Now that we're into the thick of the golfing season, and with precious Ryder Cup points to be earned, it's encouraging to see more of the World's top golfers on show each week on the European Tour. After last week's weak field in France - where Raphael Jacquelin was the top ranked player at 154th in the world - we are spoilt this week as no fewer than 10 of the World's top 50 are in Germany spearheaded by World Number 6 Ernie Els. Amongst the more regular leading European Tour players, we also have Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson and Sergio Garcia taking part this week to give this tournament a much more quality feel. It remains to be seen if any of the players who were in contention at Pebble Beach have anything left in the tank this week...my view is they're best avoided.
To help us in our quest to unravel this field and pinpoint the winner, we do have 14 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 benign winds and occasional showers so that looks like a fair winning score. A par 72 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. The only consistent statistic here is that you must hit plenty of greens on the week to compete - other than that, long/short straight/wayward - all have a chance here.
Some trends stick out like a sore thumb - firstly, you need to go way back to 1998 and Russell Claydon to find a first-time European Tour winner here so I'd suggest that only experienced winners are going to ultimately succeed. Secondly, you need to have won tournaments where shooting 18 under or better was required - wins gained on tough tracks where par is a good score doesn't resonate here, plus you need to be in decent nick - even Nick Dougherty was playing well enough in his previous event to be in the final pairing (before blowing up) prior to his victory last year. Finally there are many positive form lines with the Dubai Desert Classic - recent and/or historical performance in that event should be taken as a strong positive in my view.
So, if you stick all those attributes into the pot and give it a stir then you get my 3 final selections for the week:
After GMac all but guaranteed his place in Monty's Ryder Cup team, the race for the remaining places is hotting up nicely. Jimenez currently sits just outside the top 9 in the European Points List however it's so tight that he'll know a victory here will catapult him into contention. However there's more to my reasoning than just that!
The Spaniard won this year's Dubai Desert Classic which is one big tick, plus he's a multiple winner so that's 2. Has previously won this event in 2003, on this course, with a total of 21 under par - plus has multiple victories ranging from -15 to -24 under his belt so that's 3. Missing the cut at Pebble was no real issue as he'll be fresh to pick up on his previous form of 8th at Celtic Manor. 4th last year here and 3 top 10s in his last 9 attempts on this track, plus averages nearly 3 under par for every round he plays here. 40/1 is an absolute bargain! RESULT: 49
Karlsson's a little further away from automatic Ryder Cup qualification and will need a serious victory or 2 to get himself into the team without relying on a wildcard, however his form is improving at just the right time with a narrow playoff defeat to Lee Westwood a fortnight ago in the States. Now that his eye is better and he can see properly again he's getting back into the mix more regularly and it won't be long before he wins again I'm sure.
Karlsson's had 4 top 10s in Dubai - 3 in his last 6 - and again is a multiple European Tour winner, including this event back in 1997 when he shot 24 under par. Also won the Deutsche Bank Championship on German soil at 25 under par back in 2006 to further boost his credentials here. RESULT: Missed Cut
Fasth is one of the form horses coming into this event and is once again a winner here, this time in 2007 when he protected his lead from a fast-finishing Bernhard Langer. Top 20 last year and averaging under 70 for his last 28 rounds in this tournament - plus has 2nd and 3rd place finishes in Dubai to add to the list. Like fellow Swede Karlsson, Fasth also has a Deutsche Bank victory too - this time in 2005. Fasth is once again coming into progressive form with a T16 in Madrid then a T9 at Celtic Manor - if the two selections above fail to complete the job then our 3rd selection could well bring home the bacon for us this week! RESULT: T55
If you like top 20 finish betting then don't miss our 'double your money' tips this week: BMW T20 Tips
All odds and bookmaker offers correct at 13:00BST 22.6.10 but naturally subject to fluctuation.
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