The Nordea Masters is our challenge this week following the conclusion of the US PGA Championship at Bellerive. A change in scheduling for this event, from last year’s spot which followed Wentworth, has undoubtedly meant that the attendee list is down on recent years as the likes of Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren are nowhere to be seen having supported the event regularly in the recent past. Martin Kaymer (42nd), Thorbjorn Olesen (56th) and Alexander Bjork (MC) have made the journey from St Louis to Sweden, however for the most part the European Tour players will be approaching this week fresh from a week or two of rest and recuperation.
Over on the PGA Tour, Steve Bamford previews the Wyndham Championship – you can read his thoughts on that event here.
Course Overview. Hills G&CC opened in 2005 and was the brainchild of renowned golf course architects Arthur Hills and Steve Forrest. At a reported 7,169 yards for its par of 71, the course isn’t particularly long on paper, however the elevation changes will make some holes play longer or shorter than the card suggests and players with the ability to adapt their games for this will feel more comfortable here. Although there are some trees on various parts of the course, the layout is also exposed in places with generous, undulating fairways and large greens. Johan Edfors recently oversaw the re-design of 7 of the greens and recent rain is expected to make them quite receptive.
Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.
Winners & Prices. 2017, Renato Paratore, 150/1; 2016, Matt Fitzpatrick, 40/1; 2015: Alex Noren, 20/1; 2014: Thongchai Jaidee, 66/1; 2013: Mikko Ilonen, 35/1; 2012: Lee Westwood, 6/1; 2011: Alex Noren, 28/1; 2010: Richard S Johnson, 100/1.
Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here. After a long spell of dry weather as we’ve seen in much of Northern Europe over the past weeks, the weather pattern has broken down in Sweden and showery rain is expected at times throughout the tournament. The wind will be a feature with 15-20mph expected at times; temperatures will be in the mid-60s Fahrenheit and a stark contrast to the warm, sunny weather that most events have experienced of late.
Tournament Trends & Key Factors.
This is the first time that Hlls GC has been used for any significant event other than the Dubliner Challenge played on the Challenge Tour in 2008 (final leaderboard here) and as such there’s no historical data to give us any kind of pointer as to how it will play, other than to say that just 6 players finished under par that week in windy yet soft conditions.
Incoming Form: In terms of recent renewals of this event at its various venues, current form heading into the event is listed below. With the exception of Richard S Johnson back in 2010, each other winner had recorded a top-10 finish in one of their previous 5 starts globally:
- 2017, Renato Paratore: MC/45/MC/8/MC/18/23/MC
- 2016, Matt Fitzpatrick: 35/27/38/7/MC/MC/MC/47
- 2015, Alex Noren: 11/43/56/44/26/56/8/21
- 2014, Thongchai Jaidee: 41/33/6/37/24/5/MC/38
- 2013, Mikko Ilonen: 9/52/MC/17/2/MC/2/12
- 2012, Lee Westwood: 17/12/2/4/4/29/21/3
- 2011, Alex Noren: 5/11/MC/1/51/37/MC/MC
- 2010, Richard S Johnson: MC/63/MC/MC/MC/33/72/74
Event Form (back to 2010): Event form of recent Nordea Masters winners is listed below, however it’s worth considering that the event has moved location at various points and this week’s venue is new to the tournament:
- 2017, Renato Paratore: MC, MC
- 2016, Matt Fitzpatrick: MC
- 2015, Alex Noren: 18, 52, MC, 30, MC, MC, 1, 10, 4
- 2014, Thongchai Jaidee: MC, MC, 52
- 2013, Mikko Ilonen: MC, MC, 1, 20, 38, MC, 3
- 2012, Lee Westwood: MC
- 2011, Alex Noren: 18, 52, MC, 30, MC, MC
- 2010, Richard S Johnson: 12, MC, 24
With so little to go on this week, I won’t be getting to heavily involved in this year’s Nordea Masters which is a shame as it’s an event that I’ve enjoyed in the past. Recent rain and more wet weather expected throughout the week will likely make the course play a little longer and wider than anticipated, however a fairly stiff breeze is likely to keep a lid on scoring to a degree and I’d favour control over length here this week.
My selections are as follows: