Munich Betting Preview

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Ben Coley previews this week’s BMW International Open, and reckons Ross Fisher could return to winning ways.

The BMW International Open returns to Munich for a 15th consecutive year this week and the market is dominated by a pair of Major winners with course form to boot.

But with 2008 Champion and home-favourite Martin Kaymer still editing his swing while in the middle of the latest caddie merry-go-round, it’s possible to argue that it’s Charl Schwartzel who deserves to be favourite.

The classy South African finished with a real flourish in the US Open last week and providing he can get over those exertions quickly he really should be a factor.

However, as may be the case with Rory McIlroy forever-more, the bookmakers have taken no chances and I’m prepared to turn to a pair of men who didn’t make it to Maryland to head my staking plan.

Top of the list is Ross Fisher and immediately the question ‘Why wasn’t he in the US Open?’ springs to mind.

The simple answer is that since he won the Majors Cup in 2009 – an award given to the player who achieves the lowest score throughout all four Majors – he’s struggled ever-so slightly with his game and more specifically with the putter.

Despite that, Fisher has still managed to double his career tally, winning the Volvo World Matchplay and the 3 Irish Open to add to the two victories he’d already earned.

That’s testament to the quality he has and it’s easy to underplay his vital role in the European Ryder Cup Team, aided by Padraig Harrington helping to align his putts.

What I’m trying to say is that his form, while not what we might expect, is still a match for most of his contemporaries and there’s reason to expect a bold show this week.

The Berkshire-born 30-year-old has a couple of top-10s to his name this season in the Dubai Desert Classic and Volvo World Matchplay, as well as a share of 15th at Augusta in the Masters.

Much has been made of his love for Wentworth given that he grew up playing the course but a share of 39th in May actually represents his third best finish in six starts at the course, further evidence that he’s not far off where he needs to be.

Yes, he missed the cut in the Wales Open but he did the same last year just a fortnight before finishing second in this event to David Horsey.

That effort brought his course form figures to 86-26-12-2, a nice progression indeed and evidence of his liking for a layout that favours good drivers of a golf ball.

Last year Fisher led the field in driving accuracy, finding over 80 per cent of fairways, and ranked 12th in driving distance. Quite simply nobody struck the ball better off the tee.

At Wentworth just under a month ago, he was a respectable 34th and 11th in those respective categories and a similar display of ball-striking should see him back in contention on Sunday.

In terms of his ability to find form after a fortnight off and a missed cut, his first European Tour win in the KLM Open came in similar circumstances and his Volvo World Matchplay victory in 2009 came after consecutive missed cuts, too.

All things considered, bet365’s standout 33/1 looks great value for a player who has won in each of the last four seasons.

Next on my list is Denmark’s Anders Hansen.

The three-time European Tour winner has really hit form of late with four top-three finishes in his last six strokeplay starts.

Since the turn of the century, he’s played in the BMW International Open eight times and two top-five finishes and a further four top-30s. Even when missing the cut, Hansen was under-par, so it’s clear he’s a fan of the course.

With birdies likely to be flying in, it’s also encouraging that two of his three European Tour wins came with double-figure under-par scores and if he keeps playing like he has done this year another victory is surely around the corner.

Hansen currently sits sixth in the Race to Dubai, seventh in stroke average, 10th in driving accuracy, ninth in putts per greens hit and 14th in scrambling. There’s nothing he isn’t doing well.

Available at 20/1 and placed in two of the last four renewals of this event, Hansen’s current form is worthy of a decent each-way punt to cover the staking plan.

At a bigger price, let’s take a chance on Thomas Levet.

The five-time Tour winner is without a top-10 finish since the Trophee Hassan of 2010, over a year ago, but he’s been banging on the door of late with three top-20 finishes in his last four regular events, ignoring a missed cut in last week’s US Open.

His record in this event is excellent with five top-10 finishes in seven starts since 2001 and he was inside the top-20 last year before fading over the weekend.

On a driver’s golf course, it’s encouraging that Levet was 18th in both distance and accuracy off the tee at Wentworth, fifth in driving accuracy in the Iberdrola Open and to add to that he was in the top-five for putting in the Open de Espagna.

It’s asking a lot for the Frenchman to beat this field now in the twilight of his career but at 90/1 with totesport he’s worth backing to add to his superb record in the event with another placed finish.

Lastly I’m going to add Thorbjorn Olesen to the plan at a standout 90/1.

The supremely talented Dane managed a win and four further top-five finishes on his way to Challenge Tour graduation last year and continued his progression with finishes of second and ninth at the start of this season.

Then followed a loss of form which coincided with a switch in caddie but with his usual man now back on the bag, Olesen has returned to form with a bang.

That bang landed bettingzone followers a nice touch when he placed at a huge price in Italy after a stunning final-round 62 and with a tie for 12th in the ECCO Tour Championship on his last visit to Germany, I’m surprised to see him any bigger than 66/1.

Olesen has a huge future and is worth following while in form until his inevitable first success.

TIPS

1.5pts e.w. Ross Fisher (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) at 33/1 bet365) Second here last year and playing better than his price suggests.
2pts e.w. Anders Hansen (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)at 20/1 general. Placed on four of his last six strokeplay starts and twice here recently.
1pt e.w. Thomas Levet (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)at 90/1 totesport. Superb record in the event and hinting at a return to form.
1pt e.w. Thorbjorn Olesen (1/4 1,2,3,4,5) at 90/1 bet365. Shot 62 to take second in Italy; potential to win multiple events on Tour.

Preview posted at 1300 BST on 22/06/2011

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