There are two events this week for us to get stuck into with action on the European Tour in Holland for the KLM Open, while the PGA Tour’s 2019/20 season gets underway with A Military Tribute At The Greenbrier.
Starting with the KLM Open and we have a new host course in play this year, The International, situated a stones throw away from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.
The European Tour’s website shows the course as a par 73 measuring 6,966 yds with five par fives, however it is quite possible that it will not play to this and will be set up as a par 72 or even 71, so it is fair to say we are somewhat in the dark here.
It would appear though that from what info on the course is out there we are looking at a track with an exposed links type feel, where, with a calm forecast, thick rough and water, which is in play across many of the holes, will be the main defence.
The market is headed up by Patrick Reed @ 13/2 who has chosen to extend his stay in Europe, however Mr USA failed to really get going last week finishing 36th.
At single figure odds he is overlooked.
Behind Reed in the betting, are Thomas Pieters @ 12/1 and Sergio Garcia @ 14/1. Pieters continues to play strongly, however his is not a name that comes to the forefront of my mind when a more accurate, links style strategy is called for. While Garcia is that type of player – it has been a long time since the Spaniard fired on all cylinders.
With that in mind I will instead start this week’s team with a player who is suited to this type of test and in theory should know as much about the course as anyone, Joost Luiten @ 14/1.
The Dutchmen who has shown on two occasions in 2013 and 2016 that he has ‘the bottle’ required to win his home open is at his best on courses, where accuracy is required and he should be able to plot his way round here as well as anyone on display.
Granted 2019 has not been the best of years for Joost, however two top 30 finishes in his last two starts show him rounding in to form at just the right time and with the local support behind him he can complete a hat trick of home titles this week.
Another player who has been edging closer to a maiden tour title for a while now is Gavin Green @25/1. The Malaysian has performed well this year on links style tracks at Hillside, The Irish Open and more recently in Sweden, so you would think that this test may well suit him.
Green has made a habit of throwing in one iffy round alongside three great ones of late and this could be the week he puts it all together.
Finally, in an event where in all honesty plenty of speculation is involved, I like the look of the generous each-way odds for Romain Wattel @ 60/1 as Paddy is paying the first eight places.
The Frenchman played very nicely in Hamburg last week closing with a round of 64 to finish sixth, and while we are at a different track now, a return to Holland where he landed his maiden tour title two years ago should give him a further boost.
While we are in unchartered waters for the KLM Open, over on the PGA Tour it is a familiar venue, The Old White in West Virginia that plays host to the opening event of the season, the Greenbrier Classic.
One man who has thoroughly enjoyed his time at this par 70 track with three top tens in his last three visits is Russell Henley @ 33/1 and having found his form at the back end of the 18/19 campaign – I am very keen on his chances this week.
Alongside Henley I shall play Joaquin Niemann @ 22/1 who looks sure to break through soon and was fifth here last year, and more speculatively, at a big e/w price Lanto Griffin @ 100/1 where Paddy is also paying 8 places.
Griffin who grew up up an hour and a half away from the course has regained his PGA Tour card for this season through some strong performances on the Korn Ferry Tour and arrives here for a ‘home game’ on the back of a seventh place finish last time out.
*Prices correct at time of publishing