The European Tour moves to Germany this week for the Porsche European Open and Matt Cooper has three each-way selections with the Betfair Sportsbook paying seven places...
"The Englishman is long enough off the tee (23rd last season for Distance) and, after ranking first for Strokes Gained Off the Tee last season is second this term."
Main Bet: Laurie Canter each-way @ 25/1
When Michael Blesch designed Green Eagle GC he had one thing not so much in the back of his mind as tattooed through his forehead and on to his brain: length.
Everything about his Hamburg layout screams big.
When it debuted on the Challenge Tour in 2010 the course boasted six par-5s, four of them measuring over 630-yards, one a gigantic 705 big paces from the front of its green, and, in all, the complete test measured 7,882-yards.
As if that were not enough, the course has been nicknamed the "Green Monster", it regularly hosts a third tier event called Master of the Monster, and promotional material repeatedly refers to its proud place in the world's top 10 longest courses.
To emphasise the club's unashamed pre-occupation it even trolls course traditionalists. Those sages tend to use earth-moving machinery as by-words for bad design, but at Green Eagle digging the place up to make it longer and more difficult is something they are proud of.
It's kind of crude, but there's also something straightforwardly honest about it.
The modern day Bryson DeChambeau would be made for the test - it's more or less the course version of himself - but it's doubtful he ever wants to return.
Even DeChambeau 1.0 could hit the ball a long way and victory seemed a given when he headed into the final round of this event in 2018 alongside his fellow 54-hole leader Richard McEvoy.
Big track, big reputation versus mild-mannered nice guy from Leigh-on-Sea.
And yet, in one of the most astonishing, and popular, Sundays of recent times, the little man rumbled the monsters - both of them.
We've all learned in recent weeks, of course, that the words Bryson DeChambeau utters have the power to do funny things to Brooks Koepka.
I still wonder what whispering the words "Richard McEvoy" might do to DeChambeau. I suspect something along the lines of the manic twitching that overtakes Commissioner Dreyfuss when he encounters Inspector Clouseau.
No DeChambeau this week, therefore, and not quite the test the Challenge Tour faced 11 years ago - the European Tour has always opted to drag the layout back to more sensible levels so it will play to a mere 7,544-yards this week with just the five long holes (and five par-3s too).
The tournament, possibly much to the disappointment of Blesch who might prefer it was 108 holes, is being played over just 54 holes, and from Saturday to Monday - a consequence of the Tour responding to Covid travel restrictions.
If McEvoy's triumph three years ago was unlikely, Paul Casey's victory in 2019 was rather more expected.
Take a look at his successes on the European Tour: Gleneagles (twice), The Belfry, Yalong Bay, Shenzhen, Wentworth (twice), Abu Dhabi (twice), The Royal, Carton House, Kennemer, Emirates.
With the exception of Harry Colt's Wentworth and Kennemer, and possibly Emirates, that's a long list of modern designs, with similarly shaped fairways and putting surfaces, often featuring plenty of water.
It's a thread of thought that leads me to a man whose progress last Sunday provided me with an echo of my April tip of Garrick Higgo.
On that occasion, I'd hit on wanting to back him on the Sunday morning before the tournament week and then watched in horror as he raced up that week's final round leaderboard.
"Slow down," I urged. "Keep it for next week."
Happily, he did just that and something along the same lines happened with Laurie Canter last Sunday as he looked like turning his final round in Denmark into something better than a 69.
But, when added to previous efforts of 67, 71 and 64, it all added up to tied eighth and I'm happy to press the button.
The Englishman is long enough off the tee (ranking 23rd last season for Distance) and, after ranking first for Strokes Gained Off the Tee last season is second this term.
Last year he was tied fifth at Celtic Manor, second at Dom Pedro, second again at Chervo, he got in the mix briefly at The Belfry, he ended 2020 with a top five in Dubai and started 2020 with another.
He posted a first round 68 to be tied seventh at Green Eagle back in 2017 before drifting into T37th. He's a much stronger performer these days and can contend this week.
Next Best: Pablo Larrazabal each-way @ 80/1
Since winning the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Championship in rather bizarre fashion, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal hasn't done very much.
That week ended with him walking down the fairways with his shoes in his hands rather than on his feet, a consequence of blisters, and he might have had sore skin on his fingers in more recent times as he works on his swing with Robert Rock.
From the re-start post-lockdown to the start of March he didn't manage to land even one top 20 so must have been feeling quite a bit of frustration, but that will have been eased by a welcome T12th during the three weeks in the Canaries.
Given the long wait, I wasn't entirely surprised he missed a cut straight after, but was more interested when he held a share of last week's first round lead after a 66 and hung around with a Friday 69.
There was another blip with a Saturday 71, but he ended the week with another 69 for T19th.
He's got decent memories of Green Eagle having finished tied seventh there in 2019 and the recovery process can continue.
Final Bet: Alexander Bjork each-way @ 45/1
I'm not sure the Swede Alexander Bjork is done with his neat turn of form in the last few weeks.
He's managed five top 30s in six starts and in all of those extended weeks there have been excellent rounds but some bad scoring too.
Last week in HimmerLand he got closer to lasting the full week, but he did enough in carding 71-63-66-70 to suggest to me that another week of contending is within him, this time with reminders of what it's like in the heat of battle on Sunday.
He's played the course twice and played four rounds both times, while in 2019 he opened well enough to be tied sixth after 18 and 36 holes.
He ranks ninth for Par-3 Scoring this year and there are five on this course - you might even argue that four of the par-5s will test similar clubs given he's unlikely to reach them.
A quirky added factor - contenders and winners at Green Eagle have often had good or decent records on modern resort courses in China.
For example: Casey, the men behind him Robert MacIntyre and Bernd Ritthammer; 2017 winner Jordan Smith, the man he beat in a play-off Alex Levy, top five finisher that year Johan Edfors; even 2010 second tier winner Andreas Harto had a rare top 10 on the European Tour at Binhai Lake.
I wouldn't back him alone on this basis, but Bjork is a past winner of the China Open at Topwin.
MATT'S 2021 P/L
2020 P/L: -32pts
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