Summer in Europe means one thing for golf fans, top class European Tour events on home soil. The Open is on the horizon but there are plenty of tournaments to get your teeth stuck into beforehand, including this week’s BMW International. Some of the European Tour’s elite have pencilled in a trip to Germany and the Golf Club Gut Larchenhof for a crack at a large prize pot and vital ranking points in the race for a place in Darren Clarke’s Ryder Cup team.
Gut Larchenhof has hosted the BMW International twice before and is a fitting course for an event of this size. The par 71 layout, which was designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, measures 7,229 yards. It is a parkland layout which means that trees will be present to make shots from the rough particularly troubling but it is not what you’d describe as a tough test of driving. There are some very generous fairways which will allow the European Tour’s biggest hitters the opportunity to open up their shoulders and give the ball a good old whack. The greens are fairly big so accurate approach play is vital while there will be more than a couple of players who find the strategically placed water hazards.
A quick look at the bookies’ outright markets shows that there are some genuine stars of world golf in attendance this week. It would not be a surprise to see one of Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett or Andy Sullivan winning but they each played four rounds at the incredibly demanding Oakmont Country Club before catching a transatlantic flight. That’s got to take its toll so of those at the top of the betting, Henrik Stenson offers the most appeal.
The Swede withdrew from the US Open due to minor injuries to his neck and knee but it is likely that he foresaw he was going to miss the cut and so decided to call it a day. Stenson has suffered with knee problems in the past but underwent surgery to sort the issues out so his health should not be a major concern. The Swede is one of the most consistent players in the game and this week could be set up perfectly for him to claim a much needed win at odds of 10/1 with BetVictor.
Joost Luiten did not make the trip to Pennsylvania for the US Open and will have been glad to have a week’s rest. The Dutchman has been a top 10 machine on the European Tour this season and with the chance to iron out a few issues with his coach, he should be well in contention once again at Gut Larchenhof. He goes into the event as a 25/1 shot with Betfred and is well worth an each way bet.
Another player worth backing each way is Scott Hend who is priced at 55/1 with Bet365. The Australian is one of the very best drivers of a ball in the field this week. That will suit him very well at Gut Larchenhof. Hend threw away a good chance of winning at the BMW PGA Championship which should spur him onto a strong performance at another big European Tour event.