The DP World Tour returns to Rinkven International for the Soudal Open. Scroll down for my Soudal Open betting tips, but first…
Soudal Open preview
Venue: Rinkven International, Antwerp, Belgium
Date: May 11-14, 2023
Course stats: Par 71; 6,940 yards
Purse: $2 million
Defending champion: Sam Horsfield
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 12pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 12pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
2023 Soudal Open betting tips
The Banker: Yannik Paul @ 20/1
Yes… I can hear the groans of “What Again…?” ringing around the room, but I simply cannot quit on Yannik Paul, who I believe is going to pick up his second win imminently.
Sure, we saw the return of shot link data last week, and it wasn’t the kindest on Yannik Paul who only marginally gained on Approach, but his Off the Tee numbers were solid again barring the final round, and he was 8th going into Sunday once more.
The German is right in the mix for a Ryder Cup spot based on points, but if he falls out of the places, which is certainly possible, he will be putting himself firmly in the mix for one of Luke Donald’s six Captain’s Picks, unless his form falls away dramatically. A win this week would largely take care of that, as he could then play just solidly for the rest of the year and qualify, rather than needing to rely on the dramatics as the season goes on.
Where better to get his second win than on a course where he finished 2nd last year on debut, finishing two shots adrift of Sam Horsfield in the end? Paul should have every confidence of another big week here and I have full faith in him in a field of this strength.
The Each-Way: Ugo Coussaud @ 60/1
This one can pretty much go one of two way’s and I’m not entirely sure there is a middle ground at this point. Road to Mallorca leader, Ugo Coussaud is in the field this week looking to translate his incredible form on the Challenge Tour into a strong effort at the next level. The good news for the Frenchman is that he’s playing in Belgium, which is close to France and French is one of three languages spoken in the country, so he should feel largely at home this week.
His last three starts on the Challenge Tour have seen Coussaud finish 1st, 15th, and 2nd and when you look at his co-sanctioned form in the Sunshine Tour/Challenge Tour events, he has also played well, finishing 2nd in Cape Town, 6th at Di Data, and back-to-back top 20s after that.
I say this can go one of two ways, because we are either getting a bit of value on Coussaud because there’s still a bit of the unknown about him, or we are going to quickly find out this is a step too far at the moment, and the 70/1 might be the shortest price we are asked to take on him for a while. I have every reason to believe it will be the former, as we have seen many in-form Challenge Tour players step up over the years, and there is no reason why Coussaud can’t be the latest.
Another Each Way: Santiago Tarrio @ 70/1
In contrast to Yannik Paul who didn’t look as good on paper when Shotlink Data returned last week, Santiago Ben Tarrio of Spain couldn’t have looked much better! The Spaniard led the field in SG Approach last week and was 3rd overall in SG Tee to Green, and that is a great sign going into an event that demands all facets of your game are in good shape.
This tree-lined technical course is right up his street and I think he can impress now he’s returned to his sort of layout, just as he did in Kenya when 3rd not too long ago. It was a different course when Sam Horsfield did it, but Horsfield went 8th and 3rd in the two Kenya events in 2021 and then came here and won in 2022, and I think Tarrio can walk a similar path and add to his 3rd at Muthaiga Golf Club, with a win or at least a contending effort here.
Very much the volatile type at the moment, it really does take the stars to align for Tarrio who needs the right course, on the right week, but his effort in Italy last week suggests this might be it.
The Long-Shot: Will Besseling @ 125/1
Will Besseling won’t be the type that immediately comes to mind on a tree-lined technical track, but I think the Dutchman can excel here after finding some form in recent weeks, with top-26 finishes in Italy and in Japan.
The Dutchman played here last year finishing in a tie for 23rd, but it was his ball striking from that event last year that really caught my eye. Besseling led the field in Driving Distance, ranked 5th in SG Off the Tee, and was 3rd in the field for Greens in Regulation. There is no doubt that it was his short game that held him back last year, and if he can buck that trend this time around he could contend.
He might switch up his tactic this year and not attempt to overpower the course this time and reign it in a bit, or he might just go with what he felt would work last year and hope he gets a bit more fortune as the week goes along. Either way is fine with me, but ultimately this is a player that was often on many a shortlist due to his ball-striking prowess, and I now think at 125-1 in a weak field, after two top 26 finishes in recent weeks, that he’s slightly overpriced.
A 3rd in Valderrama and a 7th in Kenya (on the Challenge Tour) suggests he can play these technical courses well when on form, and he certainly seems to be finding his way in recent weeks. Time for him to turn the top 26 finishes into the top-eight finishes so we can secure an each-way payout at the very least.