Venue: Albatross Golf Resort, Prague
Date: August 23-26, 2018
Course stats: Par 72; 7,467 yards
Purse: €1 million (£896,000)
Defending champion: Haydn Porteous (-13)

TV coverage

Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 10am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 10am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 1pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 12pm

D+D Real Czech Masters preview

While this is technically one of the weakest tournaments of the season on the European Tour – both from a prize fund and field point of view – it played a huge part in Thomas Pieters securing a Ryder Cup wildcard pick two years ago.

The Belgian was just pipped to the post by Paul Peterson at the Albatross Golf Resort, but he carried his form into the Made in Denmark the following week where he went on to win and did enough to convince Darren Clarke to pick the long-hitting youngster in favour of Russell Knox.

Of course, Pieters then went on to become the top European points scorer at Hazeltine that year, and many were expecting him to kick on and he almost seemed as if he would be a lock for Paris this time around.

After a horrible run of form over the past year, it’s fair to say that Pieters probably hasn’t done enough to get a pick from Bjorn as it stands. But after the 26-year-old finished sixth at the PGA Championship two weeks ago, it looks as though he’s in almost the exact same position as he found himself two years ago.

If Pieters can get a win under his belt over the next few weeks, he could just make the side, especially as Rory McIlroy will likely be in Bjorn’s ear trying to convince the Dane.

And Pieters has a huge chance here at the weak Czech Masters where he is quite rightly the betting favourite.

D+D Real Czech Masters betting tips

The Albatross Golf Resort undoubtedly favours players that drive the ball a good distance and can take advantage of the par 5s.

And while that suits the favourite Pieters, he can’t be backed at a single-figure price given that he hasn’t tasted victory in almost two years.

Therefore I’m going to take a scatter-gun approach and back a bunch of strong off-the-tee players at big prices and hope that they can get their breakthrough here in the Czech Republic – just like Haydn Porteous did last year and Paul Peterson the year before.

JC Ritchie (100/1, 6 places, main photo) is a monster-hitting South African who can overpower this golf course and follow in the footsteps of compatriot Porteous who got his first win at this level last year.

Ritchie plays his golf predominantly on the Sunshine Tour in South Africa, and while the European Tour is a significant step-up in class, this 24-year-old finished third at the BMW SA Open at the beginning of the year when firing back-to-back 65s over the weekend – only Chris Paisley and Branden Grace finished ahead of him.

Ritchie is in strong form, too. He enters the week off the back of a third place last time out, and the week before he claimed his second win at professional level.

That’s Keel’s top pick for the week, but where does our betting expert think you can make some real profit? Find out on the next page…