Starts: 19th August 2021
Course: Albatross Golf Resort, Czech Republic
Length: 7,467 yards
2020 Champion: N/A
Overall Profit/Loss: -14.5pts
Pre-Event Bets: -7pts
1pt EW Maverick Antcliff 50/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
1pt EW Garrick Porteous 50/1 @ Skybet (1/5 1-6)
0.5pts EW Bryden Macpherson 100/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts EW Lars Van Meijel 175/1 @ 10Bet (1/4 1-5)
0.5pts EW Nicloai von Dellingshausen 200/1 @ Bet365 (1/4 1-5)
In-Play Bets: -7.5pts
19 August 2021(-3.5pts)
1pt EW Marcel Schneider 90/1 @ Betfred (1/5 1-5)
0.75pts EW Ondrej Lieser 125/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-5)
20 August 2021(-2pts)
2pts Win Only Henrik Stenson 10/1 @ Betfred
21 August 2021(-2pts)
2pts Win Only Sam Horsfield 12/1 @ Skybet
Designer: Keith Preston
Type of Course: Parkland, elevated by 500ft.
Used Since: 2014. No event in 2020.
Fairways: Wide, Bentgrass/Fescue
Greens: Large, Bentgrass.
Water Hazard: In-play on seven holes.
Par 5's: 1st, 9th, 10th and 12th.
Premium on: Driving Distance/Par 5 Performance.
Significant Info To Be Aware Of
We have six editions of this event at Albatross Golf Resort to assess.
Bombers do well here with Pieters winning twice here and Hadyn Porteous.
Continue to exercise caution in relation to Covid-19 related withdrawals.
Dry all week with temperatures peaking around 26 degrees at the weekend. Sun to come out then with winds dropping.
Light cloud and a moderate breeze. Wind 8-12mph
Light cloud and a gentle breeze. Wind 4-8mph
Sunny Intervals and a light breeze. Wind 2-5mph
Sunny Intervals and a light breeze. Wind 3-5mph
Ranged from -13 to -22 with Pieters winning in 2019 with -19.
Thomas Pieters was 109th in the world but not in great form in 2019. In 2015, it was his first tour win having ranked 245th. Pavan was ranked 256th but in great form prior to his win in 2018. Porteous was 389th but also in great form. Don't be afraid to take on someone down the rankings this week.
Royal Greens Golf and Country club which hosts the Saudi International can be used as a guide with several bombers excelling there too.
Pieters has strong course form prior to his win in 2019 but the other five victors had never finished better than 39th. It's not a major guide this week.
Pieters wasn't in strong form but both Pavan and Porteous were 6th in their previous starts and had a top 20 in their second last start. Form is preferred not essential.
Favourites or Outsiders
Paul Peterson was a 1000/1 shot in 2016 but the other five winners started at less than 100/1. Outsiders can be chanced but don't look too far down the betting list here.
We don't have many Strokes Gained stats this week so will focus on the stats of the winners from 2019 backwards.
1-41-9-40-1-24. Favour distance this week.
54-34-25-3-27-34. Not a week for fairway finders.
Greens in Regulation
2-6-2-1-22-2. Finding greens extremely important here.
18-36-51-25-10-65. Not a key stat this week.
Putts Per GIR
15-1-2-2-1-4. Most champions here have had an excellent week on the large greens.
Long par 4's, 8th and 17th, played the toughest in 2019 followed by the 219 yard par 3 3rd.
The four par 5's and the driveable par 4 6th hole played easiest in 2019.
Fast or Slow Start
Catch up is possible here. 2nd place Adri Arnaus was SEVEN shots behind after round one in 2019 and none of the top four were in the top nine after round one.
D+D Real Czech Masters In-Play Blog
21st August 2021, 8.30pm (UK time)
Tapio Pulkkanen fired a best of the day 66 to take a two shot lead going into the final round of the Czech Masters.
The Finn is now 5/2 favourite to lift his first title on the European Tour. It's not a price we're keen on and we see him as a player to take on in round four.
His last win on any tour came in 2017 on the Challenge Tour and it's been a few years since he's been in serious contention. He's bound to feel a little nervy and we've seen in recent weeks just how difficult it can be for leaders on the European Tour.
Johannes Veerman has been priced up as the man most likely to beat Pulkkanen and he's another who hasn't quite convinced on a Sunday. For much of the final round at last month's Irish Open he was impressive but ultimately fell short. He wasn't aggressive enough at the driveable 15th hole that day and then played the last three holes in 2 over par.
Prior to that, Veerman was two shots back at the Magical Kenya Open going into the final round and fell away. There isn't much value to be had with the 9/2 on offer.
Sean Crocker recovered from a slow start today (+1 through 7) to keep himself in contention. Yesterday's blog highlighted our doubts over him and the 5/1 doesn't tempt us.
Our tip ahead of the third round, Henrik Stenson, is also a general 5/1. We're surprised he isn't shorter in the betting and there is certainly a temptation to top up at the price currently on offer.
The Swede has only dropped one shot all week and that came today when he was forced to take a penalty drop in a bunker after his ball plugged under the lip. If you didn't back him yesterday we'd certainly suggest you cover him.
We're adding one further bet on a player who possesses the requisite quality to catch the leader.
The final round may be interrupted as a thunderstorm is forecast for the afternoon. Rain is possible throughout the day and the wind is expected to peak at around 8mph.
Round 4 Bet
- 2pts Win Only Sam Horsfield 12/1 @ Skybet
Alongside Stenson, we see Sam Horsfield as the man who can put in a strong final round showing. The Englishman is a cut above most of the others on this leaderboard and the only player inside the top 100 in the world. Two wins last year on the European Tour underline his class and he has the firepower to shoot a low round tomorrow. Only a cold putter has held him back this week but he's certainly capable of catching fire with that club and has to be considered a danger. Take the general 10/1 if you can't get the 12/1 at Skybet.
20th August 2021, 8.30pm (UK time)
|Six players tied||-7|
A best of the day 64 saw Sebastian Soderberg climb to the top of the leaderboard in the Czech Republic.
The Swede has been playing poorly since this time last year, when he contended at both events held at Celtic Manor in Wales. His poor recent form sees him priced up at 7/1 in the betting.
Soderberg is a winner on Tour, indeed he defeated Rory McIlroy to win the 2019 Omega European Masters. However, he was nervy when contending at those events in Wales and he's not for us with 36 holes to go.
Sean Crocker is the man the bookies rate as 5/1 favourite. The American has been knocking on the door of his first Tour win for a while now and he'll be hoping this is the week following the recent run of first time winners on the European Tour (the last four winners have been first timers). Four is certainly the magic number, given Albatross Golf Resort has yielded four maiden winners in the six staging's of this event.
Crocker has too often faltered when under pressure for our liking to back at 5/1. A 2nd place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at the end of 2020 saw him post an eight on the par 5 final hole, when a birdie would have forced a playoff. He possesses a stellar long game but he's a favourite worth taking on in our eyes.
Another player without a win on the European Tour is second in the betting. Adrian Meronk is a general 11/2 to convert from here and he too has had his failings t the business end of tournaments. Coincidentally, he also finished 2nd at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last year, shooting a final round 76 when leading with one round to go. Like Crocker, we're happy to take him on.
Conditions look favourable again with the wind not expected to rise above 5mph.
Round 3 Bet
- 2pts Win Only Henrik Stenson 10/1 @ Betfred
With question marks over a few players at the top of the leaderboard, we're happy to side with a player who possesses bags of experience. Stenson is back in Europe in a last ditch attempt to win a Ryder Cup spot and he's in perfect position to make a push. Bogey free so far this week, Stenson has been downplaying his efforts over the first two rounds but let's not forget he's a Major winner who has won 20 events over the course of his career. He hasn't contended at the business end of a tournament for a while now but that doesn't put us off, he's a sound bet at 9/1 or better.
19th August 2021, 7pm
|Nine Players Tied||-4|
Henrik Stenson rolled back the years and shares the lead with our 50/1 pre-event selection Maverick Antcliff. Stenson can still be backed at 12/1 and Antcliff 14/1.
Stenson is arguably still good value but the fact he fact he has failed to record a top 20 finish since 2019 weighs heavily and we should probably expect him to throw a bad round in over the four days.
We tipped Antcliff on the basis that he is in consistent form and shown enough on tour to suggest he can win this year. He ranks highly for recent and season long approach play figures which has been key at this course over the years. We expect him to kick on over the next few days.
Nine players sit one shot back, many of whom were well fancied before the off. Sam Horsfield is one of those and remains tournament favourite but he seems very short at 11/2.
Likewise, Dean Burmester, Danny Willett and Adrian Meronk all have valid claims and out of the three, Meronk looks the value at 20/1. We left Adrian off our pre-event plays due to the fact his big finishes don't normally arrive after a week off and we may live to regret that one.
Conditions look favourable again with the morning due to be ever so slightly calmer wind wise.
There are two players that are within two shots of the lead that represent value in our eyes.
Round 2 Bets
- 1pt Each Way Marcel Schneider 90/1 @ Betfred (1/5 1-5)
Schneider was also on our shortlist before the off after winning in Czech Republic earlier this year. The German has also posted two top 10s this year - at the Porsche European Open and Gran Canaria - two courses which hold similarities to this week. Three top 10's in the Prague Challenge reaffirm his love for golf here. He recovered nicely today after starting with two dropped shots in his opening holes and will carry good momentum into his early start tomorrow.
- 0.75pts Each Way Ondrej Lieser 125/1 @ Unibet (1/5 1-5)
Likewise, home favourite Lieser recovered from two bogey's in his opening two holes and showed real determination to be in 3rd place at the end of day one. He has not shown any form since progressing to the European Tour but back to back wins to win the Challenge Tour Grand Final in 2020 demonstrate his talent and you just get the feeling he's riding the home support this week.