Out of the Rough: KLM Dutch Open (2023)
After a brief one week hiatus for the PGA Championship, the DP World Tour is back with a stop in Cromvoirt, Netherlands for the KLM Dutch Open.
This year marks the 111th staging of the Dutch Open and the third consecutive year the event will be held at Bernardus Golf.
This event has been played continuously since 1912 except for 1913-1914, 1940-1945 and 2020.
The Dutch Open is one of the foundation tournaments of the European Tour when it came into existence in 1972.
KLM Dutch Airlines, the sponsor of this week’s event, has been one of the Tour’s most loyal supporters, serving as a title sponsor for the 27th time.
The inaugural Dutch Open was held at Royal Haagsche Golf & Country Club in The Hague.
The Dutch Open includes a long and deep history and has been the site of many great moments, including the first-ever European Tour victory for Seve Ballesteros, at the age of 19 in 1976.
This week’s track is a unique mixture of a heathland and links course that was designed by American architect Kyle Phillips in 2018. The course is more links than heathland.
Phillips has been the man behind the creation of picturesque golf courses around the world that are renowned for their visual appeal and durability.
Bernardus Golf features gorse, dunes and a multitude of water hazards, including two ponds on the front nine.
It plays as a par 72 and measures at 7,425 yards.
The course is very generous off the tee with wide-open fairways that allows for the longer hitters on tour to receive a leg up on the field. Accuracy off the tee won’t be much of a factor this week.
There is a lack of significant rough featured this week as well, to go along with the advantage of bombers.
The fairways are not as easy as it may seem however as they are well-contoured with plenty of carefully placed undulations.
With the way the course is designed, it strikes a balance between the players and nature’s demands.
The greens too are contoured and play in a way that the best putters on Tour will see an advantage. Although being contoured and tricky, they play on the slower side.
Water is a prominent feature here at Bernardus as it comes into play on ten holes, both in the form of ponds as well as meandering streams.
In all, the course offers a few defenses but overall is a pretty straight-forward challenge.
As the season progresses, there continue to be several incentives for the DP World Tour golfers.
The likes of Victor Perez, Rasmus Hojgaard, Nicolai Hojgaard and Adrian Meronk continue their push to make Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup team for this fall.
The Race to Dubai continues to heat up as well. There are few tournaments left before the points are calculated and tallied to see who gets to head to Dubai for the season finale to determine who is the season’s best.
Additionally, spots in the upcoming US Open are on the line for DP World Tour players as well.
Meronk and Perez return to Europe for this week’s event after playing in last week’s PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Rochester, NY.
Meronk made the cut last week in Rochester and prior to that, won on the DP World Tour in Italy.
Perez is fresh off an impressive T12th at last week’s PGA Championship as he comes in as the defending champion as he looks to go back-to-back.
Perez also returns as the defending champion of this event as he looks to go back-to-back.
The Netherland’s main draw, Joost Luiten, will also be teeing it up this week as the home favorite. Along with Luiten, the three other Dutch players on the DP World Tour will be participating this week as well in hopes of winning on home soil.
The Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) highest ranked players in attendance this week include Meronk (47), Perez (59), Pablo Larrazabal (70), Adri Arnaus (89) and Callum Shinkwin (94.)
Other notable names playing this week and worth noting include Aaron Cockerill, Thomas Detry, Thomas Pieters and Alexander Bjork.
As of the time of writing this, there is little to no chance of perception across all four days. Highs will range from 64 on Thursday to 72 degrees on Sunday. Winds too will range from ten miles-per-hour on Saturday to 13 miles-per-hour on Thursday and Friday. In all, we're in line for a great week of golf.
Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)
Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT)
Average Driving Distance
Strokes Gained: Around the Green (SG: ATG)
Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)
Sand Saves Percentage
Adrian Meronk (+1200)
The last time we saw Meronk on the DP World Tour, he claimed victory at the
DS Automobiles Italian Open. The victory in Italy marked his second win of the season as he also won the ISPS HANDA Australian Open back in December. Meronk additionally has results such as a T4th at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship and T10th at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on the DP World Tour Season. Meronk has made the cut in six of the seven DP World Tour events he’s played this season. He did play a week ago at Oak Hill at the PGA Championship where he made the cut on a very challenging golf course among the World’s best. He is currently first on Tour in SG: OTT, fifth in GIR%, 21st in both SG: PUTT and SG: ATG, 24th in SG: APP, 38th in scrambling and 63rd in sand saves percentage. The knock to his score in my model this week is a 122th placement in average driving distance. Although distance is important here, it isn’t the end all, especially for someone of Meronk’s talents. With Ryder Cup implications on the line, Meronk needs to show up this week. He’s a top 50 golfer in the world for a reason.
Romain Langasque (+3000)
Langasque is actually my favorite per my model this week and comes with a very fair price tag of +3000. He placed second at the DS Automobiles Italian Open two weeks back. He also placed T9th at the Jonsson Workwear Open back in March on the DP World Tour. He has made the cut in ten of the 12 tournaments he’s played this season, including six top 25s and three top tens. Langasque is currently 12th on Tour in sand saves percentage, 21st in average driving distance, 27th in both SG: APP and scrambling, 40th in SG: OTT, 48th in both SG: PUTT and SG: ATG and 50th in GIR%. In other words, he is currently top 50 in each of the statistical categories we’re taking into consideration this week. Being fresh off a runner-up finish, he’s hungrier than ever and this is a course that hits his game to a tee.
Jayden Schaper (+6000)
Schaper is currently the Tour’s best when it comes to the flat stick as he ranks first in SG: PUTT. Putting maybe the most important statistic here this week so it goes without saying why he placed so high in my model. Putting isn’t his only strong suit either as he too is the Tour’s best when it comes to SG: ATG. On top of that he’s an elite approach player as he ranks third in SG: APP and sixth in GIR%. He is also 49th in average driving distance, 52nd in SG: OTT and 98th in scrambling. Although an elite around the green player, he ranks near the bottom of the Tour when it comes to sand saves percentage, which too brings down his scrambling ranking to below average. If he can avoid the bunkers, he’ll be in contention this week. He has made the cut in nine-of-the-12 events he’s played on the season, highlighted by a T7th at the Magical Kenya Open. He also has T9th place finishes at both the Investec South African Open Championship and AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen him on the DP World Tour but being an elite putter, around-the-green and approach player will carry him this week. You combine that with above average distance off the tee, I feel like this could be Schaper’s week.
JC Ritchie (+18000)
Ritchie is an elite putter and around-the-green player and matches well statistically with this week’s track. He is currently sixth in SG: PUTT and SG: ATG, 11th in SG: OTT, 33rd in average driving distance, 48th in SG: APP, 85th in sand saves percentage, 92nd in scrambling and 101st in GIR%. Ritchie isn’t in the best of form coming into this week but he too made the cut a few weeks back in Italy. His season has been highlighted by a T11th at the Magical Kenya Open. He’s priced at +18000 for a reason but I believe his game matches well this week. The elite putting and around-the-green play with above average distance off the tee and approach play is the formula for success.