After Marc Warren's success at the Austrian Open on Sunday, the European Tour stays in Austria for the second of two concurrent dual ranking events there. Steve Rawlings previews the Euram Bank Open here...
"You can practice all you like but nothing compares to playing tournament golf and I'd be wary of backing anyone that didn't tee it up last week at the Diamond Course."
Following last week's Austrian Open (De-brief here) the European and Challenge Tours combine again this week for the Euram Bank Open.
This is only the third edition of the event and it's the first time it's featured on the European Tour. Darius Van Driel, who finished fourth last week, won the inaugural event on the Challenge Tour two years ago and Scotland's Calum Hill took the title by four strokes 12 months ago.
Unfortunately, there is no TV coverage but get your bets on early as the tournament starts on Wednesday.
GC Adamstal, Ramsau, Austria
Par 70 - 6,473 yards
Stroke Index in 2019 - 70.02
Voted the best course in Austria in both 2007 and 2008, the Jeff Howes designed Adamstal is set in the middle of the Lower Austrian Alpine foothills.
Described as one of the most spectacular golf courses in Europe, Howes was able to integrate streams, the terrain, clearings and rock formations into the stunning landscape of the course.
Howes is also responsible for Fota island (home of the Irish Open in 2001, 2002 and 2014) and he also designed The Heritage, which hosted the Seve Trophy in 2007 and 2009.
In addition to this event over the last two years, Adamstal was also the host course for the now defunct MAN NÖ Open.
According to an old article on the European Tour website, the scenic golf course demands precision distance control as club selection is tested by the relentless elevation changes and thinner air found at 1,135m above sea level.
It's very short by modern standards at less than 6,500 yards but it's far from a pushover and last year it averaged just over its par of 70.
Previous Seven Course Winners
2004 MAN NÖ Open - Niki Zitny -4 (Alps Tour event)
2005 MAN NÖ Open - Markus Brier -6 (Alps Tour event)
2006 MAN NÖ Open - Rafa Cabrera-Bello -16 (Challenge Tour event)
2007 MAN NÖ Open - Anders Schmidt Hansen -11 (Challenge Tour event)
2008 MAN NÖ Open - Andre Bossert -15 (Challenge Tour event)
2018 Euram Bank Open - Darius van Driel -17 (Challenge Tour event)
2019 Euram Bank Open - Calum Hill -18 (Challenge Tour event)
Are There any Angles In?
Looking at photos of the course and reading reviews, I couldn't help but think of the spectacular Swiss mountain gem - Crans-sur-Sierre - home of the European Masters. It's more of hunch than anything else, but with not much to go on I'm going to use it!
Form in Austria looks worth considering. Nicolai Von Dellingshausen, Marcel Schneider and Darius Van Driel all contended last week having previously played well in the country and Rafa Cabrera-Bello, who won here on the Challenge Tour, also won the Austrian Open at a different venue. And he hasn't won many events.
In fact, last week's event looks like the only place to start given a number of players figured there that have played well here. It also makes sense, after such a long break, to consider an outing last week as a huge plus. You can practice all you like but nothing compares to playing tournament golf and I'd be wary of backing anyone that didn't tee it up last week at the Diamond Course.
I've no idea how the two editions of MAN NÖ Open on the Alps Tour panned out but looking at the last three editions of that event and the first two of this one, up with the pace is where you need to be here.
Although tied for the lead after three rounds, Van Driel sat 61st and six off the lead after round one when he won here in 2018 and he still trailed by five in a tie for tenth at halfway but every other winner has been inside the top four after the opening round and in front after rounds two and three. It looks a tough place to play catch-up.
The course starts gently enough. The par five third is the easiest on the course and only two of the first six holes (two and four) averaged over-par last year but holes seven, eight and nine were the three hardest. The seventh, a par five (pictured above), averaged 5.28 over the week, the par three eighth averaged 3.21 and the par four ninth, 4.21.
Holes 14 and 15 were the second and third easiest last year but the last three all averaged over-par so it's a fairly tricky finish.
Joost Luiten was playing at a course he loves last week and he was in front after round one but he slowly drifted away after that - eventually finishing tied for 18th! This is a weak field but he makes no appeal.
At the time of writing, Korea's Joohyung Kim is the second favourite in most lists and he'd be a fascinating contender but he's a very doubtful starter given he won the KPGA Gunsan CC Open in his homeland yesterday.
Germany's Marcel Schneider shot 62 in round one last year to lead by three but he fell away tamely after that to finish 14th. He was far more consistent last week, shooting 69 on all four days to finish runner-up to Warren. I thought that was just about good enough form to warrant a small investment at 40/1 with the Sportsbook.
Despite his missed cut last week, this year's Oman Open winner, Sami Välimäki, who turns 22 on Thursday, looks like a fabulous prospect and I'll be happy to back him in this grade if I can get matched at around [40.0].
With the possible link to Crans in mind, Germany's Marcel Siem looks worth chancing at 90/1 with the Sportsbook. He finished runner-up there back in 2006 to an inspired Bradley Dredge, who won by eight!
He also has quite a bit in common with last week's winner, Marc Warren, so hopefully that can inspire him. Like Warren, Siem is a 39-year-old experienced multiple European Tour winner without a success in six years, although not for much longer. He turns 40 on Wednesday and a significant birthday often inspires. He played fairly well after a slow start last week to finish 23rd and he looks a fair price in such a poor event.
Marcel Schneider @ 40/1 (Sportsbook)
Sami Välimäki @ approx' [36.0]
Marcel Siem @ 90/1 (Sportsbook)
I'll be back on Thursday or Friday with the In-Play Blog.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter
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