Author: Paul Atkin
Published: 08:16 02/09/2014
Another good field has assembled in the Alps this week, for the co-sanctioned Omega European Masters, which takes place at the scenic Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club, in Crans Montana, Switzerland. Extensive changes were made to the 10th,12th,13th and 17th holes for last years renewal, including the addition of water hazards on each of these holes, and further changes have been made to the course this year, in particular the 14th hole, which now converts from a relatively easy Par 5, to a long Par 4. The course now becomes a Par 70, measuring 6.848yds, but plays shorter than the official yardage, due to the altitude, and unusually it has five tough short holes, with the very difficult 16th hole historically providing the sternest test. Accuracy and pinpoint iron play will be required this week, particularly with the new changes, and as ever the tricky upturned saucer greens will test the player's patience as well. Sunshine with possible showers and light winds are forecast for the four days, so if you like watching golf with breathtaking scenery this is definitely the week!
The field is headed by two former winners of this prestigious event, dual winner Thomas Bjorn, and Miguel Angel Jiminez, who incredibly competes here for the 26th consecutive time.(a great advert for Rioja and huge cigars!). With the likes of Ryder Cup rookies Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson also in the field, this should be a good betting heat.
My main fancy is the previously mentioned Victor Dubuisson, who will make his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles later this month. The young Frenchman has already shown that his surprise win in the high quality Turkish Airlines Open last November was no fluke, by contending in top quality events this year. He lost to Jason Day in a pulsating final of the WGC Accenture Match Play in Arizona, in which he displayed a short game prowess that the great Seve Ballesteros would have been proud of, and has also had top 10 finishes in both the Open Championship (Tied 9th) and USPGA Championship (Tied 7th). Further confidence can be gained by the fact he finished 3rd here over the new layout last year. Although the layers have taken no chances in pricing him up, I expect a bold show from this vastly improved golfer.
Another fancy is the big hitting American Brooks Koepka, who has predominantly played on the PGA Tour this year. The 24 year old has caught the eye since his fast track promotion to the main European Tour last year, particularly with a Tied 3rd place finish in Dubai earlier this year, and more latterly with a Tied 4th in the US Open, and a Tied 15th in the recent USPGA Championship. He finished a highly credible Tied 7th place on his course debut last year, so the layout seems to suit his eye.
My final fancy is the rejuvenated Bradley Dredge, who has returned from a spell in the wilderness, with two runner up finishes in his last two starts, the Made in Denmark, and the Czech Masters. After losing his Tour card last year, the Welshman has certainly found a rich vein of form recently, already earning sufficient to guarantee his Tour card for next year. He has a stellar record at this track, having won here in 2006, finishing 2nd in 2009, and 3rd in 2007,so with confidence sky high, another prominent display is expected this week.
Victor Dubuisson 14-1 E/W Paddy Power
Brooks Koepka 35-1 E/W Totesport
Bradley Dredge 45-1 E/W Betfred