The Lyoness Open is the major golfing event in Austria and as such attracts a passionate following from the locals. For the sixth year in a row the tournament is hosted by the Diamond Country Club which recently became an official European Tour property. Unfortunately for the promoters of the event, it falls directly before the US Open so many of the Tour’s leading lights have opted to give this one a miss. Still, the fans will not be upset if local lad Bernd Wiesberger can win his home event for the second time.
The par-72 course can stretch to over 7,400 yards which makes it look a bit of a brute. However, it is not the distance that the players mention when talking about the challenge of this track. Rather they talk about how well designed and interesting it is, forcing patience and planning to get to the top of the leaderboard. Distance off the tee will not hamper anybody’s chances though which is a positive for Wiesberger.
Wiesberger is capable of overpowering courses when he has his best game. The 29-year-old hits the ball a mile so will be looking to take on the four par-fives, especially the 10th hole which measures a little over 500 yards. Wiesberger also has what it takes to overpower this field. He’s won amongst this level of competition before and has played against the very best this season, including when finishing in the top 25 in the Masters. Such is the strength of the Austrian’s chance of winning this week that some bookies have gone as short as 4/1. The best price you can find on him is Coral’s 11/2 which may not sound great but is probably fair.
Just underneath Wiesberger in the betting is the 16/1 shot (with BetVictor) Richie Ramsey. The Scot has had a great year so far on Tour. He won the Trophee Hassan II in March and has missed the cut just once. Ramsey is a top 20 machine currently, including his tied for 10th at the Irish Open. He showed at Royal County Down that his game can cope with the most testing conditions and that he’s not put off when competing against the Tour’s biggest names. He will have his work cut out to finish above Wiesberger but should he beat the Austrian, he could well walk away with his second victory of the season.
Nicolas Colsaerts is the most likely man in the field to hit it further than Wiesberger this week. The 32-year-old is deserving of his nickname the ‘Belgian Bomber’. He averages over 300 yards with his driver, a strength of his game that has seen him win twice on the European Tour. The distance of the Diamond Country Club will pose no threat to Colsaerts who is finding some form. He placed seventh at the Nordea Masters last week, hitting the ball as well as ever in the process. At 25/1, Colsaerts – who played in the 2012 Ryder Cup team – has a great chance to finally claim his third title on Tour.