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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: BMW International Open (2023)

Just three weeks removed from Tom McKibbin’s victory at the Porsche European Open, the DP World Tour returns to Germany for the 34th playing of the BMW International Open.

This event once alternated between the Golf Club Gut Lärchenhof and the Golfclub München Eichenried between 2011 and the pandemic in 2020 but has since found a home at the Golfclub München Eichenried for the fourth consecutive year.

Ryder Cup implications remain the governing story as we are now just three months shy of the much anticipated event.

Many European team hopefuls will be teeing it up this week along with European Captain Luke Donald who looks to have front row seat of the inspiring hopefuls.

The Field

As previously mentioned, the Ryder Cup remains the focal point of the DP World Tour as the anticipated event is just over 100 days away.

European Captain Donald, along with his vice-captains, Thomas Bjørn, Edoardo Molinari and Nicolas Colsaerts, will all be in the field this week as they’ll get a front row seat to those looking to play their way into the team.

Notable names looking to impress this week in front of the captain and vice-captains include Victor Perez, Adrian Meronk, Jorge Campillo and Yannick Paul.

However, they too will be keeping a close eye on McKibbin, the 20-year-old Northern Irishman who won the Porsche European Open three weeks back - also on German soil. Another strong performance this week could see McKibbin forcing Donald’s hand in including him on the Ryder Cup team.

Rasmus and Nicolai Hojgaard, the 21-year-old Danish twins, too have a chance of securing a spot on Donald’s team. They too will be playing this week in Germany.

There will be many German golfers playing on their home soil looking to claim victory this week. That list includes Paul, who is one of the names Donald and company will be monitoring closely this week. Additional German based golfers include Marcel Siem, Max Kieffer and Matti Schmid.

Paul sits fifth place on the European Points List as he won his first title on the DP World Tour a year ago, as did Kieffer.

Schmid made a name for himself on the PGA TOUR as he finished tied for sixth at The American Express in January.

This week’s venue also happens to be the course that Siem grew up playing as a child. Although 42-years-old, Siem has topped 500 DP World Tour tournaments and is once again playing some quality golf. He recently gave McKibbin a run for his money back at the European Open before running out of steam.

Another name worth mentioning, although not of German descent, is Spain’s Pablo Larrazabel who has won four times in the past 15 months. He too is a former winner of this event.

The defending champion is China’s Haotong Li who won in a playoff a year ago over Thomas Pieters.

The BMW International Open has been the breeding ground for many high-profile golfers. Viktor Hovland won this event in 2021. Other high-profile winners of this event include Colin Montgomerie, John Daly, Thomas Bjorn, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer.

The Course

The Golfclub München Eichenried in Munich, Germany plays as a Par 72 at 7,284 yards.

It was designed by Kurt Rossknecht and opened in 1989 as a flat, tree-lined course with greens that run quite slowly.

There are many streams and ponds that run through the course. With the ponds in play, there are two half-island greens and 90 sand bunkers throughout. Water is in play on ten holes.

As the course has matured, so have the trees, which has helped force the scoring to lower. A 20-under-par score would not have been enough to win here in the early years. Last year was the first time since 2009 that anyone went lower than -19.

Haotong and Pieters both carded scores of -22 before heading to a playoff a year ago.

A slight-renovation took place here prior to the 2019 edition of the event with the majority of the changes coming as modifications to all of the greens.

The course too was lengthened during this renovation which didn’t make that much of a difference. The winning score was just two strokes higher than it had been in 2017.

As previously mentioned with the maturing of the trees, this course was once a bombers paradise but has since turned to reward the straight hitters off the tee.

To put that into perspective, David Horsey, the winner in 2010 at this course, ranked seventh in driving accuracy among the field but 68th in driving distance. Ross Fisher, the runner up in 2010, topped the field in driving accuracy.

Hitting the green too will be important this week as the first and second in terms of greens in regulation percentage in 2019 placed first and second for the tournament.

The difference maker here at Golfclub München Eichenried will be the putting on these slow greens.

In all, this course rewards the best tee-to-green players on Tour.

The Weather

As of the time of writing this, there is a strong chance of precipitation across the first two days of the event. Tuesday currently calls for a 50-percent chance and Friday currently shows a 70-percent chance. The chance of precipitation then drops to 20-and-10-percent respectively for Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures are set for the high 80’s to low 90’s between Thursday and Friday before the rain brings cooler temperatures for the weekend. Highs for Saturday and Sunday will range from 75-to-80 degrees. With the rain on Thursday and Friday, there will be higher winds. The winds are set at 10 miles-per-hour on Thursday and 13 miles-per-hour on Friday before subsiding over the weekend. As it sits, it appears those who can tread-the-water (pun intended) across the first two days should see much better weather come weekend play.

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG)

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Par 4 Performance

  • Scrambling

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Driving Accuracy Percentage

  • Sand Saves Percentage

  • Birdie or Better Percentage

  • Bogey Avoidance

Betting Card

Yannik Paul (+2200)

Something about being able to play on home soil with the Ryder Cup captain and vice captains in the same field has me believing this is Paul’s week. Beyond that, he models well to this week’s venue. He’s currently eighth on the DP World Tour in scrambling, 11th in SG: TTG, 15th in bogey avoidance, 18th in GIR%, 24th in par four average scoring, 50th in SG: PUTT, 70th in driving accuracy, 78th in birdie or better percentage and 103rd in sand saves percentage. The last time we saw Paul was two weeks back, prior to the break for the U.S. Open where he placed T3rd at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed. He’s also made nine consecutive cuts on Tour, including making the cut at the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY. His season has been highlighted by second place finishes at the Thailand Classic and Hero Indian Open and a T6th at the ISPS Handa Championship as well as his T3rd at the Scandinavian Mixed.

Antoine Rozner (+2200)

Coming in at the same price as Paul, Rozner actually models a bit better, but the outside factors of Paul playing on home soil has me leaning his way more than Rozner. Rozner is currently seventh on Tour in GIR%, 12th in bogey avoidance, 26th birdie or better percentage, 29th in SG: PUTT, 31st in par four average scoring, 32nd in SG: TTG, 48th in scrambling, 49th in driving accuracy and 107th in sand save percentage. Rozner has made seven consecutive cuts coming into this week himself. His season has been highlighted by a win at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, a T3rd at the SDC Championship, T5th at the Thailand Classic and T6th at the Singapore Classic.

Joost Luiten (+4000)

With the trends favoring accuracy over distance off the tee, Luiten has to be included this week. He comes in top 43 in each of the nine statistical categories I’m taking into consideration this week and actually tops my model of those playing this week. He’s currently 16th on Tour in driving accuracy, 20th in bogey avoidance, 21st in SG: TTG, 32nd in par four average scoring, 34th in birdie or better percentage, 35th in scrambling, 39th in sand saves percentage and 43rd in SG: PUTT. The Dutchman comes in making ten consecutive cuts. He has back-to-back top 25 finishes here recently at the Porsche European Open and KLM Open. His season has been highlighted by a third at the Hero Indian Open and T3rds at the Korea Championship and Thailand Classic.

Ewen Ferguson (+4000)

Ferguson is elite when it comes to avoiding bogeys and GIR% as he currently ranks sixth and ninth on Tour respectively. Additionally, the Scotsman is 26th in sand saves percentage, 33rd in SG: TTG, 39th in driving accuracy, 49th in scrambling, 52nd in par four average scoring, 70th in birdie or better percentage and 75th in SG: PUTT. He’ll have to catch a hot flat stick this week to compete but he is above average in that category. Actually, he’s above average in each of the nine statistical categories we’re taking into consideration this week. He did miss the cut in his last outing at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed but prior to that placed T14th at the Porsche European Open and T8th at the KLM Open. He additionally has finishes such as T3rd at the SDC Championship and T4th at the Jonsson Workwear Open on the season.

Aaron Cockerill (+6000)

I’m not getting too crazy with my outrights this week in Germany as this is my “longshot” of the week. I feel like with some of the implications on the line, the top end of the field will be on their ‘A’ game, especially following an off week for the majority of them. The Canadian product last played on the PGA TOUR in the RBC Canadian Open where he did miss the cut. However, prior to that on the DP World Tour, had put together a series of great performances. He’s made six consecutive cuts heading into this week. If we exclude the T53rd at the SDC Championship which at the start of his six consecutive made cuts, his worst finish was T21st at the Korea Championship. Outside of that he’s placed T10th at the Soudal Open, T16th at the DS Automobiles Italian Open, second at the ISPS Handa Championship and T13th at the Jonsson Workwear Open. He’s also fourth on Tour in SG: PUTT, fifth in par four average scoring, 13th in bogey avoidance, 14th in birdie or better percentage, 17th in driving accuracy, 23rd in GIR%, 52nd in scrambling, 65th in sand saves percentage and 86th in SG: TTG.

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