After the thrills and spills of the US Open at Pebble Beach, the European Tour is in Germany this week for the 22nd running of the BMW International Open.
The competition heads back to the Golfclub München Eichenried for the 14th consecutive season. The Kurt Rossknecht layout opened for play in 1989 and is a flat course protected mainly by its water hazards. The venue tends to produce low scoring. Last season Nick Dougherty fired four tremendous rounds to finish at 22-under-par, one ahead of Rafa Echenique. The Argentine produced a superb closing 62, including an albatross two on the par-5 18th, but came up just shy. Dougherty will return to defend his title and will vie to be the first man to win the event twice in a row.
Of the home players, Martin Kaymer has the best chance. Bernhard Langer will be bidding to take the only European Tour title played in Germany that has so far eluded him while Alex Cejka comes into the tournament with some confidence after a good finish in California last week.
Gregory Havret who put in such a remarkable performance at Pebble Beach, finishing as runner-up, is also on the start sheet in Munich.
Teenage sensation Matteo Manassero has received a sponsor’s invite and he’ll tee it up alongside Spanish veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Venue: Golfclub München Eichenried, Germany
Date: Jun 24-27
Course stats: par 72, 7,023 yards
Purse: €2,000,000 Winner: €333,330
Defending Champion: Nick Dougherty (-22)
Thursday 24 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10.30am
Friday 25 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10.30am
Saturday 26 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 1.30pm
Sunday 27 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 11am
Martin Kaymer – The talented young German was a winner here in 2008 and will have been buoyed by a top-10 finish in last week’s US Open.
Ernie Els – The big South African is back to his best in 2010 and has climbed to sixth on the Official World Golf Ranking. He was third at Pebble Beach last week.
Robert Karlsson – Another man who is returning to something approaching his best form. He hasn’t missed a cut all season on the European Tour.
Key hole: 16th. A risk and reward par four of just 319 yards. It’s driveable but with water waiting short and right anything with a touch of cut on it will end up wet. If someone needs to make birdies on the last day they’ll definitely have a go at it.
Skills required: Putting. It’s a relatively straightforward layout where birdies are commonplace. The winner will have a great week with the flat stick.