KLM Open Betting Tips & Predictions
Another week on the European Tour and another close shave for the FST golf tips. After 55/1 shot David Lipsky crashed into the money places last week, our 40/1 man Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston came home in third at the European Masters on Sunday. Two weeks of significant each way profits if you were on, folks.
The season is slowly coming to an end but we still have a couple of events to savour, and this week we are heading to the Netherlands for the KLM Open. This is the 79th time that this tournament has been held, but annoyingly 2016 marks the first hosting on the new ‘The Dutch’ course crafted and designed by Colin Montgomerie and Ross McMurray in Spijk. As ever when faced with new course layouts, we’ll be keeping stakes to a minimum here.
The reigning champion here is Thomas Pieters, and the Belgian is on relatively local turf here so will fancy another decent week just prior to his Ryder Cup debut. The two winners that preceded him were Paul Casey and Joost Luiten, so what we can say is that you have to be a decent player to win the KLM Open.
Answers on a postcard, please. This will be the first time that The Dutch has been used in tournament play, and so the little that we do know is that it measures 6,981 yards for its Par 71 and has an inland, Links feel to it.
Old Monty grew up on Links courses so that will surely have been on his mind when finalising the architecture, and with winds expected to hit 20kmph this week in Spijk this is a course that will surely favour those born and bred on this type of golf.
We’ve got four par 5s (three of which are brutally long) and five Par 3s, so this course will surely require management and ball striking over brute force and length. Thick rough and undulating greens highlights the importance of straight tee-to-green play.
Some onlookers have compared The Dutch to Kennemer, the host of the last three renditions of this event, while others note the exposed, Links-style feel to be reminiscent of Le National in Paris. The Monty-McMurray partnership also created Celtic Manor, host of the Ryder Cup in 2010 and the Welsh Open in 2014.
Unfortunately, those are our only angles in! Current form is a factor of course, and arguably a late tee time could be of advantage – morning winds of 17kmph are predicted which then drop to 7kmph in the afternoon.
Joost Luiten (each way)
The local boy will surely want to impress in front of home fans, and happily he has done the business on Dutch turf in the past – winning this event in 2013, so we’re happy to have Joost Luiten on side this week.
He also took the spoils at Celtic Manor in the Welsh Open of 2014, so that’s a nice correlation, and with eight top 10 finishes this season Luiten has been at his impeccably consistent best. But with no victories, he will be hoping to break his duck on home soil.
Luiten always seems to play in his native Netherlands, as a string of 23-5-1 in this tournament shows, and a couple of fine showings at Le National in the Open de France (18th in 2014, ninth this year) suggests he has the game to tame this kind of test.
Accurate off the tee and above average for the number of greens hit, Luiten will surely be involved at the business end here if his putter is as hot as it was in the PGA Championship back in July.
Thongchai Jaidee (each way)
As a proven Links player that has found form in recent times, Jaidee has to be on our teamsheet this week.
The Thai star won the Open de France as recently as July, and since then other than missing the cut at the Scottish Open a week later – understandable after winning, Jaidee has made the cut of both majors (including a 22nd at The Open), a 15th at the Olympics and a 29th last week at the European Masters, where he signed off with an exceptional round of 64.
An eight-time winner on the European Tour, much of Jaidee’s success has come in events similar to this. He has lifted trophies at the Nordea Masters, the Welsh Open and the French, with top-10s at the BMW Championship, the Irish Open and the European Masters.
Mikko Ilonen (each way)
Our third and final pick this week goes to a five-time European Tour winner who excels in windy conditions.
Mikko Ilonen has recorded top 25 finishes in his last five starts, so clearly the form is there, including a 13th at a Scottish Open test which has the possibility of being not all too dissimilar to that here.
The Finn was 12th last week at the European Masters, and with a pair of decent showings at Kennemer under his belt (11th in 2014, 18th in 2015), the signs are that he might just go well here too.
Playing golf in the wind is a specialist skill set, and knowing that Ilonen has top 20s in Scotland, Ireland and England to call upon is a great help.