As the Fedex Cup Play-Offs takes their traditional mid-point week off, it’s time to turn our attentions to the gorgeous setting of Crans-sur-Sierre, Switzerland – the annual venue for the Omega Masters for nearly 80 years.
It’s a golf course like no other used on the European Tour, where sloping fairways and greens like upturned bowls stop tour players destroying a par-70 layout that only measures a little over 6,800 yards. However, the winning score has still been between -16 and -20 in recent years.
Driving distance isn’t a massive advantage on most holes and, whilst putting your ball in the right place on the fairways is, the emphasis is much more on approach shots. However, as all the players will miss plenty of greens this week, an even bigger emphasis is usually placed on short game wizardry.
It’s no surprise to see 2009 and 2016 champion Alex Noren (9/1) installed as favourite by the bookies this week but, after getting married just a few days ago, it’s asking a lot of him to defend this week. Tommy Fleetwood (12/1) is second favourite and, with Ryder Cup Point up for grabs, the Englishman will surely see this as an excellent chance to further his aspirations of making the 2018 European Ryder Cup Team.
The next player in the list this week that looks to offer a bit of value is Richie Ramsay. The Scotsman won the 2012 renewal and, having finished 8th and 10th since, he returns having shown some decent form lately with good shows in both the Irish Open and Open Championship, and has finished no worse than 35th in his last five starts.
A chance is also taken on 2004 Champion Luke Donald who, after also finishing 4th here in 2005, returns for the first time since. Apart from his usual decent performance at Hilton Head, Donald has mainly been struggling on PGA Tour courses where length off the tee is becoming more and more important. Therefore, as his world ranking continues to slip, Donald may well be seen more in Europe this season as he bids to elevate his ranking to a position that qualifies him for majors, and catch the eye of Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjorn.
The last two selections this week are Michael Lorenzo Vera and Florian Fritsch, and I’m recommending a top-10 bet on both. Vera has finished 14/19/12 on his 3 previous visits, and could go well this week after posting finishes of 3rd and 9th in his last 4 events. Meanwhile, Fritsch has finished 7th here in the last two renewals and, after finishing 9th three starts ago, he could go well again at rewarding odds.
2017 Omega Masters Tips
Tommy Fleetwood 2 Points Each-Way @ 12/1 (Skybet) ¼ odds 6 places
Richie Ramsay 1 Point Each-Way @ 35/1 (Betfred) ¼ odds 5 places
Luke Donald 1 Point Each-Way @ 80/1 (Skybet) ¼ odds 6 places
Michael Lorenzo Vera 2 Points Top-10 @ 6/1 (Betstars, William Hill)
Florian Fritsch 2 Points Top-10 @ 14/1 (Boylesports)