Joost Luiten For KLM Open
A good quality field has pitched up in Holland this week for the KLM Open, which returns to the Kennemer Golf and Country Club in Zandvoort. The 6,626yd Par 70 track is a short classic links course, exposed to the wind, with a decidedly old fashioned feel about it.cThe fairways are undulating and quite generous, and the rough can be quite penal, although last year the rough was not as punitive as in previous years, due to very dry weather before the event. The type of player to follow around this quirky, thinking mans track, is an accurate ball striker, with a solid links pedigree, who if required has the ability to handle windy conditions. Previous winners here include Jose Maria Olazabal and Bernhard Langer, which is indicative of the class of player who will prosper this week. The weather is set fair for the tournament, with predominantly sunny skies, and only light winds forecast, so unlike some years, draw bias should not be an issue for this renewal.
We narrowly missed out last week with our 35-1 selection Brooks Koepka, but netted a healthy each way return. As far as this weeks betting heat is concerned, I like the event as a betting proposition, with plenty of course and distance form for my fancies, so hopefully I can pinpoint some more value bets.
My main fancy is defending champion Joost Luiten, who showed a welcome return to form, with a Tied 4th place finish in his last start in Italy a couple of weeks ago. The local hero who narrowly missed out on a Ryder Cup spot, started the year in fine style, but lost his form in midsummer, which as is the modern way it seems today, resulted in the parting of the ways with his long term caddy Martin Gray. He loves this track, having also finished 2nd here in 2007,and he showed last year that he could handle the pressure and the expectations of the home crowd, so on a course that ideally suits his game, I expect more of the same this year.
Another fancy is previous three time winner of this event Simon Dyson, who showed his distinct liking for this track by winning two of those titles at this venue. After being in the headlines for the wrong reasons last year (rule violation), the 36 year old has showed a real gritty resolve to climb up the Race to Dubai rankings to his current 35th place. He showed his current wellbeing, with a Tied 7th place finish in Italy, his fifth top ten finish this season, so this renowned links maestro must be fancied to contend again this week.
On his course form alone, I have to include Damien Mcgrane in my staking plan this week. He finished Tied 3rd here in last years renewal (rewarding the column at the juicy odds of 100-1!), having previously finished 3rd here in 2006 and 4th in 2009. This short links test is well suited to his tidy game, and he showed with his recent play off loss to David Horsey in the Russian Open, that he comes here in decent nick.