Paul Williams

Paul Williams' BMW International Open Tips 2022

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After the trials and tribulations of Brookline last week where Matt Fitzpatrick impressively won his first Major, we move on to a more familiar challenge this week as the BMW International Open returns to the Golfclub München Eichenried in Germany once again.

This event does hop between here and another track in Cologne, so please be careful when reviewing the history stats as 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 events were held on the other course in the rotation.

As always, we have the post-Major dilemma to consider – will those players who endured 4 long days in Massachussets be able to raise their game to compete here so soon afterwards? 14 players have made the journey straight to Munich to compete here, however only two of those troubled the scorers over the weekend with Thomas Pieters (27th) and Wil Besseling (56th) the men in question.

Missed cuts from Billy Horschel, Kalle Samooja, Laird Shepherd, Louis Oosthuizen, Marcel Schneider, Richard Mansell, Ryan Fox, Sean Crocker, Sergio Garcia, Thorbjorn Olesen, Victor Perez and Yannik Paul completing the picture.

Adapting to the course here in Munich will be the main challenge – we shall see of course, however Ernie Els proved that jet lag and fatigue can indeed be overcome as he won the 2013 renewal here in Munich after finishing 4th at Merion, plus Henrik Stenson finished runner-up in 2015 after returning from a top-30 finish at Chambers Bay, before winning in Cologne in 2016 after withdrawing on the Friday at Oakmont when staring a missed cut in the face.

More recently, Matt Fitzpatrick lost out in a play-off to Andrea Pavan in 2019, having finished in a tie for 12th at Pebble Beach, so disregarding those who played – and contended – last week could be jumping the gun a little.

Last year’s winner Viktor Hovland did play at Torrey Pines the week before, however he was forced to withdraw after getting sand in his eye during the first round. That didn’t stop him from completing a 2-stroke victory over Martin Kaymer here the following week.

Unpicking all this is this week’s task and the bookies have installed Billy Horschel, who continues to support the DP World Tour in admirable fashion when his schedule allows, as the 12/1 favourite. Louis Oosthuizen is Billy Ho’s nearest rival in terms of the betting at 20/1, before we find the next tier of players at sub-28/1 which includes the likes of Sergio Garcia, Thomas Pieters and Bernd Wiesberger amongst others.

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Boylesports have also gone to town with their in-play golf offering lately, with a plethora of markets available including:

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number of putts

Course Overview. A slightly lengthened track at 7,284 yards for its par of 72 is still no problem for the modern professional, with 4 mid-range par-5s and couple of potentially driveable par-4s offering scoring opportunities. With generous fairways, the course is set up for attacking golf.

Historically the greens here had been tired, slow Bentgrass mixed with Poa Annua, however the putting surfaces were overhauled before the 2019 renewal and re-laid with Creeping Bentgrass; they’ve bedded in nicely now and offer excellent chances to those who can dial in their irons.

History has proven that many types of players with different styles have succeeded here – it could be either a high GIR player who putts well, or someone in good putting form who finds more greens than normal who prevails. Either way, birdies and low scoring are the order of the day, particularly if rain does soften up the putting surfaces before or during the event.

bmw international open tips

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s BMW International Open that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at this event. As per the notes above, this week’s venue played host to the event from 2002-11 in this week’s data, plus 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021:

Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Stats.

Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.

Winners & Prices. 2021: Hovland, 13/2; 2019: Pavan, 100/1; 2018: Wallace, 40/1; 2017: Romero, 300/1; 2016: Stenson, 10/1; 2015: Pablo Larrazabal, 60/1; 2014: Fabrizio Zanotti, 80/1; 2013: Ernie Els, 22/1; 2012: Danny Willett, 90/1; 2011: Pablo Larrazabal, 45/1; 2010: David Horsey, 150/1.

Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here.

Hot weather in Germany is forecast to break down at the start of the tournament, with sunshine and showers likely throughout the event. Winds will be generally light and temperatures will recover to the mid-70s Fahrenheit as the week progresses.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors.

Analysing the final stats of the last 8 winners here on this track gives us a little more insight into the task at hand:

  • 2021, Viktor Hovland (-19). 309.9 yards, 60.7% fairways (19th), 73.6% greens in regulation (10th), 73.7% scrambling (7th), 1.63 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2019, Andrea Pavan (-15). 300.1 yards, 51.8% fairways (44th), 79.2% greens in regulation (2nd), 80.0% scrambling (3rd), 1.75 putts per GIR (38th).
  • 2015, Pablo Larrazabal (-17). 281.8 yards, 66.1% fairways (22nd), 68.1% greens in regulation (33rd), 78.3% scrambling (5th), 1.73 putts per GIR (27th).
  • 2013, Ernie Els (-18). 295.9 yards, 55.4% fairways (50th), 88.9% greens in regulation (1st), 62.5% scrambling (18th), 1.78 putts per GIR (51st).
  • 2011, Pablo Larrazabal (-16). 280.3 yards, 76.8% fairways (2nd), 84.7% greens in regulation (2nd), 63.6% scrambling (25th), 1.75 putts per GIR (36th).
  • 2010, David Horsey (-18). 268.8 yards, 76.8% fairways (7th), 72.2% greens in regulation (34th), 75.0% scrambling (6th), 1.67 putts per GIR (13th).
  • 2009, Nick Dougherty (-22). 283.3 yards, 66.1% fairways (53rd), 76.4% greens in regulation (32nd), 64.7% scrambling (27th), 1.58 putts per GIR (3rd).
  • 2008, Martin Kaymer (-15). 293.1 yards, 60.7% fairways (45th), 86.1% greens in regulation (1st), 80% scrambling (1st), 1.77 putts per GIR (56th).

No stats were captured by the European Tour for 2017 winner Andres Romero.

Despite the course seemingly setting up nicely for the longer hitters with 4 gettable par-5s and a couple of very short par-4s, length off the tee hasn’t been the overriding factor in the winners listed here.

Minimising bogeys on a low-scoring track is just as important as making the requisite red numbers – momentum-stoppers simply don’t lend themselves to success around here. Viktor Hovland was a case in point last year, making just 7 bogeys balanced by an eagle and 24 birdies on his way to victory.

Andrea Pavan made just 4 bogeys in 2019, Romero and Larrazabal made 7 bogeys apiece over 72 holes in their wins here in 2017 and 2015 respectively, Ernie Els made just 4 bogeys and a double over the 4 days back in 2013, Pablo Larrazabal made 6 bogeys, Horsey 5, Dougherty 7 and Kaymer 3 bogeys and a double on their respective paths to victory.

The theme continues as you look further back in time also and keeping mistakes to a minimum will be critical in compiling a competitive score this week.

Strokes Gained: From a Strokes Gained perspective, the past 2 winners here have both performed well from tee-to-green and an approach, however their SG Putting performance was their standout statistic for the week:

  • 2021, Viktor Hovland: T: 12th; A: 23rd; T2G: 15th; ATG: 54th; P: 1st
  • 2019, Andrea Pavan: T: 40th; A: 11th, T2G: 12th, ATG: 10th; P: 7th

Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.

For a Strokes Gained summary of this week’s field at München Eichenried from the last 2 renewals click here.

Incoming Form: Taking results at this venue in isolation, current form tends to be more of a factor here than some weeks which makes a level of sense given that there’s no room for seriously errant irons or a stone cold putter if you’re going to contend.

The exception to this rule is undoubtedly Andres Romero who hadn’t made a cut all year until the point that he won here in 2017, and at 300/1 it would have been an inspired choice to have plucked him out of the field as the eventual winner pre-event.

Prior to Romero’s success, Larrazabal in 2015 had gone off the boil a little although he’d finished 3rd in Morocco earlier in the year. Els came straight here from Merion where he’d finished 4th the week before, plus he’d finished 6th at Wentworth and 2nd in Indonesia in recent times so was in decent nick.

Larrazabal (2011) had finished 11th at the Italian Open a fortnight before, plus had recent contending performances including 4th in Wales and 3rd in Spain. Horsey had finished 2nd in the Italian Open a month before, Dougherty was 4th in the Irish Open the previous month and Kaymer had produced a couple of top 10s in his previous 5 events, plus had won earlier in the season in the Middle East.

In 2019, eventual winner Andrea Pavan arrived after 3 weeks off having missed his last cut at the Belgian Knockout. Prior to that his form had been solid if unspectacular with 4 finishes inside the top-27 on his previous 5 starts.

Last year’s favourite Viktor Hovland had withdrawn from the US Open after getting sand in his eye in an opening round of 74; prior to that, a pair of 3rd place finishes at the PGA Tour’s Valspar Championship and Wells Fargo Championship suggested he was in decent form overall:

  • 2021, Viktor Hovland: 6/5/2/49/MC/42/21/3/3/30/47/WD
  • 2019, Andrea Pavan: MC/MC/34/31/MC/60/27/21/MC/15/25/MC
  • 2017, Andres Romero: 67/MC/MC/MC/58/18/24/27/MC/MC/MC/MC
  • 2015, Pablo Larrazabal: 33/20/20/3/22/MC/49/MC/MC/43
  • 2013, Ernie Els: MC/14/13/MC/15/2/MC/6/37/4
  • 2011, Pablo Larrazabal: MC/18/44/30/10/3/49/MC/4/11
  • 2010, David Horsey: 11/60/29/MC/42/46/2/MC/MC/MC
  • 2009: Nick Dougherty: 14/MC/47/MC/48/31/4/13/MC/37
  • 2008: Martin Kaymer: 33/MC/57/39/MC/7/10/16/21/53

Course Form (back to 2008): With the exception of David Horsey in 2010 and Viktor Hovland last year, all other winners here over the same period of time had some practical experience of the course here in Munich. In addition, prior to Romero’s win in 2017, the previous 3 victors had each finished in the top 5 here before winning:

  • 2021, Viktor Hovland: Debut
  • 2019, Andrea Pavan: MC
  • 2017, Andres Romero: 28/22
  • 2015, Pablo Larrazabal: 61/MC/3/1/MC
  • 2013, Ernie Els: 26/5/17/7/MC
  • 2011, Pablo Larrazabal: 61/MC/3
  • 2010, David Horsey: Debut
  • 2009: Nick Dougherty: 46/24/MC/50/30/MC/26
  • 2008: Martin Kaymer: 58/MC/MC

My team for the week is as follows:

Pablo Larrazabal 2pts EW 35/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betfred

Post-Major events are always an intriguing puzzle to attempt to solve, and adding to the less tangible elements to consider this week we also have the ‘LIV factor’.

At present those players who have jumped ship can still tee it up on regular DP World Tour events, and to that end 10 of those who played at Centurion the week before last are in attendance here. It’s not as if they’re inconspicuous when it comes to the betting with 8 of them in the top two dozen or so in the market, and putting a line through them for this week with no further thought doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

No such consideration for worthy favourite Billy Horschel who won The Memorial on the PGA Tour before missing the cut at Brookline, however the promise of a more free-scoring event this week brings more streaky players into the mix in my view and I can leave last year’s BMW PGA Champion alone at the price on offer.

The first player who makes significant enough appeal to me for an investment is Pablo Larrazabal who described München Eichenried as his favourite golf course in the world before finishing in a tie for 14th back in 2017, and with wins here in both 2011 and 2015 it’s easy to understand why.

Now of course we’ve got the LIV factor to contend with here with the Spaniard having finished 14th in St Albans a fortnight ago to give his bank balance a healthy boost, however the very fact that the 39 year-old is teeing it up this week when he plainly doesn’t need to speaks volumes to me. He loves the course and has been in great nick over the past few months, and I suspect he simply thinks he can win this event once again.

Early-season form has seen the 7-time DP World Tour winner hit the top-70 in the OWGR and his highest ranking since 2014, however of more consequence right now is the prospect of securing a start at next month’s Open Championship with the deadline for DP World Tour ranking points qualification immediately after this week’s event. With 5 qualifying through that route and Pablo already in a strong position heading into this week, any kind of positive finish should cement his position in the field.

With scoreable conditions expected this week combined with the Strokes Gained Putting numbers we’ve seen from the past 2 winners here as detailed in the preamble, siding with a player who’s found form with the flat stick seems like the right move. Wins at the MyGolfLife Open and ISPS Handa Championship in Spain in March and April respectively both came courtesy of strong putting weeks, and in the case of the latter success his SG Approach and SG Tee to Green game also came to the fore. Anything approaching the same level this week on Pablo’s most prolific venue should see him in the serious contention for his hat-trick of 2022 titles.

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Haotong Li 1pt EW 60/1 (7EW, 1/5) with Betfred

With 8 of the last 11 winners of this title rating as 40/1 chances of longer, siding with a more speculative team this week makes sense to me, and another player who’s showing enough glimpses of form to warrant support here this week is Haotong Li.

2021 was largely a year to forget with the Chinese star failing to make a cut from 13 attempts, with his other effort resulting in a withdrawal from the Kenya Open. Keeping the ball on the planet from off the tee coupled with missing over half his greens in regulation seemed to be the main reasons for his demise, never the best combination regardless of how good a putter you might be.

Signs of life started to appear at the Dunhill Links where he ranked 2nd for both SG Approach and SG Tee to Green, and he’s continued to improve since then with all aspects of his game firing at various points without all coming together over 4 days to produce what would be a 3rd win at DP World Tour level.

12th at the Sony Open in Hawaii was a useful effort at PGA Tour level to start his 2022 campaign and he’s since finished 3rd at the Ras al Khaimah Championship (1st SG Approach, 4th SG Tee to Green) and 6th at the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain (9th SG Off the Tee, 3rd SG Putting) as he’s given himself more chances to win again. 37th at the Dutch Open and 18th at the European Open on his last 2 starts mask the fact the 26 year-old sat in 2nd place in the former at halfway and 4th in the latter after 54 holes, having led after the opening round. A more forgiving track this week should help keep the big numbers off the card and this straightforward layout won’t take much getting used to on his competitive debut around these parts.

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Marcel Schneider 1pt EW 100/1 (6EW, 1/5) with William Hill

A successful campaign in the European Qualifying Series saw Marcel Schneider snare the final available slot for last week’s US Open to make his debut in that event and his second career Major start. 78/79 earned him little more than an early flight home to prepare for this week’s event, however that effort can undoubtedly be filed under ‘experience’ as he looks to pick up his fine form on the DP World Tour prior to that.

Whether some 3-figure quotes this week about a player who’s finished inside the top-7 in each of his last 3 starts at DP World Tour level is correct we shall see – certainly there’s some significant disparity between bookmakers – however I’m happy to pay to find out whether he can get straight back on the horse this week.

The 32 year-old has primarily plied his trade on the Challenge Tour thus far, however his successful 2020 and 2021 campaigns at that level have given him increasing chances at DP World Tour level and following his flurry of strong finishes of late, he currently sits 61st on the Race to Dubai and in great shape to secure an improved status for next season.

5th on home soil at the Porsche European Open was fuelled by his (recorded) career-best putting performance with over 8.5 Strokes Gained Putting on the week, and more of the same this week could also see him reward each-way backers. 3 wins on the Challenge Tour – 2 of them last year – suggests he’s well capable of getting over the line when presented with the opportunity and perhaps a step up to DP World Tour winner status isn’t out of the question here this week.

Nacho Elvira 1pt EW 125/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

At a longer price, I’m happy to take a chance on Nacho Elvira building on his 20th place finish last time out at the Scandinavian Mixed, having missed 5 of his previous 6 cuts prior to that effort.

7th to halfway in Sweden following a pair of 68s was fuelled by an improvement in both his SG Approach and SG Tee to Green performance over recent times, ranking inside the top 20 in the field on both counts, with the putter also thawing slightly after a couple of ice cold weeks.

9th at the Soudal Open last month in the middle of that string of missed weekends also hints at some better times ahead – he was 11th for SG Putting on the largely Bentgrass greens that week at Rinkven International, on what is another parkland affair that’s far from stretching in terms of yardage. 6th at Pecanwood in March is also noteworthy for much the same reasons when you make the adjustments for altitude and overall I suspect that the 35 year-old stands a better chance than his odds imply.

Success at Celtic Manor last year came at 16-under in a relatively benign affair and was Nacho’s breakthrough success on the Europe’s upper tier, having twice lost out in play-offs prior to taking his chance last July.

That effort came the week after the Open Championship, which Elvira didn’t compete in, and perhaps observing a Major as a spectator provided some of the inspiration that allowed him to turn a form line of MC/MC/MC/55/MC/MC into a winning performance. Tenuous maybe, however his 2015 Challenge de Madrid win on the second tier came on his next start following The Masters, and his Rolex Trophy win later that year came the week after the US PGA Championship. Perhaps, just perhaps, there’s a little more than coincidence in those results.

Paul Waring 0.5pt EW 250/1 (6EW, 1/5) with William Hill

Finally I’ll close with an even more speculative punt on Englishman Paul Waring who could take a little inspiration from compatriot Matt Fitzpatrick’s win at Brookline over the weekend.

A strong game from off the tee, combining sufficient length with accuracy to regularly feature in the upper echelons of any Total Driving stats, has served the 37 year-old well over the years, and historically when that game’s collided with a decent enough week on the greens he’s got himself in the mix.

6 top-3 finishes in Europe over the years was trumped in 2018 when he held off Thomas Aiken in a play-off at the Nordea Masters to capture his maiden Tour title; like Elvira above, that win also came the week after a Major Championship, this time Brooks Koepka’s win at the 2018 US PGA Championship.

What swings it for me though is that Paul’s putting better and more consistently of late, which bodes well if he can marry that up to a strong week from tee-to-green. 12th at the Qatar Masters in March saw the Merseyside man rank 3rd for putting average on the week, and he got close to the same kind of numbers last time out at the Scandinavian Mixed when finishing in a tie for 10th place. That most recent outing translated to 5th for SG Putting; combined with 5th for SG Approach that week and the fact that he has two top-11 finishes from 3 starts on this course, I think he’s worth taking a chance on at the price on offer.

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 17:35BST but are naturally subject to fluctuation.