Cazoo Classic: Sullivan set to shine at the London Club

Golfer Andy Sullivan
Andy Sullivan in action at the Open

The European Tour moves south from Scotland to England and Steve Rawlings fancies one of the home contingent to shine. Read his comprehensive preview here...

"Since winning the English Championship at the Nicklaus-designed Hanbury Manor by a whooping seven strokes, Andy Sullivan has played in his homeland four times and his 26th at the Open Championship is the only time he finished outside the top-10."

Tournament History

At the end of July last year, the European Tour staged the Hero Open, won by Sam Horsfield. It was billed as the first edition of the English Open since 2002, and a little over a week ago, last week's Hero Open was billed as the inaugural edition of a brand-new event but that's all changed since.

The European Tour is now considering last week's Hero Open, won by Grant Forest, to be the second edition of the Hero Open and last year's edition, won by Horsfield, now has nothing to do with the old English Open.

Bear with me, we're nearly there.

This week's European Tour event, the Cazoo Classic, is now being billed as the first edition of the English Open since 2002. It's anyone's guess how long this will remain the case but for now it all seems to make sense.

Venue

The Heritage Course, London GC, Ash, Kent, England

Course Details

Par 72, 7327 yards

The London Club has hosted six events on the Legends Tour (Seniors), most recently the PGA Seniors Championship in 2018 and 2019, and it's hosted three European Tour events this century but on only two occasions recently has this week's course, the Heritage, been used.

LONDON CLUB 4 2021.jpg

The Heritage Course at the London Club was the venue for the European Open in both 2008 and 2009 but it was the International that hosted the recent Seniors events and the 50th and final edition of the now defunct Volvo World Match Play, won by Finland's Mikko Ilonen.

Designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1994, the Heritage is an exposed parkland course with generous fairways and large greens.

There are four lakes on the course and water comes in to play on six holes.

Weather Forecast

TV Coverage

Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 12:30 on Thursday

What Will it Take to Win the Cazoo Classic?

Given it's a dozen years since we last saw the Heritage Course used on the European Tour we're in the dark to a large extent but for what it's worth, he's the top five and ties at the two editions of the European Open with all the key stats.

2008
Ross Fisher -20 DD: 1, DA: 23, GIR: 3, Scr: 5, PA: 3
Sergio Garcia -13 DD: 35, DA: 38, GIR: 9, Scr: 8, PA: 4
Graeme McDowell -12 DD: 36, DA: 23, GIR: 14, Scr: 12, PA: 6
David Frost -11 DD: 67, DA: 1, GIR: 55, Scr: 2, PA:1
Soren Hansen -7 DD: 5, DA: 30, GIR: 7, Scr: 55, PA: 10

2009
Christian Cevaer -7 DD: 67, DA: 44, GIR: 13, Scr: 2, PA: 26
Gary Orr -6 DD: 59, DA: 28, GIR: 20, Scr: 1, PA: 53
Alvaro Quiros -6 DD: 1, DA: 66, GIR: 13, Scr: 54, PA: 8
Steve Webster -6 DD: 8, DA: 28, GIR: 1, Scr: 67, PA:43
Stephen Dodd -5 DD: 64, DA: 28, GIR: 6, Scr: 31, PA: 15
Jeev Milkha Singh -5 DD: 25, DA: 24, GIR: 17, Scr: 15, PA: 29
Chris Wood -5 DD: 36, DA: 63, GIR: 51, Scr: 3, PA: 16

DD - Driving Distance
DA - Driving Accuracy
GIR - Greens In Regulation
Scr - Scrambling
PA - Putting Average

As you can see by the scoring, the two editions of the European Open couldn't have been much more different.

Ross Fisher put his length off the tee to good use in 2008 and pulverised the field by seven shots with a pair of major winners picking up second and third.

Fisher's stats that week were exceptional across the board and once clear of the rest he was able to relax and win with consummate ease. But the 2009 edition was a completely different affair with the badly out-of-form, short-hitting Frenchman Christian Cevaer holding on to win by a stroke in windy weather, as more illustrious European Tour stars came up short.

The biggest hitter for the week finished first or second in each renewal and Scrambling was an important stat in both 2008 and 2009 but I'm not at all convinced we can read too much into the stats.

Can the Scots Inspire the English?

Eventual winner, Grant Forest, Calum Hill, and David Law all contended hard last weekend at the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews in their native Scotland, advertising just how inspiring playing at home can be with fans in attendance during such trying times and I just wonder if we may witness another bold display from the home contingent this week?

This is the first edition of the English Open since 2002 and Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke won three of the last four editions. We need to go back to the last century to find the last English winner of the English Open (Lee Westwood in 1998) but as highlighted earlier, last year's Hero Open was billed at the time as the latest edition of the English Open and that event was won by England's Sam Horsfield.

England's Eddie Pepperell and Danny Willett had won two of the four European Tour events staged in England prior to Horsfield's success. Since his victory at the Forest of Arden, Englishmen Andy Sullivan, Tyrrell Hatton, and Richard Bland have won three of the five tournaments staged in England. Rasmus Hojgaard (UK Championship) and Collin Morikawa (Open Championship) are the odd men out.

Is There an Angle In?

With it's elevated position and its generous fairways, the Heritage could even be described as having a slight links feel about it. It's perhaps no surprise then to see form at another exposed links-feel track, the Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course in Portugal, stand up here.

Dom Pedro has hosted the Portugal Masters since 2007 and if the only two results we have here are anything to go by, there appears to be quite a correlation.

Ross Fisher was second in the Portugal Masters in 2012, as was Chris Wood in 2015, Steve Webster and Alvaro Quiros have both won the event and, playing alongside Bradley Dredge, Stephen Dodd won the World Cup at Dom Pedro in 2005.

With such a small sample size, there maybe nothing in it at all but with so little to go on, it could be a decent angle in.

In-Play Tactics

Ross Fisher the 2008 edition of the European Open wire-to-wire and Cevaer was up with the pace throughout a year later too. He sat sixth and two back after round one, third and one back at halfway and he was tied with Jeev Milkha Singh with a round to go but an off the pace winner certainly can't be ruled out.

The forecast suggests we're going to get a blustery day on Sunday and given how many placed players made up ground in 2009, someone winning from off the pace is perfectly possible. Dodd was beaten by two in 2009, having trailed by eight with a round to go and the three players to finish tied for second and had trailed by five, five and seven shots at halfway.

Market Leaders

The prolific Dane, Bernd Wiesberger, heads the market and deservedly so. This is far from a strong event and he was an impressive winner of the Made in Himmerland in Denmark at the end of May.

Wiesberger win Himmerland.jpg

He's the class act in the field and he even has form in Portugal. He led the 2012 edition of the Portugal Masters on the Sunday before losing his way on the back-nine when Fisher finished runner-up to Shane Lowry.

The only other player trading at less than 30.029/1 in what really is a wide-open tournament is England's Andy Sullivan and I quite like his chances.

We can disregard last week's 48th placed finish in Scotland when he was completely snookered by the draw but he's been in decent form this summer and another victory on home soil can't be dismissed.

Since winning the English Championship at the Nicklaus-designed Hanbury Manor by a whopping seven strokes this time last year, Sullivan has played in his homeland four times and his 26th at the Open Championship (a very decent performance) is the only time he finished outside the top-10.

Sullivan is a winner (and a runner-up) at the Portugal Masters and I fancy he'll take to the venue and contend.

Selection

In comparison to many non-winners trading at 50.049/1 and below, Andy Sullivan looks a very fair price this week and for now, he's my sole selection.

Outsiders have been faring well on the European Tour this summer so I'll have at least one selection here for the Find Me a 100 Winner column and I'll be back later today or tomorrow with that one.

Selection:
Andy Sullivan @ 26.025/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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