Nordea Masters 2014 – Golf Tips & Picks

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.

The Tournament
It boasts one of the smaller prize funds on the European tour and tends not to attract the biggest names. Only four of the twenty-two winners have been non Europeans, and four of the last five were Scandinavian.

The Course
After four years in Stockholm, this year the Nordea Masters moves 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
It’s no surprise to see Henrik Stenson topping the antepost betting for an event that he came close to winning in 2004 and 2005. He’s made the top ten on his last two European Tour outings, including a strong seventh at Wentworth last week and is the highest ranked player entered here. Another top ten for Stenson looks inevitable, but odds of 6/1 are too short and better value can be found elsewhere.

Recommended Bets
At much bigger odds than the favourite, Stenson’s fellow Swede, Jonas Blixt, makes more appeal. He suffered a bit of a hangover after his second at the Masters and produced a couple of disappointing efforts on the PGA Tour, but showed improved form at Wentworth, putting in a solid four rounds and finishing in the top twenty. Blixt finished second in this event last year and can be backed at 20/1.

Thomas Bjorn suffered last day slump at Wentworth, letting a five shot lead slip and finishing third, but he can bounce back in Sweden this week. He played some superb golf last week and remains in the kind of form that has taken him to the top of the Race to Dubai rankings. Compensation for last week’s disappointment awaits at an event where he has three times finished in the top ten and he should be backed at 20/1.

Shane Lowry missed the cut in his only attempt at this event in 2012, but he was in dreadful touch at the time. Two years on, his form could not be better. He finished runner up to Rory McIlroy at Wentworth on Sunday, then on Monday won the US Open qualifying event at Walton Heath. There is reason to think that the wind-swept course in Malmo will be to his liking and he offers excellent value at a hefty 33/1.