Venue: The Dutch, Spijk, Netherlands
Date: September 13-16, 2018
Course stats: Par 71; 6,983 yards
Purse: €1.8 million (£1.6m)
Defending champion: Romain Wattel (-15)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf – Red Button from 10.30am
Friday: Sky Sports Golf – Red Button from 10.30am
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf – Red Button from 12.00pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf – Red Button from 12.00pm
KLM Open preview
We’re at that awkward stage of the season where we’re all waiting for the FedEx Cup finale and of course the Ryder Cup.
With no PGA Tour event this week, the European Tour whets the appetite by heading to the…KLM Open.
Yeah, it doesn’t exactly get the juices flowing, but a half-decent field has assembled here in Spijk where Lee Westwood headlines alongside Eddie Pepperell and Matt Wallace.
For the third year running, The Dutch plays host and it’s a venue that has produced two strong tournaments.
Romain Wattel held his nerve last year to see off the likes of Westwood, Pepperell and Kiradech Aphibarnrat while, two years ago, Joost Luiten delighted the home fans by sealing a three-stroke win.
Designed by Colin Montgomerie in partnership with European Golf Design, The Dutch is a wide-open inland links where wind can play a big factor.
KLM Open betting tips
The bookies make Westwood the favourite this week, but the player I like just behind him in the betting is Eddie Pepperell (20/1, 8 places).
It was easy to see why he very nearly won here last year. The Englishman plays his best stuff on links courses and that was again evidenced by his performances at The Open (6th) and Scottish Open (2nd) earlier this year.
The Dutch is an exposed layout and Pepperell, who often sprays his driver, can be his fairly erratic self here and get away with it.
The premium is placed on the second shot and Pepperell is the best iron player in this field, with only Alexander Bjork ahead of him in strokes gained: approach this year.
The 27-year-old’s sole European Tour victory came in Qatar at the beginning of the season at the linksy Doha Golf Club, another exposed layout where wind often plays a big part.
Playing with the Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn a few weeks ago in Denmark would’ve been a fairly nervy experience for Pepperell, who at the time still had a chance of making the European team.
Combined with the awfully tight golf course, it was understandable to see him fall down the leaderboard over the weekend to a 56th place finish.
Back on familiar, comfortable surroundings this week, Pepperell should go well and is the best bet of the week.
Matthew Southgate (40/1, 8 places) is another Englishman that plays his best golf on links courses and this layout should be ideal for his game.
Indeed, Southgate’s two career-best finishes have come at Royal Birkdale and Portstewart – the only thing missing from his CV is a win at this level.
He’s come close on a number of occasions, but that victory is seemingly inevitable and this low-grade event could be the ideal opportunity to strike.
Southgate finished 51st in his only appearance here two years ago, where he posted rounds of 65 and 68 before stumbling to a final round 76.
Two years on, he’s clearly improved immeasurably as a player and he enters the week off the back of seven straight made cuts and top-30 finishes in each of his last three starts.
Those are Keel’s top tips for the KLM Open, but where does he think you can really make some profit? Find out on the next page…