A place for Tiger Woods at Carnoustie makes it three weeks of consecutive returns for the Betfaif golf team, can we make it four with one (or more) of this quintet in Germany?
"Last year's renewal produced a maiden European Tour title for a rookie with an outstanding long game, who had been widely tipped to break through. The parallels between Jordan Smith and Aaron Rai are striking."
*EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Julien Guerrier @ 66/1
On a lengthy course packed with par 5s (there are four on the back nine), Julian Guerrier has some nice stats this week. The Frenchman is 40th in Par 5 scoring and it's worth pointing out that the vast majority above him on that list aren't playing. He's also 9th for Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and that looked an important stat when Green Eagle played host last year. Guerrier has sprinkled some decent finishes this season with third in Oman, T9 in the Open de Espana and T6 in the Sicilian Open. Despite opening with 65 at Gullane he couldn't string four rounds together on the links in Ireland or Scotland but hopefully a return to a big, long parkland track will help. He won twice on the Challenge Tour last year and one was on an inland course in Ireland with plenty of lakes and that's similar to this week. The big-name Americans taking part are a threat but Patrick Reed and Pat Perez played here in 2017 and neither made the top 15 so this could be a good opportunity for a Challenge Tour winner from the previous year to step up and get the win - as was the case with Jordan Smith 12 months ago.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Aaron Rai @ 33/1
Last year's renewal produced a maiden European Tour title for a rookie with an outstanding long game, who had been widely tipped to break through. The parallels between Jordan Smith and Aaron Rai are striking. A three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, the 23-year-old has won many admirers during this rookie campaign at the higher level. Since January, he's missed only three cuts and only once hit fewer than 60% of fairways. When making those weekends, he's only twice ranked outside the top-ten for driving accuracy. That must bode well for this Green Eagle course as there was a big premium on total driving here last year. Recent form signals are also very positive. Rai hit four sub-70 rounds last time for a top-ten at the high-class Scottish Open and was also fifth in the BMW International Open a month ago.
Steve Rawlings: Back Pedro Oriol @ 200/1
This week's venue, the Porsche Nord Course at the Green Eagle Golf Resort near Hamburg, is a very long track with five par fives so big hitting could be key this week, although when the course was used 12 months ago, accuracy from the tee was also important. I've looked at the Par 5 Scoring stats and the Strokes Gained off the Tee stats to get an angle in and Pedro Oriol looks an interesting outsider. The Spaniard currently ranks 16th for Strokes Gained off the Tee and 57th for Par 5 Scoring and most of the players above him in both categories aren't in attendance this week. He won on the Challenge Tour last August and there were signs at the Scottish Open that he might be close to a decent week. He opened and closed the event with poor rounds but he shot 65 and 66 in rounds two and three.
Joe Dyer: Back Scott Hend @ 40/1
Driving distance looks a key weapon this week and that means Scott Hend has to enter most golf punters' calculations. The Aussie veteran ranks 37th on the European Tour for length off the tee, and that, coupled with some handy recent form, makes him a solid bet for me this week at 40/1. A two-time winner on tour, Hend put up his best performance of the season last time we were in Germany when finishing seventh at the BMW International Open. That came on the back of a tie for 14th at the Italian Open and he matched that result in his most recent outing in the Scottish Open. That good sequence brought to an end a relatively average few months for the 44-year-old and my man looks a genuine contender in a field that lacks depth.
Mike Norman: Back Lorenzo Gagli @ 125/1
Italian golfers must be on a real high after Francesco Molinari's superb Open Championship victory and I won't be surprised one bit to see the likes of Andrea Pavan and Matteo Manassero raise their game this week but I also like the chances of an old favourite of mine, Lorenzo Gagli, who I regularly backed five or six seasons ago. Despite a few star names in attendance this week this isn't a crack field by any means and it's easy to see some 'lesser lights' getting in the mix. Gagli ranks very highly in the European Tour's Driving Accuracy stats (an important stat here last year) and there's been nothing wrong with his form this season. The 32-year-old finished first and second on his last two starts on the Challenge Tour earlier this year before recording four consecutive top-25 finishes on the main Tour. At an industry-best 125/1 he looks well worth chancing this week.
2018 Season P/L to date: + £349.33
- The Open, Tiger Woods @ 30/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Scottish Open, Ryan Fox @ 45/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Irish Open, Russell Knox @ 28/1 - WIN (Dave)
- BMW International Open, Matt Wallace @ 33/1 - WIN (Steve)
- BMW International Open, Martin Kaymer @ 33/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Italian Open, Lee Westwood @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- BMW PGA Championship, Kiradech Aphibarnrat @ 45/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Belgian Knockout, Benjamin Hebert @ 50/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Belgian Knockout, Jorge Campillo @ 28/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Rocco Forte Open, Lucas Herbert @ 125/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- Golf Sixes, South Korea @ 16/1 - PLACE (Steve & Paul)
- Volvo China Open, Lucas Bjerregaard @ 200/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- US Masters, Bubba Watson @ 16/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Hero Indian Open, Andrew Johnston @ 33/1 - PLACE (Dave)
- Oman Open, Jorge Campillo @ 40/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- Maybank Championship, Shubhankar Sharma @ 60/1 - WIN (Joe)
- Dubai Desert Classic, Alex Levy @ 50/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Matthew Fitzpatrick @ 40/1 - PLACE (Steve)
- UBS Hong Kong Open, Paul Peterson @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)