Dan Roebuck’s Nordea Masters preview: Noren to star at home
The European Tour heads to Stockholm for this week’s Nordea Masters with a strong home challenge dominating the market.
Swedes Peter Hanson (20/1) and Alex Noren (14/1) vie for favouritism alongside last week’s Wentworth winner Matteo Manassero (16/1) and fellow Italian Francesco Molinari (14/1). Of that quartet it is difficult to dismiss the chances of Noren and Molinari who both make the staking plan.
Noren won this event two years ago, when he battled poor weather on the final day to claim the title by seven shots, before following up by finishing 10th 12 months ago. He knows Bro Hof Slott golf club extremely well, divulging that he played the 7,602-yard layout every day in the summer before he moved to Monaco.
It’s that course knowledge that makes him appeal most, although it’s worth pointing out that he has managed three top-10s in 2013 – two of which have come in his last four starts, so there is some current form to go with his local insight.
Molinari is teeing it up at the long, par-72 track for the first time, but will be eager to keep his good run of recent form going. Fifth in the Volvo World Matchplay two weeks ago in Bulgaria was followed up with ninth place in the BMW Championship on Sunday.
Lastly, Mikko Ilonen could spring a surprise at decent odds of 33/1. The Finn was third here last year and has shown superb form on the greens this term. He topped the putting average at Wentworth where he finished 12th, while prior to that he was second in China, ranking fourth in putts per greens in regulation. In four of his last five events he has ranked inside the top four of the flat stick stats and he must be backed this week.
My three off the tee, therefore, are Noren, Molinari and Ilonen.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication