This week's only tournament is a low-key event in Austria - the miserly prize fund of just 750,000 Euro has failed to attract most of the top names in European golf as many have opted to take the week off. Having said that, the headline acts are Ryder Cup duo Graeme McDowell and Miguel Angel Jimenez, however their inclusion may be more of a red herring in the betting meaning the rest of the field are at longer prices - you have to question whether GMac and the in-form Spaniard really want to get involved in an energy-sapping tussle for a pretty unimportant title this close to Celtic Manor....we shall see!
Last week's winner Martin Kaymer proved that you cannot overlook quality in these events - the German won at a canter and, had he putted well, he could have been 10 shots clear by the 72nd. I'm electing to oppose GMac (who hasn't played well since Pebble Beach in truth) and, although I'm not convinced that Jimenez will give this 110%, I'd suggest just a small saver punt on the Spaniard given his scintillating form. The remainder of the favourites are easier to oppose - Gonzo at 14/1 holds no real interest at such a skinny price, despite showing smatterings of form with the flat stick; Colsaerts at 20/1 fails to appeal either given he's still not managed to finish the job off....
The course is new to the main European Tour and very few of the entrants will have played it before this week. Accuracy is the key with water on 9 of the holes as well as out-of-bounds to contend with on both sides of the tough finishing hole, amongst others. The 7,242 yard par 72 features 4 par 5s, a couple of short par 4s and 2 par 3s to island greens. To me this is a similar scenario to the Scandinavian Open where Richard S Johnson prevailed thanks, in no small part, to the help of his caddy for the week who happened to be a club member and 4 handicapper.
The regular season is moving into its final stretch now and qualification for the season finale in Dubai will be on the minds of a few this week, however more pertinent given the field will be those looking to take this chance to put themselves well inside to top 115 and a step closer to securing their playing privileges next season.
My 10 points then as follows:
Markus Brier 2pts EW 40/1 with Get a £10 matched bet with Sky Bet, click here to claim now!
Brier is likely to be the most experienced man on this course having played it around 10 times previously and his record in his homeland is second to none - he's won this event (albeit on different courses) 3 times before, once on the full European Tour and twice on the Challenge Tour.
This season has been largely forgettable for the Austrian, however he stood a fair chance in Munich before a final round 74 put paid to that tournament, and his form at Crans then last week in Holland is progressive - he finished just 5 shots off of 2nd place last week. Currently sits 150th in the Race To Dubai and, whilst the prize money isn't huge, a good showing this week will be a big step towards retaining his card. RESULT: T45
Argentine Goya sits 107th in the Race to Dubai and perilously close to that 115th place that is like gold dust to a professional. His only professional win came in a similar sized event in Madeira in 2009. Recent form is solid for Tano - 9th at Prosper, 32nd at Crans then 11th last week (a birdie rather than a bogey at the short par 5 final hole on Sunday would have given him a share of 4th) - combined with his straight hitting, I'm expecting a good showing this week. RESULT: Withdrew
Robert Coles 1pt EW 50/1 with Up to £200 in free bets via this link: Bet 365 £215 Free Bets
The man from Hornchurch sits 101st in the Race to Dubai and is once again motivated to perform this week as he moves ever closer to securing his card for 2011. Like Brier, he has fond memories of Austria having secured the first of his 3 Challenge Tour victories in this event back in 2003.
Other than Jimenez, Coles is arguably the most in-form player with a top 5 in Crans before 17th place last week, where a poor second round scuppered his chances. His tee-to-green game is as good this season as it has been, coupled with his dependable putting this could be another week to remember for Coles in Austria. RESULT: T41
Miguel Angel Jimenez 2pts win 7/1 with £20 no lose bet, click here to claim your no lose bet now!
The beauty of this bet is that with the 888Sport offer you can cover off the stake from you previous 4 selections, safe in the knowledge that if 'The Mechanic' does notch up another win then you're still in profit for the week. If he doesn't win then 888Sport will refund your stake up to a maximum of £20. Can't say fairer than that!
The Spaniard is having a prolific season and celebrated his Ryder Cup place by winning his last event in Switzerland a fortnight ago. Striking the ball beautifully at the moment and also putting very well - if he really wants to contend here then he'll be very hard to beat. RESULT: T15
Odds and bookmaker offers correct 16:30BST 14.9.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.