The European Tour travels to the Czech Republic this week for the third running of the Czech Open contested at the Prosper Golf Resort. Course designer Miguel Angel Jimenez will be among the favourites.
Jimenez designed both the Old and New courses at the Prosper Golf Resort overlooked by the imposing Beskydy Mountains. It became the first of his creations to host a European Tour event when it welcomed the Czech Open in 2009. Jimenez will be hoping to pick up his first European Tour victory of the season, the Spaniard already has two second place finishes to his name in 2011.
The Spanish Ryder Cup star will be joined in the field by nine others who have participated in golf’s premier team event over the years. One of those men is Golf Monthly’s playing editor David Howell. The Englishman has recently shown signs of a return to form with a tied eighth place finish in the Irish Open.
“I took a lot of confidence from that week as a whole and especially on the Saturday when I played with Rory McIlroy in front of huge crowds and carded a 64″ he said. “That showed me that the work I have been doing with my coach Jamie Gough recently has been paying off.”
Last season Sweden’s Peter Hanson came through a three-man playoff against Peter Lawrie of Ireland and England’s Gary Boyd to take the title. It was a significant victory for the Swede as it went a long way to securing his place in Colin Montgomerie’s Ryder Cup team for Celtic Manor.
Hanson followed Oskar Henningsson as the second straight Swedish winner of the Czech Open. When Henningsson won in 2009 he became only the third player after Gordon Brand Jnr and Jose Maria Olazabal to claim a European Tour title after winning the final stage of qualifying school the previous season.
Venue: Prosper Golf Resort, Celadna, Czech Republic
Date: Aug 18-21
Course stats: par 72, 7,452 yards
Defending Champion: Peter Hanson (-10)
Thursday 18 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 10am
Friday 19 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 10am
Saturday 20 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 12.30pm
Sunday 21 – Live on Sky Sports 4 from 12.30pm
Miguel Angel Jimenez – The Spaniard will feel like he’s at a home away from home this week around a layout he designed. He’s made the cut in the last two Majors and will be aiming to secure his first European Tour victory of 2011.
Jeev Milkha Singh – He’s another man who’s looked like returning to his best form in recent weeks. He led the Irish Open after a stunning first round of 63 and went on to finish in 11th place in that event. If he can keep it going for four rounds, he might well contend here.
Peter Lawrie – He’s enjoying another solid season on the European Tour and has pocketed over €300,000 so far in 2011 – his best finish a second place in the Volvo China Open. He was tied eighth in the recent Irish Open.
Key hole: 15th. At just 163 yards on the card, this wouldn’t appear to be the most dangerous par-3. But the green is completely surrounded by water so anything slightly off line, or misjudged in terms of distance could end up wet.
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