The European Tour travels to the Czech Republic this week for the inaugural D+D Real Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort in Vysoky Ujezd. It’s the penultimate week of qualifying for the Ryder Cup.

Lowdown:
The European Tour travels to the Czech Republic this week for the inaugural D+D Real Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort in Vysoky Ujezd. It’s the penultimate week of qualifying for the Ryder Cup.

With only two weeks left until the automatic qualifiers for Paul McGinley’s Ryder Cup team are confirmed, this is a crucial week for those on the fringes of the side.

Stephen Gallacher of Scotland, Jamie Donaldson of Wales and Holland’s Joost Luiten will all tee it up at the Albatross Golf Resort hoping to boost their chances of earning a place at Gleneagles next month.

Donaldson is currently just inside the qualification line – 8th on the World Points List – Gallacher is just outside in 11th spot and Luiten is a little further back in 15th.

This is the first time the European Tour has visited the Czech Republic since the Czech Open of 2011. That event was won by Oliver Fisher and the young Englishman is looking forward to returning to the country where he picked up his first Tour title.

“It will be nice going back to the Czech Republic. A few of my friends are coming out for the week,” he said. “Winning there in 2011 was great. It showed that I could win. That was the biggest thing for me – to show that I could do it. The win in the Czech was my first European Tour win and it will always be a great memory.”

Designed by Keith Preston, the course at the Albatross Golf Resort opened for play in 2009. At some 1,400 feet above sea level, the players could find the ball flying slightly further than usual here. It’s a testing course though with seven large lakes acting as protection, together with a selection of well-placed bunkers and 1,200 newly planted trees.

As well as being a simply incredible Scrabble score, Vysoky Ujezd is a beautiful and historic village in the Beroun district, on the outskirts of the Czech Republic capital of Prague. The first written mention of the village dates to 1310.

The weather forecast in Prague this week looks good – mild with no rain and only a little wind – it should be perfect scoring conditions.

Venue: Albatross Golf Resort, Vysoky Ujezd, Prague, Czech Republic
Date: Aug 21-24
Course stats: par 72, 7,466 yards
Purse: €1,000,000 Winner: €166,660
Defending Champion: Inaugural event

TV Coverage:

Thursday 21 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Friday 22 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am
Saturday 23 – Sky Sports 4 from 12pm
Sunday 24 – Sky Sports 4 from 11.30am

Player Watch:
David Horsey – The Englishman won in Russia at the end of July and recovered well after a poor start in Denmark last week. He’ll be looking to improve his current position of 55th on the Race to Dubai.

Eddie Pepperell – The young Englishman had a poor start to the season but has found some form in the last couple of months. He was tied 6th at the Nordea Masters in June and tied 4th in Denmark last week. Look for him to push on this time out.

Rikard Karlberg – The Swede hasn’t had many starts on the European Tour this year but he’s made the most of them. He’s picked up €162,000 in just eight events and he was tied ninth last week.

Key hole: 17th. A monster par-4 of 490 yards, this is one that demands a perfect drive and an accurate approach. Water runs down the right side from the tee and then across the fairway just at the limit of driving distance. Even if the players find good position from the tee, they’ll be left with a long iron (maybe even more) to a testing green.