Volvo China Open
Federazione Italiana Golf
The European Tour makes its long-awaited return after lockdown and starts a run of two weeks in Austria, first up is the newly named Austrian Open which is being held at the very familiar Diamond Country Club.
The 7,053 yards, par 72 course was designed by English architect Jeremy Pern, the once Vice President of the British Institute of Golf Course Architects. Opened in 2002, the Diamond course features water hazards on seventeen of the 18 holes, including the 192-yard 11th and 159-yard 15th par 3s, where both tee shots are played to island greens. If you manage to negotiate all of that, then you only have the 457-yard par 4 18th to complete, with water on the left of the fairway and out-of-bounds on the right!
First played in 1990, the inaugural Austrian Open was won by Germany’s Bernhard Langer. In 2010 when The Diamond Country Club first held this event, Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer of The European Tour, said: “I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to Christian Guzy, the owner of Diamond Country Club, for his commitment and support in securing the future of the Austrian Golf Open. The Diamond Course is one of the finest in Austria and I’m sure our Members will enjoying meeting the varied challenges it presents.”
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My tips to Win:
The Diamond CC has been a happy hunting ground for Joost Luiten 13/2 with SportingBet who has not been outside of the Top 10 in his five starts here and has a win and two Top 3s in that run. Joost had a long layoff in 2019 due to his wrist surgery but started this season solidly and had two Top 25 finishes before lockdown, one being a Top 10 at the Oman Open and I feel he is the man to beat this week.
After seven years between wins taking the Open de France title last year Nicolas Colsaerts 22/1 with Ladbrokes will not want it to be another long gap between victories again. I am not sure if Nicolas has been watching the 'Miracle at Medinah' which was on repeat over the lockdown, but if he has then hopefully that would have inspired him to get back to his best.
A runner-up at the back-end of last year at the Mauritius Open and a Top 25 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship meant that Renato Paratore 25/1 with Coral was playing some good golf before lockdown although there was one missed cut in Dubai. Renato will be looking to get off to a quick start and with this field I can see him doing well this week.
Lorenzo Gagli 30/1 with oddschecker was in great form just before the shutdown managing two Top 12 finishes in his last two events at the Oman Open (10th) and Qatar Masters (12th) and probably playing some of his best golf in recent years although he did have a runner-up finish at the European Masters last year. Having just got his full tour card back last year I am sure he wasnt best pleased at the timing of the lockdown and will want to get back in the thick of it again this week.
The penultimate European Tour event before the lockdown was the Oman Open, which was won by Sami Valimaki 33/1 with Ladbrokes in a play-off, Sami also had a Top 10 finish the week before his win at the ISPS Handa Vic Open. Valimaki turned professional in 2018 and promptly won the Open Casa Green Golf on the Pro Golf Tour in Morocco and went on to record three more victories to finish second on their Order of Merit, proving this lad knows how to win.
Roope Kakko 125/1 with SportingBet – is one of those players that bobs between the full and challenge tour seeming to lose his card every second year only to regain it, then have a half decent season and then lose it again. With that being said Roope does have two Top 20 finishes in this event and will probably be targeting this tournament knowing this isnt the strongest field and will be feeling he could do well this week. A big cheque could see him back on the full tour, so I feel he is worth a punt at these odds.
Try Gary Stal 500/1 with UniBet
As always good luck