Czech Masters Each-Way Tips: Probably the best story if Karlberg wins

Rikard Karlberg golfer
Karlberg was second at the recent Irish Open.

The European Tour heads east for the Czech Masters and Matt Cooper has three each-way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...

"A bit of form, a course that suits, good memories, and a clear perspective. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it all prompted another week in-contention?"

Rikard Karlberg 1pt each-way @ 56.055/1

Main Bet: Rikard Karlberg 1pt each-way @ 55/1

It takes a brave man to suggest Karlberg in the home of Pilsner, but I've never lacked for courage (of the very meek punning kind).

Keen followers of the column may recall that I was rather keen to back Rikard Karlberg last week on the Jack Nicklaus design at London Golf Club, but unfortunately he was keeping his powder dry for this week.

No matter, Jamie Donaldson did us proud, chasing the win deep into the back nine on Sunday before securing the full place payout and a nice profit.

But perhaps Karlberg knew exactly what he was doing, because this week's venue holds fond memories for him.

It was on the par-72 7,467-yard course at Albatross Golf Resort near Prague that the Swede enjoyed a revival of form on the 2019 European Tour after a two year period of ill health.

In the run-up to that effort, when he flirted with the lead throughout the week, he had played well in Finland and Austria.

Two years on he's missed a lot of cuts, but he also finished tied second in the Irish Open last month, a result that also got him a start at the Open.

His return to Prague is likely to inspire memories of that fine spell of golf two years ago and it can fuel more good stuff.

In a European Tour blog shortly after his week in the Czech capital he wrote: "The core issue was that I had a build-up of mental and physical stress from an infection. I never rested and I kept playing and in the end my body just said 'no.'

"After that I was in bed for almost six months. In the end the doctor told me, 'The reason I think you're not getting better is because you have depression.'

"My comeback started on the Challenge Tour and I didn't expect to feel so good on the golf course again so quickly. The big win for me was just seeing that I could have energy for 72 holes and be up near the top of the leaderboard.

"I'm really enjoying playing golf again and loving life at the moment. I'm not feeling any pressure when it comes to results. When you come through the issues I've come through, you learn a lot about what's really important."

A bit of form, a course that suits, good memories, and a clear perspective. Wouldn't it be wonderful if it all prompted another week in-contention?

Next Best: Garrick Porteous 1pt each-way @ 45/1

I sometimes daydream about starting a Twitter betting account that features preposterous betting trends.

My intention would not be to belittle trend spotters - on the contrary, I adore a trend - but instead have a bit of fun (because a vivid sense of the absurd is surely vital for everyone's well-being).

Were the account in operation this week it would be looking for golfers whose surnames begin with the letter P because the last five winners have been Pieters, Peterson, Porteous, Pavan and Pieters again.

I couldn't prevent myself checking, upon first spotting this, and it turns out that there are 12 golfers with the initial to choose from this week.

Then I became more serious, did my genuine research, and - surprise, surprise - one of them came up.

Even more ridiculously, after Pieters, Pieters and Peterson, I'm about to suggest it's time for a second Porteous win.

But I swear there is more to this than alphabetical coincidence.

First up there is the fact that winners on this course have tended to hit a lot of greens in regulation.

Thomas Pieters ranked second in his second win, Andrea Pavan sixth, Haydn Porteous second, Paul Peterson first, Jamie Donaldson second and while Pieters was 22nd in his first win, the man behind him in second was first for GIR.

Two weeks ago Garrick Porteous ranked second for GIR when T10th at the Hero Open and he ranked first last week at the Cazoo Classic (the week before he was T15th at Galgorm Castle but we have no stats).

garrick porteous golfer.jpg

The 31-year-old Englishman doesn't have massive experience at European Tour level - he's never quite kicked on from winning the 2013 Amateur Championship - but he does know all about this golf course.

Back in 2014 he was third at halfway before finishing tied ninth, a year later he made the cut and was T59th, in 2017 he finished fast for T14th, then he missed the cut in 2018.

He's much more comfortable at the top level than he was then and there's more to his case because back in 2017 he won the Prague Golf Challenge by five shots so he's got great memories of travelling to the Czech Republic.

Final bet: Vincent Norrman 1pt each-way @ 22/1

Finally, I can't keep the young Swede Vincent Norrman out of the staking plan.

He's right up there with the favourites, but he's every right to be.

The six month adjusted score average ranks him fourth in this field and over 12 months he is third.

The latter figure is a little less stable owing to the small sample size of his results, but it establishes that there is real substance to his game.

He was T14th at the Scandinavian Masters, fifth at the BMW International Open, T10th in the Cazoo Open and T11th in the ISPS Handa World Invitational - and this field is not quite so good as those.

He was also T61st at the Irish Open after a bright start and then finally missed a cut last week in the Cazoo Classic.

That doesn't concern me too much. He's young and confident; he can brush it off easily enough.

It could also easily work as a corrective, a warning if he was finding it all a bit easy, a reminder to concentrate.

This track is uncomplicated and he's got it in him to hits plenty of putting surfaces - he ranked second when T10th on Celtic Manor's 2010 Course.

MATT'S 2021 P/L

Staked: 149pts
Returned: 212pts
P/L: +63pts

2020 P/L: -32pts

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