Have a go on 90/1 Gregory
Home hopes at the KLM Open this week rest mostly on the shoulders of the much improved Joost Luiten.
The Dutchman is already a winner this year and has really started to fulfil the potential he showed in this event at the Kennemer course as a 21-year-old back in 2007.
Injury problems put his career on hold for a sustained period after that but he finally got off the mark on the European Tour in 2011 at the Iskander Johor Open in Malaysia and doubled his tally of trophies earlier this summer in Austria.
Typically this will be a testing week for Luiten. The interest in him will increase considerably being at his national championship, and the fact he has a very realistic chance only adds to the pressure.
“You have to do a lot of stuff, so you have to find a balance. I don’t mind, it is part of the job,” he told the Euopean Tour website.
“You just have to try to play your game and stay focused.”
I am inclined to believe him. He is currently 23rd in the Race To Dubai and close to breaking into that top tier of European Tour golfers who can come up with multiple victories in a season.
So I get the impression he can rise to the additional challenge set this week and actually thought he would be shorter in the betting and vying for favouritism.
He has admitted he likes the course – his second to Ross Fisher as mentioned above in 2007 remains his best effort at the tournament – and the 22/1 looks tempting enough.
Fisher is one of the players to head the betting along with three-time Dutch Open winner Simon Dyson and the former gives some insight into how this short, links-style course will play.
He has likened it to Sunningdale, so formulating a theory on that assumption, American Brooks Koepka should have a chance to keep up his run of good form.
His progress to the main tour via a battlefield promotion has been well documented in 2013 and bar missing the cut at the Open Championship, he has settled in very well with three top-20 finishes.
He was interviewed in Switzerland last week and said he was abolutely loving the challenge – he has not looked out of place at all and pointed to the win of compatriot Peter Uihlein in Madeira as a bit of an inspiration.
Koepka was a winner of International Qualifying for the Open Championship at Sunningdale in June so should have little trouble with the layout that faces him this week – as mentioned, part links alongside some holes that are more protected by woodland.
Koepka’s T7 last week and Crans-sur-Sierre was his best effort to date on the European Tour – you get the feeling that the bubble will burst at some stage with some players after a run of good performances but that is just not the case with the confident Koepka.
France’s Gregory Havret also caught my eye in the mountains of Switzerland and he looks quite a decent price for a player with two top-seven finishes from his last four outings.
Havret was never really in the mix at Crans but did save the best till last with a 63 on Sunday to catapult him right up inside the top 10.
He looked to be striking the ball with a deal of accuracy and although his record in Holland is pretty dismal, it has been compiled at the other venues used to stage the event.
He sits 80th currently on the Race To Dubai so will have plenty of incentive to keep up the hard work here as he pushes to make the all-important top 60 for the end-of-season showdown.
Finally, I continue to wait for Paul Waring to come good and I think this sort of traditional course with a linksy feel should be right up his street.
It tends to be a bit of feast or famine for the Englishman as he does seem to liberally sprinkle in the missed cuts with his better efforts, but he possesses plenty of ability and will surely get it all to click sooner rather than later.
He had the weekend off in Switzerland but that followed a top-six in Scotland – after opening with a 75 – and then a top-20 in Wales.
So it might be best to forgive last week’s effort in the grand scheme of things and Waring looks well capable of holding his own in this company.
Like Havret, he has plenty still to play for, sat at 82nd in the Race To Dubai, so a couple more decent weeks would surely secure his trip to the desert in November.
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