Backtee Course, Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort, Farsø, Denmark. Designer: Jan Cedermolm, re-designed by Philip Spogaard, 2012; Par: 70; Length: 6,646 yards; Fairways: Bentgrass/Festuca; Rough: Rye/Festuca; Greens: A4 Bentgrass; Stimp: 11ft.
Course Overview. From its tips the Backtee Course can stretch to nearly 7,400 yards, however from the renewals we’ve seen here it has played much shorter than that and according to the Tour website it will play just 6,646 yards this year and as a par 70 rather than 71.
As ever, caution should be exercised when taking that yardage as given as organisers have the choice of 5 tee boxes on each hole to flex distances as they see fit, however it’s played sub-7,000 yards on each of the renewals held here thus far and it seems unlikely that we’ll see a complete about turn this week.
An exposed, inland track with water in play on 5 of the holes and linksy in style, the main defence is the breeze in what is often a windy part of the world – any breeze tends to be accentuated on this type of exposed track, however at low levels of wind the course should still encourage a reasonably low score.
In terms of the layout itself, 5 of the par-4s measure under 400 yards, plus there’s a 128 yard par-3, however the par-5 11th measures well over 600 yards making it a 3-shotter for the vast majority of the field.
Aside from the driveable par-4 14th which at 284 yards ranked as the third easiest hole on the course last year, the remaining par-5 on the front 9 – the 5th– will offer the best scoring opportunity, with the 8th now converted to a long par 4. The greens are excellent quality Bentgrass that run very true.
Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Made In Himmerland that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at this event.
As previously noted, we’re back at Himmerland this year which hosted this event for the first 4 years of its existence as well as in 2019, 2021 and 2022, so the results from the 2018 season should be considered accordingly: Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Current/Event Form Stats | SG Stats
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Winners & Prices. 2022: Oliver Wilson, 200/1; 2021: Bernd Wiesberger, 20/1; 2019: Bernd Wiesberger, 70/1; 2018: Matt Wallace, 40/1; 2017, Julian Suri: 60/1; 2016: Thomas Pieters: 12/1; 2015: David Horsey, 80/1; 2014: Marc Warren, 30/1.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here.
Lengthy sunny spells are expected this week with temperatures reaching the low-70s Fahrenheit in the afternoons. Winds will be moderate at 15-20mph to start the event, dropping a little over the weekend.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors. Analysing the final stats of the winners from 6 of the years played here at Himmerland gives us a little more insight into the requirements for this test:
- 2022: Oliver Wilson (-21). 51.8% fairways (34th), 76.4% greens in regulation (18th), 70.6% scrambling (15th), 1.65 putts per GIR (3rd).
- 2021: Bernd Wiesberger (-21). 53.6% fairways (20th), 73.6% greens in regulation (12th), 68.4% scrambling (29th), 1.64 putts per GIR (7th).
- 2019: Bernd Wiesberger (-14). 60.7% fairways (28th), 73.6% greens in regulation (8th), 52.6% scrambling (52nd), 1.61 putts per GIR (1st).
- 2016: Thomas Pieters (-17). 57.1% fairways (29th), 66.7% greens in regulation (41st), 70.8% scrambling (5th), 1.63 putts per GIR (2nd).
- 2015: David Horsey (-13). 50% fairways (52nd), 76.4% greens in regulation (8th), 52.9% scrambling (38th), 1.69 putts per GIR (10th).
- 2014: Marc Warren (-9). 44.6% fairways (61st), 68.1% greens in regulation (16th), 56.5% scrambling (31st), 1.67 putts per GIR (3rd).
No stats were captured for Julian Suri in 2017 as he was plying his trade predominantly on the Challenge Tour at the time.
From what we’ve seen over the 7 renewals here, Driving Accuracy is seemingly less important than some tracks and the course neither alienates the shorter hitters nor overly favours the bombers – the common denominator from the stats above is primarily the ability to putt well on these slick bentgrass greens.
Although the numbers are patchier for 2017, of the 7 players with recorded stats and finished inside the top 9, all of them ranked inside the top 27 for putting average, included in which we had 1st, 3rd, 7th and 9th place finishers in that stat. Bernd Wiesberger ranked 1st and 7th for putting average when winning here twice, and Oliver Wilson’s 3rd on that same count backs up what we all saw with our own eyes as he putted his way to victory last autumn..
Strokes Gained: From a Strokes Gained perspective, the common metrics are SG Approach and SG Tee to Green with Wilson and Wiesberger (twice) ranking inside the top 10 on both counts:
- 2022: Oliver Wilson: T: 19th; A: 8th; T2G: 4th; ATG: 8th; P: 9th
- 2021: Bernd Wiesberger: T: 7th; A: 3rd; T2G: 1st; ATG: 16th; P: 17th
- 2019: Bernd Wiesberger: T: 54th; A: 2nd; T2G: 3rd; ATG: 29th; P: 26th
Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.
Event Winners – Incoming Form: Marc Warren arrived in Denmark 9 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 7 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 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.
Matt Wallace arrived in Denmark in 2018 following a disappointing 36th in the Czech Republic when chasing an unlikely Ryder Cup qualification. With his only remaining chance to win and impress an on-looking Thomas Bjorn, the Englishman did just that by birdieing 5 of his final 6 holes to make a 4-man play-off which he won with birdies at both the first and second extra hole. Wallace had already won the Indian Open and BMW International Open in the season.
For the first of his wins, Bernd Wiesberger arrived with some steadily improving overall form to his name, having started the 2019 season slowly. 23rd at the Indian Open contained some brief glimpses of improvement before a 68/68 weekend in China had registered his best finish of the year. A final round 76 on his last start at the British Masters masked his overall progression and 70/1 was the reward for those who sided with the Austrian. The Covid-delayed defence of his title in 2021 by the Austrian came off of fairly non-descript form.
Oliver Wilson’s win last year came with a season’s best finish of 12th in Qatar 5 months prior, however there was at least a spark of form the previous week when firing a 2nd round 64 at Crans-sur-Sierre and taking just 109 putts over the course of the week:
- 2022: Oliver Wilson: 42/MC/64/MC/MC/MC/70/MC/41/MC/33/44
- 2021: Bernd Wiesberger: 36/25/6/53/59/31/MC/42/MC/40/34/MC
- 2019: Bernd Wiesberger: MC/MC/51/42/MC/MC/MC/55/MC/23/14/70
- 2018: Matt Wallace: MC/3/20/51/MC/1/MC/MC/MC/MC/19/36
- 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
Course Form Of Winners: In terms of course form here in Himmerland, Oliver Wilson was pickable last year based on his 4th place finish around this track the year before:
- 2022: Oliver Wilson: 26/60/29/4
- 2021: Bernd Wiesberger: 1
- 2019: Bernd Wiesberger: Debut
- 2017: Julian Suri: Debut
- 2016: Thomas Pieters: 35
- 2015: David Horsey: 39
- 2014: Marc Warren: Debut
My selections are as follows: