Selectabet: The Czech Open
August 18, 2011 Leave a comment
Date: 18th – 21st August 2011
Competition: Czech Open
This week, and after the excitement of two relative unknowns (Fatty and Skinny?) fighting it out for the lesser of the four Major Championship Trophy’s and the one that no European seemed to want, we arrive at the very edge of Planet Golf for the Semtex sponsored Czech Open. Expect it to be an explosive affair offering the sophisticated first prize of knedlíky, roast pork and dumplings washed down with Pilsner Urquell for the victor on Sunday evening.
Venue: Prosper Golf Resort, Celadna (Old Course)
Miguel Angel Jiménez (18/1 at BetFred and Bet 365) is the course designer and, rather surprisingly, also the Face of the Tournament. Crikey! As such, he should know a thing or two about how it is to be played – perhaps that explains why he calls this place his home from home. Jiménez created the two hilly courses, which opened in 2001 (Old) and 2003 (New), with accuracy in mind, as most of the fairways are narrow and lined with trees. Both courses are situated within the shadow of the Beskydy Mountain range, affording spectacular views of the surrounding scenery.
Yards: 7,452 yards
In a zero calorie field this week, the Czech Republics’ finest talent is playing (No! Not Ivan Lendl and Martina Navratilova though noticeably the Czechs have a rare talent for the bat and bouncy ball far outweighing their long stick and dimpled ball prowess) but Czech the odds on this lot: Rudolf Nechanicky (949/1 at Betfair), Lukas Tintera (1500/1) and Lukás LizÁnek (1500/1) (both Bet365).
They were in no way short of willing players but let’s welcome one time Open Championship leader (with a 63 in the first round at St Andrews in 1990!) for 46 year old (this week) veteran PGA Pro, Paul Broadhurst (300/1 at Bet 365) who is fresh from the PGA Championship…back in 2006.
Ten Ryder Cup players “headline” the field in the tournament’s third successive season on The European Tour, having returned in 2009 following a 12 year hiatus an includes Ignacio Garrido, Oliver Wilson, Søren Hansen, Phillip Price, Paul McGinley, Joakim Haeggman, Jarmo Sandelin and The Mechanic himself.
Though did Jiménez overindulge on the “home brew” in designing a back-nine where he included four doglegged par four holes in succession before the signature 15th hole is played? This 169 yard par three is played to an island green where quite literally, anything other than a great tee shot, will be severally punished!
Ones to watch:
In only his second season on the full tour George Coetzee (25/1 at SkyBet) has performed well enough to secure his card for 2012 and buoyed by a handful of top 7 results including third placing at both the Barclays Scottish and the BMW German, Pretorian Born Coetzee is deadly with the putter and victory here could put the Springbok in his step.
Recent good form should also dictate that David Howell (60/1 at Bet365) is in with a shout finishing 8th place in Ireland, and as a Dubai resident is keen to not sit out the World Championships in the year ending finale as he has for the last two years. He is also inspired by providing a lasting memorial to his Mother who died two weeks ago.
Ones to win:
Poster boy, former teaching professional from interestingly titled “Swingers” Golf Centre in Lichfield and an all round good guy receives a nod and wink from me this week. Robert Rock (33/1 at SkyBet and BetFred) is having a career best season having joined the winners rostrum with a first victory at the BMW Italian Open earlier this season and with it an oh-so-late admission to the US Open to finish 23rd. Rock is long, accurate and aided by the major hangover affecting the field will be fighting for a high finish and secure a valuable top 60 placing in the Race to Dubai.
Five top five’s this have catapulted this young Scot to well within sight of a respectable first full year on the European Tour however it is only victory that has so far eluded him. The Scot in question is quite obviously Scott Jamieson (35/1 at BetDaq and BetFair) who at 36th in the Race to Dubai, will be keen to follow Countryman and Eisenhower Trophy partner Richie Ramsay in to the winners circle. Watch this space….