The European Tour is back at Golf Club Eichenried in Munich this week for the BMW International Open and Matt Cooper has three each-way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...
"Now he returns to a circuit on which he has three wins in his last 15 starts and he’s also playing a layout that ought to suit him down to the ground."
Main Bet: John Catlin 1pt each-way @ 50/1
Regardless of whatever else happens this week at Golf Club Eichenried, let's hope that Italy's Andrea Pavan finds the return to the scene of his second European Tour victory as a prompt for a revival in form, whether remarkable or even just minor (golf at the weekend would do).
Close observers of the circuit will have noticed the 32-year-old's difficulties since the start of 2020 and it's safe to say that it stings just to read the scores alongside his name every week, so it is anyone's guess what agonies he must be going through in racking them up (he hasn't made a cut since the start of August).
I've found myself often recalling his Challenge Tour Grand Final victory at San Domenico in 2011, a day that said much about both him and the man he beat in a final round duel, Tommy Fleetwood.
Afterwards, the Englishman was asked if missing out on the win hurt. "Well, I finished first in the rankings and played well back home in England," he said with a shrug and a smile. "It's nice that Andrea got to enjoy winning on home soil."
Of course, Fleetwood would have preferred the win, but he was gracious in defeat. Told of those words, Pavan said: "Tommy is very nice guy and win many more times, I think. After he say this, I 'ope so."
Fleetwood has done just that. Can Pavan overcome his problems? I'm sure we all 'ope so. Forza Andrea.
What of our tips this week? The tournament visits Golf Club Eichenried in Munich every other year and it's a parkland track that is well-wooded.
Finding lots of greens in regulation and/or scrambling well is a decent combination any week, but it's tended to be especially useful on this track and given the tree-lined fairways it makes me think fondly of an old friend of the column, John Catlin.
Since then he has ventured to the States and struggled, missing cuts in the AT&T Byron Nelson and the PGA Championship, but he's also had a month off since the last of those efforts.
Now he returns to a circuit on which he has three wins in his last 15 starts and he's also playing a layout that ought to suit him down to the ground.
The first of those three wins was at tree-lined Valderrama, the second at tree-lined Galgorm Castle, the third over the German-Austrian border at Diamond Country Club in Vienna.
Of them all I'd say Galgorm is the most similar to this week's test but each has similarity of sorts and in all three his short game was superb, while in the latter two he hit plenty of greens.
He has actually played Eichenried, back in 2019 when he was encountering the European Tour for a first time, and he made the cut thanks to an excellent second round 66.
He's a more confident golfer now and can improve on that this week.
Next Best: Stephan Jaeger 1pt each-way @ 66/1
At first glance Stephan Jaeger's record in his home country would warrant nothing more than a thick line of marker pen ink through his name.
He played this event, on this course, in 2011 and carded 73-77 to miss the cut. Four years later he carded 75-77 to again go home early.
The same year he scored 76-68 to miss the cut in the European Open and 73-77 saw him make it three cut failures in the tournament at Gut Larchenhof in 2018.
The 32-year-old has never given the European Tour a crack, however, preferring to stay on in the States after his spell at the University of Tennessee.
He made a few headlines in 2016 when carding a 58 on his way to victory on the second tier Korn Ferry Tour (then the Web.com) and in 2017 he won twice at the same level.
In 2018 he struggled on the PGA Tour, but stepped back to the KFT when missing out at THE PLAYERS and won yet again.
There were more struggles at the top level in 2019 and this time it transferred to the lower levels, but a win last August pepped him up.
His last 20 starts include two wins on the KFT, two three seconds, and, in all, nine top seven finishes. He's also 3-for-3 at making the cut on the PGA Tour in that run.
I'm more than content to take his wretched home turf form on with his excellent recent results.
Final Bet: Matthias Schwab 1pt each-way @ 25/1
Incredibly this is the first time I have backed the Austrian Matthias Schwab and I confess to a certain shock, but while I often find myself thinking "Why this week?" this time I found myself wondering if it really could be his week.
The 26-year-old enjoyed a solid rookie campaign in 2018, ticking off 13 top 30 finishes, and he upped the ante in 2019 with 16 of them.
More importantly, he kept getting himself into contention, eventually landing 10 top 10s.
His world ranking rose, he got starts on the PGA Tour, Covid came, lockdown too, and his 2020 became a bit of a mess.
But he's become a bit of a machine again in 2021, landing five top 12 finishes in his last seven starts (and has ended a round in the top 12 in 15 of last 21 circuits).
Why this week? Firstly, he likes Germany, posting three top seven finishes from five starts and in each of that trio he was tied second at some point ahead of the final round.
But also I'm happy to not shy away from his experience of this event two years ago when he was one shot back after 54 holes and then opened up a two-shot lead heading into the back nine.
He was caught, but that experience could be the trigger to get him over the line.
MATT'S 2021 P/L
2020 P/L: -32pts
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