This week, the European Tour stages one of its most iconic tournaments, the Omega European Masters, at one of the most iconic venues on the circuit – Crans-sur-Sierre in Switzerland.
The course – located in the Alps with stunning views across valleys and mountain ranges – is not at all long by modern standards at 6,822 yards, with altitude shortening it further.
Therefore, strategy, course management and accuracy are far more important than distance off the tee, so look out for some of the shorter, more considered and meticulous players to feature this week.
Unfortunately, the Fed-Ex Cup play-offs have weakened the field somewhat, with players such as Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood playing in Boston this week. That being said, the field is still strong and the course often yields extremely low scores, making for an exciting tournament where most players in the field have a chance of victory.
Last year, Thomas Bjorn shot a final-round 62 to win for the second consecutive week and, perhaps unsurprisingly, he is one of the favourites this time around.
Alex Noren, at 20/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good bet this week. He is in good form, with two top tens in his last four outings and a solid 26th place finish at last week’s Johnnie Walker Championship. He won the Omega Masters in 2009 and finished inside the top ten here last year.
Defending champion Thomas Bjorn is also worth a bet at 25/1 with Ladbrokes. He has fantastic memories of Crans Montagne after last year’s victory and a fine record in the tournament. His form has been a little erratic this season, but he comes into the tournament full of confidence after playing some fine golf en route to a top ten at the Johnnie Walker.
It is also hard to ignore Miguel Angel Jimenez at 33/1 with Ladbrokes. His game is perfectly suited to Crans-sur-Sierre, as he demonstrated when winning the tournament in 2010 and finishing in the top ten last year. He will also be in good spirits after being named as Jose Maria Olazabal’s fourth European vice-captain for the upcoming Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.
Maarten Lafeber, at 100/1 with Ladbrokes, is a good each way bet. He is a quality golfer but had been languishing in the golfing depths for some time before a return to form at the Johnnie Walker, where he finished in a tie for third. He also moved into the top 115 in the Race to Dubai standings, and a mixture of relief, confidence and the desire to secure his 2013 tour card should spur him on this week.
Richard Finch, at 150/1 with Ladbrokes, could feature this week. He led at the half way point last week in Scotland and, despite a poor third round, he rallied with a closing 68 to infiltrate the top 20. He is a form player who tends to follow one good performance with another.
Omega European Masters advised bets:
2pts each way on Alex Noren at 20/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Thomas Bjorn at 25/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Miguel Angel Jimenez at 33/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Maarten Lafeber at 100/1 with Ladbrokes
2pts each way on Richard Finch at 150/1 with Ladbrokes