Luiten The Man To Beat In Lyoness Open
The European Tour moves on to Austria this week, where a decidedly weak looking field has assembled for the Lyoness Open, which is being played for the fifth consecutive year at the Diamond Country Club at Atzenbrugg. The 7,386yd Par 72 venue is a flat, quite exposed track, with generous fairways, and plenty of water hazards to avoid, particularly from the tee. Previous course winners here, excluding local hero Bernd Wiesberger indicate accuracy rather than power will be the key element required this week. Hot, sunny conditions with very light breezes are forecast for the four days, so expect a low scoring renewal this year.
From a punting angle, it seems very much a week where the winner will come from the top end of the market, such is the lack of depth in the field. The quality players with course form have to be the players to follow this week. Top ranked player in attendance is the incredible Miguel Angel Jiminez, who continues to amaze with his exploits at the mature age of 50!
My main fancy is defending champion Joost Luiten, who is in decent form, having finished 4th in the Open de Espana, and Tied 12th in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, in his last two starts. The ever improving Dutchman had a really good chance to also win this event in 2011, when he finished 3rd, so this layout very much suits his eye, and in a low key event, has to be the man to beat this week.
Another fancy is Frenchman Romain Wattel, who seems certain to be the next maiden French winner on the European Tour. The 23 year old started the year in great form, highlighted by a Tied 3rd place finish in Dubai, and returned from a quiet spell, with a solid Tied 11th place finish in the Nordea Masters last week. He finished Tied 3rd here last year, and Tied 18th the previous year, so this layout holds no fears for this emerging talent.
Of the others, the previously mentioned Miguel Angel Jiminez has to be feared in such a weak field, but gave the distinct impression in Malmo last week, with an uncharacteristic poor weekend, that he may need a rest, and previous winner and local favourite Bernd Wiesberger is struggling to find last years form, particularly with the flatstick(129th in putting stats).