American Johannes Veerman emerged from a crowded leaderboard to win the Czech Masters this past weekend for his first title on the European Tour; besting a third-place finish at the Irish Open earlier this year. Now he and the rest of the European Tour head to Switzerland for the Omega European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club in the town of Crans-Montana.
The Omega European Masters returns after a one-year hiatus due to COVID-19 in 2020; but the event itself traces its roots back to 1923 when it was known as the Swiss Open.
The event has been held at Crans-sur-Sierre since 1939 and has been known by the European Masters moniker starting in 1983. The course itself is a par-70, 6,848-yard track that was redesigned in 1999 by legendary Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros. It’s a mountain course high in the alps; which gives players a little extra distance on their drives, but this isn’t a course known for its length—holes 6 through 8 are all par 4s that are between 364 and 324 yards in length, so skill and ball placement is coveted here. It’s also a relatively flat course despite its mountainous locale. The course records belong to Colin Montgomerie, shooting a 260 in 1996, and Jerry Anderson recording a -27 in 1984.
Veerman, who is listed at +3500 to start the week, birdied three holes early in Sunday’s back nine, putting him in the lead and then staying ahead of Tapio Pulkkanen and Sean Crocker by two strokes to win the Czech Masters at -15 at the Albatross Golf Resort near Prague, Czech Republic.
While top finishers on the PGA Tour are in the United States participating in the FedEx Cup playoffs; one well-known golfer is in Switzerland to try and boost his positioning in the Ryder Cup standings. Justin Rose finished one spot shy of qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs after bogeying the final hole in the Wyndham Championship two weeks ago; and he’s a late entry at the Omega European Masters. Even though he missed a short putt for par on 18, Rose did play well at the Wyndham, even sitting in the lead briefly during the final round. He was also got some bad luck in the form of a hole-in-one on No. 16 by Chesson Hadley, who ultimately finished one spot better than Rose in the playoff standings.
Based on Rose’s not-so-stellar play this summer; he is likely vying for the final captain’s pick spot on the 12-team roster, which will be determined by European captain Padraig Harrington. It’s believed that Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia have the inside track on the other two captain’s selections.
Sebastian Soderberg is the defending champion, having taken home the title in September 2019 for his only European Tour victory. He’s a major underdog to repeat at +13000 and struggled mightily throughout the summer, but he did place tied for 17th at the Czech Masters, so perhaps he’s rounding into form. Matt Fitzpatrick won the event in 2017 and ’18 but is not in the field. Swede Henrik Stenson was in contention at the Czech Masters all weekend and opens here at +4000, so he could be a valuable play.
There is no overwhelming favorite here, but Bernd Wiesberger has been placed as the odds-on favorite at +2200. The Austrian will be playing close to home and has a win earlier this year at the Made in HimmerLand in May, which was his second-straight win at that event. Out of his last five tournaments, he has a fifth-place finish at the BMW International Open in June and was tied for 21st in his last outing at the Cazoo Classic two weeks ago.
A trio of golfers is next at +2800—Calum Hill, Andy Sullivan, and Thomas Detry. If you want to ride the hot hand, Hill is worth a look. He won his last time out at the Cazoo Classic and tied for fourth the week before at the Hero Open. He has six top-10 finishes on the Race to Dubai schedule and is currently ranked in the world’s top 100 for the first time in his career.
Sullivan is a four-time winner on the Euro Tour with three of them coming in 2015 and then another last August at the English Championship. He tied for 13th at the Cazoo Classic and was just outside the top 25 at The Open Championship last month. Detry has two runner-up finishes in his last five tournaments and was a respectable -10—good enough for 22nd—at the Olympic tournament in Tokyo.
Dean Burmester is one of two golfers at +3000. He is coming off a sixth-place effort in the Czech Masters and has a win to his credit this season at the Tenerife Open. Italian Guido Migliozzi is also opening at +3000, and while his July wasn’t the best, he had a memorable May and June; he finished tied for fourth at the U.S. Open and scored a pair of runner-up finishes on the Euro Tour in May (Made in HimmerLand and Betfred British Masters). He won twice as a rookie in 2019 but hasn’t scored a victory since.
Sam Horsfield is another name to look at with nice odds (+3500). It’s been a year since his Euro Tour triumphs, winning twice last August. He finished tied for 23rd at the Czech Masters and recorded a solid sixth-place finish at the Cazoo Open in Wales back in July.
Counting this event, there are nine tournaments remaining before the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, which caps the season-long Race to Dubai competition.
|GOLFER||ODDS TO WIN THE 2021 OMEGA EUROPEAN MASTERS|
|Thomas Pieters / Johannes Veerman||+3500|
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