Dutch Open: Branden's a perfect fit for Bernardus

Golfer Branden Grace
Branden Grace on his way to winning last year's South African Open

One week after the BMW PGA Championship and one ahead of the Ryder Cup, the Dutch Open doesn't have the greatest of line-ups but our man's keen on the chances of a certain South African...

"The course will suit Grace this week and he’s already won eight times on the European Tour and twice on the PGA Tour. He’s a class act and he should be shorter than the 21.020/1 available on the exchange.

Tournament History

Founded in 1912, the Dutch Open has been an ever-present on the European Tour since its inception in 1972, although it was one of many to be lost to the pandemic last year. This will be the 101st edition of the tournament.

The Dutch Open is a nomadic event and after visiting The International in Amsterdam for the very first time in 2019, we take in yet another new venue this time around - Bernardus Golf in Cromvoirt.


Bernardus Golf, Cromvoirt, Netherlands

Course Details

Par 72, 7,425 yards

Designed by American architect Kyle Phillips, who was also responsible for Kingsbarns and The Grove, along with a few other tracks (see below), Bernardus is described as a Heathland golf course, so there should be some similarities with last week's venue - Wentworth.

As usual, there's absolutely no information about the venue on the European Tour website but they do now at least have a yardage of 7,425 comprising of the standard ten pars fours, four par fives and four par threes. Up until today it was showing a card of 18 par fours with the exact same yardage!

There's a brief description of the course on the Bernardus website which reads.

"The numerous bunkers are laid out beautifully and the tricky water hazards seamlessly blend in with the background of dunes, heath and gorse."

Water comes into play on 11 holes and judging by some of the photos I've seen, it looks quite generous off the tee at times.

Weather Forecast

TV Coverage

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

Last Five Winners with Pre-event Exchange Prices

2020 - Event Cancelled
2019 - Sergio Garcia -18 19.018/1
2018 - Ashun Wu -16 140.0139/1
2017 - Romain Wattel -15 300.0299/1
2016 -Joost Luiten -19 18.017/1
2015 - Thomas Pieters -19 70.069/1

What Will it Take to Win the Dutch Open?

We really don't have an awful lot to go on but the fairways appear generous and the whole course has a links feel about it.

The designer, Kyle Philips, is something of a modern-day links layout specialist and even the Philips-designed tracks that aren't described as links courses that have been used on the European Tour (see below) have seen strong links players prevail.

This looks like somewhere that will favour the big-hitters that enjoy links golf.

Is There an Angle In?

In addition to the Grove, which hosted the British Masters in 2016, won by Alex Noren, and the WGC- American Express in 2006, won by Tiger Woods, and Kingsbarns, which is one of the three courses used in rotation at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, the designer of Bernardus, Kyle Philips, was also responsible for three other tracks used on the European Tour...

Philips designed the Dundonald Links, which hosted the Scottish Open in 2017, the PGA Sweden National, which held the 2014 and 2015 editions of what is now the Scandinavian Mixed (formerly the Nordea Masters) and he also designed Verdura Golf and Spa, which hosted all four editions of the now defunct Sicily Open between 2011 and 2018.

Given Noren won both the Brittish Masters and the Nordea Masters (2015) at Kyle Philips designed venues, form in any of the events listed above may well be worthy of close inspection.

Winner's Position and Exchange Price Pre-Round Four

2020 - Event Cancelled
2019 - Sergio Garcia tied for the lead 2.0421/20
2018 - Ashun Wu - tied second, trailing by one 8.615/2
2017 - Romain Wattel - solo second, trailing by one 5.39/2
2016 - Joost Luiten - tied third, trailing by three 7.87/1
2015 - Thomas Pieters - solo fourth, trailing by two 8.27/1

In-Play Tactics

If it's a low scoring event, which looks likely given the venue and the weather forecast, then it may prove difficult to play catch up around Bernardus but whatever the weather, and whatever the scoring, it may pay dividends to lay anyone that goes odds-on...

Week after week we see at least two players go odds-on without winning on the European Tour and that was again the case at Wentworth last week with Kiradech Aphibarnrat hitting a low 1.618/13 and Laurie Canter treading at 1.618/13 before Billy Horschel went on to take the title.

Market Leaders

Sandwiched between the BMW PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup, we have an understandably weak event to evaluate and most of the market leaders make little or no appeal.

The 2015 winner, Thomas Pieters, heads the market after finding a bit of form but he's not for me at around 14/1. He was 18th in the Italian Open two weeks ago and he eagled the last at Wentworth on Sunday to squeeze into the top-ten but given he's won just once in the last five years; it takes a leap of faith to get with him at that price.

Thomas Pieters bunker 1280.jpg

The hugely talented but highly inconsistent Englishman, Sam Horsfield, is a poor price most weeks and is again here and the big hitting South African, Dean Burmester, looks to be priced up on the form he was showing in May and not on his latest figures that read 40-34-30.

There's been money for the two-time winner, Joost Luiten, who's the touring professional for Bernardus Golf, and I may have been interested at the 34.033/1 he was matched at when the market first opened but he makes far less appeal at ten points shorter. He's been in fair form of late but he's another one with just one victory in the last five years and the only one of the market leaders I liked at the prices is my sole selection, Branden Grace...


Given Grace was in-contention at the US PGA Championship with a round to go in May, that he finished fourth at The Memorial Tournament and seventh in the US Open in June, and that he's won on the PGA Tour this year, at the Puerto Rico Open in February, it's rather odd that he doesn't head the market here, despite a few poor efforts in the last few weeks.

He was a popular pick this time last week before an awful start at Wentworth put paid to his chances, but he played the back-nine in three-under-par on Friday and this time last month he very nearly won his second PGA Tour event of the year, losing in a playoff at the Wyndham Championship.

Grace is a great links exponent, famous for shooting the lowest round in a major (62) at Royal Birkdale in 2017, and he opened-up the 2012 Alfred Dunhill Championship with a course record 60 around the Kyle Philips designed Kingsbarns.

The course will suit him this week and he's already won eight times on the European Tour and twice on the PGA Tour. He's a class act and he should be shorter than the 21.020/1 available on the exchange.

Branden Grace @ 21.020/1

I'll be back tomorrow with the Find Me a 100 Winner column.

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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