Paul Williams

Paul Williams' BMW International Open Tips 2024

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After yet another rollercoaster final day on the DP World Tour in Italy where Marcel Siem, who was available at 175/1 in places pre-event, rallied to eventually beat Tom McKibbin in a play-off to secure his 6th career title at this level. McKibbin, who went out 3 hours before the leaders, had posted what looked like a solid but non-threatening clubhouse lead of -10 and was priced at up to 500/1 when he finished before those on the course faltered. As ever with Sundays in Europe, you never quite know what will happen!

After tackling a hybrid course new to the Tour last week, 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 has hopped 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.

Patrick Reed makes his second successive start as tournament favourite this week as he continues to seek a way into the field at Troon in a fortnight’s time, with the American rating as a 16/1 chance in places. Bernd Wiesberger, Ryan Fox – who makes a rare start this side of the Atlantic – and Keita Nakajima follow in the betting at between 20/1 and 22/1 at the time of writing.

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Course Overview. At 7,347 yards for its par of 72, the length of this course is 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, 2021-2023: 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. 2023: Thriston Lawrence, 100/1; 2022: Haotong Li, 66/1; 2021: Viktor Hovland, 13/2; 2019: Andrea Pavan, 100/1; 2018: Matt Wallace, 40/1; 2017: Andres Romero, 300/1; 2016: Henrik 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.

Cool and wet weather to start the week will give way to something more pleasant for the tournament days, with sunshine, light winds and temperatures pushing towards the mid-70s Fahrenheit, before the potential for a little more rain on Sunday.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors.

Analysing the final stats of the last 10 winners here on this track gives us a little more insight into the task at hand:

  • 2023, Thriston Lawrence (-13). 307.1 yards, 42.9% fairways (46th), 63.9% greens in regulation (35th), 65.4% scrambling (23rd), 1.65 putts per GIR (4th).
  • 2022, Haotong Li (-22). 295.1 yards, 55.4% fairways (42nd), 75.0% greens in regulation (14th), 55.6% scrambling (49th), 1.57 putts per GIR (2nd).
  • 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.

Scoring tends to be quite low here with 15- to 22-under the winning totals from 2008 until last year, although a bit of wind 12 months ago coupled with some tough pin positions resulted in 13-under being good enough for Thriston Lawrence.

Par-5 Scoring has been increasingly important since the event returned here in 2021, having not been such a pivotal factor prior to that. Viktor Hovland was 11-under for the long holes on his way to victory back in 2021, with runner-up Martin Kaymer 13-under; similarly Haotong Li and play-off loser Thomas Pieters were 12- and 11-under on the Par-5s respectively in 2022. Those weren’t the best scores though on that count, with 3rd place Ryan Fox shooting a huge 17-under for the long holes.

Even with the tougher scoring last year, eventual winner Thriston Lawrence accumulated 11 of his 13-under total on the Par-5s.Adrian Meronk, who finished in a tie for 3rd, birdied 14 of his 16 attempts at the long holes 12 months ago.

Strokes Gained: From a Strokes Gained perspective, all 4 winners had solid SG Approach numbers and each were within the top 15 for SG Tee to Green and top 12 for SG Putting.

The most consistent stat though if those who finished just short of the eventual winners are considered is undoubtedly SG Tee to Green, with the top 2 last year ranking 6th and 2nd compared to 1st and 2nd in 2022:

  • 2023, Thriston Lawrence: T: 27th; A: 14th; T2G: 6th; ATG: 7th; P: 10th
  • 2022, Haotong Li: T: 13th; A: 12th; T2G: 1st; ATG: 6th; P: 12th
  • 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.

Incoming Form: Taking results at this venue in isolation, current form of our eventual winners here has been decidedly mixed of late. Last year’s winner Thriston Lawrence is a case in point having not recorded a top 10 all season before his win here, arriving off the back of incoming form of MC/62/MC/MC. 100/1 was the reward for those who could look past the raw numbers.

Andres Romero is another who would have bamboozled most punters as he 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.

2021 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:

2022 winner Haotong Li  – who we were on at 66/1 – had shown some improved form in the 6 months or so prior to his win, finishing 2nd at the China Open, 3rd in Ras al Khaimah and 6th at the ISPS Handa Championship in Spain before recording a top 20 on his last start on German soil:

  • 2023, Thriston Lawrence: 42/MC/38/MC/14/52/28/32/MC/62/MC/MC
  • 2022, Haotong Li: 2/12/MC/32/3/33/MC/6/26/MC/37/18
  • 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): A real mix of course experience from our winners here in Munich, ranging from multiple winner Pablo Larrazabal who’d also finished 3rd before his first win, to Viktor Hovland and Haotong Li who won the two of the last renewals on debut:

  • 2023, Thriston Lawrence: 36
  • 2022, Haotong Li: Debut
  • 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:

Thriston Lawrence 2pts EW 28/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Boylesports

It’s neither unusual nor unexpected for a previous winner to shine like a beacon statistically when working through analysis for any given event, particularly if the said event is being held on the same course – after all the player has already proven their prowess on the track in question.

The negatives that accompany picking defending champions are a little more complicated though given the potential for media distraction, however I’ll make an exception for Thriston Lawrence who’s making his fourth DP World Tour title defence this week and looks increasingly at ease when doing so.

33rd when making his Joburg Open defence in 2022 having won the 36-hole affair the year before, Lawrence was 47th when defending his European Masters title last September, then finished 10th when returning as the South African Open champion in December. No disasters, some really positive rounds, and the suggestion that he’s a player becoming increasingly comfortable with the challenge of returning as champion.

Since that defence of his South African title before Christmas, Thriston has come mighty close to adding a fifth title to his CV, finishing 2nd at the Dubai Invitational, Jonsson Workwear Open and European Open, with that most recent effort giving the 27 year-old form of 1-2 over his last two visits to Germany.

Although his form in between those near misses has been a little up and down, it’s fair to say that he’s in much better overall form than when arriving here last year, having failed to record a single top-10 finish to that point in the year and having missed three of his previous four cuts.

10th on Tour for Par-5 Scoring for the season to date is an eye-catching stat for the South African given the reliance on making the most of the long holes here in Munich, plus 1st for SG Putting and 2nd for Putting Average for the 2024 campaign suggests that his putter is in the kind of shape required to make enough birdies to seriously contend here for a second year in succession. RESULT: MC

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Calum Hill 1pt EW 55/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Following Rasmus Hojgaard’s Monday withdrawal and the subsequent battering that most of the market leaders took in terms of their price, I’ll delve a little further down the list for the rest of this week’s team, starting with Calum Hill whose missed cut last week in Italy has kept a lid on his price.

If you can look past those 2 rounds – and players can and do win off the back of a missed cut with regularity – then you’ll find a player who’s shown some good, progressive form in 2024 as he looks to build on his solitary DP World Tour title captured back in 2021 at the Cazoo Classic. 56th at the ISPS Handa Championship in Japan, 35th at the China Open, 18th at the Soudal Open, 13th at the European Open and then 2nd at the Volvo Mixed illustrates my point about progression, and after a short break ahead of last week’s effort in Italy, he should be rust-free and ready to go once again on German soil.

Talking of efforts in Germany, the Scot has impressive enough form in the country with finishes of 29th, 17th, 10th and 13th from 5 attempts, with the other an injury-induced withdrawal. Those middle two efforts came here at München Eichenried to suggest an overall liking for this week’s layout, with 13th at Green Eagle last month seeing the 29 year-old top the field for SG Putting for his best flat stick performance of the season. 9th on that same count for the 2024 season to date tells us that it wasn’t a fluke, and he putted well again in Sweden on his penultimate start. 18th for Par-5 Scoring completes the argument for supporting Calum this week. RESULT: T32

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Joe Dean 1pt EW 100/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

One of the best stories of 2024 on the DP World Tour has been the emergence of Joe Dean after the Sheffield man graduated to the top level via Q-School last year, having played his post-Covid golf exclusively on the Europro Tour.

Joe gained his card in the late autumn, but had to wait until February to make his first appearance of the year with his Morrison’s delivery driver day job making raising the funds to travel to events tricky. However, after a missed cut in Qatar he quickly rectified the financial situation with a runner-up finish in Kenya, banking just shy of €200k and freeing him up to plan the rest of his season on Tour.

5th at the Soudal Open after a short period of adjustment to his new lifestyle was another positive sign before he made the play-off at the KLM Open the week before last, eventually losing out to our man Guido Migliozzi.

The bookies are clearly still trying to gauge his true potential and a tie for 29th last week in Italy hasn’t hurt his price, meaning there are still some 3-figure quotes about the Englishman on Monday for this week’s event which I’m happy to take.

Dean, who turned 30 a week ago, won his one and only Europro Tour event this exact week 3 years ago at The Vale golf club in Worcestershire, a course which at first glance carries some aesthetics to this week’s task. Although we’re still learning what kind of player he is and what style of course he suits best, it would appear that he has the power and control from off the tee to set up chances on a course like this, plus his two aforementioned runner-up finishes both came courtesy of top-3 SG Putting performance on Bentgrass greens which bodes well with this week’s putting surfaces. RESULT: T49

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David Law 1pt EW 125/1 (8EW, 1/5) with Betfred

It’s interesting to note that Guido Migliozzi won the KLM Open the week before returning to Italy for his home Open, then Marcel Siem won at the weekend ahead of the Tour’s return to his homeland this week. Complete coincidence? Probably. But of the multitude of intangibles in this game, players finding a strong performance the week before returning home – potentially to a hero’s welcome – isn’t that far-fetched. Perhaps.

As it stands David Law needs a little bit of help to get into the Scottish Open field next week, albeit not a massive amount as fifth alternate with a week to go, however that’s nothing that wouldn’t be rectified with victory here this week in Germany and perhaps that’s not as unlikely as the odds would suggest.

Three top 20 finishes in his last five starts is a significant improvement on how the Aberdeen man started 2024 with five Missed Cuts from his first six outings, and statistically there have been some positive signs of late. 13th at the China Open was fuelled by a field-leading SG Off the Tee performance, backed up by 3rd for SG Tee to Green; 13th again at the European Open was again largely down to a top-10 effort from Off the Tee, and 20th on his penultimate start at the Volvo Mixed saw the 33 year-old rank inside the top 10 for both SG Approach and SG Tee to Green. Each of those efforts also saw positive SG totals with the putter to add a little further encouragement.

Law’s efforts here in Munich have been solid if unspectacular with 37th and 62nd offering only a glimmer of hope, however his wider German form is encouraging with finishes of 7th, 6th and 13th at the European Open over his past four efforts suggesting a level of comfort in the region. RESULT: MC

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