It is nearly time for the second major of the year but before we turn our attentions fully to Oakmont Country Club for the US Open, we’ve got a decent looking tournament on the European Tour to enjoy in the shape of the Lyoness Open.
Given that the event was relegated to the Challenge Tour for a decade, the tournament organisers are by no means upset that they’ve been cast in the warmup role. With the added attraction of the excellent Diamond Country Club there is a relatively strong level of competition for us to get our teeth stuck into.
When you look at the scorecard for Diamond CC the first thing that you notice is the official yardage of 7,400 yards. That would be a real struggle for your average club golfer but European Tour pros are used to dealing with tracks of that sort of length and it’s not the first thing they mention when asked about the course. The pros are much more concerned about the challenge that Diamond CC sets in terms of course management. You cannot simply grip it and rip it at the Atzenbrugg course. It is vital for players and caddies to come up with a solid plan during their practice rounds to have any chance of success.
The man who best executed his plan at the 2015 Lyoness Open was Chris Wood. The Englishman showed from the start that he was full of confidence and there was no sign of nerves as he moved closer to the business end of the tournament. In fact, Wood was arguably at his best during the Sunday and although it is very tough to defend on the European Tour, Wood could hardly be in better form.
He’s been playing very well for a while now and that came to a head with the biggest win of his career so far at the BMW PGA Championship. His ball striking is world class, he’s in great form and another win this week at odds of 9/1 with Betfred could get him into the Ryder Cup.
Bernd Wiesberger has been putting in a lot of work to give himself the best chance of winning his home event for the second time. As well as winning in 2012 he also finished runner up at the 2014 event and after playing some practice rounds at Diamond CC he declared himself delighted with the way that the course is set up. The Austrian has not had the season that he’d have wished for so far but he’s not missed a cut for months and is the main challenger to Wood at 8/1 with Betfred.
Robert Dinwiddie had a solid career when he was on the Challenge Tour but it is fair to say that he’s found the step up to the European Tour tough to manage. So far his best performance on the European Tour came at last year’s Lyoness Open and he’ll be using the positive memories from that week as much as possible come Thursday. If he hits form here once again his odds of 125/1 with BetVictor will look huge.
Also this week: St Jude Classic