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  • Writer's pictureNate (@WeKnowFantasy)

Out of the Rough: Omega European Masters (2023)

As the 2022-2023 PGA TOUR season has come to a close, we still have plenty of meaningful golf being played on the DP World Tour.

With Ryder Cup selections set for next Tuesday, there is still plenty to play for for many of Europe’s best.

This week, the DP World Tour turns its attention to the Omega European Masters held at the stunning Crans-sur-Sierre in Crans Montana, Switzerland.

This event was first founded as the Swiss Open in 1923 and was first held at the Crans-sur-Sierre in 1939. This beautiful piece of golf-history has been the host of this event since.

The Omega European Masters has been a part of the DP World Tour since its inception in 1972.

The Field

As the PGA Tour season has come to a close and with the Ryder Cup just weeks ago, including team selections coming next week, followers of the DP World Tour will yet again get a star-studded field this week.

Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) number eight Matt Fitzpatrick will headline this week’s field in Switzerland as a tune up for the Ryder Cup.

South Africa’s Thiston Lawrence is the defending champion of this event and will be back this week to defend his title. Lawrence defeated Matt Wallace in a playoff a year ago to claim the title.

Other defending champions of this event playing this week include Rasmus Hojgaard who won in 2021 at just 20 years-old.

Sebastian Soderberg won in 2019 and Fitzpatrick won this event in back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2017 and both will be teeing it up this week. Danny Willet won in 2015 and too will be playing this week.

Through the years, it has typically been the cream-of-the-crop rising here at Crans-sur-Sierre.

The likes of Thomas Bjorn, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Fitzpatrick and Willett have claimed victory here in the modern era.

Again, the Ryder Cup remains the governing storyline this week.

The likes of Robert MacIntyre, Yannik Paul, Adrian Meronk, Ludvig Aberg and the Hojgaard twins will be playing this week in hopes of claiming a spot in Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup team.

A victory this week could secure a life-changing spot for any of the hopeful Ryder Cup rookies listed above.

The Course

Crans-sur-Sierre is one of the most picturesque settings in the world of golf as it provides a spectacular view of the Crans Montana mountain range at all times.

The course plays as a par 70 at 6,824 yards

Although the course was established in 1908, it has been tweaked and modified significantly throughout its life.

In 1999, a redesign was spearheaded by Seve Ballesteros. Another set of changes came in 2013 as four holes (10,12, 13 and 17) were addressed.

The biggest change that came in 2013 was to the par-three 13th hole. Lakes were added in front of the green and a seating area was added behind it.

Further changes were made to holes one, two, four, five, nine and 14 in 2014.

The fairways and fairway bunkers were remodeled for holes one, two and four. The tee of the par-four fifth hole was moved back 25 yards, making the hole a no longer driveable par-four.

The ninth hole was completely remodeled with changes to the fairways and bunkers. The green and green complex were made to be completely new as well.

Unlike last week’s D+D Real Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort that is known for its difficult final stretch of holes, the real challenge this week comes at the start.

The first hole was once a very easy par-five here at the Crans-sur-Sierre but was changed to a par-four eight years ago. It now plays as the hardest hole on the course.

Holes two, three and four continue the difficult start as they rank fifth, third and second in terms of difficulty on the course respectively.

All of the fairways at Crans-sur-Sierre are sloped and are mostly tree lined. They are also average in terms of width when it comes to DP World Tour standards.

The greens also add to the challenge of this course as they are small and shaped like upturned-saucers.

Water is in-play on six holes this week as well. Those holes include ten, 12, 13, 14, 17 and 18.

Holes six and seven are short, driveable par fours.

The par-five 14th hole plays as the easiest hole on the course seeing 30 eagles recorded across all four days a year ago.

As this course sits at altitude, it does not play anywhere near the already short distance listed on the scorecard.

Therefore, there will be no need for driving distance this week and instead, will favor the fairway finders of the tour.

Since 2014, the winning score has been either -17 or -18 in five of the eight events.

In all, finding these small greens in regulation will be the key to victory. Golfers who do miss these small screens will have to get up-and-down to keep pace, adding an emphasis to scrambling.

Additionally, course form holds true here to this unique and quirky track.

The Weather

As of the time of writing this, the first two days of this tournament look clear. There is a little-to-no chance of precipitation with highs set for 66-degrees on Thursday and 72-degrees on Friday. Winds will also be minimal at five miles-per-hour for the first two days. The weekend is a different story however. There is a 60-percent chance of precipitation for Saturday and Sunday with temperatures set for 71 and 72-degrees respectively. Winds will remain stagnant at five miles-per-hour however. Additionally, as of Aug. 28th, rain has saturated the area which resulted in the Credit Suisse Silver Pro-Am unable to be played.

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP)

  • Scrambling

  • Greens in Regulation Percentage (GIR%)

  • Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT)

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (SG: OTT) / Driving Accuracy

  • Par 3 Average Scoring

  • Par 4 Average Scoring

  • Birdie or Better Percentage

  • Bogey Avoidance

Betting Card

Adrian Meronk (+1800)

Like last week, Meronk doesn’t top my model, but he is the lowest odds I’ll be backing this week. Meronk had a horrible day three at last week’s D+D Real Czech Masters, carding a 77 that put him out of the running after starting -8 through the first two days. Either way, I’m back on Meronk this week. He is currently first on Tour in SG: OTT, third in GIR%, 12th in birdie or better percentage, 14th in bogey avoidance, 15th in par three average scoring, 29th in SG: APP, 32nd in driving accuracy, 38th in scrambling, 40th in par four average scoring and 79th in SG: PUTT. In other words, he’s above average in each of the ten statistical categories I took into consideration this week. Meronk went T23rd at The Open Championship and outside of last week, the other two previous times we saw Meronk in a DP World Tour event, he placed T15th at the Betfred British Masters and T3rd at the BMW International Open. It’s also worth noting that Meronk will almost certainly need a victory to crack Luke Donald’s European Ryder Cup Team this week. I’m all in on Meronk and playing two units on him this week.

Alexander Bjork (+2500)

I absolutely love this number we’re getting this week on Bjork. Bjork has been one of the most consistent golfers on the DP World Tour dating back to May. He placed T14th in last week’s D+D Real Czech Masters but prior to that, had a stretch on the DP World Tour where he placed fourth at the DS Automobiles Italian Open, T4th at the Soudal Open, T29th at the KLM Open, T6th at the Porsche European Open, T9th at the Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, T8th at the Betfred British Masters and T4th at the Made in Himmerland. That is a top ten in six-of-his-last-eight DP World Tour events and top five in three of those same eight events. On top of all of that, he placed T35th at the Genesis Scottish Open and T41st at The Open Championship. Bjork is currently second on Tour in all of SG: APP, par three average scoring and bogey avoidance, third in driving accuracy, fourth in scrambling, fifth in par four average scoring, seventh in both GIR% and SG: PUTT and 40th in birdie or better percentage. His lone downfall this week comes with a 123rd placement in SG: OTT but is third on tour in driving accuracy so I’m not that concerned. Bjork tops my model this week and I’ll be riding two units on that +2500 number.

Thorbjorn Olesen (+4200)

Another great number on the betting card this week. Olesen is currently fifth on Tour in both par three average scoring and bogey avoidance, seventh in scrambling, 10th in SG: PUTT, 11th in SG: APP, 18th in both par four average scoring and birdie or better percentage, 25th in GIR%, 42nd in SG: OTT and 79th in driving accuracy. Like Meronk, Olesen is above average in each of the ten statistical categories I took into consideration this week. Olesen returned to a bit of form last week with a T11th at the D+D Real Czech Masters. Prior to that, he missed the cut at The Open but did place T25th at the Genesis Scottish Open. He does have a victory on the season at the Thailand Classic back in February and placed third at the Soudal Open in May. I’m playing one unit on Olesen this week.

Nathan Kimsey (+6500)

In an event that often sees the cream-of-the-crop rising, Kimsey is my long shot at +6500. It wasn’t that long ago that Kimsey placed second at the co-sanctioned Barbasol Championship. He also placed T25th at the co-sanctioned Barracuda Championship and T10th at the Made in Himmerland back in early July. Kimsey placed T31st at last week’s D+D Real Czech Masters. He is currently second on Tour in driving accuracy, fifth in GIR%, eighth in scrambling, ninth in par four average scoring, 15th in both SG: PUTT and birdie or better percentage, 23rd in bogey avoidance, 24th in par three average scoring, 51st in SG: OTT and 91st in SG: APP. Kimsey is above average in nine-of-the-ten statistical categories I took into consideration this week. Not bad for someone at +6500. While being in a bit of form and matching up well, I’m placing a unit on Kimsey.

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