Bernd The Wies Choice For Lyoness Open
This event started off as the Austrian Open in 1990 but has had an uncertain existence, including several name changes and relegation to the Challenger Tour before being restored to the European Tour in 2006.
A puny prize fund and a slot in the schedule just before the US Open, when most of the major players are on the other side of the Atlantic, means the field usually lacks strength in depth.
The Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Austria is one of the longest courses on the European Tour, measuring around 7400 yards, and when there’s rain in the build-up, it plays even longer. The fairways are wide and forgiving, but the greens are large, so a good angle is to concentrate on big hitters in decent touch with the putter.
In The Bunker
The 2013 champion Joost Luiten tops the antepost betting but his recent form isn’t as good as it seems. A top five finish at the Open de Espana looks solid, but a poor third round ruined his chances in a tournament that was there for the taking, and then at Wentworth last week he faded on the last day. This is a weak field, but there are a couple of strong rivals at bigger prices so at 11/2 I’ll be skipping Joost this week.
Luiten is joined at the head of the market by 2012 winner Bernd Wiesberger, and at 8/1 I prefer the Austrian’s chances. He hasn’t cracked the top thirty in his last three tournaments, but that isn’t a problem. Going into the 2012 edition, he’d missed the cut three times out of five, but came from nowhere to win. He also boasts a fifth in this event in 2011 and a top fifteen finish last year. He’s the horse for this course.
Of the top three in the antepost betting, Miguel Angel Jimenez was the last one to lift a trophy and he’s a solid bet at double figures this week. Brilliant one week, atrocious the next, the charismatic Spaniard won the Open de Espana two weeks ago, then failed to crack the top fifty at the Nordea Masters. But he’s made the top twenty in Austria five times in a row, and with two trophies and a fourth in the Masters already under his belt this year, he’s in the form of his life. Back him at 10/1.
The final name to add to your shortlist is Thomas Pieters. The young Belgian is making an impact in his first full season on European Tour, grabbing a top ten in Malaysia, leading the Open de Espana after three rounds, then recovering from a poor start at the Nordea Masters to crack the top twenty. A debut Tour win can’t be far off and he’s a great value bet at 40/1 in Austria.