Our man looks back on an eventful week's golf in Germany and Canada where there were wins for Jordan Smith and Jhonattan Vegas. Read Steve's customary look back at all the action here...
"Over £17k was matched on Levy at the minimum odds of 1.011/100 but he was visibly shaken by his missed opportunity. It felt inevitable that Smith would go on to win and he did at the very next hole, making a brilliant birdie despite finding the rough off the tee."
After a humdinger of a final round in Hamburg, my pre-event pick and defending champ, Alexander Levy, stood on the 18th tee at the Porsche European Open with a one stroke lead yesterday afternoon but he couldn't match playing partner Jordan Smith's birdie four and the tournament went in to extra time.
Smith, who was generally a 48.047/1 chance, made a fantastic up-and down from the rough behind the green to get into the playoff but he looked doomed at the first extra hole, when after a heavy-handed chip, he missed a 20 foot birdie putt. Levy was left with three feet for birdie to make a successful defence of the title but, as you'll see in the below clip, it wasn't to be.
? The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) July 30, 2017
We're going back down 18! pic.twitter.com/cFtb4AJ4KI
Over £17k was matched on Levy at the minimum odds of 1.011/100 but he was visibly shaken by his missed opportunity. It felt inevitable that Smith would go on to win and he did at the very next hole, making a brilliant birdie despite finding the rough off the tee.
Smith's rise has been fast and impressive. He only turned pro three years ago and yesterday's victory is the fourth of his career after two wins on the EuroPro Tour in 2015 and victory on the Challenge Tour last year. He's on an upward curve and I don't think he's reached the apex just yet.
Over at the RBC Canadian Open, defending champions, Jhonattan Vegas, who was generally a 180.0179/1 chance before the off, although he did touch a high of 220.0219/1, retained the title in extra time after he and Dave Tindall's fancy, Charley Hoffman, both finished the tournament on 21-under-par. Vegas came from five back to win last year and from three adrift this time around.
Hoffman, who had led with a round to go, began the final round with a pair of birdies and he was matched at a low of 1.84/5 when he had five foot for birdie at the third to increase his lead but he missed that and he needed to birdie two of the last three holes to take the tournament in to extra time.
Vegas is the third player to defend his title on the PGA Tour this season following successful defences by Justin Thomas at the CIMB Classic and by Daniel Berger at the FedEx St Jude Classic.
It's always nice to see a pre-tournament pick win so Levy losing left a bit of a nasty taste but I never complain when you get plenty of chances to profit in-running. I didn't lay any of the 1.011/100 unfortunately but I got him layed at 2.111/10 early on and I layed him again for plenty at 1.21/5 so although he got beat; it was a great result really. And having my each-way pick, Zander Lombard, place at 150/1 was the icing on the cake.
I layed the winner at the Senior Open, Bernhard Langer, for a few quid at very long odds-on in-running and I drew a blank at the RBC Canadian Open but I layed Hoffman at 1.910/11 as he played the third hole so some of my losses at that event were recouped. I backed him back a few holes later at 2.915/8 to clear the liability and I finished up trading him and the winner back and fore throughout the final round. I still lost on the tournament but only modestly and it's been a decent enough week.
The Perils of a New Course
For the second time this season we've had a new course hit the European Tour rota with a monstrous yardage and for a second time, it hasn't played anywhere close to its advertised length.
Back in March, short-hitter, SSP Chawrasia, who currently ranks 216th for Driving Distance on the European Tour, successfully defended his Indian Open title on a course that was supposed to be 7,650 yards long and then this week, Siddikur Rahman, who's every bit as short off the tee as SSP, finished third at a track with an official yardage of 7,831 yards!
Before the off, the North Course at the Glen Eagle Resort was described as "the longest used on the European Tour" and it was reported to be "one of the 10 longest worldwide." So how on earth did someone unable to drive much further than 260 yards manage to compete this week?
Back in March, the tournament officials reduced the yardage significantly because the Gary Player designed DLF Golf and Country Club was deemed to be just too difficult to be played at its full distance and the yardage was dramatically reduced this week because of the wet conditions.
It's very difficult to know how a brand new venue is going to play and the task is made so much harder when the European Tour website offers up no information but what these two results tell us is that we can't just assume the course is going to be set up as long as the yardage suggests it will.
I'll be back tomorrow with my previews for both this week's events - the Barracuda Championship and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, where Rory McIlroy will be playing with a new caddie!.
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