The course this week is designed by Jack Nicklaus which means we can usually conclude a few dynamics. There is plenty of space off the tee and it's a week where even the short hitters can move up the gears and give it a smash. The key to success around Nicklaus courses is usually the approach shot. That should be no different here with greens, although large, protected by some strategic bunkers. Scores should be very low and plenty have an opportunity to make a name for themselves.
A tournament rag could well pop up and nick this one as this is the weakest field this year bar none. However I've looked through the credentials of the majority of outsiders and nothing stands out as a bet whatsoever. Many will contend no doubt but I would conclude that one of the top 10 in the market should take this. There are a couple of others outside that bracket who have the skills to play well and I'll mention them later.
Max Kieffer is our tournament fav this week and although he is having an exceptionally consistent year I can't invest at 10/1. For somebody crying out for his first win it would be a very nervy weekend. The prize on offer isn't too great and we don't know whether the German will be 100% after a month off the course. David Horsey won two weeks back and isn't without a chance on a second shot golf course. He was extremely shaky though and he was lucky enough that nobody played remotely good golf on Sunday in Denmark. 14/1 is of little interest taking that into account.
The most likely winner for me this week is Michael Hoey. He is having a very consistent summer with 9 made cuts on the trot. A top 10 finish in the BMW was followed up with a Quarter final defeat in the Matchplay in Scotland. With a busy schedule in the last few months Michael has done extremely well to stay fresh for each event. I'm impressed by his run of results and I'm surprised he doesn't line up as joint fav this week. He won this event last year on a different course. Hoey likes these shorter tracks and with some potential dodgy weather across the week he is more than equipped to cope.
Wins in Madeira and the Dunhill Links show his credentials for this test. With five wins on tour he is still underestimated, even in this field. 18/1 is tasty enough and we'll have a solid bet at those odds.
He was given a spanking by Rickie Fowler in one of his singles matches that year. He had a very consistent 2014 on the CT and with four consistent weeks on the trot here I think his form will continue. He will have gained a lot of confidence from being late out over the weekend in Czech Republic and maybe he is beginning to feel like he belongs on this tour. With a very weak field he is certainly worth considering at 80/1.
The majority of top class European golfers are blooded on the Challenge Tour and I've seen enough evidence to suggest that Roos holds half a chance of success on the big tour. Two top 25 finishes in Ireland and France in the Summer were impressive in better fields than this week. His lack of form lately is a major concern however and that stops us from having a larger stake. The colder and trickier weather may well be up his street also. I'm prepared to take the gamble anyhow.