Last week’s Czech Masters was pretty disappointing, since I had a huge share of Pieters who lost on the final hole. Overall it was a winning week, and we are always happy to see an American win overseas. Additionally, we had a backdoor top-25 by Chase Koepka, which was cool to see.
This week, we are moving to the Made in Denmark (what was made in Denmark?) which is a confusing name. The course, Himmerland Golf Resort and Spa is a par-71 measuring just over 7,000 yards and plays with links-style elements. There are a couple cool things about this course: 1) They have an amphitheatre-like par-3 16th hole that is similar to the Waste Management Open, and 2) the Danish fans come out in raucous mobs making this a Ryder Cup atmosphere. It’s tough to get a read on the course, but ultimately it seems like a player’s off-the-tee game doesn’t matter too much. Greens in regulation, proximity, putting, scrambling, ball-striking…these are all things to consider. There should be plenty of wedges and short irons in the players’ hands, so we can target wedge specialists. The two par-5s on the back nine are well over 600 yards, making them pretty even three shot holes for the entire field. We have some big names this week trying to make Ryder Cup statements (Martin Kaymer, Shane Lowry, and Thomas Pieters), others already on the team (Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick), and plenty of Danes to choose from (Soren Kjeldsen, Thorbjorn Oleson, Thomas Bjorn, and Lucas Bjerregaard). The two players who have won at this venue – David Horsey and Marc Warren – are both in the field this week.
- Greens in Regulation
- Birdie or Better %
- Stroke Average
Let’s take a look at my favorite plays this week:
Martin Kaymer ($12,400) – Although he’s probably locked in as a captain’s pick for the upcoming Ryder Cup, Kaymer wants to impress Darren Clarke one more time. Kaymer has been close to winning many times this year and he has the leadership the young European side needs. He struggled a bit at the Olympics, but a final round 66 should carry some momentum into this week. He also hasn’t missed a cut since the Valspar Championship in March, so Kaymer can be relied on to contend all week.
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($11,300) – Now that he’s locked up a spot on the Ryder Cup team, I think Fitzpatrick will be playing pressure-free golf this week in Denmark. This is an accuracy course, favoring fairways, greens, and putting… all Fitzpatrick specialties. He’s 11th in GIR% this season and trending towards another win after his 5th place finish last week.
Soren Kjeldsen ($10,600) – When in Denmark… Kjeldsen fits the mold I’m looking for here, and has the home-country narrative we can target. In his two appearances at this venue, he has a 2nd and a 15th, and he’s made his last six cuts on Tour. He’s a GIR% and putting specialist, and knows the course very well. Kjeldsen likely won’t make the Ryder Cup team, but a win this week in front of Captain Clarke could shake up the captain’s picks.
Bradley Dredge ($9,500) – Dredge is a course horse here at Himmerland, finishing 2nd in 2014 and 6th in 2015. He showed up with a great round Thursday, but faded this past weekend in Prague. He hits a good number of greens and is an above average putter. I’m not sure Dredge’s form is good enough for him to win, but clearly he has an eye for this course and I expect a top-20 finish from him.
The Value Mid-Tier:
Marc Warren ($9,000) – I love rostering Warren when he’s in the $7,000 range, so this price is a bit high. But it’s based on course history, which includes a win here in 2014. Statistically, Warren is having a down year, but his last two events on Tour have been 16th and 11th. I have to think Warren has been a bit inspired by his good friend Russell Knox’s recent win at the Travelers.
David Lipsky ($8,600) – Lipsky has been quietly putting together an excellent second half to his season, with recent finishes of 6th and 24th. But the main reason he’s here is again course history. In two attempts at Himmerland, Lipsky has finished 14th and 15th, making him an ideal cash game play this week.
David Horsey ($7,700) – Horsey is the defending champion here, and is coming off a decent finish in Prague. Last year he won this event wire-to-wire, showing that he’s uber-confident on this track. Although it’s been a down year overall, he’s made his last two cuts on Tour and could threaten again this week. One thing to keep in mind: Horsey defends titles well. In his last two title defenses, he finished 18th and 14th.
Paul Peterson ($7,500) – Usually I avoid the previous week’s winner, but Peterson is an ideal play this week and very affordable. After holding off Thomas Pieters for his 1st career win, the American comes to a course where he finished 20th a year ago. The lefty hits a lot of fairways and greens, so if he keeps his putter hot, I could see back-to-back top-10 finishes for Peterson.
Craig Lee ($7,400) – Lee was a course horse play last week and came through with a 19th place finish. This week he comes to a track where he finished 15th in 2014 and opened with an under par round in 2015 (before getting DQ’d). Lee is another ideal cash game play this week. Much like his fellow Scot Marc Warren, the stats don’t look pretty, but his form is turning around this summer.
Ryan Evans ($6,900) – Evans is probably my favorite play in this price range. The Englishman has made his last six cuts on Tour including a 3rd place finish last week in Prague. Another thing I love about Evans is his recent birdie rate: he’s made 36 birdies over the past two events. He’s a good friend of Andy Sullivan’s and should be motivated to perform with Sully in the field this week.
Justin Walters ($6,900) – The South African bomber has a shaky course history (58th – MC) but I love his recent form. He’s finished 45th, 21st, and 11th in his past three events, which is a trend I always target. In his past three events he’s made 44 birdies and has shown the ability to crack the top-10. His fellow countryman Zander Lombard is another similar option here.
Tom Lewis ($6,800) – Another sneaky course history play, Lewis has finished 20th and 15th in two attempts at Himmerland. He’s made his last three cuts on Tour, including a solid 27th place finish last week at the Czech Masters. Lewis has widely been known as one of England’s best young talents, and can hopefully draw on the successes of Andy Sullivan, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Callum Shinkwin.
Terry Pilkadaris ($6,600) – I’ve rostered Pilkadaris every time he’s played this year, and I’ve been rewarded. He’s made his last six cuts on Tour and has shown top-25 upside. Additionally, he finished 2nd here a year ago to David Horsey, where he led the field in putting average. If he continues to hit fairways and greens, Pilkadaris will be in all my cash game lineups.
Mikael Lundberg ($6,500) – Lundberg is coming off a 42nd and a 19th place finish, and had a top-10 at Himmerland in 2014. This course has elements of a links course, and Lundberg has had success with an 11th place finish at this year’s Dunhill Links.
Daniel Gaunt ($6,000) – Gaunt is purely a GPP flier, but he finished 2nd here last year. He’s made four of his last five cuts on Tour, and has shown some top-20 upside. A very boom-or-bust pick who has been known to get off to quick starts on Thursdays.
Good luck this week!