Fresh off a near-miss with Eddie Pepperell at the Open, Paul Krishnamurty's outsider hunting column takes a look at this week's European Tour event from Germany...
"Averaging well over 300 yards off the tee, Gros won't struggle with this ultra-long layout and he finished a respectable 19th in this last year."
Back Sebastian Gros @ [180.0]
Our sole focus this week is on Germany and the Porsche European Open. Although the other main event has produced the odd shock winner, this renewal of the Canadian Open simply doesn't look like fertile territory for outsider-punting.
The front five in Canada are so strong on a course that rewards their skills-set, that it may be very difficult to get long-odds bets matched at much shorter in-running. I will, however, mention one that made the shortlist.
[270.0] chance Ryan Palmer has a moderate course record but finished second at Torrey Pines earlier this year - a course which Steve Rawlings notes a very strong correlation with Glen Abbey in his comprehensive preview. Highly capable at his best, Ryan was also noted finding some form with a trio of 67s when closing for eighth at the Quicken Loans on his penultimate start.
Accurate drivers to thrive in Germany
In contrast, the field in Germany isn't all that deep and the market leaders only make limited appeal immediately following the Open. Furthermore we have a strong angle to explore. As Steve explains in his Porsche preview, the lesson from the first renewal at Green Eagle was crystal clear - this course is all about what you do off the tee.
Heavy rain probably overstated the importance of power last year but it obviously matters around one of the longest courses in the world. Accuracy, however, was of even greater importance and will do perhaps more so this time given the dry conditions.
A good set-up for Schwab to show his potential
Back Matthias Schwab 2u @ [100.0]
Place order to lay 20u @ [8.0]
Another notable trend from last year's numbers shows that putting was less relevant than usual. It might therefore be a good time to take a chance on a very promising type whose only obvious weakness right now is on the greens. He ranks second for bogey avoidance amongst these, which can only be good news on a tough layout.
Schwab is excellent from tee to green - ranking 14th and third amongst these for driving accuracy and greens in regulation over the past three months - and generally consistent despite his lack of experience. In just 18 European Tour starts - five as a teenager - the 23 year-old has made 13 cuts and recently earned top-20s in his native Austria and Sicily. I'm confident he'll impact a leaderboard very soon.
Accuracy master Gagli a must-bet
Next I must follow Mike Norman in on his each-way selection. Gagli ranks second among these for total driving in 2018 and tied first over the past three months. That must count for something around Green Eagle. Accuracy is his forte and, having won his maiden title in March, there's no reason he can't contend again.
Forget his last three starts. This particular Italian never had the links pedigree for Ireland and Scotland, and the Open de France was a similarly elite affair. Go back just six weeks and he was registering a fifth straight top-25 at the ShotClock Masters.
Gros has the power for Green Eagle
Though a different type of player, similar comments apply to Gros. He never appealed for any of those three events preceding the Open, but had previously been in fair form, starting well at both big BMW events - trading at single-figure odds at Wentworth before falling back into a mere top-30.
Earlier this season, Gros was fourth in India and a nice 12th at the Open de Espana. Averaging well over 300 yards off the tee, Gros won't struggle with this ultra-long layout and he finished a respectable 19th in this last year.
Regarding alternatives, I was highly tempted to follow Steve's each-way pick Pedro Oriol, who is incidentally the only player ahead or tied with Gagli in those total driving stats. One more that caught the eye is Steve Webster at [390.0]. He's shown bits and pieces in a handful of starts this year following a lay-off, finishing third in Austria, and has high-class pedigree.