Falling in between two majors it’s fair to say the Russian Open hasn’t quite captured the imagination of the European Tour’s elite players since its inception in 2003, but that gives some of the less well-established players a welcome crack at the €1,000,000 jackpot.
Looking at the field for the 2014 edition, which makes a return to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Tsleevo Golf and Polo Club in Moscow where it was staged 12 months ago, there’s an Englishman with terrific claims.
25-year-old Matthew Nixon, who is ranked the 20/1 third-favourite by Ladbrokes, turned professional in 2010 and this event is the scene of his greatest windfall to date.
The Mancunian golfer tied for second at Tsleevo in ’13, trousering a cool €86,855 in the process as he finished on -12, just four shots behind eventual winner Michael Hoey.
Northern Irishman Hoey isn’t present to defend his trophy, while the only other man to have shot lower than Nixon last year – 40/1-shot Alexandre Kaleka – has made just one cut in his last six European Tour events.
But it’s not just Nixon’s impressive card in Moscow last year that picks the former English Boys Amateur Champion out as the most prominent selection.
The Ashton-under-Lyne resident has been busy swelling his coffers on the Tour in recent weeks too, starting with a mightily impressive showing at the Irish Open, where he tied for 14th.
Nixon then followed that up by handing in his lowest score of the season at the BMW International Open, where he strung together four sub-70 rounds to finish 14-under-par in Germany.
Throw in a T12 position at the Alstom Open de France and ignore a patchy showing on the links of Aberdeen and this is clearly an English golfer on the up.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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