In Form Noren Up To Malmo Task
Henrik Stenson is heavy favourite at 9/2 to win this week’s Nordea Masters but who presents better value in Malmo?
Better known as the Scandinavian Masters, this event was formed in 1991 as the result of the merger of two other tournaments, and last year was moved forward in the calendar from its usual August date. It boasts one of the smaller prize funds on the European tour and tends not to attract the biggest names.
Only five of the twenty-three winners have been non Europeans, and three of the last five were Scandinavian.
After four years in Stockholm, last year the Nordea Masters moved to a new venue in Malmo. The Lakes course at the PGA Sweden National is similar to the Bro Hoff Slot course used since 2010. Water is in play at several holes, and there are some enormous bunkers to contend with. The fairways are wide, but exposed to the wind, so an ability to handle blustery conditions can be crucial to success there.
In The Bunker
Although Henrik Stenson has never won this event, he has three top-five finishes to his name, including last year when he played this course for the first time, and as the top-ranked player in the field he not surprisingly heads the antepost betting. Still, this is a tournament that can be affected by the weather and isn’t the best event to be taking a short price about any contender, so at 9/2, Stenson doesn’t appeal.
Alexander Noren is one of a number of Scandinavian players prominent in the betting and he offers more value than his compatriot, Stenson. He had been out of sorts for some weeks but returned to form with an eighth at Wentworth and played well in patches at the Irish Open.
Since winning this event in 2011, he has followed up with top tens in 2012 and 2013 and is a good bet to win it for a second time at 20/1.
Joost Luiten has had a modest season so far but his efforts at Wentworth two weeks ago were much more encouraging. A final round of 67 saw him finish just outside the top ten and should give him some momentum going into this event. He’s only played the tournament twice and managed a respectable eleventh in his last appearance, so given that he’s now finding form, looks a decent bet at 22/1.
After his third at the China Open, Alexander Levy appeared to be coming into form although two poor efforts since have been disappointing, particularly his missed cut at the Irish Open last week. But if you can overlook those efforts, he could be worth backing at big odds this week. Twelve months ago, he seemed to take a liking to the PGA Sweden National course, shooting a 66 in his final round, and at 35/1 this talented young Frenchman with bags of potential could be a dangerous outsider.