Welcome to the first edition of my new European Tour DFS preview article! I’m still looking for a good name for the column, so make your submissions to me on Twitter (@RBaroff427). I’ll still be making some picks and lineups for PGA DFS, but ultimately my focus will be on digging through European Tour data and giving you the insights into the new courses and new players you need to be familiar with. Goodbye Tim Wilkinson, hello Rikard Karlberg (I labeled the photo above thinking that you guys have no idea who that was).
Hopefully you guys were able to get your feet wet this week at the BMW PGA Championship. Tough week overall, with several big names missing the cut. This week, we are moving to Stockholm, Sweden for the Nordea Masters. This event is a pretty well-attended event on Tour, and is the only one held in Scandinavia. Therefore, for the Swedish, Dane, Finnish, and Norwegian golfers specifically, this is their national championship. That’s a good angle to play up, and the past results show it. Since 1995, Swedes, Finns, and Danes have accounted for 9 victories and 10 runner-up finishes. At this course specifically, the four winners were Lee Westwood (England), Alexander Noren (Sweden), Mikko Ilonen (Finland), and Richard S. Johnson (Sweden). There’s a trend, for sure.
The course is the Bro Hof Slott (how amazing is that name?) Stadium Course which measures 7,511 yards. The course is unique in that it features five par 5s and five par 3s, one of which is an island green. It’s an absolute beast length-wise, but players tend to score well nonetheless, which is a testament to the level of golf talent worldwide. The course features long holes wrapped around Lake Mälaren, gusty winds, and plenty of bunkers to worry players. Obviously at a track this long, driving distance is at a premium. Par 5 scoring will be key.
For this week, I’m going to focus on players in good current form and those who have played well here in the past. The tournament has been on a course rotation since its inception, so the Stadium Course at Bro Hof Slott was only used during the 2010 – 2013 competitions. Focus on those years. European Tour stats are notoriously unreliable, but from the digging I’ve done, here are the key stats of the week:
- Driving distance
- Stroke average
- Greens in regulation
- Par 5 scoring
And now on to the picks! We are just diving into European Tour DFS so be patient, and hopefully we become very reliable with these projections once we start to gather more data on these relatively unknown players. I’ve written up my favorite high-end choices this week, and listed picks in the other pricing tiers. But this week feels like a great stars and scrubs week:
Lee Westwood (England – $11,300) – Westwood is a three-time winner of this event, including once at this venue (2012). His form turned around with a runner-up finish at the Masters, and he continued to play well the previous two weeks in Europe (10th and 15th). This is one of his favorite events of the year, and if Westwood wants to vault himself into Ryder Cup consideration, he needs to get a win.
Tyrrell Hatton (England – $10,200) – I was on Hatton for an outright win last week, and he just missed out with a poor Sunday. But he’s one of the hottest players on Tour and is overdue for a win. He ranks 1st in my stat model this week, tied with Henrik Stenson. Hatton is 6th in scoring average, 33rd in GIR, and above average in driving distance. Although he has no course history here, Hatton’s form is impeccable: He comes into the event off of a 12th, 13th, and 5th place finish in his last three events.
Peter Hanson (Sweden – $9,900) – Similar to Alex Noren, Hanson is a course horse and a Swede who wants to play well in front of the home crowd. At this course, he’s finished 34th, 3rd, and 30th. Hanson’s form is a little up and down this year, but he’s made seven of eight cuts and is coming off a solid week at the BMW PGA. He finished 33rd, but that included a Sunday blowup round of 77. I hope that keeps people off of him this week.
Rikard Karlberg (Sweden – $9,700) – One of my favorites to win this week, but his $3,100 price jump makes it difficult for Karlberg to achieve value this week. Either way, he’s in tremendous form (finishing 2nd last week), wants to perform in front of his fans, and finished 4th here in 2013. He ranks 3rd in my stat model this week, and is solid across the board. Coming into this event, his last five finishes have been 2nd, 10th, 21st, 8th, and 25th. All in.
Thomas Pieters (Belgium – $9,400) – The new “Belgian Bomber” ranks 5th in my statistical model this week, ranking 14th in driving distance and 33rd in scoring average on Tour this year. The comparisons to Nicolas Colsaerts started years ago, but have some merit (I also love Colsaerts this week). Pieters’ current form is a little shaky, but you can tell he’s close. He’s been making birdies and firing a lot of rounds between 70-72 each week. I think a bomber’s track is just what he needs to break out of this mini-slump.
The Value Mid-Tier:
Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium – $9,000)
Romain Wattel (France – $8,300)
Richard Bland (England – $7,600)
Felipe Aguilar (Spain – $7,600)
Sebastien Gros (France – $7,300)
Gut Punt Plays:
Lucas Bjerregaard (Denmark – $7,200)
Johan Carlsson (Sweden – $7,100)
Jens Dantorp (Sweden – $6,600)
Matteo Manassero (Italy – $6,200)
Sebastian Soderberg (Sweden – $6,100)
Good luck this week!