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RORY THE ONE TO WATCH, BUT HERE ARE LONGSHOTS

By Wes Reynolds  () 

The 2018-2019 PGA Tour season ended last week with Rory McIlroy winning the FedEx Cup at the Tour Championship. The Tour will now take two weeks off before the 2019-2020 season begins at The Greenbrier.

Meanwhile, the European Tour is still in full swing as they’ll approach the Race to Dubai. This week it makes its annual pilgrimage to the Swiss Alps and the beautiful Crans-Sur-Sierre Golf Club for the Omega European Masters. Speaking of McIlroy, he tops the board here this week at 4/1 as he makes his frst appearance in this event since 2011 mainly due to his commitments to the event’s title sponsor Omega Watches.

Although he is the class of the feld, it’s tough to bet McIlroy at such a short price considering he just won $15 million and is going back across the pond with no time off in between. The second choice is Matthew Fitzpatrick (8/1), who is the two-time defending champion of this event. Tommy Fleetwood (10/1), two-time event champion Alex Noren and 2015 winner Danny Willett both are slotted at 20/1. Last week’s Scandinavian Invitation winner, Erik Van Rooyen, tipped right here in Point Spread Weekly, is priced at 25/1 along with Matt Wallace. With the compressing of the PGA Tour schedule, including the majors, the feld quality of the European Tour events were weakened early on but should increase for the rest of the season and this week is no exception.

The Course

Crans-Sur-Sierre Golf Club in Crans Montana, Switzerland (about a two hour drive east of Geneva) has played host to this tournament since 1939. The legendary Seve Ballesteros redesigned this track in 1997 that was originally created in 1908. The course is a sub-7,000 yard, par 70 is played at altitude in the Swiss Alps. It is a tree-lined, undulating test with tiny bent/poa greens that are guarded by bunkers and run-off areas. Four of the par-4s measure less than 400 yards whereas two stretch over 500 yards, plus there are fve par-3s between 175 and 235 yards, however with the undulation changes and altitude the holes don’t necessarily play as the card suggests. This is a place where GIR and Scrambling really matters, which should come as no surprise considering that Seve was one of the best ever in both of those categories.

Recent History/Winners

2018: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-17/263) 12/1

2017: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-14/266) 30/1

2016: Alexander Noren (-17/263) 18/1

2015: Danny Willett (-17/263) 16/1

2014: David Lipsky (-18/262) 125/1

2013: Thomas Bjorn (-20/264) 40/1

2012: Richie Ramsay (-16/267) 80/1

2011: Thomas Bjorn (20/264) 55/1

2010: M.A. Jimenez (-21/263) 18/1

Note that fve of the last six events (2013-14, 2016-18) have been decided in playoffs.

Selections

Bernd Wiesberger 30/1

Arguably the worldwide comeback player of the year with two victories (Made in Denmark and Scottish Open) already this season, he was low as 378th in the world earlier this season and now sits 41st. He ranks 5th on the tour in GIR (72.9%).

Lucas Bjerregaard 30/1

While this has been an event mainly geared toward ballstrikers, bombers like the Dane Bjerregaard have fared well here. Last year, he lost in a playoff to Fitzpatrick and fnished 9th here the year prior. Other bombers have played well here of late like Scott Hend, who featured in back-to-back playoffs in 2016 and 2017. He doesn’t come in with great form as he’s missed eight of his last twelve cuts after taking down Tiger Woods at the WGC-Dell Match Play and reaching the fnal four. However, in that span, he did fnish in the top 25 in three of the four majors and does come into this event fairly wellrested with three weeks off. 

Lee Westwood 40/1

Westwood won here exactly 20 years ago and has several top 5s and top 10s since. He is a defnite course ft as he is currently ranked 7th in SG: Approach (1.23) and 4th in Scrambling. The Par 3s are the most diffcult holes in this course and Westwood ranks 6th (2.92) in Par 3 Scoring. The ballstriking has stayed true and he should come in with confdence posting his best major fnish since 2016 (T2 Masters) with a T4 at Royal Portrush earlier this summer.

Andrew Johnston 60/1

“Beef” has posted his best two 2019 fnishes in two of his last three events with a T4 at the Scottish Open and a T10 at the Czech Masters. He is currently 77th in the Race to Dubai standings (Top 70 qualify) and needs a couple good runs to qualify. He ranks in the top 30 in GIR and SG: Approach and is 15th in Scrambling and featured here back in 2016 fnishing 3rd.

Adri Arnaus 100/1

Had a near miss in this column a couple weeks ago with a runner-up at the Czech Masters. The young Spaniard did follow that disappointment up with a MC at the Scandinavian Invitation but he should be a solid ft here. He ranks 10th in GIR (72.4%) and 2nd in SG: Off the Tee ( 0.973).

Ashun Wu 100/1

A bit of a horse for course here as he’s fnished 6th and 9th respectively here the last two years. 

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