Golf preview, European Masters
  • Three suggested bets finished in the top 10 last week, including two at $71+
  • Full preview plus five more betting suggestions for this week’s tournament

It’s the EUROPEAN MASTERS, held at the picturesque Alpine resort of Crans-sur-Sierre. A regular destination on the schedule, and one that regularly provides a great betting tournament… some of you will remember the Golf Insider nailing a 125/1 winner here a few years back with David Lipsky.

A repeat of that kind of success this week would be nice!

And just returning to last week’s action…

Matthew Fitzpatrick was an oh-so-close 2nd at the Scandinavian Masters, Alexander Levy also made the each-way places (with a share of 5th), and Sam Horsfield played mighty well – and much better than his odds suggested, to finish tied in 10th – finishing one shot out of the money!

Tony Finau was our best placed player in the US Tour Championship, finishing in 7th place.

Right, let’s get stuck into this week’s tournament play with a trip to the mountains…

Here’s a preview of the action in Switzerland…

The Tournament

One of the longest running tournaments in Europe, this event was first held in 1905 (as the Swiss Open) before being adopted by the main European Tour in 1972. It then switched to its current name, the European Masters, in 1992. Played at altitude, amid stunning views of the Alps, it’s a firm favourite with the players, and despite not having the draw of many events, due to its place on the schedule, it always attracts a number of familiar names… this year being no different with several Major winners and Ryder Cup-pers in attendance.

The Course

It’s Crans-sur-Sierre, the traditional home of the tournament since 1939. It’s a par 70 course, short at less than 6,900 yards, and made even shorter by the fact its situated at almost 5,000 feet above sea level. Opened first in 1908 it’s undergone various upgrades over the years, the latest being by none other than Seve Ballesteros in 1998. In the shadow of the Pleine Morte Glacier the course is covered by snow for several months of the year, but when this melts the golfers move in!

72-Hole Record – 262, David Lipsky (2014)

18-Hole Record – 61, Craig Lee (2013)

Past Winners – Matthew Fitzpatrick (2018), Matthew Fitzpatrick (2017), Alex Noren (2016), Danny Willett (2015), David Lipsky (2014)

The Field

A standard field this week with 156 starters. Rory McIlroy is the $5 favourite.

The Weather

Wet. Rain is forecast on all four days in Crans (80%-50%-50%-80%) with Thursday and Sunday looking the worst. But the wind speeds won’t hit 5mph, and the temperatures will hover around the mid 70s… so whenever it isn’t throwing it down, it should be quite nice!

The Chances

Sergio Garcia $32 available

“Garcia has struggled since May to find his best form but hopefully the 3-week break he’s been on will have done him some good. He’s been at the course a week early preparing for this week, and Crans is a venue Garcia loves having not been outside the Top 10 on his last four starts here. He won this event back in 2005, and hopefully the good memories can come flooding back. Garcia is far too good a player to continue to struggle and this week looks like the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways.”

Andrew Johnston – $67 available

“Johnston has struggled with well publicised mental health issues recently but looks to be on the road to recovery and his game has turned a corner as a result. A series of solid displays was followed by a superb 4th place finish at the Scottish Open. Last week he finished 10th at the Scandinavian Invitation with his all-round game looking sharp. Last week Johnston ranked in the Top 5 for Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and it’s this accurate driving that will stand him in good stead this week. He finished 3rd here in 2016, and 35th last year, so he knows how to play at altitude. I fancy Johnston to continue his strong play at a perfect venue this week.”

Eddie Pepperell – $71 available

“Pepperell has only played once since July due to a niggling injury and that was at the Czech Masters which wasn’t even part of his playing schedule. He missed the cut that week, but he wasn’t properly prepared to play as it was a last minute decision to tee it up. Pepperell thrives on courses where driver isn’t necessary and Crans fits this bill nicely. Pepperell will hit irons and woods off the tees, and his approach play is as good as anyone else on tour. Pepperell has missed the cut on his two starts here in the past, but that was a few years ago when he wasn’t anywhere near as good as he is now. Pepperell is ranked 42nd in the world and when you consider his form over the last 18 months you can see why – winning in Qatar, 2nd at the Scottish Open, 6th at the The Open, winning the British Masters (2018), 3rd at the Players Championship, 2nd British Masters (2019) and 4th at the Irish Open. He’s a class player who should be relishing the test this week which makes the 66’s on offer too good to ignore.”

Alexander Bjork – $81 available

“Bjork has shown signs of life in his last two events, finishing 23rd at the unsuitable Czech Masters, and 20th last week in his native Sweden. Bjork relies on precision over power which makes this week’s test ideal for the accurate Swede. He finished 16th here on debut, and had to withdrew last year after an opening 69 due to injury. Bjork ranked as the best player on the European Tour with approach shots last season, and its laser-guided iron shots that will be key this week. It wasn’t long ago that Bjork was a solid Top 10 in the betting week-in, week-out on the European Tour and even with the strong field this week he looks well over priced at 66/1+ considering his form and suitability for the course.”

Matthew Southgate – $151 available

“Southgate ranked 1st in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green last week in Sweden where he finished 10th. Prior to last week Southgate finished 30th at the Czech Masters, where he ranked 1st in Driving Accuracy – a crucial attribute for this week. Last year Southgate finished 30th here so he’ll know how to handle the altitude this week and if he hits the ball as good as last week any upturn in putting will see him near the top of the leaderboard.”

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