CEJKA TO MAKE EURO IMPACT
David John has an in-depth preview of the BMW International Open, where he believes Alex Cejka could make a big impact.
This week’s BMW International Open has been a bit of a breakthrough event for players in the past.
Go back to 2003 and Lee Westwood ended a lean period here while David Howell did the same back in 2005.
Continuing on a similar thread, I think that US-based Alex Cejka could make an impact in Europe for the first time in a while at a tournament he has clearly thrived at in the past.
It is four years since he last played at München Eichenried and the course has certainly been toughened up since – the winning score in 2004 was -21 compared to just -13 last year – but I reckon the battle-hardened Cejka should be able to adjust any alterations with little fuss.
His last two results in the event in 2003 and 2004 were 2-T3 and he actually arrives on the back of his best effort in 2008 in the United States.
That came at an extremely difficult Stanford St Jude Classic where his four-round total of just -3 was good enough for T4.
So I have little qualms in terms of Cejka being able to handle the course in its more testing guise.
He should be nice and fresh from a week off having missed Torrey Pines and I reckon he will rise to the occasion once again in Munich – the city where he eventually settled with his family having fled the Czech Republic at the age of nine.
A second selection goes to Raphael Jacquelin, who admitted last year after taking a share of the first-round lead that this is an event on his schedule that he looks forward to.
“Although I do enjoy the course and coming here, it is getting more difficult every year,” he said.
“But if you put the ball in the fairway you will have chances and I managed to do that.
“Of course I also love coming to the BMW tournaments – you could say that I am a BMW man!”
He was unable to build on that 65 in terms of taking the title but still kept on for a creditable T11 and has a decent run of course form in recent seasons that has seen him bank two other top-10 finishes.
Like Cejka, he will tee-off having posted his best effort in 2008 (3rd at Celtic Manor) and a bold bid from the affable Frenchman is expected.
I am not keen on the those at the head of the betting – Retief Goosen, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Henrik Stenson – after varying week’s of success at the US Open.
The last two named are past winners here and while Stenson missed the cut and does not look to be quite firing on all cylinders by his standards, Goosen and Jimenez battled through to the very end at Torrey Pines and it would be understandable if there was a bit of fatigue to say the least.
Home hope Martin Kaymer impressed in his first US Open and admits he is looking forward to playing back on his own patch again but I am going to the other end of the spectrum of German golf and plumping for Bernhard Langer.
He is enjoying a real renaissance at the moment with two wins already in 2008 on the Champions Tour in America and an amazing six other top 10s – all from just 11 tournaments.
But that is not to say that Langer can’t still mix it with the youngsters as a T15 at the Players Championship proved while he was beaten in a play-off for the 2007 Crowne Plaza Invitational and finished T2 in this very event.
The latter display was particularly remarkable considering he was plagued by a neck problem in the first round on the way to a 76 before shooting 66-68-67 to chase home Nicolas Fasth.
Langer has been a brilliant professional throughout his career and is a living legend in terms of German golf.
He relishes playing in front of his own galleries and I for one would not be surprised to see him serve it up to the younger generation once more.
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