After 4 years at the Himmerland Golf Resort and Spa in Farso, the Made In Denmark heads to pastures new this week as the Silkeborg Ry Golf Club makes its European Tour debut. Thomas Bjorn will be centre stage this week for a couple of reasons: the Silkeborg-born veteran was involved in the 2007 renovation of the course which saw the complex increased from 18 to 27 holes, plus there’s the small matter of Bjorn’s Ryder Cup team being completed following this week’s event from an automatic qualification perspective with Thomas making his 4 wildcard picks live on Sky Sports on the 5th September.
While we’re on the subject of the Ryder Cup, there are a couple of (potentially) important points to consider this week. Only points gained from the Made In Denmark count towards qualification now, so those players who’ve chosen to play in the United States and aren’t already qualified will be relying on a Captain’s pick – specifically we’re talking about the likes of Ian Poulter (9th), Rafa Cabrera-Bello (10th) and Paul Casey (11th) in the current European World Points List. There was some speculation that Cabrera-Bello specifically might make a late call and fly to Denmark, however at the time of writing that hasn’t happened.
Of those in attendance here, Matt Fitzpatrick (12th) and Eddie Pepperell (15th) both have mathematical chances of working their way into the 8th and final automatic spot, however both need to win the event and hope that Thorbjorn Olesen slips up. In any case, Olesen can protect his automatic spot by finishing solo 7th or better, so clearly there will be a fascinating sub-plot to this week’s tournament.
Over on the PGA Tour, Steve Bamford previews the Dell Technologies Championship – you can read his thoughts on that event here.
Course Overview. Silkeborg Ry Golf Club dates back to 1966, however it’s the 2007 version of the course that we’ll see this week which is an amalgamation of 18 holes from the three sets of 9 to create a 6,975 yard par-72. Classical and tree-lined in style, the course shares some characteristics with the heathland tracks of southern England and features a variety of aesthetically pleasing holes as the course meanders though a pine forest and alongside lakes. Although not a long track, the addition of 160 bunkers to add to the challenge of trees and water from off the tee and on the approach to greens gives the layout some necessary protection.
Whilst this will be the first European Tour event to have been played at Silkeborg Ry, the layout has hosted the Jyske Bank PGA Championship for the past 3 seasons on the ECCO Tour. 54-hole winning totals of 204 (-12), 203 (-13) and 204 (-12) over those three events suggests that the course is scoreable and three rounds of 63 have been recorded in that tournament over those events. Clearly these European Tour players should be a cut above those on the ECCO Tour and despite a presumably tougher set-up, I’d still expect this to be a relatively low-scoring affair.
Par-5s measuring between 538-558 yards will all present scoring opportunities, as will the short par-4 3rd which can be made driveable from the tee. That said, these shorter, tree-lined courses tend to put more emphasis on strategic placement from off the tee and I suspect that this will bring the accurate, shorter hitters right into the picture.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Winners & Prices. 2017, Julian Suri: 60/1; 2016: Thomas Pieters: 12/1; 2015: David Horsey, 80/1; 2014: Marc Warren, 30/1. For a summary of winners’ odds on the European Tour for the past 8 years based on the 2017 schedule click here.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for Aarhus is here. Pre-event rain will likely linger into Thursday’s opening day, however after that the weather’s set fair with pleasant temperatures peaking in the high 60s Fahrenheit and light winds.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors.
Yet another European Tour event heads to a new track that has no previous events with tangible stats to review, so we’ll need to base any decisions on the raw specification this week. Winning scores on the ECCO Tour of between -12 and -13 over 3 rounds suggests that the course is scoreable and with favourable conditions I’m expect a lot of red numbers here this week.
Event Winners – Incoming Form
Marc Warren arrived in Denmark 4 years ago in decent form having finished 3rd at the Scottish Open, 39th at the Open Championship then a creditable 15th at the US PGA Championship. He’d been putting consistently well for a few weeks, ranking inside the top-20 for putts per GIR on each of his last 4 starts and found enough greens on the week in windy conditions to compile a winning score. David Horsey’s form the year after was less obvious having recorded 4 top-20 finishes in the season, however he too had been putting reasonably well recording 3 top-20 putting performances out of his most recent 4 cuts made. Thomas Pieters was 2nd favourite for this title 2 years ago having arrived after finishes of 4th at The Olympics and 2nd the week before when defending in the Czech Republic and his chance was a fairly obvious one, whereas Julian Suri was still relatively under-the-radar 12 months ago as he was still playing predominantly on the Challenge Tour, however a runner-up finish in Portugal and 16th on his previous start – where he was 4th going into the final day – suggested that he wasn’t far away from winning at this kind of level:
- 2017: Julian Suri: 31/1/3/23/11/MC/27/23/MC/16
- 2016: Thomas Pieters: 28/26/MC/27/16/29/30/86/4/2
- 2015: David Horsey: 42/15/MC/MC/38/11/MC/MC/66/33
- 2014: Marc Warren: 33/28/16/MC/29/MC/26/3/29/15
The four Made In Denmark events we’ve witnessed so far have all pretty much boiled down to who’s putted best on the week and despite a change of venue this year, the set-up of the course and favourable weather conditions may well mean that little changes in that respect this year. Those players who have the discipline from off the tee to plot their way around the course and the ability on the greens to convert birdie chances may well gravitate to the top.
My selections are as follows: