Rikard To Run Riot In Russia
Russian Open 2014
We look ahead to the Russian Open where a less than competitive field takes to the course in Moscow.
Established in 1993, the Russian Open became the country’s first professional golf tournament a year later, and was added to the European Tour in 2003. It disappeared from the schedule in 2008, but after four years as a Challenge Tour event, it was recently promoted to the main Tour, although coming just a few days after the British Open it doesn’t attract too many of the big European names.
Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club in Moscow is a Jack Nicklaus designed course that has hosted the tournament since 2010. It’s a touch under 7500 yards, and resembles a neatly manicured, tree-lined American course, with plenty of water hazards. The rough is fairly forgiving, and big hitters who give it plenty of air should go well there.
In The Bunker
This is one of the weaker fields you will see at a European Tour event and with no stand-out performers, Scott Jamieson finds himself at the top of the antepost betting market at 14/1, almost entirely on the strength of his top ten finish at the Scottish Open two weeks ago. That is good form, but he crashed out at the half way stage in Hoylake last time and I think there are better value selections to be had this week.
Rikard Karlberg was last seen at the Lyoness Open in early June, where a disappointing final round left him in twenty-fifth, but he had been on a good run of form prior to that, making the top fifteen in three consecutive tournaments.
He took a liking to this course last year, shooting 67 and 68 in his first two rounds
, before finishing thirteenth, a performance which also came after a month off. He’s yet to win on the European Tour, but he has a good opportunity this week at 16/1.
Morten Orum Madsen hasn’t built on picking up his first title at the South African Open in November, but this is a weak field and it could pay to overlook his recent form. He flopped at Tseleevo last year, but did make the top five at the course on the Challenger Tour in 2012 and his familiarity with conditions may give him an edge. The young Dane has tonnes of potential and is worth backing at 25/1.
JB Hansen is another young Dane who has been struggling of late, but like Madsen, he has form at Tseleevo which makes him a contender. He finished fourth there on the Challenger Tour in 2012 and reaffirmed his liking for the course last year, once again making the top four. That remains his second best European Tour performance and in the hope that the return to Moscow inspires him, he’s a decent outside bet at 33/1.