The European Tour action moves on to Germany – and more specifically the outskirts of Hamburg for the Porsche European Open.
The Green Eagle GC will be hosting the event for the third time and the main point to note is that the course features five Par 5’s and five Par 3’s, rather than the normal mix of four of each that you’d expect on a 7,544 yard, par 72.
With all but one of the par 5’s offering a great birdie or even eagle opportunity, the long holes are where you make your score around here. Last year’s shock winner, Richard McEvoy, played the par fives in -12 for the week, even though his winning score was only -11.
Several of the leading US Tour players have chosen this year to join the European Tour and chase the Race To Dubai cash this year and three of these Xander Schauffele, Patrick Reed and Matt Kuchar dominate the betting market, alongside Paul Casey.
Of these big four in the world rankings, it is the marginal favourite, Schauffele who makes the most appeal to me, particularly as he will be keen to put on a show here with his German heritage.
Siding with short priced favourites can be a dangerous game, as we saw here last year when the unheralded McEvoy outplayed a disgruntled Bryson DeChambeau on Sunday, and last weekend when Rory McIlroy lost out in a play-off to Sebastian Soderberg.
While I fully expect one or two of these big names to be in the hunt come Sunday, I am happy to search for some bigger- priced value this week.
The first player I will lead off with is Spanish superstar in the making Adri Arnaus @ 30/1 in a tournament where Paddy is paying 8 places. The 24-year-old is on a huge upward curve and a maiden European Tour win surely can’t be far away.
He came close in Prague a few weeks ago and after another strong showing in Switzerland last weekend, I fancy that his length will be a big advantage here.
This could well be the week that he puts it all together.
The first two outings of this event on this track has seen an Englishman land their maiden European tour win, so I am going to side with another, Sam Horsfield @ 50/1 to get off the mark and to complete the hat-trick.
Horsfield went to college in Florida and was mentored by Ian Poulter and has really found his straps over the past few weeks after a slightly disappointing season. A third-place finish in Prague was followed by a 10th-place berth in Sweden. After a quieter week in Crans – I fancy him to get back in the thick of things now.
Further down the list is Swede Rikard Karlberg @ 80/1. Karlberg, a former member of the world’s top 70, only returned to the tour in April after an 18 month hiatus for a serious infection. He has started to find his feet again lately posting a couple of consecutive top-six finishes on the Challenge Tour before finishing fifth in Prague three weeks ago.
The track suits Karlberg who was 19th here in 2017 and he is fancied to continue his comeback progression.
I won’t stray too far from course form for my final selection – Renato Paratore @ 45/1. The one-time Italian tour winner has been playing very nicely of late and had a very solid week in Switzerland to finish 12th.
Combined with his strong showing at this venue last year this gives him obvious each-way credentials.