A profitable week for us in Hamburg with 100/1 shot Guido Migliozzi delivering a full each-way return with the additional places that were available, however a tie for 7th was still a little disappointing in truth. Right in touch heading into the back-9 on Saturday, the young Italian missed a short par putt on the 10th before making a mess of one of the more scoreable par-5s on the course – eventually carding an 8 – which ultimately left him with too much to do on the Sunday, despite a promising front 9. He’s a talented sort though who will warrant further support in the future and one who I’ll be keeping a close eye on as we move forward.
Holland is our next stop on the European Tour as we head towards a series of decent events with qualification for Dubai looming and four further Rolex Series events before we reach that point, plus Ryder Cup qualifying starts next week at Wentworth as players attempt to make Padraig Harrington’s team.
A new venue in Amsterdam, The International, plays host to this event for the first time this week with a field that’s headed by Patrick Reed at 9/1 as he continues his string of appearances on the European Tour. With the likes of Thomas Pieters, Sergio Garcia, Joost Luiten, Matt Wallace and Martin Kaymer also in attendance, this should be a good warm-up ahead of next week’s BMW PGA Championship where the field strength really starts to ramp up.
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Course Overview. Having flitted between Kennemer and Hilversumche since the millennium, and then at The Dutch for the past three years, the KLM Open heads to pastures new this year as The International, which sits next to Amsterdam airport, plays host to this event for the first time.
Opened in 2012 and designed by Ian Woosnam, the course is listed as a Par 73 at just 6,966 yards with 5 par-5s on the course of between 506 and 559 yards. Knowing how the European Tour like to throw a late curveball at us punters, particularly at new venues, I’ll take those exact metrics with a pinch of salt, however it’s clearly not a punishingly long track like last week in Hamburg which should appeal to a wider spectrum of players.
An exposed, undulating course with wide fairways and large bentgrass greens, strategy over brute power would appear to be the best way to attack this layout with carefully placed tee shots which enable accurate approaches to the correct parts of greens the most likely way to score consistently well. Rough is long and thick in places for those venturing off of the straight and narrow and whilst the par-5s will undoubtedly produce birdies and eagles given their dimensions, that will be best achieved from off the fairway.
As ever with short, exposed tracks, the elements are the course’s best defence and a fairly benign forecast should encourage some low scores. With no European Tour history to fall back on, the only real clues we have are from two Dutch Senior Opens held here, won by Simon Brown at 3-under in 2013 (final leaderboard here) and course designer Ian Woosnam at 11-under in 2014 (final leaderboard here). Both events were wind and weather-affected with the 2013 event eventually reduced to 36 holes, however this year’s forecast is much, much better so I expect scoring will be better.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s KLM Open, however it’s worth noting that this year’s event is the first one being held at The International: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Top 20 Finishes | 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. 2018: Ashun Wu, 125/1; 2017: Romain Wattel, 175/1; 2016: Joost Luiten, 18/1; 2015: Thomas Pieters, 55/1; 2014: Paul Casey, 25/1; 2013: Joost Luiten, 20/1; 2012: Peter Hanson, 22/1; 2011: Simon Dyson, 25/1; 2010: Martin Kaymer, 12/1.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here. Largely dry and sunny conditions are expected for the 4 days of tournament play with temperatures approaching 70 Fahrenheit. Winds are forecast to peak on the opening day at around 15mph before dropping away to a maximum of 10mph by the weekend.
Incoming Form: Ashun Wu’s patchy season had taken a positive step the week before he obliged for us here last year at 125/1, having finished 6th the week before at Crans-sur-Sierre; Wattel was having a poor season before capturing his maiden European Tour title in 2017 and 175/1 was indicative of the year he was having which, until that point, had seen no finish better than 24th on Tour; Luiten had twice finished runner-up earlier that season and 33rd at the US PGA and 27th at the Olympics was clearly strong form relative to the field here; Pieters had won a fortnight before, gaining his maiden European Tour victory in the Czech Republic; Casey had been playing predominantly in the USA and back-to-back top-22 finishes in higher company.
Luiten in 2013 had won the Lyoness Open earlier in the summer and Peter Hanson had finished 3rd at Augusta that season. Simon Dyson had won the Irish Open 5 events before capturing his 3rd KLM Open title in 2011 and Martin Kaymer’s 4 stroke victory in 2010 was his first start since winning the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits:
- 2018, Ashun Wu: MC/64/60/47/MC/DQ/MC/11/MC/MC/49/6
- 2017, Romain Wattel: 24/31/66/MC/51/MC/MC/26/MC/33/MC/65
- 2016, Joost Luiten: 2/2/44/MC/27/6/16/9/MC/MC/33/27
- 2015, Thomas Pieters: MC/18/33/MC/MC/24/39/MC/60/33/35/1
- 2014, Paul Casey: 16/MC/13/24/56/33/22/14/47/MC/18/22
- 2013, Joost Luiten: 15/21/8/MC/11/1/10/2/49/MC/4/44
- 2012, Peter Hanson: 14/52/15/17/3/MC/61/23/63/7/59
- 2011, Simon Dyson: 5/3/20/MC/MC/25/9/1/33/51/15/16
- 2010, Martin Kaymer: MC/34/MC/28/12/8/21/6/MC/7/22/1
Event Form. Last year’s winner Ashun Wu had fairly non-descript event form before winning, however he’d sat in 6th position going into the weekend the year before to give some indication that he was comfortable on the course and in the area. 2017 winner Romain Wattel had missed the cut at The Dutch on his previous attempt, however a 5th place finish at Kennemer in 2014 masks the fact that he led by 3 shots going into the final round before stumbling to a closing 74. 2016 winner Joost Luiten won this event for the 2nd time having previously triumphed in 2013, whereas 2011 winner Simon Dyson has notched 3 KLM Open successes over his career.
- 2018, Ashun Wu: 46/31
- 2017, Romain Wattel: MC/MC/MC/5/MC/MC
- 2016, Joost Luiten: MC/MC/2/MC/MC/57/6/MC/1/5/23
- 2015, Thomas Pieters: 30/22
- 2014, Paul Casey: 46/41
- 2013, Joost Luiten: MC/MC/2/MC/MC/57/6/MC
- 2012, Peter Hanson: 28/MC
- 2011, Simon Dyson: 60/1/27/12/1/MC
- 2010, Martin Kaymer: 55
With no tangible course form to go on this week, we’re relying on the specification mostly. The International was described as a tough track when the Seniors tackled it twice a few years back and with a bit of wind I suspect that’s true, however aside from a moderately breezy Thursday I don’t see enough wind in the forecast to make this overly tricky. A short layout that demands a variety of shots is likely to suit players who can either strategise and avoid the trouble in the first place with a metronomic game, or have an exceptional short game to recover on and around these large greens.
My selections are as follows: