winning this in my opinion. RESULT: T62
Spaniard Larrazabel has split the bookies with prices ranging from 28/1 all the way to the 45/1 which we've grabbed here with Totesport. The 2008 French Open winner has the right type of aggressive game to take this course apart and could be the nearest challenger to my top selection some Sunday afternoon. As with Wood, his errant drives won't be overly punished and the forecast rain could well help keep his ball in play off the tee - this will give him chance to get his approaches close, one facet of his game which has improved this season as he ranks inside the top 30 with 72% of greens hit in regulation.
Recent form has been strong for Pablo with 4 top 11 finishes in his last 6 starts, including a 17-under 10th in China - that's the kind of scoring which will get him into contention here. He could easily have won in India where a final round of 72 meant he finished 5th (68 would have been enough), plus he missed another golden opportunity in Italy following an excellent Saturday 65. Finished 3rd here last year just 2 shots off the lead after going +3 for this final 3 holes - there are some demons to exorcise for sure! He's scoring well and playing well - take the 45/1 on offer here as you should get a good run for your money this week. RESULT: Winner
Nobody has successfully defended this title in its 22-year history, however Horsey will give this his best shot I'm sure as he strives to capture his 3rd European Tour title. That said, Paul Azinger and Thomas Bjorn have both won this event twice so there is some hope, plus with 3 of the last 6 renewals being won by an Englishman there's further room for optimism.
If truth be told, Horsey is playing the most consistent golf of his career at present and this has seen him race to the top 80 in the OWGR. Naturally his eye will be on a top 50 berth and a win here would put him on the brink of just that. 3 top 10s in his last 7 starts - including a win in Morocco and a prominent 7th at Wentworth - underline his current form and 4 rounds in the 60s in Italy for a tie for 23rd is perfect preparation for this. RESULT: T18
My longshot this week is the long-hitting rookie Scott Jamieson who has been putting in some prominent performances this season. 3 top 6 finishes already this term means he should have accumulated enough Euros already to retain his card, therefore he can play some freedom from now on in. The Scot isn't averse to throwing in the kind of low rounds that will be required around here - he opened with 65 in Italy on his last start to match his lowest round of the season, however perhaps most impressive was his second round 69 at Wentworth. His top 10s have all come on bentgrass-based surfaces, so the bent/poa mix here will suit and he could run into a place once again here at a long price. RESULT: T3
Matteo Mannassero 1pt win 19/1 with BetClic - get a £30 NO LOSE BET via this link: £30 No Lose Bet
Of the favourites, the one I fear the most is Mannassero so I'll be covering my other bets with a small saver with BetClic. The Italian will be disappointed to have made little impact on the US Open, ultimately finishing 23 shots behind McIlroy, however the fact that he didn't get himself into contention is positive to the degree that he won't have expended too much mental energy over the weekend. His form before that was scintillating with a win and 3 more top 10s in 5 starts and he must be feared on a track that won't penalise his lack of length off the tee. RESULT: T14
Odds and bookmaker offers correct 19:30BST 21.6.11 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
Finally, we run a weekly competition on our facebook group where you can win a £25 free bet with Paddy Power simply by predicting who will win each week’s events – it’s great fun and free to join, here’s a link to the page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/254181393361