Next stop on the European Tour is the Nordea Scandinavian Masters at Bro Hof Slott in Stockholm. A healthy Swedish contingent will tee it up with the only real notable Swedes absent being Freddie Jacobsen and Robert Karlsson who now both reside in the US. Alex Noren triumphed on home soil last year in one of the strangest tour events I've seen in a long time.
Alex Noren destroyed the course over the first three rounds, building an 11 shot lead on the field only to wake up on Sunday morning to somewhat of a hurricane. As you can imagine, the scoring was some of the highest on tour all year that day but Noren, despite posting a five over par round, still took down the title by seven strokes after successfully negotiating the treacherous island green par three.
Noren as you can imagine is already attracting plenty of attention in the betting and is priced at 17.0 for a repeat success or an appealing 4.50 for the top five. The price on Noren is due to three top quality world stars ahead of him in the betting, all deciding to warm up for the US Open on this side of the pond. Lee Westwood trades at 6.0, with Sergio Garcia and home favourite Peter Hanson both priced at 13.0 for the win or 3.75 the place.
The course - Bro Hof Slott
The Bro Hof Slott course is an extremely lengthy par 72 track at over 7,600 yards long. It consists of five par 5s and five par 3's but 2010 champions Richard S.Johnson is one of the shortest hitters in the game and has shown any type of player can prosper. Key around here is fairways and greens; rough is consistent and penal along average width fairways while the greens, running at 11 on the stimpmeter, are tricky with run off areas on a lot of holes. Holes 12 through 15 are where you can make your score with three of the par 5s coming in that stretch. The par three 17th island green will, as ever, provide great excitement on final day Sunday.
Three From The Pack
Thorbjorn Olesen is beginning to find some form again. The young Scandinavian burst onto the scene last year and was earmarked as one to watch. He's since gone on to claim his maiden win on the tour not so long ago at the Sicilian Open. Coming into the event off the back of a top 20 finish in Wales, his combination of length off the tee and top class putting could see him contend once more. Thorbjorn is trading at 25.0 for the win or 6.0 for the place with Unibet.
Pablo Larrazabal has been simmering for most of the season form wise. A feature early on in Wales last week, he seemed to go backwards over the weekend finishing in 28th position. I think Pablo, trading at 40.0 or 9.0 for the place is one to stick with as a win may just be around the corner. A recent 2nd place finish in his home country, Pablo is another with the bonus of length off the tee this week, averaging over 290 yards with the big stick.
Romain Wattel is another relative newcomer to the European Tour circuit. The young, aggressive Frenchman is not afraid to go low and fire at pins and Alex Noren showed this type of approach can pay off around Bro Hof Slott. Wattel finished in a tie for 21st here last season and comes into the event off the back of a weekend 68-68 in Wales, giving him a top 10 finish. The 21 year old is trading at a generous 40.0 for victory or 9.0 for a share of the places.