Austrian Open betting preview

Martin Erlandsson can make his return to Fontana Golf Club a winning one, says Dave John in his Austrian Open preview.

Local hero Markus Brier expects this week’s Austrian Golf Open to be a different test for the players compared to past years.

The event has switched from a mid-summer slot to early autumn and Brier reckons this is going to give the players a sterner examination – it has previously been a bit of a birdie-fest but heavy rain over the past fortnight means the rough will be up and the course playing long-ish at just over 7,000 yards.

It is hard to quibble with Soren Hansen as clear market leader as he continues in top form currently and is only missing a win to cap a very good season.

The Dane boasts rock-solid course-form to boot but it all means he is a single-figure price.

That it is slightly off-putting considering he keeps hitting the woodwork, including lastv week in Cologne when he missed out by a fraction once again.

It might just start to play on his mind a bit, so rather than taking cramped odds in this weak line-up, I would be keener to back him at a bigger price against a better field at a later date.

Brier has won this event three times and loves playing in front of his home support.

He rarely fails to rise to the occasion on Austrian soil and has already posted a T4 earlier in the campaign in the Karnten Golf Open which he promotes himself on the Challenge Tour.

He clearly knows every blade of grass at Fontana Golf Club but you are venturing into the realms of Tiger Woods by winning an event four times – and you have to take less than 20/1 about this happening.

Perennial wobblers Richard Green and Alex Cejka also feature prominently in the betting and are invariably worth taking on at short prices so among the front-runners in the betting, I like the look of Martin Erlandsson.

The Swede has been around for a while now and has yet to break his duck on the European Tour – he has just one win in Spain in 2003 on the Challenge Tour to his credit.

But he invariable pops up with a decent performance or two per season to keep his card and his form of late looks good enough to potentially end the drought here.

He has two top-four finishes from his last five starts and he puts his improved form down to working with a sports psychologist having admitted he was struggling with the mental side of the game.

Following his late charge into second with a closing 62 at Gleneagles, he admitted he occupied his mind that day by concentrating on his thumb and some trees among other things.

Whatever floats your boat Martin, as it worked a treat because he realised from as early as the 11th hole he was in with a shot of the title.

He also handled the pressure well at the SAS Masters (T4) while playing in front of his hometown gallery of Malmo so clearly something is working.

Erlandsson has three top-nine finishes from four starts at this venue so his chance must be taken seriously – we shall wade in with a ‘win only’ bet at 25/1.

Another player who has changed his approach is Scotland’s Scott Drummond and there have been signs in recent weeks to suggest backing him at 150/1.

“I feel like I have a lot of good stuff in place now and I feel I’m working on the right stuff again,” he said in a recent interview and the effort seems to be paying some dividends as his T15 at the Mercedes-Benz Championship last week was his best effort of the season.

Drummond has rarely shown anything like the form which saw him bag the 2004 Volvo PGA Championship but he admitted earlier in the season in Indonesia that he enjoyed getting back in the firing line at a tournament before fading to finish T16.

This is not the most taxing company and Drummond can make an impact at big odds.

Sam Little has enjoyed some good times at Fontana and he gets our final vote this week at 100/1.

He was inside the top 10 12 months ago when the event was reduced to three rounds and although currently 106th in the Race To Dubai standings, he is not without hope of making the top 60 with a couple of big weeks.

A win here would hoist him to within hailing distance and he should relish the return to central Europe having posted his season’s best effort of T2 last month in the neighbouring Czech Republic.

Another yet to win on Tour, Little is used to pressure having waited until the last opportunity in the past until securing his card for the following season.

He looks up to the job here if putting four rounds together.
4pts win Martin Erlandsson at 25/1 (General). Excellent recent form, goes well at the course and great chance for first win.
1pt e.w. Scott Drummond at 150/1 (Sky Bet 1/4 1,2,3,4,5). Signs of a recovery last week as work behind the scenes pays off.
1pt e.w. Sam Little at 100/1 (General 1/4 1,2,3,4,5). Boasts some good course form and did well recently in central Europe.

  • Preview posted at 2255BST on 15/09/2009
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