Dave Tindall

Across the Pond

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KLM Open Preview

Monday, September 11, 2017


Course form proved king on the quirky mountain course in Switzerland last week as the play-off was contested by two former runners-up.

 

But this week gamers have just one year to peruse as the KLM Open is played at The Dutch for just a second time.

 

At least taking the obvious route worked out well 12 months ago as the title went to local hero Joost Luiten.

 

The Dutchman wrote the perfect script by carding a brilliant 63 in the final round to burst through and claim a three-shot victory.

 

Luiten, of course, is back to defend and plenty of those who played the Omega European Masters in the Swiss Alps make the short hop to the Netherlands.

 

 

The Course

 

Designed by Colin Montgomerie, The Dutch opened in 2011 and is located in Spijk which is 45 minutes south of Amsterdam. The inland course with a strong links feel is a par 71 and measures in at a short 6,983 yards. Three of the par 5s come in the last six holes while water is in play on 12 holes (eight on the back nine). The greens will repel shots coming in at the wrong angle and are a mix of Bentgrass A1 and A4. Finally, it’s mostly flat, exposed terrain so there isn’t much protection from the wind and there will be plenty this week.


2016 Top 3 and Stats

 

-19 Joost Luiten (DD 50th, DA 10th, GIR 2nd, Scrambling 1st, PA 10th)

-16 Bernd Wiesberger (DD 27th, DA 21st, GIR 17th, Scrambling 10th, PA 5th)

-13 Byeong-Hun An (DD 16th, DA 53rd, GIR 6th, Scrambling 6th, PA 35th)

 

Notes: The evidence is limited but strong iron play (it’s what Monty would have wanted) was well rewarded last year. GIR leader for the week, Chris Hanson, finished T8. Scrambling well when missing greens also looks more important than what you do off the tee.

 

 

Last 10 winners of KLM Open

 

2016 -19 Joost Luiten (Netherlands) – The Dutch

2015 -19 Thomas Pieters (Belgium) - Kennemer

2014 -14 Paul Casey (England) - Kennemer

2013 -12 Joost Luiten (Netherlands) – Kennemer

2012 -14 Peter Hanson (Sweden) – Hilversumsche

2011 -12 Simon Dyson (England) – Hilversumsche

2010 -14 Martin Kaymer (Germany) – Hilversumsche

2009 -15 Simon Dyson (England) – Kennemer

2008 -16 Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland) – Kennemer

 

Notes: All 10 winners are either from the British Isles, or nearby Belgium, Germany (both border the Netherlands) and Sweden.

 

 

The Weather

 

Get that rain gear ready. The wet stuff is in the forecast for all four tournament days as well as the build-up. Thursday looks the worst day (extremely windy and rain), horrible in fact, while it will gust over the next three as well. Temperatures are okay (early 60s) but it will probably feel colder in the unpleasant conditions.

 

 

The Leading Contenders

 

Joost Luiten

He didn’t just win last year, Luiten also thrilled his home Dutch fans at Kennemer in 2013. Some players wilt in front of their own fans; he can hit new heights. To be honest, this event could come at the perfect time as he needs a spark after no top 25s in his last six starts. T30 in Switzerland on Sunday could be a good building block though and the Dutchman finished T5 in this event when he last defended it in 2014.

 

Bernd Wiesberger

The runner-up here last year when his iron play really came to the fore although better than usual putting was also a big factor in his second place. Like Luiten, he’s gone a bit flat and, after a disappointing summer, returned to action last week with a missed cut in Switzerland. This should be a good chance to get going again but some trust is needed.

 

Lee Westwood

Westwood celebrated his 500th European Tour event last week with a nice cake and some champagne after finishing up his opening round although T54 suggested he might have had more fun off the course. But prior to that he was T9 in the Czech Masters and he has some good, if rather ancient, history in this event having won in 1999 at Hilversumsche and finished third either side. He returned to that course in 2011 and also made the top five. No reason why he shouldn’t enjoy this track.

 

Ross Fisher

A winner of this event at Kennemer in 2007, third at the same venue in 2013 and T6 at Hilversumsche in 2011, Fisher had to settle for T45 on his debut at The Dutch last year although he did card a Friday 66 to be in the top 15 at halfway. The Englishman has played some excellent golf this year but, like Wiesberger, returned to action from a missed cut at Quail Hollow to make an early exit in Switzerland last week (74-69).

 

Andy Sullivan

In two previous starts in this event, Sullivan has finished third, T18th and also won a trip to space! The latter was after a hole-in-one in 2014 although his fear of heights means he’s yet to cash the prize in. He didn’t get anything going in the summer majors/WGC but, in July, Sullivan posted T7 in France, T20 in the Irish Open and T9 at the Scottish Open so he won’t have to think too far back for some positive memories.

 

Ryan Fox

The son of former Rugby Union World Cup winner Grant continued his excellent season on the European Tour with T9 at Crans-sur-Sierre last week. That represented a fourth top 10 in seven starts; filter out the majors and it’s four in five. This is his tournament debut but a New Zealander should be able to cope with wet and windy weather.

 

David Horsey

Horsey will be relishing a return to The Dutch after he pieced together four impressive rounds to take a share of fourth place last year. That added to three previous top 10s in this event – 4th and 6th at Hilversumsche and T9 at Kennemer. He boasts strong current form too after finishing runner-up in Denmark a fortnight ago and shooting 66-68-68 over his final three rounds in Crans last week (T30).

 

Richie Ramsay

A popular pick last week, Ramsay was left to rue round three after posting 69-67-75-64 for T30. Still, the big finish will put him in good heart and he’s a former runner-up in this event having taken second place at Hilversumsche in 2012. That was the standout in a run of four top 25s at the KLM. This course should suit although the theory didn’t match the reality when he missed the cut in 2016. He’s in much better form this year however.

 

Julian Suri

And on and on he goes. Suri has barely missed a week of action since May but when the American did finally have a breather he came back from the break to win the Made In Denmark. Suri followed it with T34 (Czech) and T20 (Switzerland) but rather faded on the weekend of both. He’s clearly a form horse though so, despite the fatigue fears, is worthy of consideration on this his tournament debut.

 

Fabrizio Zanotti

The Paraguayan has some nice converging trends here. After returning home to take third in his home event on the Latinoamerica Tour he also carved out a top three finish in the Swiss mountains last week. Zanotti now arrives in the Netherlands to play a tournament in which he was second in 2010, fourth in 2015 and T16 at this week’s course last year after shooting four sub-par rounds. 5th in GIR last week.

 

Tom Lewis

Striking his irons superbly at the moment and that’s helped him to a top three finish in the Czech Masters and T20 at the European Masters in the last fortnight. Lewis finished his week in the Swiss Alps with a 65 so should have some extra swagger. Didn’t make the cut last year but plays well in the wind and should fare much better in his current form.


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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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