Golf Bets

European Open 2024 First-Round Leader Tips: Picks from 66/1 to 80/1

South African golfer Brandon Stone
Brandon Stone can hit the ground running

The DP World Tour heads to Germany and Dave Tindall has three each-way bets to top the leaderboard come the end of round one at Green Eagle...

  • 80/181.00 Brandon Stone has course form and recent low rounds

  • 66/167.00 Haotong Li has been an excellent R1 performer lately

  • 66/167.00 Julien Guerrier likes the course and can start fast

Weather forecast for Thursday

Wednesday's rain clears on Thursday morning although the wet stuff may return in the afternoon.

Temperatures start in the early 50s and peak in the late 60s for most of the afternoon. Winds are modest at around 5mph.

There's no obvious bias but rain on a monster 7,882-yard layout suggests length off the tee is important.

Brandon Stone @ 80/181.00

All three picks for the longest course on the DP World Tour reside in the top 40 in Driving Distance.

I'll start with Brandon Stone, who ranks 29th in DD this season with an average thwack off the tee of over 310 yards.

The South African has played this course just once but took to it well, finishing fifth on his debut in 2022. He's since added 15th and 8th in two other starts in Germany.

Stone's round scores of late have taken the eye. He fired 64s on days two and three of the China Open where he finished seventh and although only 57th in last week's Soudal Open he mixed laps of 65 and 66 with loops of 73 and 74.

It's been that sort of season for Stone, who either gets on a roll or struggles. There hasn't been much inbetween.

True, he hasn't had a really fast start since opening with a 64 at Ras al Khaimah earlier in the season but all those low rounds point to a quick start soon.

Let's play Stone, a 13.10 starter, at 80/181.00.

Haotong Li @ 66/167.00

Haotong Li has been a man to follow in the FRL market this year.

In nine starts from January, he's twice been a first-round leader while these are his full 18-hole positions in that time: 10-1-48-68-1-9-10-6-3.

His last five openers read 64, 66, 68, 67, 63 so the Chinese golfer looks a no-brainer for this market, especially at the price.

He's banked five top 20s in that nine-tournament stretch so his confidence is up and location history gives us a nudge towards Li as well.

In his last four starts in Germany, he's topped the day one standings twice: this tournament two years ago via a 67 and the 2022 BMW International Open thanks to a 62.

Li ranks 26th in Driving Distance this season so makes plenty of appeal at 66s from his 12.40 tee-time.

Julien Guerrier @ 66/167.00

Julien Guerrier is another who gives it a good thump off the tee, ranking 39th for DD this season.

He's ranked 2nd and 11th for Driving Distance in two of his four starts at Green Eagle and in the last two he's really put everything together, finishing 10th in 2022 and runner-up 12 months ago.

Guerrier was 4th and 14th respectively after the opening lap of those two events so he's scored well from the off.

Looking at some further FRL history, the 38-year-old was first-round leader in last November's DP World Championship.

Like this week, that was played on a course measuring over 7,600 yards.

More recently, he's ended round one in the top 20 at three of his last four tournaments with laps of 68, 67 and 65. The latter put him fourth after 18 holes of the China Open earlier this month.

Guerrier goes out at 12.10.

Now read Steve Rawlings on the European Open

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