Luiten In Form For Home Glory Once Again
Defending champion, Joost Luiten, is the hot favourite for a home win at the KLM Open once again this year, can he do it?
Originally known as the Dutch Open, the KLM Open was founded in 1912 and has been part of the European schedule since the Tour began in 1972. With the world’s top golfers involved in the FedEx Cup play-offs across the Atlantic, the field for this one is light on star names, but it offers the chance for some European Tour regulars to pick up some prize money and points in the Race To Dubai.
This year the KLM Open returns to the Kennemer Golf and Country Club, Zandvoort which has hosted it on twenty-one previous occasions. This is a classic, exposed links golf course, wide open to the elements and featuring undulating fairways, thick gorse, deep bunkers and enormous greens. Links specialists will be right at home, as will those who can cope in blustery conditions.
In The Bunker
Thomas Bjorn has been hit and miss all summer, and after hinting at better things to come with a fourth in Denmark two weeks ago, he finished way down the field when fancied to do well at the Omega Masters at the weekend. He hasn’t made much impact in two attempts at this event, and with the Ryder Cup around the corner, I’m not sure how focused he will be in Zandvoort, so even at 22/1 he’s one to avoid.
Backing short-priced ante-post favourites isn’t usually a route to riches, but sometimes the player at the top of the market is worth backing and this is one of those occasions.
Joost Luiten is the defending champion this week and more significantly is finding form at the right time.
After a run of ordinary results, he hit a superb final round of 65 at the Italian Open two weeks back and cracked the top five for the first time in three months. At 11/1 he’s a solid bet on his home turf.
Tommy Fleetwood would have been disappointed to finish fifth in Switzerland at the weekend after fading in the final round, but his performance over the first three days was eye-catching and added to his top five finish at the Czech Masters, suggests he is at the top of his game at the moment. A similar purple patch this time last year brought him his first European Tour win at the Johnnie Walker Championship, and he offers excellent value at 25/1 this week.
The shortlist is completed by another young English player with bags of potential who did well last week. Tyrrell Hatton is in his first full season on the European Tour and put in a remarkably consistent effort with four solid rounds to earn his third top-five finish of the season. A breakthrough autumn win is not out of the question and he’s worth a look at odds of 66/1.