A star-studded field will tee it up at spectacular Crans-sur-Sierre for the 71st running of the Omega European Masters. Alex Noren is defending champion.

Defending champion Alex Noren headlines the field for the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre. The World Number 11 is joined on the start list by Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood and past winners Danny Willett, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

It’s a big week for Westy as he makes his 500th European Tour appearance. The former World Number 1 finished in the top-10 at last week’s D+D REAL Czech Masters and will hope to build on that performance this time out.

This is one of the European Tour’s oldest tournament venues and has been a fixture on the circuit since the Tour’s inception in 1972. Past winners include Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.

Last year, Alex Noren claimed the second of the four European Tour victories he racked up in 2016. The Swede came through a playoff against Scott Hend at Crans-sur-Sierre.

Crans-sur-Sierre has, perhaps, the most spectacular backdrop of any course on the European Tour. With the towering Swiss Alps surrounding the layout, this event makes for a stunning TV spectacle.

The layout dates from 1908, though it was re-designed in the late 1920s then altered by Seve back in 1999.

It’s not a long layout but it requires accurate hitting. If a player can keep the ball on track, good scores are possible. Back in 1992, Jamie Spence shot a 60 in the final round to force a playoff (which he then won) against Anders Forsbrand.

The weather forecast is mixed and rain could be a feature on the weekend.

Venue: Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, Switzerland
Date: Sep 7-10
Course stats: par 70, 6,848 yards
Purse: €2,700,000
Defending champion: Alex Noren (-17)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 7 – Sky Sports Golf from 10.30am
Friday 8 – Sky Sports Golf from 10.30am
Saturday 9 – Sky Sports Golf from 12.30pm
Sunday 100 – Sky Sports Golf from 11am

Player Watch:
Alex Noren – The Swede is defending champion and is looking for a third victory in the event. He also won at Crans in 2009. The World Number 11 won the BMW PGA Championship earlier this year and was tied for sixth in The Open.

Alex Noren’s fairway bunker tips:

Lee Westwood – He won this event way back in 1999 and he’s had three further top-10s, including a fourth place last year. He comes into the event on the back of a good result in the Czech Masters last week.

Tommy Fleetwood – He’s enjoyed a good summer and will be looking to draw confidence from two top-10 finishes at Crans-sur-Sierre.

Key holes: 5-7. Three straight par 4s measuring under 365 yards. The last two could be driveable depending on tee position and wind direction – This should be where players kick-start their rounds with a couple of birdies. However, danger awaits if you get greedy.