Dave Tindall

Across the Pond

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BMW International Open Preview

Monday, June 19, 2017


After an atypical if quietly absorbing U.S. Open, normality returns to the European Tour this week in the form of the BMW International Open.

 

Unlike Erin Hills, Golfclub Munchen Eichenried is a familiar stop having played host to this tournament from 1997-2011, 2013 and 2015. In recent years, it’s alternated with Gut Larchenhof in Cologne.

 

Martin Kaymer, the only German winner of the event, returns home to try and add to his 2008 victory here while Henrik Stenson is also looking to become a dual winner at Golfclub Munich Eichenreid.

 

Kaymer was just 23 years and 177 days old at the time of his win and remains the youngest player ever to win the event.

 

Masters champion Sergio Garcia tries his luck too while Europe’s star man at Erin Hills, Tommy Fleetwood, also heads to southern Germany.

 

 

Winners at Golfclub Munich Eichenreid and their stats for the week

 

2015 Pablo Larrazabal (DD 52nd, DA 22nd, GIR 33rd, Scr 5th, PA 27th)

2013 Ernie Els (DD 22nd, DA 51st, GIR 1st, Scr 18th, PA 50th)

2011 Pablo Larrazabal (DD 39th, DA 2nd, GIR 2nd, Scr 25th, PA 35th)

2010 David Horsey (DD 68th, DA 8th, GIR 42nd, Scr 6th, PA 10th)

2009 Nick Dougherty (DD 21st, DA 38th, GIR 20th, Scr 27th, PA 2nd)

2008 Martin Kaymer (DD 12th, DA 26th, GIR 1st, Scr 1st, PA 31st)

2007 Niclas Fasth (DD 3rd, DA 3rd, GIR 7th, Scr 7th, PA 25th)

2006 Henrik Stenson (DD 3rd, DA 37th, GIR 7th, Scr 2nd, PA 41st)

2005 David Howell (DD 12th, DA 16th, GIR 2nd, Scr 1st, PA 40th)

2004 Miguel Angel Jimenez (DD 45th, DA 48th, GIR 8th, Scr 36th, PA 15th)

 

Notes: Seven of those 10 were in the top 10 for GIR and four in the top two. Scrambling can be important too and that seemed to be Larrazabal’s strength when he won for the second time at this venue two years ago.

 

 

The course – Golfclub Munchen Eichenried

 

With four par fives on the flat and tree-lined Kurt Robknecht-designed par 72 which measures just 7,181 yards, birdies and eagles are freely available. The last 10 winning scores were-16, -18, -16, -18, -22, -15-, -13, -15, -23 and -21 while Raphael Jacquelin holds the course record of 10-under 62 (2003). Larrazabal shot 66s in rounds two and four on the way to his win in 2015. It’s become a slightly harder test in recent times and water is in play on 10 of the holes but you’ll still have to go low to get it done.

 

 

The Weather

 

It’s going to be a hot one. The mercury will really rise on Thursday and Friday and sit in the high 80s. There could be a spot of rain on Saturday while the wind could be a factor the final three days, with some strong gusts at times on Sunday.

 

 

The Leading Contenders

 

Sergio Garcia

Playing his first major since become Masters champion, Sergio had to settle for T21 in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills. It probably wasn’t his sort of course so, overall, it was a fair effort. The Spaniard has some good form here though, losing a play-off (at the fifth extra hole!) in 2011 and also making the top seven (2001 and 2013) in two of his other four appearances. He’s always liked Germany and 10 of his 13 starts there have resulted in top 25s.

 

Henrik Stenson

The feeling that Stenson’s game is a little off was confirmed at Erin Hills where he missed the cut although the U.S. Open has never really been his favorite event. Still, that’s now just one top 15 in his last seven worldwide starts so he’ll want to get going soon ahead of next month’s Open defense. This could be the ideal event for him to find a spark as he’s made the top 10 in his last seven visits, the last three showing a win (at Gut Larchenhof) and two seconds. One of those runners-up finishes came here two years ago while he also posted a win at Eichenried in 2006.

 

Bernd Wiesberger

He was never on the leaderboard but, with T16, Wiesberger actually finished as the joint-second best European at Erin Hills, shooting a couple of 69s in his 5-under total. He’d come straight from T15 at his home Austrian Open so it was a strong effort and represents a seventh top 25 in nine worldwide starts. He’s done well playing in neighboring Germany where he has three top sevens in his last six starts, including T4 at this week’s course in 2013.

 

Tommy Fleetwood

Europe’s standout at Erin Hills where he showed the talent that he’s already displayed this season when landing the Abu Dhabi Championship and finishing solo second in the WGC-Mexico. The young Englishman is now up to 21st in the world rankings and arrives at a course where he’s finished T11 (2015) and T26 (2013) in two visits. The big conundrum is whether he’ll be walking tall after last week’s fourth place or suffer mental-down following his U.S. Open high.

 

Martin Kaymer

The home hero won at Eichenried in 2008, added a top four in 2013 and was also in the top 25 in 2010 and 2011. However, he’s also had four missed cuts at the course, including the last edition held there in 2015. There’s also a boom or bust to his recent results across all events in Germany (6-MC-MC-4-MC) so he isn’t the epitome of German reliability that gamers may think. Kaymer was going well for 36 holes in the U.S. Open before slipping to T35 with a 75-73 weekend finish.

 

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

There were high hopes for RCB at Erin Hills after T4 at both The PLAYERS and St. Jude Classic but he only managed to break par once (a 71) and ended T42. He’s got some decent form at Eichenried though (11-26-MC-3) and was also runner-up in this event at Gut Larchenhof in 2014. The Spaniard loves playing with the sun on his back so the hot forecast this week is another plus.

 

Joost Luiten

After a season of solid but slightly underwhelming finishes, Luiten finally posted his first top 10 of the campaign with T7 at the Lyoness Open in Austria. After not making the U.S. Open field, he’ll have a freshness edge on his big-name rivals and he once won a Challenge Tour event in Germany by shooting a closing 61 (have some of that Johnny Miller!). Third at Eichenried in 2011 and T10 in 2013, this is a course he clearly likes.

 

Pablo Larrazabal

Fully deserving the tag of Mr Course Specialist given that two of his four European Tour wins have come at this venue (2011 and 2015). He also made the top 10 at Gut Larchenhof either side of that second victory and has another top three at Eichenried from 2010. The Spaniard missed the cut in Sweden last time but before that had connected four top 25s, included a third place in the Volvo China Open.

 

Andy Sullivan

Despite a couple of strong displays overseas (T20 WGC-Mexico, T15 Houston Open), Sullivan had been rather disappointing in regular European Tour events until he closed with a 69 to take T8 in the Nordea Masters on his last start. He’ll hope to use that as a springboard for success here where he missed the cut on his only appearance in 2013. Note, though, he actually opened with a 66 that week before collapsing to a 78 in round two. T21 at Gut Larchenhof last year.

 

Thorbjorn Olesen

The Dane didn’t make the U.S. Open field which was a shame as Erin Hills might have suited him. No matter, he can now look to continue some strong form on the regular European Tour which shows T8 in the Shenzhen and T4 in the Nordea Masters in his last four starts. Olesen missed his first two cuts at Eichenried but shot middle rounds of 68-69 in 2015 for T29 in 2015 and finished runner-up in this event at Gut Larchenhof last year.


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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at Sky Sports.com in the UK and has been writing betting previews for the European Tour since 1997. He can be reached via e-mail on tindall_david@hotmail.com and on Twitter @davetindallgolf.
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