Venue: Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, Crans Montana
Date: September 6-9, 2018
Course stats: Par 70; 6,848 yards
Purse: €2.5 million (£2.2m)
Defending champion: Matthew Fitzpatrick (-14)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 10.30am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 10.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 11.30am
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 11.00am
Omega European Masters preview
Golf Club Crans-Sur-Sierre may not win any awards for hosting the best tournament or attracting the most prestigious field, but surely if there was a prize for the most stunning course on tour, this venue would be the hands-down runaway winner.
Indeed, set in the idyllic ski resort of Crans Montana in the Swiss Alps, the Omega European Masters is an undoubted highlight on the European Tour schedule and the stop always tends to produce fascinating tournaments.
With a roll-call boasting the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and more recently Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, this is one of the tournaments that the players are desperate to add to their CVs.
Last year’s winner Matthew Fitzpatrick is back to defend his title after missing out on a Ryder Cup spot last week in Denmark.
Omega European Masters betting tips with NetBet Sport
Coming in as a par-70 at shy of 6,900 yards, this is little more than a pitch and putt for today’s modern day professionals.
However, scoring here tends not to be too low and that’s because of the tight fairways which lead to some of the tiniest greens on tour. Combine that with the challenges of controlling distances due to the increase in altitude, and you have a superb test of golf that doesn’t really suit one particular type of golfer.
Alex Noren, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Danny Willett have won here in the last three years, and all three are certainly more comfortable when shaping the ball from left-to-right, so perhaps that is an angle worth pursuing this week.
Fitzpatrick is certainly the one to beat this week, but even though he played nicely in Denmark, I’m not sure how he will react to missing out on the Ryder Cup so I’m happy to leave him alone at the short quotes of 10/1.
Instead, I’ll kick things off with a recent European Tour winner in the form of Alexander Bjork (50/1, 7 places).
The Swede had his first taste of competition on American soil when playing the Bridgestone Invitational and then the PGA Championship at Bellerive last month, and by all accounts he performed well given it was all rather new to him.
There were no surprises then when he returned to home soil at the Nordea Masters a few weeks ago and missed the cut – the hectic schedule probably got the best of him combined with the pressure of being the top ranked home hope.
He’s had a few weeks off since then and he returns to Crans-sur-Sierre, a golf course where he finished 16th last year in his first attempt on the layout.
There’s no doubt he’s improved considerably over the past 12 months so he should go close yet again this year.
Aaron Rai (80/1, 5 places) consistently ranks as one of the most accurate players on the tour and this short, fiddly track should suit his game perfectly.
The Challenge Tour graduate has gone close in a number of European Tour events over the past year, but I suspect he’ll be feeling pretty annoyed having not notched his first win at this level yet.
Rai was very similarly matched with Julian Suri when the two were battling it out on the Challenge Tour last year, and the American’s career has taken off as he has won on the European Tour and now plays a lot of his golf on the PGA Tour.
Wolverhampton-born Rai is more than capable of winning at this level, and I doubt he’ll have to wait much longer for it to arrive – indeed, this could be the perfect venue for him to get off the mark.
Those are Keel’s top tips with NetBet, but where does he think you can really make some money? Find out his each-way tips on the next page…