This column tipped last year's winner at 50/1, so play close attention to our golf team's each-way recommendations for this week's Czech Masters...
"He hasn’t been putting brilliantly of late but his seventh at the Irish Open last month bodes well in the context of this event and he looks fairly priced."
Steve Rawlings on Paul Waring
EW Terms: 1/5 odds, 7 places
It is almost two years to the day that Julian Suri won the Made In Denmark - a similar grade to this event - which feels slightly surprising given expectations. Nevertheless the American has performed well on numerous occasions since on both main tours, whether top-30s in last year's majors or thrice finishing runner-up in strong Euro events, most recently at the Trophee Hassan.
This looks an ideal opportunity for Suri to return to winning ways. A course where bombers thrive, and where he has won before, in 2017 on the Challenge Tour. Recent results on links courses were disappointing but he started well enough in the Scottish Open and this challenge is much likelier to reward his strengths.
Course form has held up well in this event so one who takes the eye on that front is Jeff Winther. The Dane has played Albatross on three occasions and improved his finish each time, posting T27 on debut in 2016, T25 the following year and cracking the top 10 when T9 in 2018.
And yet that doesn't tell the whole story. On his first look, Winther held the halfway lead and was third after 54 holes before a Sunday slide. And in 2017 he was sixth with 18 holes to play. In other words, his name has been on the leaderboard a lot and last year's strong closer (68) will give him extra confidence this time. Winther is having his best season on the European Tour and set the tone with a top seven in his opening event, the South African Open.
He's added six top 25s since and we last saw him shooting four rounds in the 60s for T28 in the Scottish Open. His short-game stats look particularly strong and past winners here have all shone on the greens.
It's exactly a year since Paul Waring got off the mark on the European Tour - winning what's now called the Scandinavian Invitation. He'll defend his title in Gothenburg at the Hills Golf and Sports Club next week but it's perfectly possible that he does so as a two-time European Tour winner if the Hills Club's manager, Kerr Rowan, was on to something.
As highlighted in my main preview, I asked Rowan a year ago if the Hills Course reminded him of any other venues used on the ET and he highlighted this week's venue, the Albatross.
Hitting lots of greens in regulation has been key to success here at the Albatross and that's Waring's game in a nutshell. He hasn't been putting brilliantly of late but his seventh at the Irish Open last month bodes well in the context of this event and he looks fairly priced.
With Joe and Mike both enjoying well deserved breaks, Andrew Swales and I are making guest appearances in the column and my attention was immediately grabbed by Tom Lewis. The Englishman achieved his best result in a major last month, with an impressive 11th place in The Open at Royal Portrush, and enjoys this tournament, with a third place in 2017 and sixth last year.
The 28-year-old, who made his name in 2011 by making the lowest score by an amateur in Open Championship history (65), partnered Steve's pick Paul Waring to a final spot in the GolfSixes tournament in June, only losing by the narrowest of margins, in a nearest the pin shootout.
Lewis ranks ninth for (all important at this course) Greens in Regulation on the European Tour, with a score of 72.2%, and at a decent enough price of 35/1 I'll take him to at least match his last two performances here.
Aaron Rai is a young man in a hurry and he's not scared to mix it with the best. The 24-year-old from Wolverhampton made his breakthrough on the European Tour last autumn when he won the Hong Kong Open by one shot from Matthew Fitzpatrick. In Fanling, he tied-for-the-lead after 18 holes, before putting daylight between himself and the field with a second round 61, and then hung on with rounds of 68 and 69, which shows he's not fazed if he hits the front.
He's certainly not scared to win, as shown by his three Challenge Tour victories in 2017. Although not the most consistent of golfers, he does seem to thrive on confidence and he will have taken great satisfaction from finishing in a tie-for-12th on his most recent outing in the United States. At last month's WGC-St Jude Invitational, a field full of quality, he closed out 66-67 over the weekend - and even outscored playing partner Dustin Johnson on Sunday. He's currently eighth for Greens in Regulation on the European Tour.