The European Tour journeys to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Heritage Course near Canterbury, host of the Cazoo Classic. Words and stats by Andy Swales...
"Conditions won’t be too dissimilar to those at other venues in rural England, so experienced golfers such as Andy Sullivan and Richard Bland should feel completely at home this week."
The seven-tournament 'British Isles Swing' comes to a close this weekend, as the European Tour heads to the London Club in east Kent.
For the second time this summer, Cazoo are the tournament sponsors with the players teeing-up at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Heritage Course which opened for business 28 years ago.
This heathland course has twice hosted the European Open, most recently in 2009 when Frenchman Christian Cevaer triumphed by a single stroke.
Situated just outside the village of Ash, the London Club is 12 miles east of Canterbury, and even closer to this year's Open Championship venue Royal St George's.
The Heritage Course is a typical well-bunkered Nicklaus layout, with gently undulating fairways and subtle changes in direction.
The putting surfaces are well-contoured while water comes into play on six holes.
On the tee
As it's been 12 years since the Tour last visited the Heritage Course, the vast majority of those teeing-up on Thursday will be competing here for the first time.
That said, conditions won't be too dissimilar to those at other venues in rural England, so experienced golfers such as Andy Sullivan and Richard Bland should feel completely at home this week.
Bland tweeted recently to say he was looking forward to playing in the Cazoo Classic following three weeks of inactivity since The Open.
The 48-year-old should still be riding high following his long overdue maiden Tour victory at The Belfry back in May.
New look schedule
Since the European Tour re-emerged from lockdown in July of last year, it's drastically remodelled schedule witnessed the inclusion of a plethora of tournaments with total prize funds of between €1-1.5m.
And with most of the Tour's leading players now spending longer in the United States, as a result of this vast reduction in prize money, it has heralded a whole new group of winners on the European Tour.
Check out the latest betting ahead of this week's Cazoo Classic
One player who is moving ever closer to a first European Tour title is Scotsman Calum Hill.
The 26-year-old from Kirkcaldy is a three-time champion on the Challenge Tour and appears almost ready to step up another notch.
He tied fourth on Sunday at Fairmont, after being co-leader through 54 holes, which was his best finish since late March.
Despite a few problems mid-way through his final round, Hill will head to Kent with his game in good shape.
Earlier this year he impressed with another tie-for-fourth at the Saudi International, a tournament full of top-ranked pros such as Dustin Johnson, Tony Finau and Justin Rose.
Other in-form players include Japan's Masahiro Kawamura and American Chase Hanna.
Kawamura recovered from a poor opening round at Fairmont to finish in a tie-for-16th, while Hanna has enjoyed a number of top-10s (six in his last eight starts) on both the European and Challenge tours this summer.
Since the start of June, the 27-year-old Hanna has moved more than 400 spots up the World Ranking to sit at a career-high 247.
Finally, Callum Shinkwin seems to be returning to some better form of late, thanks to a top-six finish at Celtic Manor, as well as a tie-for-16th at Fairmont on Sunday.
Shinkwin, who made his breakthrough last autumn with a first Tour title in Cyprus, had been off the pace a little during the first half of 2021.
Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive
MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves
Note: Only those who played the Heritage Course in either 2008 or 2009 have been included in the Course Form list.
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Last 10 Weeks / Heritage (2008 & 2009)
|Daniel Van Tonder||MC||MC||40||MC||MC||12||MC|
|Joachim B Hansen||56||27||MC||MC||MC||6||MC|
|Darius Van Driel||53||7||54||17||68||MC||2|
|Sebastian Rodriguez Garcia||MC||MC||MC||MC||62||37||MC|
|Louis De Jager||60|
|Hao Tong Li||MC||MC||MC||MC||MC||MC|
|Emilio Cuartero Blanco||MC||Wd||17||23||23||66|
|Lars Van Meijel||48||MC||MC||MC||MC||MC|