Dan Roebuck’s Russian Open preview: Maiden win for Wattel


After the hot and dry conditions of the Open Championship, the European Tour heads just north of Moscow for the M2M Russian Open where rain is expected for most of the week.

The near 7,500-yard Jack Nicklaus-designed course at the Tseleevo Golf and Polo Club, that has staged a Challenge Tour event for the last three years, will surely play a little longer if conditions are as forecast, so punters are firstly advised to look for players who can hit it out there from the tee.

Romain Wattel ranks 45th in driving distance on tour this season, although that hardly tells the full story, given he has ranked inside the top ten of that particular stats category in two of the last four events he has made the cut in. The Frenchman is certainly a powerful player and, while his form hasn’t been brilliantly in July, he has shown he is more than capable with fourth place in South Korea in May and third in Austria just last month.

Against mediocre opposition he deserves his place towards the top of the market at 20/1 and he could easily win a first European Tour title this week.

Anirban Lahiri (50/1) is huge off the tee and has been ripping up the Asian Tour this term. He won in his native India in March and comes into this week’s event on the back of 10th and second-place finishes.

Neither Wattel nor Lahiri have played this week’s course before so, to balance out the staking plan, I’ve included Chris Doak (20/1). The Scot led his national Open a fortnight ago after two rounds before fading to 12th, but he’ll feel more at home in near Challenge Tour company and as he is the only player in the field with two top-10 finishes at Tseleevo.

My three off the tee – Wattel, Lahiri and Doak.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.