Punters have a conundrum this week when assessing the field for the Omega European Masters as those that tee up at Crans-sur-sierre Golf Club will face a renovated course after extensive changes were made to the layout high in the Swiss Alps.
So do you go for the tried and tested at this idiosyncratic track, that features upturned saucer like greens and has, in the past, required solid putting and the ability to scramble well? Or do you consider the arrival of water features on a number of holes have suddenly switched the focus to accurate iron play and distance control?
I tend to think the former, as some of the changes look as if they’ve been designed just to squeeze a few more fans on the galleries at this always well-attended event.
One player who has conquered this course before is Brett Rumford and, after the Australian perhaps took his foot off the gas following successive wins in late March-early April, he looks ready for success again.
Rumford, who won in South Korea and China in the spring, was victorious at Crans in 2007 and is looking to make the cut in Switzerland for the 10th consecutive year. He finished sixth in the Johnnie Walker Championship before claiming eighth in Wales last week, so his form is good, and with terrific scrambling and putting stats in recent outings he is a strong selection at 33/1.
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano looks the best of those vying for favouritism in Switzerland at 25/1 and the Spaniard, who finished alongside Rumford in Newport on Sunday, can draw upon good numbers at Crans so is a confident choice. He is a brilliant scrambler and, after playing against much better opposition in each of his last three tournaments, is potentially a cut above most of the field.
Another player who finished in a tie for eighth place in the Wales Open was Mikko Korhonen. We put the Finn up last week, and he just failed to reward each-way backers at a triple-figure price. Korhonen is slightly shorter this week at 66/1, but three top 10s in his last four starts mark him down as a player to follow, as do fine scrambling and putting stats.
One player who also could run a place at a massive price of 250/1 is Damian Ulrich, the young Swiss player went close on the Challenge Tour last time out, was sixth heading into the final round at Crans two years ago and will command some serious support from the galleries.
My four to follow – Rumford, Fernandez-Castano, Korhonen and Ulrich.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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