The European Tour proper returns this week with the much-anticipated UK Swing, starting with the British Masters at Close House.
- Related: How Close House came through the pandemic ready to kick-start the European Tour season
- Related: How Close House will host a very different British Masters in 2020
- Related: How Lee Westwood made himself part of the furniture at Close House
Venue: Close House, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England
Date: July 22-25, 2020
Course stats: Par 71; 6,872 yards
Course summary: Designed by Scott Macpherson and named after architect Harry Colt, The ‘Colt’ course has undergone some changes since the last time the British Masters arrived at Close House in 2017. We chatted to Lee Westwood about the changes and what to expect. You can read what he has to say here.
Purse: £2 million
Defending champion: Marcus Kinhult (-16)
British Masters TV coverage
Wednesday: Sky Sport Main Event from 12pm, Sky Sports Golf from 3pm
Thursday: Sky Sport Main Event from 12pm, Sky Sports Golf from 3pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 1.30pm
British Masters betting: Each-way tips
Justin Harding (45/1 with bet365) won his first European Tour title at the Qatar Masters in 2019, in a year where he also finished 12th at the Masters. The World No 117 also played well in the UK last year, finishing 7th at the Dunhill Links. The South African was one of the best putters on tour last season, and despite not being as successful with the flatstick so far in 2020, he still ranks 45th in Putts-per-Round.
Jordan Smith (28/1) had a consistent start to the European Tour season before the break, with five out of five cuts made and a top 10 finish. In a creative attempt to replicate competitive golf during the lockdown, Smith finished second in the BMW Indoor Trackman Invitational, demonstrating his game has remained strong through the break. The British Masters is a tournament that seems to have inspired Smith in the last two years, securing a 6th and a 3rd place finish. As an accurate driver of the ball, who also hits over 70% of GIR, Jordan Smith will have a great chance here if the putter is hot after a long break.
Ross Fisher (30/1) is a golfer with more reasons than most to be excited about the six UK Swing events, with two being hosted at Celtic Manor, venue of the famous 2010 Ryder Cup victory. Fisher says his game is “in a great place” and that he has had the opportunity to practice regularly with the likes of Francesco Molinari. The Englishman was clearly on a return to form before the break, with three top-10 finishes in five starts.
British Masters betting: The long shot
Robin Sciot-Siegrist (125/1) had a four-shot lead after three rounds of the Euram Bank Open last week, only to shoot a birdie-free 5-over-par on Sunday. Nevertheless, the eventual 3rd place represents a second top five finish in five events for the Frenchman. Going into the first of the six British events, he ranks 11th in driving accuracy and 23rd in putts-per-round, which translates to plenty of birdie opportunities if he can hit greens-in-regulation consistently. This player has already demonstrated he can shoot low after posting a course-record 61, including nine birdies, last week.
British Masters Tournament betting: Top tip
Tipping Lee Westwood (8/1) this week will obviously come with positive and negative aspects. As the host of the event, he will have more to worry about than most, after months of preparation. However, course knowledge and practice will surely count for a lot after what has been a long break from competitive golf. There are few that know this course better than Lee Westwood, and with a win already this season in Abu Dhabi the Englishman can outwit the field this week.
When this tournament was last hosted at Close House in 2017, Westwood finished 15th with a respectable 10-under-par. That experience as an event host, and a top 20 to back it up, increases my confidence that Westwood can better that finish second time around.
For more prices, visit bet365.