This week sees the third renewal of the D&D REAL Czech Masters. It’s only a young event on the European Tour but it is certainly one which has caught the attention of the continent’s best players. Of course it helps that there is a healthy prize purse for those who play well but the biggest draw is the host venue, Albatross Golf Resort.
Just like the tournament itself, Albatross is a young venue. It was only opened in 2010 and in that time the parkland course has been rated as the number one course in the Czech Republic. It is a beautiful venue but anybody who takes their eye off the challenge it poses will quickly find themselves going backwards on the leaderboard.
At 7,467 yards, the course is a very demanding test of distance but it is also tough in terms of accuracy and ball striking. There are a number of hazards including lakes and some strategically placed bunkers and avoiding them becomes tough when the wind gets up.
As you would expect for such a long course, the most powerful players in the field are going to have a real advantage. Not only will they be able to fly a number of the most troubling hazards but they’ll leave themselves shorter irons into the greens which can be tricky to hit. Finally, the course’s par fives rank amongst the easiest holes and it will be important to take full advantage of them.
Thomas Pieters will have some very special moments when he returns to Albatross Golf Resort this week. The big hitting Belgian won his maiden European Tour title here last year and 12 months of hard lessons on both the European and PGA Tours later he is back to defend. He’s had a number of issues to deal with since, including injury and a loss of form but he looks back to something like his best having placed fourth the Olympics last week. His power hitting will be a big advantage and at odds of 10/1 with Bet365 he is going to take some beating this week.
Matt Fitzpatrick finds himself in the final position for Ryder Cup qualifying going into this week. The young Sheffield golfer has firmly established himself on the European Tour but he knows that his inexperience could count against him in terms of a captain’s pick so he needs points to guarantee himself of a place in the European team at Hazeltine. That is going to require a very good performance amongst this level of competition but having finished third at this event last season, Fitzpatrick should be fancied to go well at odds of 16/1 with Betfred.
Oliver Fisher has had a tough time of it over the past few years but there may be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. The Englishman had a good run to the semi finals of the Paul Lawrie Match Play a couple of weeks ago which will give him a much needed shot of confidence. Fisher’s only European Tour win so far came at the 2011 Czech Open played at Albatross and that makes him worthy of a small stakes bet at 100/1 with Coral.