With the PGA Tour’s finest resting up on a beach, attentions turn to the European Tour and the fabulous Crans-sur-Sierre. Steve Carroll marks your card
Rory McIlroy is the chief attraction as world golf focuses its attention on the European Tour but how will the new FedEx Cup champion get on? Steve Carroll considers that and more in his European Masters betting tips.
Venue: Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, Switzerland
Date: August 29-September 1, 2019
Course stats: Par 70, 6,848 yards
Course summary: The stunning setting doesn’t just take a player’s breath away, it makes the ball fly further as well as this compact and undulating parkland is 5,000 feet above sea level. Greens in regulation are key, so look for accurate iron players and those who can also get up and down. Attacking the par 5s, which are relatively easy, could also make the difference.
Purse: €2 million
Defending champion: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-17, beat Lucas Bjerregaard in a play-off)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 10.30am, Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 2.30pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf and Main Event, 10.30am, Sky Sports Golf, 2.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf, 11.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf, 11am
European Masters betting tips: Steve’s players to follow
Rory McIlroy (7/2 with bet365) is the class act in this field and arrives in Switzerland having just bagged $15 million for winning the FedEx Cup at East Lake.
So how to assess the Northern Irishman’s chances? His record, such as it is, on this course is good. He’s finished 3rd, 7th and 2nd in three appearances, although his last was in 2011.
He couldn’t be in better form but what is his motivation for playing this event? Obviously, he’ll want to win – as he does whenever he turns up – but is this a serious tilt at a title or a box-ticking exercise to ensure he retains his Ryder Cup playing privileges?
How will the cross Atlantic travel affect him? Either way, there’s enough doubt here for me to swerve this very short price.
He’ll probably hose up now, as his deadly driving could assault these par 5s and his greatly improved wedge play could leave some of these holes at his absolute mercy.
But there will be better opportunities – like last week, for example, to cash in again on Rory.
McIlroy is such a short favourite, in fact, that defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick (8/1) – a man who has won the last two years around this track – lags behind.
How can you bet against another run from Fitzpatrick? Runner up at the Scandinavian Invitation last week, that looks a perfect tune-up for a course that the Sheffield man has owned in recent years.
His record from 2015 reads 2nd, 7th, 1st and 1st and McIlroy’s involvement here means you’re getting a bit more value on a price that would surely have been halved had the four-time major winner decided not to get on his jet.
With playing credentials starting to look on the line, the Englishman has responded by putting together a tied 3rd at the Czech Masters and backing that up with a top 10 in Sweden.
Sitting at 116th in the Race to Dubai, he can’t afford to rest on his laurels and, though he missed the cut here last year, I’m going to put down a small investment that his good form continues.
Andrew Johnston (66/1) recorded a top 10 at the Hills Golf Club to continue his upward trend that saw him finish with a 62 at the Scottish Open to record a top 5 and get into the field at Royal Portrush.
He missed the cut there but what I liked about his performance at the Scandinavian Invitation was that his good play, he finished 63 and 65 at the weekend, came despite having not played since festivities in Northern Ireland.
A lot of this field had competed the week before in Prague so I’d like to take his opening two 70s as blowing the cobwebs away.
He should find Crans-sur-Sierre to his liking and, indeed, has a third place finish there in 2016. If he can continue his revival, a firing Beef definitely has the tools to make those odds look a bit daft.
For the latest prices, visit bet365.