The European Tour heads for Holland where a strong field, including Martin Kaymer and Tom Watson, will do battle for the KLM Open at Kennemer G&CC.
Although some of Europe’s very best players are in the USA for the FedEx Cup playoffs, an impressive cast list has gathered in Zandvoort to contest this historic tournament over the seaside (and often breezy) layout at Kennemer.
Two-time Major champion and former winner of this event, Martin Kaymer is on the start sheet. So too are a number of former Ryder Cup stars like Darren Clarke, Stephen Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn. Talented English players Tommy Fleetwood and Eddie Pepperell will tee it up, together with Scottish wind specialists Richie Ramsay and Paul Lawrie and home favourite Joost Luiten.
Opened in 1927, the seaside course at Kennemer is the work of the ubiquitous designer Harry Colt. It has a links feel and wind is always a factor here.
It’s this brilliant old course that has attracted a number of star players to the event. Links specialist and golf course connoisseur Tom Watson is one of those keen to see the Colt classic.
“The reputation of Kennemer made my decision to play an easy one really,” he said. “It’s a world top-100 track and I just hope my old game is up to the task of playing such a wonderful course.”
The Dutch Open was first contested back in 1912 when Englishman George Pannell was victorious. Since then many famous professionals have claimed the title including – J.H Taylor, Bobby Locke, Roberto De Vicenzo, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer and Colin Montgomerie.
Last year Paul Casey held off the challenge of fellow Englishmen Simon Dyson, Andy Sullivan and Eddie Pepperell to claim his 13th European Tour title.
Simon Dyson is something of a specialist in this tournament. He has won it three times (2006, 2009 and 2011,) he was third in 2013 and second last year. But he won’t be able to add to that impressive tally of results this time. He’s out for the rest of the season following an operation on his wrist.
As expected at this tournament, the weather forecast suggests it could be windy this week. That could make things interesting and will have some players licking their lips, while others will find themselves licking their wounds.
Venue: Kennemer G&CC, Zandvoort, The Netherlands
Date: Sep 10-13
Course stats: par 70, 6,626 yards
Purse: €1,800,000 Winner: €300,000
Defending Champion: Paul Casey (-14)
Thursday 10 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
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Tommy Fleetwood – The talented Englishman has been quiet of late and hasn’t played on the European Tour since the USPGA Championship. But he’s got the game to tame this tricky course and has never missed the cut in this event.
Soren Kjeldsen – A superb wind player, Kjeldsen will relish the challenge here if the breeze picks up. He won this year’s Irish Open at Royal County Down in extremely challenging conditions. He was tied for second in his last outing – the Made in Denmark tournament.
Soren Kjeldsen on how to hit the draw:
Eddie Pepperell – He finished well in this event last year (fourth) and has proved he can cope with the elements. He was tied second in the Irish Open and tied fourth in the Scottish Open.
Key Hole: 16th. At 473 yards this long par 4 actually plays as a par 5 for the members. A fade is the ideal shot from the tee but you’ll then be left with a long approach to a narrow green cut into the dunes.
Skills Required: Wind play. A links-style course on the Dutch coast, Kennemer tends to be buffeted by strong winds. The winner here will have good control over his ball flight and will be able to shape his shots both ways.