Made in HimmerLand Each-Way Tips: Korhonen can conquer the Hill

Mikko Korhonen golfer
Finland's Korhonen can make himself at home in Denmark

The European Tour returns to Denmark this week for the Made in HimmerLand and Matt Cooper has three each-way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...

"He was tied third at The Belfry, improving his position with every lap, and ranking first for Strokes Gained Approach and third for Tee to Green."

Mikko Korhonen each-way @ 51.050/1

Main Bet: Mikko Korhonen each-way @ 50/1

I've always savoured the outlandish business of tournament titles.

I was too young to appreciate the European Tour's early schedules, in the 1970s, but I can often be found scrolling through them, yearning for the opportunity to tip the Piccadilly Medal, the Greater Manchester Open, or any of the vast number of events sponsored by the tobacco and alcohol industry which read like the contents of the drinks cabinet in Abigail's Party.

Perhaps my favourite events are the LET's long-lost World Ladies Championship, an audacious project which laughed in the face of its inability to attract more than five of the world's top 100 players, and the Korn Ferry Tour's Christmas in October Classic, which piled on the absurdity by being held in August.

This week's European Tour offering is not nearly so surreal, but it is an odd one that has been made odder, with what was the Made in Denmark becoming the Made in HimmerLand - an event to rival the old North West of Ireland Open for geographical precision.

A mystery why the focus has narrowed, a riddle why the rogue capital L has popped up in the middle (it wasn't there in the past), and a bit of a puzzle working out who the course favours.

We're not without evidence, because this is the sixth time the circuit has visited, whilst the Challenge Tour has made four trips there and the third tier Nordic League has been six times.

The top tier winners have been Marc Warren, Dave Horsey, Thomas Pieters, Julian Suri and Bernd Wiesberger, the notable second tier winners include Soren Hansen, Mikael Lundberg and JB Hansen.

At first glance, nothing jumps out to connect them except, perhaps, that the honours board reveals that, as this week, the field is rarely the highest grade.

The course itself is a nice enough spot, undulating in places, featuring just the three par-5s, the famously short (128-yard) par-3 16th known as 'Himmerland Hill', and, unusually at this level, five par-4s below 400 yards in length.

Knowing all of that doesn't really help, but a dig into the database might have revealed an association, not one I will hang all three selections on, but enough to drive the first pick.

Wiesberger, Warren and Lundberg have all won at Diamond Country Club near Vienna, Horsey landed second there, JB Hansen was T12th there a few weeks before he won at HimmerLand, and Suri did something similar - he was T23rd having been outside the top 100 after 18 holes.

That leads me to first pick Mikko Korhonen, who's landed five top 25 finishes at Diamond in six starts, but since he got to grips with the European Tour has been sensational there, logging tied ninth, second, and a win in 2018.

It was slightly surprising that he gave the return to Austria a swerve last month given his success in the past and form during the Desert Swing that showed him repeatedly getting into the top 10 without ever quite turning that into anything better than T15th.

When he did restart, in the Canaries, he looked a little rusty trying to keep up with the birdie blitz, but everything came together last time out.

He was tied third at The Belfry, improving his position with every lap and ranking first for Strokes Gained Approach and third for Tee to Green.

That's a neat combination and compares well with Bernd Wiesberger leading both categories when winning the event in 2019.

Next Best: Marcus Armitage each-way @ 80/1

At last month's visit to Diamond Country Club England's Marcus Armitage claimed a share of fourth and it was yet another quality effort from a fellow who has battled life's slings and arrows to become a really rather solid European Tour performer.

Indeed, since his return to this level, he's landed 12 top 20 finishes in 31 starts, five of them top sevens.

The last of those was in Vienna, another was in the Scottish Championship at a cold and blustery St Andrews (Denmark could be similar this week) and a third was at The Belfry last year.

He contended that week so his hopes might have been high two weeks ago and yet he missed the cut - I like that: expectations realigned, bit between the teeth.

He's also got a touch of course form: he did well to make the cut after lying T114th following round one on his debut, adding a pair of 68s thereafter, and he was tied second at halfway in 2018 on the Challenge Tour before finishing T53rd.

marcus armitage putting.jpg

A final little detail - Paul Dunne never won here, but has probably the most consistent record (three top 15s). The Irishman won the British Masters at Close House, a course that always pops up in my mind when seeing the action from Himmerland - a similar sort of track and undulating plot of land.

Armitage has a win at Close House, albeit on the third tier.

Final Bet: Min Woo Lee each-way @ 66/1

Final selection is the Australian Min Woo Lee, winner of last year's Victorian Open and a man whose further progress seems to have been really tripped up by the world's situation.

He wrote a European Tour blog earlier this year which reveals how his schedule really became quite messy, having periods of no golf followed by too much golf, with plenty of over-practice and isolation in-between.

Across the end of last year and start of this he missed six straight cuts, but T28th, including a third round 66, was an encouraging debut in the World Golf Championship at The Concession in March and he backed it up on his last appearance.

He opened with a 75 for T115th early at The Belfry, but 67-69-71 was excellent scoring and got him T21st.

The forecast for blustery weather shouldn't concern him - that first win came at 13th Beach and in the blog he talks of enjoying playing in the variable wind there.

MATT'S 2021 P/L

Staked: 80pts
Returned: 157pts
P/L: +77pts

2020 P/L: -32pts

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