Donaldson To Czech Out With A Win
D&D Real Czech Masters
The European Tour returns to the Czech Republic this week with a high-class field ready to do battle.
Last week the European Tour returned to Denmark for the first time in a decade, and this week sees top class European golf action return to the Czech Republic after a three year absence.
With the FedEx play-offs getting underway at the same time, the world’s top players will be on the other side of the Atlantic, but as the penultimate event in the Ryder Cup qualification schedule, the inaugural Czech Masters includes a trio of hopefuls desperate to grab a ticket to Gleneagles.
The Albatross Golf Resort in the outskirts of Prague is a relatively new course that opened in 2009, yet is considered the best in the country.
At 7466 yards, it’s long, and although the rough is severe, the fairways are fairly generous, so the big hitters will have an advantage there. There are plenty of bunkers, but the green approaches are not particularly challenging and aggressive play is likely to be awarded.
In The Bunker
Joost Luiten goes into this event as joint antepost favourite, but of the two players at the top of the market, he makes the lesser appeal.
He looked in decent touch at the end of May, securing top five finishes in the Lyoness Open and the Open de Espana, but has gone off the boil since. His Ryder Cup prospects are slimmer than his main market rival and on balance, I would rather avoid than back him at 11/1.
Luiten is joined at the top of the betting by Jamie Donaldson, but it is the Welshman who is in pole position to get into the Ryder Cup team.
A strong showing this week should see him break into the top four on the European Points Lists
, and although his form hasn’t been great, he did manage consecutive top five finishes in July, as well as shooting a solid 66 in the third round of the US PGA last time. Back him at 11/1.
Stephan Gallacher is the third of the European players in this field with a chance of claiming an automatic Ryder Cup spot, yet is priced up considerably higher than his rivals and is definitely one to be on this week.
Distance off the tee will be crucial at this course and Gallacher hits it further than either Luiten or Donaldson, as well as having better Greens In Regulation stats this season. Back him to win at 20/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is talented Belgian Thomas Pieters. This is his first full season on the European Tour and although he took a while to adjust, he has improved steadily, picking up three top ten finishes since the end of April.
His stats show he is one of the top three in Europe in terms of Driving Distance and that could make him dangerous on this course. Back him at 66/1 for his breakthrough win.