BMW International 2014 – Stenson To Find His Range
BMW International 2014
Henrik Stenson and Martin are joint 8/1 favourites for the 2014 BMW International but it could be the Swede who finds his range in Cologne.
The BMW International Open was founded in 1989 and remains the only European Tour event to be staged in Germany. At around two million Euros, the prize fund is modest by Tour standards, but this year’s edition has managed to attract more of the top European stars than it usually does. Ernie Els is the only non-European to win this event in the last ten years, and three of the last five winners were Englishmen.
After briefly returning to its normal home in Munich last year, the tournament has moved once again to Cologne, the venue for the 2012 edition. The Golf Club Gut Larchenhof is the only Jack Nicklaus-designed course in Germany. It’s an exposed, undulating course with a number of challenging bunkers, putting the emphasis on an accurate short-game and flighting the ball low into the wind.
In The Bunker
Sergio Garcia has been enjoying a great season. He’s already won the Qatar Masters and picked up six top ten finishes and was at it again last week with a second in the Travelers Championship. But although he has also earned three top tens in this event over the years, all of them were achieved at the tournament’s usual home in Munich, and on his sole visit to Cologne in 2012, he finished down the field. I’m not sure this course is ideal for him and at 11/1, I’ll be opposing him this week.
Two weeks ago, Martin Kaymer made history, becoming the first player from Continental Europe to win the US Open. His eight shot victory was as emphatic as it gets and having had a week off to savour his triumph, he should be feeling pretty good about life, going into what could be considered his home tournament. He won this event in 2008 and in his current form is a rock solid bet at 8/1.
After a tremendous 2013, Henrik Stenson has had a slow first half of the year but has been gradually finding his range
and his fourth in the US Open is pretty good form. He’s the joint antepost favourite with Kaymer in Cologne this week and his record in this event is solid, comprising five top ten finishes, including victory in 2006. Back him at 8/1 to pick up his first trophy of 2014.
Another player whose good record in this event makes him a solid contender is Danny Willett. He won the tournament on the last occasion it was played in Cologne, in 2012, and is better suited by this tricky course than the normal venue in Munich. Willett goes into this week in excellent form having finished third at the Irish Open last week, and at 33/1 represents good value in Germany.